In a secondary panel, are grounding and neutral bus bars required on each side of the hot bus bars?


An electrical conductor, usually in the form of a metal piece, is used to connect two or more circuits in a panel or fuse box also is known as an electrical bus bar. Bus bars may be surrounded by insulation or is supported on insulators. They are sometimes connected to one another and to other electrical components by clamp, bolted or welded connections. Busways are long bus bars that have a protective cover. Bus bars are normally found inside panel boards or switchgear. Many times when one takes on a job to replace electrical bus bar connectors, they run into technical issues and may need to ask questions.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the Experts on problems related to bus bars.

Is this electrical bus bar wiring correct?

Case Details: The main bare ground cable is connected to the neutral bar in my panel. The heavy white cable is connected from the neutral bus to the ground bus and both neutral and ground circuit lines are connected to the...

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Slow down with the thought of replacing wires because of that.
As long as the entire system is wired to NEC specs (hot, neutral and ground) there shouldn't be a problem with the wiring. If you find a neutral that has no connectivity to ground, then there is an interruption in these wires, most likely in the grounding wire, otherwise you wouldn't have any power coming out of this circuit at all. Usually the neutral and ground are tied together in the breaker box (in some Canadian provinces and north eastern states it might be different, they're going for a separate neutral and ground), this is where you have to look for. Check for loose connections or corrosion, this may be the answer to the...

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I don't know where you live, so I don't know if there is a color code used like there is here, in Massachusetts. Typically, white is neutral. Neutral and ground are not really interchangeable terms to electricians - but often are to homeowners. Read this until you understand:

1) If you have two separate bars in your panel, and one has only white and / or gray insulated wires connected and the other has only bare or green or green and yellow striped insulated wires connected, you must connect the white wire to the bar with the white / gray wires. Do NOT connect it to the bar with bare / green insulated wires.

2) If you have one or more bars in the panel, and both have a mixture of white / gray and bare / green wires, and the bars are screwed directly into the panel back - or have a jumper connected between them, you should be able to connect the white wire to any available terminal on the bar(s).

Colored insulated wire (not green, white or gray) usually means...

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Hi Jorge,

Thank you for your question regarding the Neutral-to-Ground Bond in the main panel. The short answer to your question is that the neutral-to-ground bond is needed to properly operate the circuit breakers. Over Current Protection Devices (OCPD) such as circuit breakers and fuses actually require a short and intense INCREASE in electrical current (a short) in order to detect the fault and cut the circuit off. Without a sharp and drastic increase in electrical flow, a fault could go on without triggering a circuit breaker to stop the flow. This actually occurs quite often and can be measured easily by checking the amount of current flowing on your ground conductor. It should be less than 1-amp in most cases. If the current flowing on a grounded conductor is higher than an amp, and you are not in a high-voltage (600V+) environment, it typically indicates a erroneous neutral-to-ground bond somewhere in the system.

To visualize the reason why the...

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Piedmont, Let's see if I can type fast and beat Stubbie!

From the 2005 NEC: Bonding (Bonded). The permanent joining of metallic parts to form an electrically conductive path that ensures electrical continuity and the capacity to conduct safely any current likely to be imposed.

From the 2008 NEC: Bonded (Bonding). connected to establish electrical continuity and conductivity.

The NEC recognizes that a surprisingly large percentage of electricians, from Masters to apprentices, struggle with the very question that you, a DIYer posed. I want to make it VERY CLEAR that all the "amateurs" following this thread and grasping it should be very proud of yourselves. Bonded, in plain english (feel free to jump in, smarter guys) means we are connecting everything that is 1.metallic, and 2. might come into contact with electricity, together and bringing it (with the very least resistance possible) back to the electrical supply source.

It should be noted that we...

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This is probably going to make some you roll over

, but I'm just starting out as a home inspector and am having difficulty understanding the ground/neutral connections. I see the neutral going to a neutral bar and the ground going to a ground bar, but the neutral and ground appear to be connected. If the ground also goes to an outside ground rod and the neutral goes back to the electrical company--THEN why doesn't the load simply go into the ground vs. going through the neutral? I've asked 5 people in construction and they have no clue either, just tell me that's the way it works. Does electrical potential has something to do with it?

I also saw a situation where it appeared the neutral and ground were grounded through a water pipe and no neutral was connected to outside power?

If this is not the right forum for this then show me the way out...

Thanks, I just don't know where to go to get the right...

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All questions and answers are based on the 2011 NEC.

Q. What are the grounding electrode requirements for a separately derived system, such as a transformer? [250.30(A)(4)]

A. First of all, let’s define a separately derived system. According to Art. 100, a separately derived system is a wiring system whose power is derived from a source where there’s no direct electrical connection to the supply conductors of another system. Transformers are considered separately derived when the primary conductors have no direct electrical connection from circuit conductors of one system to circuit conductors of another system, other than connections through the earth, metal enclosures, metallic raceways, or equipment grounding conductors, as shown in Fig. 1.

A generator having transfer equipment that switches the neutral conductor — or one that has no neutral conductor at all — is a separately derived system and must be grounded and bonded in accordance with...

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