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  1. #1
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    Default Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    2011 update to 1971 service. There is a panel and 200 amp disconnect outside the house next to the meter. Ground and neutral are bonded together with a bonding strap. Inside the garage is another 200 amp panel with the neutrals and grounds bonded to the panel with a bonding strap. Besides the unmarked breakers, AFCI's in place of GFI's for garage circuit and door bell transformer in the panel, can this panel serve as the main panel with a seperate disconnect next to the meter?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    The panel needs the grounded & grounding conductors seperated, they cannot be bonded twice as the breaker at the meter/ cash register is the service disconnect. No time to comment on other issues.


  3. #3
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Sub-panel. That panel next to the meter is the main service. I'm sure it is, but a feed through main breaker must be physically bolted / attached to the panel. The interior panel is a sub-panel. The ground wyrs & neutral wire should be isolated from each other after the main panel grounding and bonding. The MCB in the interior panel is really just functioning as a switch for that panel. Have never seen that configuration in a residence before. The main service panel is a feed through panel.


  4. #4
    Robert Meier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Is the garage attached or detached?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Robert, the garage is attched.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    If the disconnect adjacent to the meter is for the garage panel then the garage is a subpanel and the neutrals and EGC's require separation. As mentioned the garage receptacles require GFCI protection not AFCI protection.


  7. #7
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    If the disconnect adjacent to the meter is for the garage panel then the garage is a subpanel and the neutrals and EGC's require separation. As mentioned the garage receptacles require GFCI protection not AFCI protection.
    I'm confused Robert. Why does it matter what that adjacent breaker feeds ? That is the main service disconnect and panel. Anything supplied from that adjacent panel will be a sub-panel, ( or possibly a big load like an electric furnace or boiller ), no matter where it is.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    The panel needs the grounded & grounding conductors seperated, they cannot be bonded twice as the breaker at the meter/ cash register is the service disconnect. No time to comment on other issues.
    Expanding on what Rollie said: The panel inside the garage needs the neutrals (grounded conductors) and grounding conductors separated, the grounding conductors are attached to a terminal bar on, or bonded to, the enclosure, whereas the neutral conductors are isolated from ground.

    The main in that panel in the garage simply serves as a 'panel main' to disconnect all power to that panel.

    The service equipment is outside by the meter, and that is where the neutral is bonded to ground, no where downstream from there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
    Robert Meier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    I'm confused Robert. Why does it matter what that adjacent breaker feeds ? That is the main service disconnect and panel. Anything supplied from that adjacent panel will be a sub-panel, ( or possibly a big load like an electric furnace or boiller ), no matter where it is.
    Yes you're correct, unless it were a separate service it would still be a subpanel.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Even if the garage were detached, since SER was run there is a dedicated equipment ground, so the grounds and neutrals must be separated.
    A detached garage of this vintage could very be served by a 3-wire feeder with the ground and neutrals bonded and be absolutely legal and up to code. Since this is an attached garage this point is moot.



    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    If the disconnect adjacent to the meter is for the garage panel then the garage is a subpanel and the neutrals and EGC's require separation. As mentioned the garage receptacles require GFCI protection not AFCI protection.
    Another note about vintage. A garage and house of this vintage (1971) would NOT require AFCI's or GFCI's anywhere.
    They might both be a suggest UPGRADE, but not required.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Another note about vintage. A garage and house of this vintage (1971) would NOT require AFCI's or GFCI's anywhere.
    Only partially true.

    *IF* - and we don't have the information to know either way, do we? - *IF* a receptacle in an area which requires GFCI protection has been replaced, then GFCI protection for each of those receptacles would be *required*.

    We don't have enough information for you to say they don't need GFCI protection, nor do we have enough information for me to say they do need GFCI, all that can be done is to state the qualifier: When a receptacle in a location which requires GFCI protection in today's code is replaced, the replaced receptacle requires GFCI protection.

    A lot of people don't like to use qualifiers, but when the information is not provided, there is not much else one can do ... other than ass-u-me one thing and then state it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Only partially true.

