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  1. #1
    Roni Litmanovic's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Here are 2 pics of a distribution panel in a new condo. The service conductors are aluminum, but in the upper left hand corner you can see what appears to be an aluminum wire (green) bonded to the ground bus bar. I was a bit thrown off because the gauge is smaller than the service conductors but larger than the copper distribution wires. Can you give me some guidance please.

    Thanks,

    Roni

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    That's the equipment grounding conductor from the service equipment to the panel.

    That will be smaller than the feeder conductors (at this point they are no longer "service entrance conductors"), but larger than the branch circuit equipment ground conductors.

    Also, I don't see a bonding screw or bonding jumper needed to connect the equipment grounding bar to the enclosure (which is what grounds the enclosure and is required).

    Also, on that photo, the metal cross over bar between the neutral and equipment ground terminal bars appears to have been cut off with a hack saw (or something). That bar should have been removed (it effectively was) and replaced with a plastic cross over bar (which it was not). On GE and Siemens panels like that, that is what I always saw, that cross over stabilizer bar, or where one should have been - it is used to help hold the neutral and equipment ground terminal bars in place. Without that cross over bar, the only thing holding those terminal bars in place are those little snap in plastic fingers you see below the bottom terminal screws.

    Most electricians don't carry those plastic bars with them and don't think about the plastic bars until they are installing the panel (if even then) and there is no way the electricians are going to make an extra trip to get, then install, those plastic cross over stabilizer bars.

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

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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Let me preface by saying I do not have experience with this brand of panel so JP's comments about the mounting bars really doesn't mean much to me.

    However, the OP said this was in a condo. I might suspect that there is a electrical distribution room somewhere in the complex with all the meters and service equipment. That would make this a subpanel and the bond screw would be inappropriate to install. It looks like all the grounding conductors are on the left buss and all the grounded conductors are on the right buss. This leads me to believe even more that the is another panel or disconnect ahead of this panel.


  4. #4
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Jerry is correct...

    The left bar needs to be bonded to the can and the bottom jumper bar needs to be removed.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    That would make this a subpanel
    Jim,

    No, it makes it a "panel", a "panel" which is not "service equipment".

    I suspect your insistence on using the term "subpanel" is confusing you. You will no be confused after you stop using that term, try it, you will like it.

    Here is why:

    and the bond screw would be inappropriate to install. It looks like all the grounding conductors are on the left buss
    That left equipment grounding terminal bar (buss) *is required to be bonded to the enclosure*, thus it is *required to have* either a bond screw in that bar to the enclosure or a bond strap to the enclosure, depending on which that *panel* was made for.

    and all the grounded conductors are on the right buss.
    That part is correct.

    This leads me to believe even more that the is another panel or disconnect ahead of this panel.
    There has to be a disconnect ahead of that "panel", the disconnect would be in the meter room, or some other common location with the other disconnects (depends on the construction of the condo building).

    By the very nature of it being an apartment (condo) - the disconnect 'may' be at that panel "also", but you would need a disconnect in that meter room too. I say "also" in the unit as *I* feel it is "safer" to have a "main" in each panel (unless there are only 6 breakers), that *is not* a requirement - just a personal preference for the occupants safety.

    "Also", in no way does that affect the neutral being isolated from ground at those panels, because they are "not service equipment", just "panels".

    Jim, go back and look at that left side equipment ground terminal bar, tell me where the equipment grounds are grounded (bonded) to the enclosure.

    (dum-dum-da-dum-dum - drumming fingers on desk - while waiting for Jim to recheck the photo for the left side equipment grounds terminal bar being bonded to the enclosure)

    Jim, did you find where that left groundING bar was bonded to the enclosure?

    Didn't think so, but wanted to make sure.

    That's because they are not bonded together, but are required to be - hence the need for a ground bond at that bar (buss).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    the bottom jumper bar needs to be removed.
    James,

    It was 'removed' in the sense that it was cut off, it needs to be 'removed properly', which includes replacing it with the plastic one available from GE and/or Siemens.

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

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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Thanks for the snide tone there Jerry.

    On Sq D and CH ground bars the mounting screws are on the same spacing as the rest of the holes in the buss. From the poor resolution of this pics it is hard to see whether this is the case or not. If you read my first paragraph I stated that I was not familiar with this brand.

    PS, are you the only person in the known world that doesn't use the same terminology as the rest of the world?


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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    "PS, are you the only person in the known world that doesn't use the same terminology as the rest of the world? "

    Not that JP needs my help, but, ...NEC.

