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  1. #1
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    Default Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    This house had a service entrance panel next to the meter with only a main breaker. photo 1

    About ten feet away on exterior it had a large panel that I usually see used as a service panel. Photo 2 It had mostly 220 breakers but one lighting circuit and the jacuzzi GFI. This panel had disconnects for the other 2 downstream panels in the garages.

    The exterior panel that was not the service entrance panel (2nd panel) with the main breaker did not have isolated grounds/neutrals. The 2 smaller panels in the garages did have them isolated.

    My question is this. When the main breaker is isolated like this scenario, Would the second panel (with the disconnects for the other remote panels in the garages) still need to have isolated grounds/neutrals?

    I know this has been covered before, heck, I have even posted a similar question and thought I had a grip on this but the second panel is throwing me off.

    Comments please!

    Eric

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  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    First question/guess....is that wire from the first panel feeding the second panel? The wire looks like it changes sizes in the two pictures..There could be another panel between these two panels...


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    Yeah, The wire from the first panel feeds the second. I think the wire size is an optical illusion.


  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    What I see complicates the answer.

    The meter is on the right (right?).

    The service equipment with the main disconnect is on the left.

    The service entrance conductors feed from the meter into the service equipment, then they go out the back of the service equipment enclosure to ... where?

    I am assuming that there is no connection (no direction connection) between the meter and the panel to the right? There does not appear to be a direct connection between the service equipment on the left and the panel on the right either.

    That leads me to think that the panel on the right is fed from an interior panel.

    *IF* (the big if) the panel on the right *is not* fed from the meter (which would create other problems if it were), then it *is not* service equipment, and being *not* service equipment, yes, the neutral and grounds need to be isolated from each other. Which should be easy, mover that one neutral from the left, ground, terminal bar to the right, neutral, terminal bar, then move any ground from the neutral bar to the ground bar (I don't see any, but there may be some), then remove the metal cross over bar on the bottom and replace it with a plastic cross over bar (they make plastic cross over bars for this very purpose).

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    Jerry,

    Sorry, let me (try to) clarify the positioning of the panels. The panel with the main disconnect (shown in photo 1) is adjacent to (to the left of) the meter (which you can just see the edge of in photo 1) and is fed by the meter though the visible attached conduit. The next panel which has the neutrals/grounds bonded together ( photo 2) is about 10-15 feet to the left of the main disconnect panel and meter and appears to be fed by the panel with the main disconnect, with the feeder wires (apparently) run throught the wall space. The other two panels (not pictured) are the typical branch circuit panel boards you find in a garage and they have the neutrals/grounds isolated as is typical.

    So in answer to your question, the wires from the service equipment (the main breaker) go out the back of the service equipment into the wall and then run 10 or so feet to the panel in the second photo. That panel in turn feeds the two other remote panels in the garages (there are two seperate grages at this house).

    Does that make sense?

    Thanks, Eric

    Last edited by Eric Shuman; 05-07-2007 at 09:27 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    The panel with the main disconnect (shown in photo 1) is adjacent to (to the left of) the meter (which you can just see the edge of in photo 1) and is fed by the meter though the visible attached conduit. The next panel which has the neutrals/grounds bonded together ( photo 2) is about 10-15 feet to the left of the main disconnect panel and meter and appears to be fed by the panel with the main disconnect, with the feeder wires (apparently) run throught the wall space.
    Eric,

    That's one of my problems ...

    The service equipment (with the main disconnect) only had one feeder going out (to some panel some place).

    That panel to the right only has a feeder coming in, none going out.

    That means that if the service disconnect feeds this panel to the left, what feeds the inside panels?

    Thus, the only other option is that the service equipment feeders feed one of the interior panels, and one of them feeds this panel to the right. UNLESS there is something hidden from the meter to this panel, in which case many things are wrong (but the neutrals bonded to ground would be right) with the panel to the right.

    Does that make any sense?

    If the panel to the right is fed from one of the interior panels, the neutrals are supposed to be isolated from ground (not bonded together).

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    Jerry,

    First, let me apologize, I am dead tired and may be making this harder than I should!!

    Does this help? It is a photo of the cover for the panel in photo 2. It shows two 50 amp breakers on the right as being the disconnects or feeders for the smaller panels at the garages.

    Eric

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    Another thing that bothers me: in that second picture the load-side panels (as marked on the cover in the third picture) are fed via tandem (1/2 size) circuit breakers (compare them with the full-sized breaks to their left) with what appear to be handle ties (the sliver of silver visible between adjacent handles).

    In order to get these circuits on both phases the tandem breakers for the load side panels and the dryer immediately below them are stacked in such a way that they straddle two breaker positions ( the"lighting circuit" at top right occupies 1/2 of the top right breaker position, offsetting breakers below it). Also the breaker serving the oven at lower left is just sitting there by itself, offset.

    I've never seen this arrangement before, is this an allowed use of tandem breakers?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Bonding question, yeah, I know...

    What BUGS ME is that THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM to have used full size breakers in there.

    Yes, I half-size breakers are suitable for use on 240 volt circuits ... provided they are installed where the wiring diagram shows that they may be installed.

    Now I know what kept throwing me ... 2 50 amp breakers to 2 50 amp panels in the garage?

    WHY?

    I would have been cheaper and easier to have installed 1 100 amp breaker and 1 100 amp panel????

    Regardless, though, *if it is NOT "service equipment", the neutral is NOT bonded to ground*.

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

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