    *IF* - and we don't have the information to know either way, do we? - *IF* a receptacle in an area which requires GFCI protection has been replaced, then GFCI protection for each of those receptacles would be *required*.
    Jerry, I know you as much about this stuff as me, but this is simply not true.
    You CAN replace a non-GFI receptacle in an are that would now require it with another non-GFI receptacle.
    I only say this for sure since in 1971 no GFI's or AFCI's were required anywhere. Except for pools, GFI requirements started in 1973. http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/ne...ment_page2.pdf


    I am in no way saying that I typically do this, there is simply no reason to, but it IS code acceptable.
    I can only assume there are areas that have adopted amendments which requires it, but in general, and specifically in NYS, it is not required.

    Please see the clarification in the quote from the NYS Division of Code Enforcement and Administration in this post, specifically Section J608.4:
    TO NY State residential electricians, clarification on AFCI, etc. - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Jerry, I know you as much about this stuff as me, but this is simply not true.
    You CAN replace a non-GFI receptacle in an are that would now require it with another non-GFI receptacle.
    I only say this for sure since in 1971 no GFI's or AFCI's were required anywhere. Except for pools, GFI requirements started in 1973. http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/ne...ment_page2.pdf


    I am in no way saying that I typically do this, there is simply no reason to, but it IS code acceptable.
    I can only assume there are areas that have adopted amendments which requires it, but in general, and specifically in NYS, it is not required.

    Please see the clarification in the quote from the NYS Division of Code Enforcement and Administration in this post, specifically Section J608.4:
    TO NY State residential electricians, clarification on AFCI, etc. - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum
    UNTRUE, you must provide GFCI protection if it is not present AT THE TIME YOU PERFORM THE REPLACEMENT, when you replace a 125-volt, 15- or 20-ampere receptacle (installing replacement receptacle to existing receptacle outlet) where-ever the current adopted edition of the NEC indicates the receptacle type, location, and use, require GFCI protection currently. Unless the language of 406.3(D) and 406.3(D)(2) has been altered by the adopting jurisdiction.

    The act of installing the replacement receptacle itself to the pre-existing receptacle outlet does not negate the requirement for same to now have GFCI protection; WHICH IS ENVOKED by the act of installing a replacement receptacle.

    You can provide that REQUIRED protection to the replacement equipment (receptacle) via any permissible method, including, but not limited to, installing a combination GFCI Receptacle.

    NEC 406.3(D) and 406.3(D)(2) Specifically provide for this.


    Article 406 Receptacles


    406.3(D) Replacements. Replacement of receptacles shall comply with 406.3(D)(1), (D)(2), and (D)(3) as applicable.
    (1) Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where a grounding means exists in the receptacle enclosure or an equipment grounding conductor is installed in accordance with 250.120(C), grounding-type receptacles shall be used and shall be connected to the equipment grounding conductor in accordance with 406.3(C) or 250.130(C).



    (2) Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters. Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protected receptacles shall be provided where replacements are made at receptacle outlets that are required to be so protected elsewhere in this Code.
    (3) Non-Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where attachment to an equipment grounding conductor does not exist in the receptacle enclosure, the installation shall comply with (D)(3)(a), (D)(3)(b), or (D)(3)(c).
    (a) A non-grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with another non-grounding-type receptacle(s).


    (b) A non-grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a ground-fault circuit interrupter-type of receptacle(s). These receptacles shall be marked "No Equipment Ground." An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter-type receptacle to any outlet supplied from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter receptacle.
    (c) A non-grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a grounding-type receptacle(s) where supplied through a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Grounding-type receptacles supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter shall be marked "GFCI Protected" and "No Equipment Ground." An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.
    Review the Definitions,

    "Receptacle" versus "Receptacle Outlet" - distinctions with differences.

    I think you might be confusing the addition or creation of a new "Receptacle Outlet" and the act of installing a replacement "Receptacle" to an existing "Receptacle Outlet".



    There hasn't been an unammended "grandfather escape" since this language {equal to 406.3(D)}has appeared in the Code over a decade ago.

    Unattributed (and without the question language) undated non-transferable opinions from NYS-ammended don't apply anywhere outside same, and the "memo" language does not say what your claiming anyway.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-22-2012 at 02:57 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Wow, another long winded post from H.G.
    Please sir, do not try and school me on code or electrical matters.

    And it is NOT UNTRUE. You have your OPINION, I have mine.

