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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 5633
Experience:  Proven Professional 45 years Experience
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I bought a new load center and breakers. I must have it wired

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I bought a new load center and breakers. I must have it wired incorrectly. Three main cables coming from the electrical pole into the house/box plus ground wire. There are three main hubs at the top of the new panel. Center hub has an "N". I connected left and right cables as were in the old box and I connected the third cable to the "N" hub (it was at the only Neutral/ground buss bar in the old box). All neutral (whites) and ground (bare copper) wires were connected to the only buss in the old box. I now have four different buss bars - I assume two are for the neutral-white wires (they run close to and along the breaker slots) and two off to the sides of the panel are for ground wires. What do I have connected incorrectly and hence no lights working in the house?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be glad to assist you. The center lug is the neutral on a Home line panel, with the 2 Phase Conductors left and right of it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Mike, OK, well I must have something wrong. The line that connected to the old neutral/ground buss bar is now connected to the center lug and the ground line is connected to one of the buss bars along the edge of the panel. Are the white wires to be connected to the buss bars that parallel the breakers? I assume those are the neutral bars... Must the ground wires connect at the buss bars along the edge? I assume those are the ground bars...

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
If this is Main Service Equipment the grounds and neutrals for the branch circuits connect to either left or right bars. There is a bonding screw or other means of bonding that needs to be used on MSE. If this panel is a Sub Panel, the neutral and ground are separate and the bond is not used.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

You lost me. I have left and right bars on either side of the breaker slots. I also have bars further out on both sides of the panel. I assume the bars along the breaker slots connect to the neutral via a bridge. The further out bars simply connected to the back of the panel.


 


This is the only panel with lines coming from the electric pole.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
the bars that connect to the enclosure are ground bars and are not for neutral wires. The connection to the neutral for those are by the bonding screw.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, the panel came with a single (green) screw. How/where do I connect the screw? And, what will connect to it and why?

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
That is the bond screw and there is a hole in the neutral bar that it screws into. It is the connection of the neutral and ground at Main Service Equipment.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, direction with bonding screw is "insert through hole in neutral bar and thread into hole in the box". Exactly which hole in the neutral bar? There are dozens of holes in the neutral bars - each with a crew for fastening the neutral wires - do I remove any screw from either bar and insert bonding screw? The treads are different...

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Look for the hole adjacent to the lug the neutral wire is connected. It will not have anything in it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, there is a hole and a screw - larger than the bonding screw - does that screw hold the bonding screw in place?


 


I still wonder if I have the 3 pole cables in the correct lugs...

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Let me suggest that you send a picture of the panel for review and comment, it might be easier.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, here are my 3 leads inserted into lugs.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
From what I can see, the point of attachment for the bond screw is at the top of the left bar. Use that hole.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

A better pic was sent. I do not see any screw holes. What would connect to this bonding screw?

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
graphic
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Round peg (green screw) and square hole with no threads.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Try the hole below it on the open sided opening.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The hole just below where you see the bonding screw in the pic is too small. The hole below is where your arrow pointed but, it too, is square, no threads.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
The threaded hole may be tight and you'll need to apply pressure to start the screw.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Lower hole not able to accept a screw. I will send a pic... Besides this bonding screw? Do you think the main cables coming in are in the correct lugs? I have a voltmeter - how can I check in all the right places?

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
With the volt meter set for 240VAC test the outside luge to each other for 240V. Then yesy the inside lug to each of the outside lugs for 120V. The location od the bond screw is a bit strange on your panel considering all the other installations I've done over the years. Square D isn't my faviorite equipment , though I have installed them. The bond screw must connect the neutral bar to the enclosure.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, 240V at each of the outside lugs. Left to center 120V. Right to center 120V. Bonding screw inserted on the right of lugs. It seems to insert to the back of the enclosure... still no lights or heat...brrrrrr...

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Now check the buss for voltage to ground. You may have a bad main breaker. Also try resetting the main by turning if off fully and back one several times.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, 120V from left and/or right lug to both ground buss and both neutral buss. Switched main on and off several times. it doesn't "feel" right, but, then again, I don't really know... How can I test the main?

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Put the tester to 2 positions one above the other where the breakers install, for 240V and the from each position to the neutral bar for 120V.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.
This is only a post for Mike, since I have a diagram handy.

Do not respond to me on this posting.

graphic
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have 120V from either main lug to each of the breaker screws.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Do you mean the main breaker or the branch circuit breakers? You nee to check between two of the branch circuit positions. for 240V.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, between one breaker bar attachment point and another there is no power. See pic.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
Noe check each to the neutral bar. If you get 120V only on one of them or no voltage on either, the main breaker isn't resetting. If after trying to reset it and still no voltage, replacethe main breaker.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have 120V from main lugs to neutral bar. No voltage from breakers to neutral bar. So, replace main breaker? How sad that it was bought yesterday...

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
It didn't appear to be new from the pictures. There is one possibility that may correct the problem. With a screwdriver handle rap the body of the breaker to loosen the reset components. They sometimes hang up in older panels over time. If that doesn't work replace the main breaker.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Brand new panel... What was it that told you the main breaker was faulty? There is 120V from main lugs to each breaker screw so, it seems they should be working?


 


There is one screw below the main breaker. Should that be all there is to remove it?

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
The test on the buss positions with the main breaker on should have had 240V. And if not the breaker wasn't reset. If set and no voltage the breaker is open and needs replacing.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 5633
Experience: Proven Professional 45 years Experience
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