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Old 09-26-2011, 09:31 PM  
ChollaBob
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Default Breaker Box Ground Wire

We recently lost power to one leg of our electrical which was caused by dual 50 amp breaker which had gone bad. On repairing the box, I noticed there was no ground wire to the neutral/ground bar. The power company meter above the pole breaker box has the ground running from a ground stake at the base of the pole to the meter. The large gauge, coiled bare ground runs into the meter. The meter connects to the breaker box with two inches of galvanized pipe. There is continuity when probing the steel between the two boxes. I measured a resistance of about 3.5 ohms between the two boxes. I read that this is legal in some states, but I am concerned that this setup is providing a proper ground. Everything is running fine now; no problems but want to confirm as the box is old.

Besides losing half our power, we had dimming, flickering, and brightening bulbs before the power died and I believe this is an open neutral condition. Does a bad ground contribute to this? Does running a second ground to the breaker box defeat ground faulting and bonding? Learning but slowly getting these concepts. Thanks for any help!

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Old 09-27-2011, 08:41 AM  
kok328
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The black wire with green tape on it is the ground wire to the neutral/ground bar.
The problem you have is that the neutral and ground bar are not separate as they should be on what appears to be a sub-panel.



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Old 09-27-2011, 11:03 AM  
ChollaBob
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The green taped wire is the ground going to the house subpanel. This box serves as the main breaker box. Inside the main are the main dual 50 amp breaker, a dual 20 amp breaker for a well, and a breaker for an outdoor outlet. On main breaker boxes, I believe the ground and neutral are bonded, but will have to confirm.

Attached is a link on how the bare ground wire (tinted green) goes into the meter. The only ground connection between the meter and the main breaker box is the galvanized pipe. There is continuity between the boxes. Is this OK?
The big issue right now is grounding and ground/neutral buss bar. I want to make sure there is no more open neutrals. Replacing the bad breaker seemed to fix everything but want to safeguard all other possible problems.

Thanks for the help!

PS: This main breaker box will be replaced in the Spring.

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Old 09-27-2011, 12:03 PM  
kok328
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A 50amp main? Wow, you really do need an upgrade.
Yes, the neutral bar and the ground bar would be bonded together in the main panel but, not in a sub panel.
I'm not a big fan of using conduit as a ground conductor but, it will suffice for now.

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Old 09-27-2011, 12:18 PM  
ChollaBob
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This is probably a 100 amp main as it is two ganged 50 amps, if that is how this translates. This panel supplies a single wide and the sub-panel is new and well wired. I do need an upgrade on the main panel!

I would prefer a direct ground to the main breaker box, but the meter is off-limits. Most likely, a second ground direct to the box is going to defeat the ground fault path, but have to confirm this.

So it looks like this setup is OK for the time being as I now realize the havoc this bad breaker was doing to our place as we lost some appliances.

I am thinking about replacing the well dual 20 amp breaker as there was a clay wasp nest on the buss bar, some of it fell down.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 10-20-2011, 07:53 PM  
ishiboo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChollaBob View Post
This is probably a 100 amp main as it is two ganged 50 amps, if that is how this translates. This panel supplies a single wide and the sub-panel is new and well wired. I do need an upgrade on the main panel!

I would prefer a direct ground to the main breaker box, but the meter is off-limits. Most likely, a second ground direct to the box is going to defeat the ground fault path, but have to confirm this.

So it looks like this setup is OK for the time being as I now realize the havoc this bad breaker was doing to our place as we lost some appliances.

I am thinking about replacing the well dual 20 amp breaker as there was a clay wasp nest on the buss bar, some of it fell down.

Thanks for the help!
100A service has two ganged 100A breakers. That is a 50A service which is very small... a matter of opinion, of course. 200A (4 times what you have) is whats common now, though I can get by on 100A just fine as long as there's not electric heat or instant hot water. Perhaps 50A is common for mobile homes, I'm not sure?

The grounding looks correct if the neutral bar is bonded to the case, since that is where your ground is hooked up. Newer setups would have a separate ground/neutral bus, but you're fine without it until you feel like updating.


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