    And I must say, all your red bold text and underlining is quite annoying.


    NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
    Division of Code Enforcement and Administration
    99 Washington Avenue Albany, New York 12231
    Phone no. (518) 474-4073 [Fax] (518) 486-4487

    M E M O R A N D U M



    DATE: February 3, 2011
    TO: Regional Staff
    FROM: Cheryl A. Fischer, P.E. Assistant Director for Code Interpretation
    NOTE: Residential electrical system changes

    This is to clarify whether the replacement of an electrical panel box requires the existing breakers to be replaced with arc-fault breakers. NO. Residential Code of New York State Section E3802.11, Arc-fault-interrupter protection is applicable to NEW installations. For instance, there is a new panel box and new additional circuits. Section J407.1, Electrical material (repair), states:
    Existing electrical wiring and equipment undergoing repair shall be allowed to be repaired or replaced with like material.
    Section J508.1, Electrical general (alteration-level 1) states:
    Any alteration to an existing electrical system shall be made in conformity with the provisions of Chapter R33 through Chapter R42.
    Section J608.1, Electrical general (alteration-level 2), states:
    Any alteration to an existing electrical system relating to work done in any work area shall be made in conformity with the provisions of Chapter R33 through Chapter R42.
    Section J608.2, Increased loads, states:
    Where alterations subject portions of existing electrical systems to increased loads, such portions shall be made to comply with Chapter R33 through Chapter R42.
    Section J608.3, Electrical service, states:
    Service to dwelling units shall be a minimum of 100 ampere, three-wire capacity, and service equipment shall be dead front having no live parts exposed whereby accidental contact could be made. Type "S" fuses shall be installed when fused equipment is used.
    Exception: Existing service of 60 ampere, three-wire capacity, and feeders of 30 ampere or larger two-or three-wire capacity shall be accepted if adequate for the electrical load being served.
    Section J608.4, Ground-fault and arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection, states:
    Ground-fault and arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection shall be provided on newly installed receptacle outlets as required by Section RE3802.
    There is no code section that requires the existing circuits to have ground-fault circuit-interrupters, only new circuits. There are configurations where old wiring cannot handle the arc-faults and cause unexpected trips.


    This response is limited to the specific question asked and should not be interpreted to give implied approval of any general plans or specifications.



  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Jerry, I know you as much about this stuff as me, but this is simply not true.
    Pete, what I said is quite true.

    You CAN replace a non-GFI receptacle in an are that would now require it with another non-GFI receptacle.
    That is also quite true ... you "can" ... but you are "not allowed" to.

    I only say this for sure since in 1971 no GFI's or AFCI's were required anywhere. Except for pools, GFI requirements started in 1973. http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/ne...ment_page2.pdf
    Thank you for referencing my GFCI page, Mike needs to update that page with this one: http://www.constructionlitigationcon..._page-2011.pdf

    I am in no way saying that I typically do this, there is simply no reason to, but it IS code acceptable.
    I can only assume there are areas that have adopted amendments which requires it, but in general, and specifically in NYS, it is not required.
    Unless NYS as specifically opted-out of the NEC requirement, NYS also has this same requirement:
    - ARTICLE 406 Receptacles, Cord Connectors, and Attachment Plugs (Caps)
    - - 406.3 General Installation Requirements.
    - - - (D) Replacements. Replacement of receptacles shall comply with 406.3(D)(1), (D)(2), and (D)(3) as applicable.
    - - - - (2) Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters. Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protected receptacles shall be provided where replacements are made at receptacle outlets that are required to be so protected elsewhere in this Code.

    Please see the clarification in the quote from the NYS Division of Code Enforcement and Administration in this post, specifically Section J608.4:
    TO NY State residential electricians, clarification on AFCI, etc. - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum
    Pete, that statement does not go against 406.3(D)(2), here is why both are correct:
    - From the NYS link: "There is no code section that requires the existing circuits to have ground-fault circuit-interrupters, only new circuits."
    - - Even today, there is *no code* which even requires new circuits to have GFCI protection. The code section I posted above is from the 2008 NEC, and it does not require "circuits" to be GFCI protected, it requires "receptacle outlets" to be GFCI protected.
    - From the 2008 NEC, section 406.3(D)(2): "Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protected receptacles shall be provided where replacements are made at receptacle outlets that are required to be so protected elsewhere in this Code"
    - - The "circuit" does not require GFCI protection, not even with today's code, only the receptacle outlets require protection, and the "receptacle outlets" which are "replaced" require GFCI protection when the replaced receptacle outlet is located in a location which the currently adopted NEC requires to be GFCI protected.

