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#125648 - 09/19/04 04:34 AM Lots of panelboard problems here!
Joe Tedesco Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA

Sent from the field:

My first post. I have one (a worst panel). In my own home (?!?!).

When I experienced a possible open ground condition in a 120V circuit, I looked inside the 4sq. box which contained two switches, only to find the old cloth covered "Romex?". 1 14-2 w/ gnd, 2 14-2 cloth-covered, and 1 14-2 newer NM with ground.

The switches were the non-gnd'ing type, and the older cable that did have a ground had it's gnd tied to the two brown (neut?) wires of the 2 2-wire cables. The gnd from the newer Romex was tied to the metal box with a listed gnd'ing clip, but not sure where the gnd goes. (Box is not grounded!)

So, I went to the panel to see what I could find. Oh, by the way, one of the switches was a dimmer switch that controlled a receptacle!

Oh, the brown cloth covered wire whose corresponding green-covered wire was connected to the other two browns, was slightly touching the side of the box and also touching a roofing? nail inside the box!!

Was this nail holding the box on, or a poor attempt at a ground?
Circuit is off, now. Dimmer has been removed. In the process of upgrading.

Oh, the panel...numerous violations...Doorbell X-former inside the panel?
I moved into the house as a teenager before I learned about electricity, everything seemed to be fine until recently.
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

#125649 - 09/20/04 09:11 PM Re: Lots of panelboard problems here!
Big Jim Offline

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 377
Loc: Denver, CO USA
I hope that's the main and not a sub - neutral and ground bonded
White wire used as hot on tandem breaker
"Unique" ground bus
Enough extra wire in the box to sell for scrap
But it must be safe because it has a prominent UL label.

#125650 - 09/23/04 07:59 PM Re: Lots of panelboard problems here!
bp-redbear Offline

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 53
Loc: NY
I took the pic of the panel, my house.
I did not wire it, But I will fix it.
Took the doorbell x-former out.(It had one lead wrapped around a hot from a breaker, and 1 lead wrapped around a GND at the bug.
Have "removed" all the extra wire (much more 'neat and workmanlike').
The wire bug has 6 GND's that are too short to reach the bar, bugged to a 10 ga GND from the dryer cable.
The white wire as a hot on the DP brkr is for the hot water tank.
Yes, this is the main, not a sub.
How 'bout the black friction tape on the grounded conductor?
The livingroom, master bedroom, bathroom, and one duplex recept in the extra bedroom are all on one circuit! (20A breaker, but all 15A receptacles)
Have a lot of work to do, can send updated pic.
Appreciate any advice: Install an extra GND'ing bar for the too-short GND's?

#125651 - 09/27/04 01:08 AM Re: Lots of panelboard problems here!
Big Jim Offline

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 377
Loc: Denver, CO USA
I'd think an additional ground buss near the bottom would be the most sanitary way to clean up that mess.

#125652 - 09/27/04 10:31 PM Re: Lots of panelboard problems here!
bp-redbear Offline

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 53
Loc: NY
Big Jim: Thanks for the replies.
Joe: Thanks for posting my pic.
ECN: Thanks for the forum.

Big Jim: Thanks for confirming my belief that installing an extra grounding bar would be the best solution (at the bottom, in reach of the short grounds).

If I read the code correctly, I will need to bond the new ground bar to the existing GND/Neut bar with a bonding jumper of according size. Would this be a type of "main bonding jumper", and be specified in 250.24(B)(1), & 250.28(D), and Table 250.66, which shows a min of 8 ga CU?

(by the way, I have re-identified the white "hot" wire on the DP breaker with red tape at both ends, and have covered the black tape on the grounded conductor with white tape, in addition to other 'upgrades mentioned earlier)

Thanks again. BP

#125653 - 10/06/04 08:06 PM Re: Lots of panelboard problems here!
John Steinke Offline

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 509
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
Not meaning to "talk down" anyone here- just some general thoughts...

There have been many changes over the years- even during my short life. Some of these changes have been in the trade, while others have been to our lives in general.

Of course, it is make a little change, than it it to be constantly updating everything. Were you to take a time machine ride even to 1960, and suggest wiring a house as you would want to today, even then-young NASA would think you were nuts.

The picture shows an install (the who;e house, not just the panel) that is simply not adequate for today. Today, you NEED a ground rod, grounding conductors on all circuits, more circuits, etc.
Romex no longer has a cloth cover, and always has a full-gauge ground wire. We use more spaces on the neutral/ground bar. Boxes are no longer mounted with nails inside the box (ever see an electricians' hammer?), and are large enough for a GFCI to fit. Splices now use wirenuts, and have pigtails that can extend out of the box.

Consider your discovery as a suggestion that it's time for some serious remodeling.

#125654 - 10/19/04 09:34 PM Re: Lots of panelboard problems here!
bp-redbear Offline

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 53
Loc: NY
If a new equipment grounding bar is installed to connect the grounds that are bugged together, and a bonding jumper (of appropriate size) is connected between the new grounding bar and the existing GND/Neutral bar, does this bonding jumper have to be sized accordingly with Table 250.66?

Will this comply with Articles 250.24(A)(4), and 250.28?

This panel is a CH type, apparently installed originally as an ungrounded system? There is only the one GND/Neutral bar, as you can see from the pic. (One circuit is still ungrounded, which I am upgrading, all other circuits are newer Romex NM, and are grounded).

I realize that this is an "existing" installation, but, I want it to be as safe as is possible, given what I have to work with.


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