    In rare occasions he may be a little: sarcastic, overbearing, opinionated, condescending, legalistic, of high self esteem, (and as you pointed out) snide, and... well you get the idea. But always willing to offer his opinion, which most often, is correct.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    If you read my first paragraph I stated that I was not familiar with this brand.
    I did read that, however, you then followed with your incorrect statement. See below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Let me preface by saying I do not have experience with this brand of panel
    Yes, I read that, but ...

    That would make this a subpanel and the bond screw would be inappropriate to install.
    Thus I responded that it *does not* make it a "subpanel", they don't exist. Like electricians calling bathroom exhaust fans "fart fans", they don't exist, and that is not their purpose anyway. It is far better to learn to communicate with the right names, especially when using a common, though incorrect, term leads to misunderstanding of what is to be done, not to be done. There are no "subpanels" or "sub panels", there are "sub fed" "panels", though. I have found over the years that when people use the terms "subpanel" or "sub panel" they frequently make errors in intent of what is do be done, and frequently that relates to what they asked or stated. In your case, you called it a "subpanel" and followed it with an error of stating that the equipment ground terminal bar (buss) did not need to be bonded to the enclosure. Your use of the term and your incorrect statement further tied together the confusion I see when that term is used, in effect you validated my thoughts on the confusion the use of that term 'creates'.

    I also responded that, indeed, that ground terminal bar (buss bar) does need to be bonded to the enclosure - which you specifically stated it did not

    I previously stated: "Also, I don't see a bonding screw or bonding jumper needed to connect the equipment grounding bar to the enclosure (which is what grounds the enclosure and is required)."

    You stated (in a follow-up post to mine): "the bond screw would be inappropriate to install"

    You were incorrect and, not wanting others to think that was correct, I corrected you on it.

    Was my comment snide? I don't think it was, but if it was it may have been because you stated an incorrect statement thinking you were correcting my correct statement.

    Believe me, I like it when people show me the errors of my ways, I learn a lot from other here and elsewhere, but I could not leave your incorrect statement standing as though it was correct - that does not benefit anyone, not even you. That is how we all learn.

    Now, *IF* I had said that the neutral bar needed to be bonded to ground ... yeah, I would have been incorrect and your correction would have been duly noted ... as I do on when I make a stupid statement which is incorrect.

    Notice the *IF* in the above ... because that was not what I said.

    I stated (adding underlining): "Also, I don't see a bonding screw or bonding jumper needed to connect the equipment grounding bar to the enclosure (which is what grounds the enclosure and is required)."

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

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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    By the very nature of it being an apartment (condo) - the disconnect 'may' be at that panel "also", but you would need a disconnect in that meter room too. I say "also" in the unit as *I* feel it is "safer" to have a "main" in each panel (unless there are only 6 breakers), that *is not* a requirement - just a personal preference for the occupants safety.

    "Also", in no way does that affect the neutral being isolated from ground at those panels, because they are "not service equipment", just "panels".
    I would like for you to explain how the neutral would not need to be isolated from ground at a 'sub fed panel' or 'not service equipment' to use your words.


  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would like for you to explain how the neutral would not need to be isolated from ground at a 'sub fed panel' or 'not service equipment' to use your words.
    What he is saying is there is a disconnect only and the panels are fed by there own disconnect and the panels are just concidered what one would concider main panels.

    If you have a disconnect by the meter in a new home there is still (some times) a main panel in the garage with a main breaker in it with all the rest of the breakers. (that is what I call a main panel to keep it simple for my clients) Most new homes I inspect just have the one panel in the garage that houses the main disconnect and all the breakers and the only other items are disconnects for AC or HVAC units and such. even if there was a disconnect outside there would still be a main breaker in the one and only main panel and the neutral and ground will not be separated from one another.

    Service equipment, non service equipment, disconnects, main panel, auxiliry panels, subpanel, breaker box. Hmmmm

    So if you have a meter outside. The have one panel in the garage that houses the main disconnect and all the breakers and there are no other panels.

    What is that one panel called? or is is called multiple names? Servcie equipment and non service equipment and breaker box and main panel and main disconnect?


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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    I asked that question because I was not sure if Jerry was talking about a panel downstream of a disconnect or not.


  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    I am not sure what the problem with calling a pickle a pickle.

    If the is only one panel in the home with a main breaker and and all the breakers for the circuits in the home and someone adds a panel down stream, or a sub-panel and that panel is hooked up correctly with the neutral bar separated from the ground bar and it is a SUB to the MAIN panel. Hmmm, the code book does not have the word sub panel in it so the word cannot be used. I don't get it.

    It is subordinate to the main panel or a sub panel

    In fact. If the world understands the term sub-panel and uses the term sub-panel and I have been alive for 54 plus years. Since I can recall any electrical conversation the word sub-panel has been used then I guess it is cool to use the term among us idiots who just don't understand that there could not possibly be a sub-panel because the code book does not say there is one.