    No need to get all Watson-like in the post - sheesh, Watson does that to posts all the time, and for nor reason.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 04-22-2012 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Nothing changed in the post, just adding this: "No need to get all Watson-like in the post", i.e., "Watsonize" the post.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Wow, another long winded post from H.G.

    And I must say, all your red bold text and underlining is quite annoying.
    And obnoxious.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    SpdyP,

    Your "Memo" doesn't support your statements. The "Memo" does NOT say what you claim it does and is NOT APPLICABLE to what Jerry Peck said, what YOU said following up to that. YOUR premiss that replacement of a RECEPTACLE does not envoke the requirement for the replacment receptacle to be provided with protection is WRONG.

    NO ONE BUT YOU made a Suggestion that replacement of the Breakers was required. The NEC does NOT "require" anywhere that the Breakers be replaced with those of a different type (combination AFCI or combination GFCI-type breakers)!

    NO ONE BUT YOU made a Suggest that PROTECTION was required to BE EXTENDED TO PROTECT THE ENTIRE CIRCUIT. The NEC does not "require" that protection be extended to anywhere beyond the qualfying replacement RECEPTACLE itself, when a qualified receptacle is replaced.

    Regarding THAT MEMO - and the LIMITED SUBJECT IT ADDRESSES - the "MEMO" is correct. The SUBJECT it is responding to "IS replacement of a panel BOX a qualifying event" and the answer is NO.

    The triggering qualifying EVENT of discussion is REPLACMENT of a RECEPTACLE. EVEN THIS QUALIFYING EVENT does NOT REQUIRE installation of a different breaker for an ENTIRE CIRCUIT. IT never requires THAT SPECIFIC ACTION. Providing GFCI protection can be done in a NUMBER of different ways - SEVERAL of which MAY BE DONE BEYOND A PANEL BOX and OTHER THAN CHANGING A BREAKER TYPE.

    The Memo is responding to an inquiry regarding changing out the service box or supply source to a branch circuit. It is correct in its assertion that neither is a qualifying event envoking the installation of AFCI (or GFCI for that matter) protection to an existing branch circuit which didn't at the time of original installation, require either.

    Jerry Peck was discussing (and I was supporting) the fact that a REPLACEMENT of a RECEPTACLE (NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL)
    When that receptacle is a 125V, 15A- or 20-A receptacle, IS A QUALIFYING EVENT
    SPECIFICALLY, EXPRESSLY,
    REQUIRES the Additional action of installing
    In this case GFCI protection,
    If said location, use, type of circuit, PRESENTLY requires GFCI protection.

    The Garage in question, is the example location, where Peck suggested that IF or WHEN a receptacle is EVER replaced in that location, that receptacle must be GFCI protected.

    You claim your "MEMO" supports that not to be the case.Your conclusion is incorrect, it does not, and in no way overrides 406.3. It furthermore doesn't address in anyway WHAT PECK (nor I) was talking about.

    Furthermore, your NYS "MEMO" has NO VALIDITY in FLORIDA (the location of the OP and the GARAGE of topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey's MEMO

    This is to clarify:

    whether the replacement of
    an electrical panel box
    requires the
    existing breakers
    to be replaced
    with arc-fault breakers

    This has NOTHING to do with the REQUIREMENT to PROVIDE GFCI PROTECTION to REPLACEMENT RECEPTACLE when receptacle location presently requires gfci protection and the act of replacing said receptacle requires installation of GFCI protection FOR THAT RECEPTACLE at the TIME OF REPLACEMENT.

    That providing that protection may be MORE COST EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT, PRACTICAL, and CONVENIENT to ELECT to provide that protection by replacing a circuit breaker with one that ALSO provides that protection (and thereby extending that protection BEYOND where it is required to be provided) is a CHOICE, an OPTION.

