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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Calling JohnT and BD!!! Sub panel issue!!!

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Greg 2N (TX)

07-26-2013 21:42:10

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Hi JD, hope you don't mind me chiming in.

Sorry about those hogs lost :-(

For a proper safety ground, you need a separate bare run in the bundle from the main panel to all other sub-panels passing through each. The grounding rod can stay attached to the bare ground at the sub-panels, good for lightning strikes. And yes the bare ground sizing needs to be big enough to carry a short all the way back to the main neutral bar.

The main thing to remember is "never let the bare ground carry any load current whatsoever." Safety ground is meant to provide a virgin path back to neutral at the mains in order to quickly trip the breaker for any short circuit to equipment ground.

The problem with tying the ground to the neutral at sub-panels is that the ground now becomes part of the neutral carrying load current and eliminates the pure safety ground.



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Greg 2N (TX)

07-26-2013 22:06:12

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 Re: Calling JohnT and BD!!! Sub panel issue!!! in reply to Greg 2N (TX), 07-26-2013 21:42:10  
Another thing is that what I said pertains to a single building with a mains and other sub-panels.

I personally run separate grounds to the storage shed and pole shed from the house sub-panel that also has the neutral isolated from the box equipment ground.

I have over-kill (oxymoron) for my safety ground.

That being said it sounds like you may not have a separate ground run which causes you to treat each building as a main where you have no choice but to use the neutral bar for safety ground at that location.


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JD Seller

07-26-2013 22:18:44

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 Re: Calling JohnT and BD!!! Sub panel issue!!! in reply to Greg 2N (TX), 07-26-2013 22:06:12  
I have four wires ran to each sub-panel. The two hots, insulated neutral and a separate Green/bare ground.

The neutral and grounds are hooked to the same bar in the boxes. At least all the sub panel boxes outside are that way. There is a sub panel in the up stairs that is a newer box. It has the isolated bars so the neutrals and grounds are separate. I also ran four wires to it.

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Greg 2N (TX)

07-27-2013 06:17:15

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 Re: Calling JohnT and BD!!! Sub panel issue!!! in reply to JD Seller, 07-26-2013 22:18:44  
Great! You have the safety grounds run separate.

Now you have the ability to easily make the sub-panel ground attach only to the box ground bar for equipment ground.

All panels have the neutral bar isolated from the box, just like the hots are isolated from the box. The only difference is that the main panel ties the neutral bar to the box with a strap or a green screw.

Remove the bonding strap or green screw in the sub-panels.
Make sure the sub-panel neutral is connected to isolated neutral bar and the safety ground is connected to the box grounding bar alone.

And yes if you can afford the GFCI's at the waterers, then go ahead, but eehhhhh......

Amen again....


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Greg 2N (TX)

07-27-2013 06:26:16

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 Re: Calling JohnT and BD!!! Sub panel issue!!! in reply to Greg 2N (TX), 07-27-2013 06:17:15  
BTW you may have to get some grounding bars for sub-panels that do not have one. Not a big deal, i trust you can do it.

Always make sure the mains are off, NO SHORTCUTS or HASTY DECISIONS with 240 volts brother.

240 volts means serious business.
Be careful or get an electrician if you have butterflies about it.



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