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  1. #1
    Dan Zielinski's Avatar
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    Default GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    Finally finished and had my final inspection. Personally I think the inspector screwed up and had me spend over another $100.00 on wire and but splices and another day of wiring. He also had me connect the main panel to the second panel with another opening. He said. The neutral, ground and hot all have to come through the same opening. The breakers comming through the second opening also must have the neutral and ground associated with them.
    If there is an inspector out ther to confirm what i am about to say. Please give me the electrical code wiring for generator breaker panel wiring. See the paragraph and the end.
    I had the second panel finished. He made me remove and extend every nutral and ground from the main panel and run those into the second panel 4 inches away from the main panel. Both panels recessed. A 2x4 seperating them.
    I took out the breakers in the main panel and put them in the second panel and extened the power wires back to each breaker.
    I had the ground from the main panel connected to the second panel with a #8 cable. He called it a sub panel and it is not. It is a generator breaker panel and no new circuits were run to it. If a new circuit was run to it. I would need to connect the hot, nuteral and ground for that new circuit. All of these circuits were extensions from the main panel.
    Just an FYI, ATS Breaker cut off all fine. This was the issue. Here is what I found and I do not know where to find it in the code book.
    When wiring a generator breaker panel, LEAVE ALL WIRES IN THE ORIGIONAL PANEL AS THEY ARE INSTALLED. GROUND AND NEUTRAL WIRES REMAIN IN THERE ORIGIONAL POSITIONS. THE ONLY CHANGES IS FOR THE LIVE WIRES.
    I would love to find this in the code book.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Zielinski View Post
    He said. The neutral, ground and hot all have to come through the same opening.
    He's correct.

    The breakers comming through the second opening also must have the neutral and ground associated with them.
    He's correct.

    I had the second panel finished. He made me remove and extend every nutral and ground from the main panel and run those into the second panel 4 inches away from the main panel. Both panels recessed. A 2x4 seperating them.
    He's correct.

    I took out the breakers in the main panel and put them in the second panel and extened the power wires back to each breaker.
    You have to run the neutral with the hot, otherwise you could get eddy currents in the metal enclosure and heat the enclosure up.

    I had the ground from the main panel connected to the second panel with a #8 cable. He called it a sub panel and it is not.
    It's only a "sub panel" if is it in a submarine. Neither is it an "main panel". It is either the "service equipment panel" or it is 'other-than service equipment', normally called a loadcenter or distribution panel (some refer to those panels as 'main' and 'sub' panels and then ask where the neutral is bonded to ground, the answer is that the neutral is bonded to ground ONLY AT the "service equipment panel", so it helps to think of panels in terms of whether or not the panel is 'the service equipment' or if the panel is 'other than' the service equipment).

    In your case, you have TWO "service equipment" panels - one from the utility power and one from the generator power, and ONLY ONE is allowed to be 'ON' at any one time, thus you need a transfer switch which automatically disconnect one when it connects the other. You can get automatic transfer switches and manual transfer switches. "Automatic" transfer switch are just that - the transfer switch "automatically" transfer the loads from the utility power to the generator power, and automatically transfers the loads back when utility power is restored. The manual transfer switch is just that - you lose power and there is no power until you go out there and manually operate the transfer switch. Likewise, when utility power comes back on you are still on generator power until you go back and manually operate the transfer switch to the utility power position.

    It is a generator breaker panel and no new circuits were run to it. If a new circuit was run to it. I would need to connect the hot, nuteral and ground for that new circuit. All of these circuits were extensions from the main panel.
    Does not matter if you consider the circuit to be "new" or not, think of it as a "new" circuit to that panel, if that helps. Regardless, you always need all of the circuit conductors run together everywhere they go.

    This was the issue. Here is what I found and I do not know where to find it in the code book.
    When wiring a generator breaker panel, LEAVE ALL WIRES IN THE ORIGIONAL PANEL AS THEY ARE INSTALLED. GROUND AND NEUTRAL WIRES REMAIN IN THERE ORIGIONAL POSITIONS. THE ONLY CHANGES IS FOR THE LIVE WIRES.
    I would love to find this in the code book.
    Sounds like that may have been in the installation instructions?

