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From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11588 07/16/02 01:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,721
Scott35 Offline OP
Broom Pusher and
After viewing the thread in the Mike Holt Forum named

What Is A Neutral...Again

located at

I wanted to poll members here and get some discussions going for the benifit of all members - new and legacy, from persons just entering the trade to persons retiring with 50+ years under their belt.

If we keep the thead "Flame Free" [Linked Image], we can really move forward.
This is why I brought the topic here to ECN - for a quality discussion with people that would rather discuss the topic in detail instead of flinging flames.

If this one takes off and covers the topic well, let's tackle some others!

I'll check back later and post something.

Scott S.E.T.

P.S. came back and editted the message so it looked a little better! [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 07-16-2002).]

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11589 07/16/02 07:26 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Redsy Offline
I'll dare--

I don't consider a grounded conductor on a 2-wire secondary to be a neutral.
I don't consider the grounded phase conductor of a 3-phase, 3-wire, corner grounded delta system to be a neutral.

I do consider the following to be neutrals:
The grounded, 4th wire of any 3-phase, 4-wire, wye connected system.
The grounded, center-tapped conductor of a 3-phase, 4-wire, delta-connected system.(Although this one is debatable)
The grounded, 3rd wire of a center tapped single phase, 3-wire, (residential) system.
Let it fly!

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 07-16-2002).]

Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11590 07/16/02 08:11 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline
I've ben told that there's no such thing as a neutral in single phase, but someone needs to tell Square D that! (They have the grounded conductor lug marked "N")

Actually, I like Redsy's definitions.

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11591 07/16/02 08:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,283
electure Offline
I'll have to agree with Redsy, except for the 3Ø 4W Delta. The grounded conductor is not electrically equidistant from all of the phase conductors.

Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11592 07/16/02 08:53 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Redsy Offline
I guess my personal criteria for defining "neutral" is whether or not the grounded conductor will potentially carry no current on a balanced load. This is the case on "Edison-type" systems and on the grounded conductor of a "high-leg" system.
I also have heard the common connection point on wye connected systems referred to as the "neutral point".
Of course, this is only my take on the subject.

Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11593 07/16/02 10:45 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
resqcapt19 Offline
This is just one of those things where the technical definition and the common trade usage are never going to match. Maybe for the purposes of the code and the application of rules like 310.15(B)(4), we need a formal definition, but I would expect that most in the trade will continue to call all white wires neutrals.
An example of a definition that does not match the field usage of the word is the word "fitting". The field usage of the word fitting really means conduit body. Look at how the code defines this word. This even caught CMP 8. The code about 4 or 5 cycles back said that you can have no more than 360° of bend between fittings. That is not what the code really meant, but that is what it said. It was code legal, at that time, to have 360° of bend between each coupling at that time based on the code rule and the definition of fitting. Now the rules says between pull points not between couplings.

Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11594 07/16/02 03:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
I've been following that thread as well.

Common usage over here uses neutral even when referring to a 2-wire single-phase circuit. In fact, all of our receptacles and other accessories are marked "N" for the neutral/grounded conductor.

Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11595 07/16/02 08:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,283
electure Offline
How about the term "common"?

Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11596 07/16/02 08:39 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 197
Gwz Offline

The common conductor on 1Ø 3W 120/240V system or the 3Ø 4W 208/120V or the 3Ø 4W 480/277V or other similar systems where all conductors are being used on a circuit, ( not the 3Ø 4W 240V system ), the Grounded Conductor may be called the Neutral Conductor.

In all other senerios, 1Ø 2W circuit from a 1Ø 3W system, or a 2W or 3W circuit from the 4W systems noted above, the Grounded Conductor is the "Grounded Conductor".
Definitely not a neutral conductor.

And YES, I am occasionally guilty of calling the grounded conductor the neutral when I should not. Old habits are hard to stop.

I also have problems with the use of Grounding and Bonding terminology.


Re: From the Holt Forum - "What Is A Neutral ... Again" #11597 07/16/02 08:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline
There is no big sin in a little trade slang on the job, it however opens up wiggle room as applied to technical concerns.

Some jobs tend to create thier own brand of slang...

case in point, a somewhat err..'literary challenged' helper once wrote 'steak-ons' on a box holding sta-kons.
He later ran the box over....
thus 'hamburger-ons' became the norm, with all hands relating.

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