How do I handle ground wires in 2-gang box with circuits coming from separate breaker boxes

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by

MarkD

Last Updated February 19, 2016 01:09 AM

In my house, I have 2 breaker boxes- in the basement there is a 200-amp main box, with the ground and neutral bars bonded. Feeding the main floor, there is a 100-amp sub-panel (branched off the main box) that has a separate ground and neutral bar.

I am currently finishing the basement, and am installing the lighting. For the stairway going downstairs, I have an existing 3-way switch that controls the stairway lights. This circuit is fed from the 100-amp sub-panel upstairs (area in dashed box in picture). I now want to add a lighting circuit for the main room in the basement. This involves switching out the 1-gang box at the bottom of the stairs for a 2-gang, adding power in from the existing 200-amp service in the basement, and running my wire off to the lights.

My question is- since I am mixing not only circuits, but one circuit from the main panel (the downstairs lights), with a circuit from the...

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In my house, I have 2 breaker boxes. In the basement there is a 200-amp main box, with the ground and neutral bars bonded. Feeding the main floor, there is a 100-amp sub-panel (branched off the main box) that has a separate ground and neutral bar.

I am currently finishing the basement, and am installing the lighting. For the stairway going downstairs, I have an existing 3-way switch that controls the stairway lights. This circuit is fed from the 100-amp sub-panel upstairs (area in dashed box in picture). I now want to add a lighting circuit for the main room in the basement. This involves switching out the 1-gang box at the bottom of the stairs for a 2-gang, adding power in from the existing 200-amp service in the basement, and running my wire off to the lights.

My question is: since I am mixing not only circuits, but one circuit from the main panel (the downstairs lights), with a circuit from the sub-panel (the stairway lighting), what do I do with the ground wires?...

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Originally Posted by

iwire

Why? ///////////////

If I have a 20 amp disposal ciruit, and a 15 amp lighting circuit, with several legs, I keep the 14 gauge seperate from the 12. The are effectively bonded together on the "feed end" (service panel), there is no reason to group them together again. If I have a fault in the 20 amp circuit, there's no need in energizing the EGC's of the 15 amp circuit along with it. It's an unneeded ground loop. The main reason I seperate is so there is no need have this stiff ball of EGS's when each one can land on it's prospective switch without the other one being attached to it.

If it's all the same circuit, of course they all get joined.

I think it's actually safer not to mingle the two circuits together, IMO, the 20 amp breaker will react quicker taking a single path back to the panel rather than multiple paths. But I do it because of...

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I need some help here... these seems so basic but I just can't get it and am worried about manipulating some of the wires and ruining my GFCI plugs.

I have a double gang box with only one set of incoming wires. The wire is 12/3.

I am not sure how to make the connections since the GFCI outlet has holes in the back for inserting the wires and I have only one set of wires. Each GFCI has a white LINE and a black LINE and then a white LOAD and black LOAD.

What I did was pigtail the white and ran one white to the LINE in the 1st plug and then the other white to the LINE in the 2nd plug. Then I ran the black into the LINE in the first plug and the red into the LINE in the second plug. I did not insert any wire into the LOAD hole on the first plug.

The result was my first plug worked and my second plug did not.

And as I said I don't want to fry my plug. So... can someone (CJ??) tell me what the connections should look like?

Thanks
...

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1

Determine the maximum power that will be drawn on the new circuit. Divide the total number of watts by 120 (or 240 for a 240-Volt circuit). The result is the maximum current, in amperes (amps), for the circuit.

2

Select the proper gauge conductor for the maximum current of the circuit.Select a 14 AWG conductor for a maximum current up to 15 amps. Select a 12 AWG conductor for a maximum current up to 20 amps. Select a 10 AWG conductor for a maximum current up to 30 amps. Select an 8 AWG conductor for a maximum current up to 50 amps.

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Purchase the correct circuit breaker.You must use a circuit breaker that is approved for use in your service panel. In most cases, you must use a circuit breaker made by the same manufacturer as that of the service panel. Select a circuit breaker with a current rating that does not exceed the rating of the circuit. For example, if a circuit is wired with a 12 AWG conductor, only use a circuit breaker rated for 20 amps...
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–Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work– The user of this information is responsible for following all applicable regulations and best practices when performing electrical work. If the user is unable to perform electrical work themselves, a qualified electrician should be consulted.

