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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: electrical question

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JD Seller

07-24-2013 07:42:15

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John I have sub panels in all my shed/barns. I have the neutral and ground hooked together at each of them but I also have a ground rod at each of them also. These have been inspected by the county inspectors and they never told me that it was wrong.
This has always confused the heck out of me. I really do not under stand the reason for not hooking them together at a sub panel. They are hooked together at the other end at the main. So what is the reasoning for NOT hooking them. In plain English. I tried to read another fellows response on this some months ago. He had me too confused to figure it out. So keep it redneck simple. LOL

I just remembered that there is a sub panel in the upstairs of this house. I do not remember if I hooked them together in it or not. I will have to look at it. I needed more circuits up stairs when we remodeled. So I made all the electric circuits up stairs go to a sub panel that is fed directly from the main panel in the basement.
This post was edited by JD Seller at 07:50:30 07/24/13.

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07-24-2013 09:45:21

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 Re: electrical question in reply to JD Seller, 07-24-2013 07:42:15  
Well past 2008 that was acceptable for ag buildings, and if it was wired that way back then, it is still acceptable now, grandfathered in. So you should pass inspections just fine.

Your troubles start if you want to add on to the wiring now if your county adapts a much newer code - not all places have. You end up needing to go back to your main box now if the local code has changed to the newest code.........

As to why, think about your plumbing.

You have one pipe coming in to your house, the pipes are all joined together at one spot, but one goes through the hot water heater, others don't.

You need to keep the hot water pipes and the cold water pipes separate through the house, if you start interconnecting them here and there you would end up with tepid water, neither hot nor cold, and very unacceptable. Even tho your pipes are connected all together at one place, the hot and cold stays separate exactly because you never connect those pipes more than the one location.

Same with the wiring. They found out, when you interconnect the bare ground and the neutral several times over, it kinda defeats the whole point of the bare ground wire, any flaws in the wiring the bare ground is supposed to catch become all mixed up in circular loops between the bare and neutral wires, creating 'tepid' situations that we really don't want.

This doesn't properly explain the electrical deal I know, but maybe it makes it easier to understand the concept of only one connection working best?


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John T

07-24-2013 08:11:29

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 Re: electrical question in reply to JD Seller, 07-24-2013 07:42:15  
Good question JD, although its hard for me (engineer and attorney) to keep it brief I will try my best lol.......If you have a basic understanding of electriciy this may answer your question, but if not it would take me a lot more words. NOTE before Billy Bob has a calf, this is NOT perfectly detailed and complete and perfect and all 100% correct, its to give a lay person a basic answer only. The whole story and 100% accuracy would take a ton of explaining

The Neutral GrounDED Conductor is a hot live current carrying conductor, thats why its insulated so you dont touch it and it doesnt touch other things which you might touch.......If you touch it you are placing your body in paralell with a live current carrier and maybe theres a path from your hand to the ground or the other hand back to the panels ground etc AND CURRENT THROUGH THE OLD TICKER CAN KILL YOU DEAD.

The Equipment GroundING Conductor is often a bare wire, no harm in touching it, its NOT a hot live current carrier like the insulated Neutral. In fact, its attached to the the outer conductive metal case/frames of tools and kitchen appliances WHICH YOU TOUCH EVEN OUTSIDE ON WET EARTH!!!!!!!! Its ONLY purpose is to return FAULT CURRENT.

You wouldnt strip the insulation off the Neutral and let your grandkids touch it would you?? But you do let your grandkids pick up and touch say a kitchen appliance or one of your tools that are plugged in right???

SO IN A NUTSHELL if you start mixin n matchin or substituting or re bonding Neutrals to equipment Grounds ANY PLACE DOWNSTREAM AND OTHER THEN THE MAIN SERVICE ENTRANCE BOND the equipment Ground then is in paralell with Neutral and becomes a hot live current carrier same as the INSULATED NEUTRAL and when you touch the case of a tool or appliance YOURE TOUCHING THE SAME AS THOSE INSULATED NEUTRALS and placing your body in a possible current path.

That and all the other single point grounding theory and avoidance of ground loops is why you DO NOT re bond Neutral and Equipment Ground busses in sub panels.

AGAIN THIS IS NOTTTTTTTTTT ALL PERFECT AND 100% CORRECT AND NOT THE WHOLE ANSWER but I have to run to town to meet a buddy for lunch and the best I can do for now. Hopefully it gives you a start at least to understand why the Neutrals and Grounds SHOULD NOT BE REBONDED AT SUB PANELS. Neutral is hot insulated live current carrier while ground is a bare conductor intended for fault current ONLY and its atatched to metal frames of things you touch. Do you really wanna mix n match n sub one for the other and let the grandkids touch those hot current carriers barefooted standing on wet ground??? Im NOT saying thats necessarily the case, but given the right set of wrong circumstances (faults, breaks in lines, shorts etc) that can happen and why you SHOULD NOT re bond Neutral and Ground in sub panels

Got it????? I will check back later today, gotta run for now, maybe the other sparkies an add to this but as always BEWARE of untrained Billy Bobs who say its fine if you do!!!

John T

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