    THE CODE ONLY requires installation/addition of PROTECTION (no grandfather) to the NEWLY REPLACED RECEPTACLE (when current code would require that protection for that receptacle outlet if installed for the first time at that time).

    125V, 15- and 20-Amp Receptacle replacement in Dwellings is one of the FEW times WHEN SIMPLY AND SOLELY EXHANGING LIKE for LIKE MAY BE LIMITED, and RECEPTACLE REPLACMENT IS a QUALIFYING EVENT envoking UPGRADING (solely for the individual receptacle replacement) to current standards with few limited exceptions (2-pin/blade ungrounded receptacles replaced for same) or alternatives.

    HOW that ENVOKED STANDARD (in this case GFCI) is envoked, oftentime has options.

    Swapping out a panel box is NOT THE SAME THING as REPLACING A RECEPTACLE. They are completely different actions. One has nothing to do with the other.

    If you REPLACE a receptacle OUTLET BOX but re-install the original receptacle to the outlet - it further may not be a qualifying event. It is the replacement of the receptacle ITSELF that is a qualifying event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey's MEMO

    There is no code section that requires the existing circuits to have ground-fault circuit-interrupters
    Yep, that is true. However no one but YOU suggested otherwise. 406.3 doesn't require changing any thing about the exisiting CIRCUIT, only the REPLACEMENT RECEPTACLE, and only in limited circumstances. Extending protection to an entire circuit is merely an optional permissive means to provide REQUIRED protection TO THE REPLACED RECEPTACLE ITSELF.

    Finally, NYS has heavily ammended.

    But NYS and NYC don't interpret the model NEC, they intrepret their OWN adopted codes.

    There is no requirement to use a combination GFCI-receptacle anywhere, anytime, and there is no requirement to use a GFCI breaker to protect a circuit or a receptacle. They are simply a means to an end - ANY PERMITTED METHOD to provide the protection where required or desired. Similar options exist regarding providing of AFCI protection where required or desired. Permitted means to an end.

    When a 15- or 20-A 125V receptacle is replaced it IS a QUALIFING EVENT TO UPGRADE PROTECTION TO THE RECEPTACLE face. It is not a qualifying event to upgrade a circuit.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-23-2012 at 08:54 AM.

  18. #18
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    And obnoxious.
    Interesting how far down the rabbitt hole some of these threads can go. Having recently been put through the H.G., Watson, Seen Your shredder, I was somewhere between shocked & surprized, but coming to see value in it all. Seen Your is like a Piranha or tank cleaner on the site. Any hippocracy or incorrect data is seized upon and "put right". I have also noted Seen Your will support the same person earlier attacked - - - so an equal opportunity shredder. Probably most important is there usually is some information of value to be gleaned. Hats off the the site administrator for not having an itchy censorship finger.


  19. #19
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    Wink Re: Sub panel or second main disconnect?

    Getting back to the original thread issue..
    Yes, any downstream panelboards from the 1ST disconnect/overcurrent device shall have the grounded conductors electrically separate from the grounding conductors.

    Further still, the grounded conductors shall not be connected electrically to the enclosure, but the grounding conductors shall be. This is to keep objectionable currents (in this case neutral current) from flowing on the grounding conductor.
    In the case of a detached structure fed from this outside main panel, a grounding electrode system shall be established at the detached structure and shall be connected to the grounding buss/enclosure only. This arraignment makes use of a separate grounding conductor run with the feeders (if feeders were installed at time of the 4 wire code change).
    There is an exception for a single circuit however.

    I only elaborate on this issue because it still seems to trip-up DYI's and even some electricians.
    In summary: if the grounded conductor is bonded as in the case of a main panelboard or disconnect, the grounding electrode system shall connect to the grounded buss (one exception). Conversely, If a downstream (feeder) panelboard is located in a separate structure, the grounding electrode system for that structure is to be electrically connected to the grounding conductor only and when a 4 wire feeder is the supply.
    Existing 3 wire feeders to a separate structure shall have the grounded conductor bonded to the enclosure/grounding conductor and the grounding electrode system for that structure. In other words, it will be treated as a service panel.

    I am aware that most on this site are informed of the aforementioned, but just in case...


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