–Most wiring diagrams on this site include a green dot representing the integrated grounding terminal found in most metal outlet boxes. However, some older metal boxes and most plastic boxes don't have a terminal like this.
–By code, the number of conductors allowed in a box are limited depending on its size. Conductors include wires, devices like switches and receptacles, and some other metal parts. Check here to calculate the number of conductors allowed in a box before adding new wiring, etc.

This page contains wiring diagrams for two outlets in one box. Included are arrangements for 2 receptacles in one box, a switch and...

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It isn't unusual to wire two or more light and switch combinations from the same power source -- in fact, it's common practice. Typically, the source is a circuit breaker in the main electrical panel that has a rating large enough to handle the lights. It's possible to mount the switches in the same or in different electrical boxes, but the latter case involves the extra task of running a circuit cable between the boxes. You maintain the continuity of the hot wire in the circuit cable by forming pigtails at the points where it connects to the switches.

Install appropriate electrical boxes for the lights and switches. You can mount the switches side-by-side in a double-gang electrical box or in different locations, each in a single-gang box. For each fixture and switch you have the choice of nailing a rough-in box to a stud or rafter or mounting a remodeling box on the drywall.

Run 12-gauge electrical cable between each switch and the light it controls. Pull one end of...

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Hi John,

I'm an electrician and can help you with this question.

The *best* way to plan for this fixture is to install a "3-wire" cable (romex, bx, etc.) designated as "14-3" where "14" is the size of the conductors and "3" is the number of insulated conductors. A "three wire" cable consists of 3 insulated conductors (white, black & red) and an uninsulated or bare conductor. Sometimes, you may find that the cable has 4 insulated conductors and instead of a bare conductor it will be covered with green or green with a yellow stripe insulation. This 4th wire is the ground wire (insulated or not). Either type of cable is acceptable for use.

By installing a 3 wire cable, you will not be required to use a "special switch" or an "RF switch" which are often much more expensive to purchase and more involved to install. You can use two independent switches, consisting of a variable dimmer for the light and a speed controller for the fan, simple "snap" or "toggle"...

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Electrical Boxes

There are many different sizes and shapes of electrical boxes in both plastic or metal. Some are designed for switches and receptacles, while others are used for light fixtures. There are electrical boxes designed for use with steel studs, retro-fit situations (E-Z boxes), exterior weatherproof applications, and still others for low-voltage applications. Some electrical boxes come equipped with cable clamps, some for your nonmetallic "NM" (Romex/Loomex) cable, others with cable clamps for your metal-sheathed "BX" (armored cable "AC"), and still others with no cable clamps just knock-outs that you can install your own cable clamps in. Plastic electrical boxes should only be used with "NM" wire, do not use with "BX" wire.

The standard sizes electrical boxes come in are; single, double, and triple gang boxes for switches and receptacles, round (octagon) for light fixtures, and a 4 11/16" square box for range or dryer receptacles. Some metal single gang...

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Know what you’re getting into

An inside look at your main breaker panel

Your main breaker panel might not be exactly like the one here. With any panel, find the large cables and the lugs they’re connected to. They’re the parts that are always live, even when the main breakers are switched off

Yours might look like this

The photo shows a different configuration where the large cables and lugs are located on the right-hand side of the circuit breaker box, rather than at the center.

We believe in safe DIY. That’s why we’ve always been reluctant to show readers how to open a breaker box and connect a new circuit. Even with the power shut off, there’s a chance you could touch the wrong parts and kill yourself. But then we figured if we didn’t show you, you’d just go search the Internet. And that scared us even more. So we’re going to walk you through the process, showing you the safest way to open the breaker box, wire a new breaker and test your...

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The input side of the breaker box is the power from your electric supplier and comes through a meter so they can bill you. A qualified electrician is required to make the connection between the meter and the box. The box is also grounded to a ground rod installed at the entry point of the power.

Inside the box there are typically two bus-bars each supplying 120 VAC to a breaker. There is 240 VAC across the two bus-bars. To wire circuits to each breaker, the black wire goes to the breaker, the white wire goes to a neutral bus and the bare ground wire goes to the earth bus. There should also be a screw to "bond" the neutral and ground buses to each other.

Feed-throughs are used for any wire connected to the box by punching-out the round knock-outs in the box.

The box should be wired neatly so it is easy to trace the wires when looking inside the box.

WARNING - Dangerous voltages are present when the box is live and you should not attempt any work...

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