    Jerry, I am sure one day used the word sub-panel until he got an edumication with code testing and learned that there just ain't no such thing.

    I can just about guarantee you that if there were to be a poll on here or any other inspector web site and the poll asked if you ever heard of the term sub-panel and what did it mean (or use to mean until they got edumicated with the code) the would respond resoundingly that they have all heard of it and this is what it would be.

    Probably cannot dispute that one in the slightest. So if the pole were to come back a resounding 100% or lets say in the 90 % range, would that mean a sub-panel exists????????

    I should not have written this. It looks like I am just picking on someone.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    100s of thousands of people incorrectly call EFIS "stucco" (even Realtors that know it's called EFIS). And yet the average person still knows what they are referring to. But as an HI, what should/do you call it in your reports? If I say hose faucet, do you know that I mean hose bib? Yes you do, but the correct term is not hose faucet.
    I once corrected someone on this forum for calling the door and window switches on an alarm system, "Contacts". I knew what he was saying, everyone else knew what he was saying, however they were most likely not " contacts" but switches. I wanted him to know the correct wording.
    To debate weather it is a contact or a switch is trivial, it is what it is.
    (BTW no one debated me, just an example)
    To debate calling it "sub" or not a sub is also trivial. If the term "sub panel" is not in the NEC, then that should tell you something. These (NEC) are the people that make the rules, and define the meanings of the words we use in reports.
    So if you want to call it Stucco, then by all means call it stucco.
    And if/when someone tells you that it is EFIS, just come back and say
    "I am not sure what the problem with calling a pickle a pickle. ".

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    100s of thousands of people incorrectly call EFIS "stucco" (even Realtors that know it's called EFIS). And yet the average person still knows what they are referring to. But as an HI, what should/do you call it in your reports? If I say hose faucet, do you know that I mean hose bib? Yes you do, but the correct term is not hose faucet.
    I once corrected someone on this forum for calling the door and window switches on an alarm system, "Contacts". I knew what he was saying, everyone else knew what he was saying, however they were most likely not " contacts" but switches. I wanted him to know the correct wording.
    To debate weather it is a contact or a switch is trivial, it is what it is.
    (BTW no one debated me, just an example)
    To debate calling it "sub" or not a sub is also trivial. If the term "sub panel" is not in the NEC, then that should tell you something. These (NEC) are the people that make the rules, and define the meanings of the words we use in reports.
    So if you want to call it Stucco, then by all means call it stucco.
    And if/when someone tells you that it is EFIS, just come back and say
    "I am not sure what the problem with calling a pickle a pickle. ".
    That was actually a nice story Rick

    I did enjoy it.

    Not that calling efis stucco has anything to do with calling a subordinate panel, down stream from a main panel a subpanel but that's OK. I was not arguing anything. I was asking the question that if everyone knows what it is why is one always corrected about it. That's all, no argument. My girlfriend said I have to be nicer and not so blunt cause it makes me sound argumentative.

    So on that point I will be nice and no longer call a sub-panel a sub-panel.

    I am now Mr nice guy.

    Gees, I am not sure if I can pull it off but I'll try!

    Gees, can I Post anymore? I like a good discussion, heated or not. Now I am probably going to be more boring


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Aluminum wire Bonded to Ground Bus Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would like for you to explain how the neutral would not need to be isolated from ground at a 'sub fed panel' or 'not service equipment' to use your words.
    Jim,

    I just don't know what to say ... (sitting here banging my head against my desk) ...

    Are you READING what I am WRITING, or are you just 'winging it' with what you want to think is being said (yes, now that might have been a bit "snide" - but nothing else is working).

    Below is my quote, and I've repeated it several times already, but here goes one last try ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Also, I don't see a bonding screw or bonding jumper needed to connect the equipment grounding bar to the enclosure (which is what grounds the enclosure and is required).
    Okay, I will repeat those two quotes and use bold and red text to highlight the key words you are using and the key words you are missing, see if you understand it this time ... I really don't know what else I can do to get you to understand it.

    Here goes - one last time - with bold red text as highlighting ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would like for you to explain how the neutral would not need to be isolated from ground at a 'sub fed panel' or 'not service equipment' to use your words.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Also, I don't see a bonding screw or bonding jumper needed to connect the equipment grounding bar to the enclosure (which is what grounds the enclosure and is required).
    Jim,

    Please, please tell me you now see what I have been saying all this time.

    Then please explain to me how I could have said it any more clearly, so I will know how to say it the next time.

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

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