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  1. #1
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    Default Panel conductor no neutral

    I inspected a home with a second panel attached to the service equipment panel with a nipple. A branch circuit wire "hot" feeds "through" the service equipment panel into the attached panel to a breaker without a neutral conductor.

    The neutral conductor is connected in the service equipment panel and doesn't enter the attached panel with hot lead for this branch ciruit.

    (hope the language isn't too confusing) - SEE PHOTOS

    Can you do this? Is it legal to have a hot conductor in one panel and the neutral conductor in another?

    Any code reference would be helpful.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    There is a neutral conductor with tape shown in the subpanel. I think what might be throwing you off is the black conductor insulation.

    The grounding may be through a metallic nipple. Hard to tell the nipple material with the bushings in place.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Jim,

    Thanks for the reply but I'm refering to a neutral conductor for the 15 breaker in the sub panel. The neutral for this branch circuit is in the main panel and doesn't extend into the sub panel (I hate to use the word "sub")

    Ken Amelin
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Sorry for the confusion. I thought you were asking about the panel feeder.

    All conductors for the circuit need to originate in the same cable, raceway or panel.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  5. #5
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Hmmm I know Jim is correct because separating circuit conductors can create some very dangerous results, ( heat build up ) and that's forgetting about circuit tracing concerns. Article 300 ~ 300.3, (B) is longer than I am willing to type, but paraphrased says all conductors of the same circuit shall be contained within the same raceway, gutter, etc, etc.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    (I hate to use the word "sub")
    I'm trolling Jerry a bit here, but I was just reading some GE documentation and they refer to it as a sub-panel as well.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Corn Walker View Post
    I'm trolling ...
    Running along the surface, huh?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
    Leigh Goodman's Avatar
    Leigh Goodman Guest

    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Ken,
    I think the term "subsequent panel" would eliminate a lot of objections to the use of "sub-panel". To be precise I say "panel subsequent to service equipment"


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh Goodman View Post
    Ken,
    I think the term "subsequent panel" would eliminate a lot of objections to the use of "sub-panel". To be precise I say "panel subsequent to service equipment"
    The reason they are called that is because they are "sub-fed" panels, being fed off a breaker in the upstream panel.

    The reason I keep on the 'it's not a sub panel unless it is in a submarine' is because so many use the term sub panel and then ask where the neutral is bonded to ground ... the answer is ALWAYS "The neutral is bonded to ground at the *service equipment* and only at the *service equipment*, not downstream from the *service equipment* ...

    ... thus there are *service equipment* panels and there are panels which are *other than* service equipment panels. And the panels which are *other than* service equipment panels are all downstream from the service equipment panel and are typically distribution panels.

    When one uses the term *main panel* in reference to the service equipment panel is incorrect at the service equipment panel may only contain one main service disconnect, while the distribution panel downstream may contain all the other breakers in the house, thus that distribution panel is really "the main" panel with regards to the protection devices (breakers). The reason the service equipment panel began being called the *main panel* is because the service equipment panel contains the *main service disconnect*, thus it is the panel with "the main" in it, i.e., the "main" panel.

    Now, what do you call panels which are fed off the feed-through terminals off the service equipment bus bars and not fed off a breaker? They are not "sub-fed" so they are not a "sub-fed" panel. Yet they are no "service equipment" either.

    Thus, as I have kept saying, the BEST way to refer to the different panels are as "service equipment" panels (explains it right there) and 'other than service equipment panels' (a bit long, so use 'downstream', 'remote', 'distribution', etc., to define the panel - 'distribution panel'.

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  10. #10
    Leigh Goodman's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    I am going to assert that "subsequent" and "downstream" are very similar descriptions of the position of panels other than service equipment without the confusing (to laymen) addition of a watery reference in relation to an electrical system. I am staying with subsequent.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh Goodman View Post
    I am staying with subsequent.
    I think "subsequent" panel is a good description of it as it is "subsequent" after, and to, the "service equipment", I was just providing some background information as to where the term originated.

    Where is the neutral bonded to ground?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    In the meter enclosure of course.
    Nope.

