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Rich
Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
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I need a diagram of a main electric panel, showing how the

Resolved Question:

I need a diagram of a main electric panel, showing how the ground to earth is connected. and the ground wire going to sub panel, how it is connected in main panel.
The main panel is an old FPE quick disconnect -- 2 large fuses with a handle.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Rich replied 2 years ago.

Rich :

Hello .. here is the basic idea

Rich :

the ground/neutral bar in the main panel is where the grounding electrode conductor is connected

Rich :

that wire goes outside to twm driven groung rods

Rich :

when running wire to a sub panel ... there must be a neutral wire and a separate ground wire ,, both connected to the ground/neutral bar in the main panel

Rich :

but separated in the sub panel

Rich :

If there is no ground bar in the sub panel , then one should be added

Customer:

Main disconnect -- before the breaker panel
Full Size Image

Customer:

I included picture to show service into disconnect.

Customer:

There is no ground bar. There is no ground going to earth.

Customer:

This has been this way for over fifty years.

Customer:

I am installing a breaker panel to replace a fuse panel.

Customer:

Should I run a ground from the neutral bar in this disconnect to the new panel

Customer:

that I am installing. even though it has not had one for fifty years.

Rich :

If this is the first panel after the meter socket .. then this should be upgraded a bit

Rich :

there should be a gronding wire going to two driven ground rods

Customer:

Or .. should I leave this the way it is and just run a ground to earth from the ground bar in the new panel. Seems like that is what I should do. If I do need to run a ground from this disconnect to the new panel, does it connect to the neutral bar here? then go to the ground bar in the new panel. It looks like that would bond the neutral to the ground in the new panel. Which is not suppose to happen in sub panel. The new panel would be a sub panel, right?

Rich :

that wire will be terminated in a lug attached to the panel box

Rich :

wHAT IS THE NEXT STEP FROM THIS BOX .. YOUR NEW PANEL ?

Customer:

yep

Rich :

What size fuses are in this old panel?

Customer:

I don't know , but can go look

Customer:

which panel are you talking about

Customer:

the old panel I am taking out

Rich :

the one you showed me

Rich :

are you taking it out ?

Customer:

Wait a sec

Rich :

and looks like there is one more cable out of this disconnect ?

Customer:

Sorry about that cut power when I pulled disconnect

Customer:

there be a 200 amp fuse on each side... that would be two of them

Customer:

there is only 3 wires coming from service and 3 wires going to old panel

Customer:

there is a central heat and air disconnect added to the side of this panel

Customer:

that is the other cable you see

Customer:

are you thinking or did I lose you

Customer:

You still there?

Customer:

Rich?

Customer:

hello

Rich :

oK .. and is there another fused disconnect at the AC installation?

Customer:

just a breaker

Rich :

OK .. wow that wire does not look big enough for 200 amp fuses .. can you read the printing on the jacket ..

Customer:

What do you mean jacket...sorry

Rich :

anyway .. this is the first disconnect .. and therefore needs to have the ground rods connected here

Rich :

two ground rods 6 feet apart , driven 8 feet into the ground near the disconnect

Customer:

to that neutral bar.. right

Rich :

the oouter covering of the cable .. either one will do .. from the meter or to the old panel

Customer:

you lost me

Rich :

the cable s in and out of this picturted disconnect .. there is printing on the outside covering ..

Rich :

that tells what size wires are in it

Rich :

like AWG 6

Customer:

let me look

Customer:

That cable must be older than you... there is no writting on the outside of the cable coming in or going out of this box ... I went to meter and there is no writing there either

Rich :

OK ..

Rich :

I can see the stamp on the cable to the AC .. so was hoping for the other

Customer:

there is writing on that one... you need to know that?

Rich :

does the old panel have a main .. is it 100 amp ? or ?

Rich :

ya what is that wire size .. just for comparison

Customer:

yep ... don't think it says..but will check

Rich :

and the new panel is 100 amp .. ??

Customer:

Style U type RH 8AL

Customer:

new panel is 200 amp

Customer:

old panel does not say 100 or 200 amp

Rich :

OK .. to make all this legal , you need the ground rods .. and a 4 wire cable to the new panel .. 200 amp panel needs 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum wire

Customer:

I don't think they did things same 50 years ago

Rich :

I do think that your service is not 200 amp .. but you can check with the power company on that .

Rich :

if not then you will also need to upgrade the service drop, meter socket , and service entrance conductors to that first fuse box

Rich :

and there have been 50 years for someone to mess with it

Rich :

which is what usually has happened

Customer:

can I not use a 299 amp panel?

Customer:

200

Rich :

you can use the 200 amp panel .. even on a 100 amp service ..