    Here is my question (I know the answer from your post): DID you LEAVE ALL wires in the original panel as they were installed?

    When you get your answer you should see what that statement no longer applies.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    Thank you. Actually I did find this here on this site. Generator panel. I quote.

    "It is not necessary to bring all the grounded/neutral conductors into the general panel.
    With all the wires going into the house Service panel, the maker has supplied over sized white insulated white wire, this is the generator neutral.
    The other end, is attached to the service Neutral/Grounded buss bar (As mine is) This takes care of having to run all those white wires back over to the generator circuit breaker panel."


  4. #4
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Zielinski View Post
    Thank you. Actually I did find this here on this site. Generator panel. I quote.

    "It is not necessary to bring all the grounded/neutral conductors into the general panel.
    With all the wires going into the house Service panel, the maker has supplied over sized white insulated white wire, this is the generator neutral.
    The other end, is attached to the service Neutral/Grounded buss bar (As mine is) This takes care of having to run all those white wires back over to the generator circuit breaker panel."
    Generac used to, maybe still does, provide a flexible conduit packed full of conductors for the breakers in the generator panel, and (as I recall) one oversize neutral. That assembly is provided with, and is part of, the listed generator package, and, if wired EXACTLY as stated with EXACTLY what was provided, and WITHOUT any modifications of changes, then it may be installed that way as it is part of the listed equipment.

    *ANY* changes, though, and that goes out the window and then it must be wired in accordance with the code.

    Note, though, that with that flexible conduit assembly with that one oversized neutral conductor - *ALL* of the hot, neutrals, and ground conductor DO go through one opening, the one opening for that flexible metal conduit.

    So even that listed assembly meets that code requirements.

    The main advantage of using that listed assembly of the flexible conduit filled with conductors is that, because it is listed as part of the equipment, no conduit fill is applied, no derating is applied, etc., all because it was tested, listed, and labeled to be used that way.

    What you described was doing something different.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    I understand what you are saying. So what I was doing is exactly the same, but it was not pre wired.
    Maybe I can clear up what I first had.
    I added a second breaker panel next to the main panel.
    2" nipple joins the two. 2x4 seperating the two.
    From the ground buss in the main panel I ran a no. 8 ground to the second panel.
    I ran a no.6 white neutral from the main panel to the second panel.
    Then I removed the breakers to be connected to the generator to the second panel. Lengthened each hot and ran them to the same breakers in the second panel.
    ALL of the wires ran through the 2" nipple.
    1 no. 8 Ground, 1 No. 6 Neutral and all of the hots to there corresponding breakers.
    So you are telling me that what I did, because only the panel and breakers are UL and my wiring was not. That I had to remove all of the neutrals and grounds from the main panel, lengthen ALL of them then run all of the corresponding neutrals and grounds to the second panel.
    So my panel was not approved but a pre wired one like mine with a UL approval is.
    If that is the case. That is so very stupid.
    Now my main panel looks like crap with all those extensions and the possibility of any of those 60 but splices comming loose. I made sure they were very tight, but you never know.
    20 for the hot, 20 for the neutral and 20 for each ground.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Zielinski View Post
    I understand what you are saying. So what I was doing is exactly the same, but it was not pre wired.
    No, what you did was not exactly the same, it was different. The pre-wired one would not have gotten by with what you say you did.

    Maybe I can clear up what I first had.
    I added a second breaker panel next to the main panel.
    Understood.

    2" nipple joins the two. 2x4 seperating the two.
    Understood.

    From the ground buss in the main panel I ran a no. 8 ground to the second panel.
    Understood.

    I ran a no.6 white neutral from the main panel to the second panel.
    That was your main problem.