    It is bonded at the service equipment.

    If it is in the meter enclosure how is the inspector going to check it?

    You are referring to this, I presume:
    - 250.24 Grounding Service-Supplied Alternating-Current Systems.
    - - (A) System Grounding Connections. A premises wiring system supplied by a grounded ac service shall have a grounding electrode conductor connected to the grounded service conductor, at each service, in accordance with 250.24(A)(1) through (A)(5).
    - - - (1) General. The grounding electrode conductor connection shall be made at any accessible point from the load end of the service drop or service lateral to and including the terminal or bus to which the grounded service conductor is connected at the service disconnecting means.

    However, what I am referring to is this:
    - 250.24 Grounding Service-Supplied Alternating-Current Systems.
    - - (C) Grounded Conductor Brought to Service Equipment. Where an ac system operating at less than 1000 volts is grounded at any point, the grounded conductor(s) shall be run to each service disconnecting means and shall be connected to each disconnecting means grounded conductor(s) terminal or bus. A main bonding jumper shall connect the grounded conductor(s) to each service disconnecting means enclosure. The grounded conductor(s) shall be installed in accordance with 250.24(C)(1) through (C)(3).
    - - - Exception: Where more than one service disconnecting means are located in a single assembly listed for use as service equipment, it shall be permitted to run the grounded conductor(s) to the assembly common grounded conductor(s) terminal or bus. The assembly shall include a main bonding jumper for connecting the grounded conductor(s) to the assembly enclosure.

    250.24(A)(1) *allows* the GEC "to and including the terminal or bus to which the grounded service conductor is connected at the service disconnecting means", HOWEVER, 250.24(C) *requires* "the grounded conductor(s) shall be run to each service disconnecting means and shall be connected to each disconnecting means grounded conductor(s) terminal or bus."

    And the grounded conductor is what was asked about.

    Thus the answer is "IN THE SERVICE EQUIPMENT".

    Does the GEC need to also be connected there? No, but why not ... it is *allowed to be connected there*.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Where is the neutral bonded to ground?
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    In the meter enclosure of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Nope.

    It is bonded at the service equipment.
    .
    .
    Thus the answer is "IN THE SERVICE EQUIPMENT".
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    It's also factory bonded in the meter enclosure, otherwise an enclosure fed with SE cable or PVC would be not be grounded.
    The service drop/lateral neutral is connected to a terminal in the meter housing which has a strap which grounds it to the enclosure, yes.

    However, the discussion has not been about the "service drop/lateral", the discussion has been about interior panels (going to back to the original post, and then subsequent posts) and then went to service equipment, which may be outside or inside, and then to the neutral in the service equipment.

    You sound like Watson trying to work around an incorrect answer and turn it into a correct answer. The neutral conductor (grounded conductor) at the service equipment is not terminated at, or bonded to ground at, the meter enclosure, it is terminated at, and bonded to ground at, the service equipment. The meter is not part of the service equipment - unless it is a combination meter/service equipment enclosure, however, even then, the meter is not part of the service equipment, there is a grounded barrier separating the meter compartment from the service equipment compartment.

    Service Equipment. The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker(s) or switch(es) and fuse(s) and their accessories, connected to the load end of service conductors to a building or other structure, or an otherwise designated area, and intended to constitute the main control and cutoff of the supply.

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  14. #14
    Zibby Bujno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    looking at the pictures they used black wire with tape (home owner special)
    Main panel has 2 hot, neutral and ground (bare wire) in. Neutral and ground are bonded, and that the only place where they should be. And it looks like its the case. Just incorrect cable colors set you off. You have black with wire tape for neural and black with green tape for ground. If you look at your sub panel, neutral and ground are not bonded.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Panel conductor no neutral

    Quote Originally Posted by Zibby Bujno View Post
    looking at the pictures they used black wire with tape (home owner special)
    Not a safe assumption to make. The white is required to be re-identified when used for a hot, most electrician do not even bother to re-identify it, but when they do, they typically use black electrical tape.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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