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  1. #1
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    Default Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    New panels with old wiring (6 separate panels in a 4400 sq ft house built in 1960) The aka sub panels had a 3 wire service wiring (2 hots and 1 neutral) NOT 4, I was told by an electrician that with older codes the 3 wire service to the AKA sub-panel was. Is this correct ?? I'm assuming it is because he's the electrician not me. And one other thing, instead of rewiring the house all the outlets were GFCI plugs. First time I've seen this, that's crazy.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    New panels with old wiring (6 separate panels in a 4400 sq ft house built in 1960) The aka sub panels had a 3 wire service wiring (2 hots and 1 neutral) NOT 4, I was told by an electrician that with older codes the 3 wire service to the AKA sub-panel was. Is this correct ?? I'm assuming it is because he's the electrician not me. And one other thing, instead of rewiring the house all the outlets were GFCI plugs. First time I've seen this, that's crazy.
    Older panels generally did not have a dedicated grounding conductor in the feeder cable and no grounding terminal block. In these older homes, receptacle outlets were the two-slot type and the NM cable did not have a grounding conductor.

    However,
    grounding and neutral conductors cannot be bonded (connected) together except at the service equipment. Grounding conductors should not be connected to the neutral terminal block at any other panel.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    AFAIK, 4 wire feeders have been needed in an attached building for as long as I know. The 60s were before I started in electrical.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    AFAIK, 4 wire feeders have been needed in an attached building for as long as I know. The 60s were before I started in electrical.
    They were required before then too.

    To my knowledge, the only uninsulated neutrals conductors permitted for many decades, possibly going back to the beginning of time (related to electrical wiring) was as part of the service entrance conductors ... which would be to the first disconnect.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    AFAIK, 4 wire feeders have been needed in an attached building for as long as I know. The 60s were before I started in electrical.
    I see three wire cables to fuse panels regularly. I don't have any NEC books prior to 1965.

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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I see three wire cables to fuse panels regularly. I don't have any NEC books prior to 1965.
    Thanks Guys


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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I see three wire cables to fuse panels regularly. I don't have any NEC books prior to 1965.
    Three wires to a service is different than 3 wire feeders to a subpanel in an attached structure.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Three wires to a service is different than 3 wire feeders to a subpanel in an attached structure.
    That was what I was referring to. Not the service equipment, but the interior panel(s). These date from the '50s and earlier. I do not believe I have ever seen an older panel (sometimes older FPE breakers, sometimes fuses) with a grounding conductor/terminal. The feeder cables have the two non-grounded (hot) and the one grounded (neutral) conductor. No grounding conductor, no grounding terminal.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    That was what I was referring to. Not the service equipment, but the interior panel(s). These date from the '50s and earlier. I do not believe I have ever seen an older panel (sometimes older FPE breakers, sometimes fuses) with a grounding conductor/terminal. The feeder cables have the two non-grounded (hot) and the one grounded (neutral) conductor. No grounding conductor, no grounding terminal.
    I'll do some research in my older codes, but what I think you are finding is the same thing I used to find in older houses ... panels which were service equipment panels and were served by service entrance conductors ... and were incorrectly re-purposed into non-service equipment panels with the addition of new service equipment.

    Not only are those panels now being fed with service entrance conductors instead of feeders (the insulated neutral in feeders is the easiest difference to see), but those old service equipment panels have the neutrals solidly connected to ground ... the only fix is replacement of the panels and conductors feeding them.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I'll do some research in my older codes, but what I think you are finding is the same thing I used to find in older houses ... panels which were service equipment panels and were served by service entrance conductors ... and were incorrectly re-purposed into non-service equipment panels with the addition of new service equipment.

    Not only are those panels now being fed with service entrance conductors instead of feeders (the insulated neutral in feeders is the easiest difference to see), but those old service equipment panels have the neutrals solidly connected to ground ... the only fix is replacement of the panels and conductors feeding them.
    Hi Jerry,

    Took me a while to find an example. This is not service equipment. The meter and service disconnect were on the exterior of the home. This is interior. I recognize that there is no such thing as a subpanel, but it is easier and clearer than saying this is not service equipment.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Grounds & Neutral on same bus bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hi Jerry,

    Took me a while to find an example. This is not service equipment. The meter and service disconnect were on the exterior of the home. This is interior. I recognize that there is no such thing as a subpanel, but it is easier and clearer than saying this is not service equipment.
    Gunnar,

    See those open holes where conduits and other wiring used to be?

    Several possibilities exist:
    - the original feeders were in EMT
    - there was (is?) a ground in that what looks to be NM conductors which was cut off
    - that was is a reused box as it is intended to be used as service equipment with the neutrals solidly connected to ground as that one is

    I'll start looking back in my old code books shortly.

    added with edit: I went too far back, I'll have to start again with not as old codes, find it, then trace it backward if I can, but I'll have to do that later.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-24-2016 at 06:25 PM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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