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How to add ground buss bar

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by cfjwang, Oct 13, 2005.

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  1. cfjwang

    cfjwang Guest

    I have an old Cutler Hammer panel . I can add more circuits by using the
    "duplex" circuit breakers. But the neutral and ground buss bar areas are
    very crowded already. The panel has two metal bars shorted together and the
    previous owner use the two bars interchangeably for both ground and neutral.
    One solution is to add a dedicated ground buss bar and connect it back to
    the two original ground/neutral bars (I plan to use the original two bars
    for neutral only).

    1. Is this the right thing to do?
    2. Does it require a permit?
    3. Can I just find a mounting bracket and just bolt the assembly inside
    the control panel?
    4. What other things do I need to pay attention to?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. Bill

    Bill Guest

    Sounds to me like it is getting a bit crowded in there.

    I would get a new panel. The panel itself is not very expensive, so get a
    large one. I think I paid $150 for a 200 amp 40 slot panel a few years ago.

    The breakers are expensive though.

    So far as getting a permit, I would advise getting a permit for any
    electrical work you do like this. The permit is not that expensive and you
    get an expert to check your work to be sure it is safe. You can also ask an
    inspector questions beforehand so you do the correct things. (Don't need to
    re-do work.)

    Just call your local inspector and find out when you can go in to ask
    questions. Take plenty of pictures of everything. Cover removed from panel,
    service entrance where wires come in, grounding of electrical panels, etc.

    Once you have a nice new panel with plenty of room, it will be easy to add
    additional circuits or rewire existing circuits.

    in message
  3. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    I suggest that you first investigate your new loads. Will they push you over
    the main circuit breakers rating?

    All residential panel manufactures have a maximum number of
    poles/handles/circuits that the panel is rated for. Something like 20/40
    Most panel manufactures have listings for 2 wires of the same size under one
    screw. CHECK YOUR PANEL to be sure.
    All panel manufactures make auxiliary ground bars for their panels. Some
    even have holes taped already for installation. NOTE I stated GROUND not
    NEUTRAL. Neutral bar is isolated from the metal in most panels.

    1. Can not see it from here
    2. Can not answer cause I do not know your local code. Where I live a couple
    of circuits are not usually permitted. The city wants every change
    3. Possibly for the ground
    4. The answer to that is impossible to know.

    Please call a licensed pro in your area and ask these questions to him.
  4. I recently bought a 200A 32-space Cutler-Hammer CH "Value Pack" at
    Lowe's for approx. $150. This included the main breakers and 5 or 6 20A

    I don't recall the regular (i.e., not GFI or AFI) 15A and 20A CH
    breakers being more than about $6 each.

  5. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Guest

    You can install a 200A panel without upgrading the service wires *if*
    you use a 100A main breaker. You might have to special order the 200A
    panel w/ 100A mains installed, but they do make them.

  6. The sub panel idea warrants some investigation. If the main panel will
    take the new loads, replace two breakers with a 2-pole sized for the sub
    panel load. Move a few existing circuits to the sub panel and add the
    new ones in there as well. If possible, buy the same brand sub panel as
    the main and you won't waste any breakers. The OP also won't have to
    de-energize the whole house until the inspection is complete.
  7. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Guest

    And the main breaker is sized to the service wires. The service wires
    are already in place.

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