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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Wiring in Service Panel Question

    Several issues with this panel, but I'm uncertain about how best to describe what is going on with the white wires running from the lugs at the top of the bus to the double breaker at the bottom right. Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,250

    Default Re: Wiring in Service Panel Question

    Lon,

    Do you have another photo from a different angle showing the main terminals and conductors better?

    Kind of reminiscent of some old split-bus panel wiring except that the white conductors go back up to the main lugs ... is it possible that the main lugs are burned off the bus bars (or a bus connector link has been removed) and the white conductors are feeding that breaker as a back-fed main to the bus bars?

    Of course there is also the issue of using white for those, but I am sure you have already addressed that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    4,546

    Default Re: Wiring in Service Panel Question

    There are also two smaller gauge black conductors tapped off the main lugs.
    Even if it is a backfeed setup, the wire gauges are incorrect and the taps are incorrect.
    Someone did not have a clue, but got his hands on a screwdriver somehow.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Wiring in Service Panel Question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    There are also two smaller gauge black conductors tapped off the main lugs.
    Smaller gauge? John, you didn't miss those two larger conductors did you?

    A better photo would verify what is there, but it looks like the two white conductors, two smaller black conductors, and two larger black conductors ... looks like ... but what goes where is not precisely shown in that photo.

    My best guess based on that photo (which does not show what I need to see) is the far-fetched, out in left field, guess of the metal bus connector piece which is in some panels to connect the main lugs to the bus bars, bolted to each. Admittedly, far-fetched sounding, but that would account for the back fed main (which is also missing the required anchoring clip/screw/something which will hold the breaker in place so it cannot simply be pulled out and exposing the hot breaker connection to the bus bar tabs (they are not because the breaker is back fed).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Wiring in Service Panel Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Lon,

    Do you have another photo from a different angle showing the main terminals and conductors better?
    Unfortunately this is my only photo. The client is an investor. I do about 70 inspections a year for him. He isn't interested in photos. He just wants me to tell him the "big" issues and tell him (I'm not kidding) "Hell yeah, buy it" or "Hell no, walk away". So, I took the photo for my own interests. I just told him to replace the panel. There are issues not shown in the photo.

    The white wires are tapped into the main feeds as are the two smaller wires. I'm cloudy on what these white wires are doing. I thought of back-fed too, but it didn't look like anything that I'm familiar with.

    Last edited by Lon Henderson; 10-24-2014 at 07:23 AM.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Wiring in Service Panel Question

    I suspect it is a type of split bus panel. I did not try to see if the panel diagram is readable in a larger size of the photo.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Wiring in Service Panel Question

    Although difficult to tell from the provided photo, it looks like a small Split Bus panel that had room for two 220V breakers at the top on one bus and eight 110V breakers at the bottom on another bus.

    The top left 220V breaker looks like it has old cloth covered wiring that goes down on the left side from the top left breaker, and is probably original for the range or some other appliance. The top right 220V breaker has newer wiring (black and red) so they may have needed the 2nd 220V circuit for some other appliance. This breaker may have originally fed the lower bus, although there is no evidence of any old wiring that can be seen.

    Then to get power to the lower bus they backfed by double tapping off of the input lugs through the 220V breaker on the lower right.

    Here is a link the discusses Split Bus panels:
    What is a split bus electric panel?

    Yes, you are correct, it is time to replace this panel.


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