    Then I removed the breakers to be connected to the generator to the second panel. Lengthened each hot and ran them to the same breakers in the second panel.
    EACH of the white neutral conductors should also have run from the existing panel to the emergency generator panel WITH each of the hot conductors, i.e., both conductors for each circuit run from the existing panel to the generator panel and back to the existing panel to be connected to the circuit conductors in the existing panel. Effectively speaking, the existing circuit conductor would have been lengthened from where they ran into existing panel to where they now run into the generator panel and connect to breakers in the generator panel.

    What I am missing in your posts is where you installed a (just for example) double pole 100 amp breaker in the existing panel (likely at two of the now open breaker tabs where you removed the other breakers). From that 100 amp double pole breaker you would have fed the generator panel utility power side, and the feeders would have been 2 ungrounded conductors (hot conductors), one grounded conductor (neutral conductor), and one equipment ground conductor.

    You would then have utility power connected to the utility side of the transfer switch which is then feeding the bus bars in the generator panel.

    The breakers in the generator panel would then need to be connected to the existing circuit conductors which are now hanging loose in the existing panel, so you would have, for example, run a #12 copper conductor, typically either black or red, from each 20 amp breaker to the existing circuit conductor in the existing panel, and, along with that hot conductor from the breaker you would, should, have run a #12 copper neutral conductor, white insulation, to the corresponding neutral conductor *FOR THAT GIVEN CIRCUIT* which matches the hot conductor.

    That would have, should have, been done for EACH circuit you are feeding from the generator panel.

    [quote[]So you are telling me that what I did, because only the panel and breakers are UL and my wiring was not. That I had to remove all of the neutrals and grounds from the main panel, lengthen ALL of them then run all of the corresponding neutrals and grounds to the second panel.
    So my panel was not approved but a pre wired one like mine with a UL approval is.
    If that is the case. That is so very stupid.[/quote]

    No, I am telling you that you wired your panel all wrong, and how it should have been done, and that the generator panels which come with the pre-wired flexible conduit full of conductors is done in a manner which is okay, except for conduit fill and derating.

    Now my main panel looks like crap with all those extensions and the possibility of any of those 60 but splices comming loose. I made sure they were very tight, but you never know.
    20 for the hot, 20 for the neutral and 20 for each ground.
    Yeah, but if you had done it correctly from the start it would not have looked as bad.

    From your description of what you did, and the corrections you made, either I missed something, you left something out, or your panel is still not wired correctly. I briefly described what should have been done above - how are you feeding utility power to the generator panel? I don't see that in your description of what you did.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    As for power to and from. I am using an ATS. No problems at all with any of that. 16kw diesel genset. A 75 amp 220v breaker on the main panel goes to the ATS 3ft from the main panel, but it is located outside., back from the ATS to the second panel and from the ATS to the generator. 220 v sense wires to the generator and two wires to operate the relay at the ATS from the genset.
    A very simple set up. Genset is manual or fully automatic.
    I guess I am not saying clearly what I did the first time.
    My panel looked exactly like a pre-wired generator panel when I finished the first time.
    Only dif. No BX. from it to the main panel
    Why would I want to use that when the panels are both flush in the wall next to one another with a 2x4 seperating them.
    Put the 2" hole through both, then joined them with a steel galvanized nipple and steel nuts with a plastic protection nut on each side.
    As for the main panel looking any different.
    I first removed all the hot wires and started over as if I never did it my way in the first place.
    Removing all the grounds and neutrals and extending each one of them added a lot of wire in the main panel. That is why it looks like crap.
    Just so much added wire in that main panel now.
    Remember, all the origional ground wires were bare solid. Many twisted together and all going to the ground buss half way up one side of the main panel. All were short runs.
    So I had to remove and cut each and every one short and use a but splice to connect an INSULATED green ground wire to each bare ground. Why! Because the inspector told me to do it.
    Personally. I see the second panel to be nothing more than a physical extension of the main panel and nothing more.
    If I was bringing new circuits into the second panel, I certainly cound see the nned to bring each and every ground/neutral in with each one. That goes without saying.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: GENERATOR BREAKER PANEL WIRING CODE

    Jim P.?, Bill K.?,

    Maybe you can explain it differently and better than I can?

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

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