Customer:

that is good

Rich :

but the wire size need to be verified for ampacity rating to make sure that it is protected by the correct size fuse or breaker

Rich :

what you have described tyo me does not seem right

Customer:

I need to connect size 2 wire from neutral in disconnect to ground on new panel?

Customer:

what does not seem correct?

Rich :

A #2 wire aluminum , is about the size of your little finger .. a 2/0 wire is very much larger .. and 4/0 aluminum is getting close to a 1/2 inch pipe size

Rich :

#2 aluminum wire is good for 100 amp service

Rich :

this looks like #2 wire ..

Customer:

I bought a 25 foot num 6 copper wire for ground

Rich :

so the 200 amp fuses do not sseem right to me

Customer:

can I not use that?

Rich :

that is good for the ground

Customer:

are you saying it should have smaller fuses

Rich :

between the panels and to the ground rods

Rich :

how far is it tfrom the fused disconect to the sub panel

Rich :

?

Customer:

less than a foot

Rich :

then if you are ghoing to re-do this I would suggest removing the fused box and running from the meter socket into the new panel ..

Rich :

eliminating one stop

Customer:

But would have to rewire whole house

Rich :

still need the ground rods .. but this old fuse thing is not needed ..

Customer:

because wiring would not reach where the old disconnect is

Rich :

is there is not benough slack to get your AC wire into a new p[anel .. you can use a junction box and extend it

Customer:

how would I get the service to reach new position?

Rich :

how far is it to the meter socket .. before I get my foot firmly stuck in my mouth .. please

Customer:

about 1 foot

Customer:

all pretty close

Rich :

OK .. I am going on the thought that this service is not 200 amps rated

Rich :

the meter socket is close enough that it would be less expenxive to run a new wire from the meter socket to the new panel .. locate the panel where all the circuit wire will reach .. and extend the AC cable thru a junction box to get it to the panel ..

Rich :

that is how I would do it

Rich :

.. NOW if you have other thoughts .. or wish to go on as you started .. I will help yopu with that

Customer:

the other option would be......

Customer:

does the ground wire to the new panel connect to the neutral bar in the disconnectwire

Rich :

I am still thinking that your existing wirtes are only rated for 100 amp at the most .. and that the 200 amp fuses are too big to protect the wire

Customer:

ok I will lower to 100 amp

Customer:

if I can still find them

Rich :

is the first disconnect .. the wire from the ground rods connects to same bar or lug as the service ground/neutral

Customer:

tell me how to connect the grounds

Customer:

got that one

Rich :

if the wire from the meter is about the size of your little finger .. rather than like a hot dog .. then it is probably #2 aluminum .. good for 100 amps

Customer:

the wire from meter is stranded

Customer:

alum

Customer:

pretty big

Rich :

in the sub pANEL THE neutral bar is isolated fron the panel box.. and a new ground bar is added to the back of that panel box ..

Rich :

size of a finger .. or a hot dog ?

Customer:

it already has one

Customer:

there is 2 ground bars in new panel...one big one small

Rich :

if this new panel is to be used as a sub panel there can be no connection between the two bars

Customer:

big on left side small one on right

Customer:

I understand that

Rich :

there may be a strap between them .. needs to be removed

Customer:

no strap and not using screw

Rich :

OK .. I cannot see what you can ... so may overstate things to be sure that we are on tyhe same page

Rich :

sounds good

Customer:

the ground from the disconnect to the new panel ... ties in where on the disconnect

Rich :

attach a new lug to the box .. similar to the one that is there .. and put the wire for the ground rods and the ground wire to the new panel in it

Rich :

the body of the box is good for a connection between the lugs

Customer:

is this new lug connected to the actual box metal...bonded

Customer:

This ground wire is bare. does it matter if it touches either box on exit and entrance?

Rich :

yes .. tek screw it to the box ... or you can replace the one that is there with a 4 position lug

Rich :

does not mater if it touches thee box .. all metal is same ground potential

Customer:

if I put in 100 amp fuses and I have a problem with blowing ... will it be alright to go back to 200 amp?

Customer:

since they have been in there a long time

Rich :

I cannot verify the wire size with the info you have given me .. looks like 100 amp wire to me .. but that is a guess ..

Customer:

I understand

Rich :

I cannot tell you it is OK to put 200 amp fuses in the box .. because of my thoughjts of the wire size

Customer:

You have helped alot. how can I give you extra?

Rich :

you can use the 200 amp panel .. IF you have it going thryu the fuse box with replacement 100 amp fguses in it

Rich :

rthen if youi sometime upgrade the service drop .. your panel will be good for the 200 amp new service

Rich :

the 100 amp fuses in the disconnect will protect all the 1oo amp wire and will over ride3 the 200 amp main in the new panel

Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience: Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
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