Circuit panel basics

I take the cover off the main panel in our recently-purchased, 1980 vintage , do-it-yourself log house -- the panel that the home inspector said was "serviceable", and it's messy. 200 amp service. Only one double-tapped breaker. The only other panel whose guts I've seen was much neater in that the neutral wires and ground wires were segregated to different bars. In this panel, a given wire's neutral and ground are usually screwed into the same clamp on the neutral bar. The panel itself does not appear to be grounded. Is all of this unusual? Can ground and neutral be run together on the main service wire back out to the meter, where presumably the neutral is split off to earth ground? What would you say is the best book for increasing a layman's expertise on home wiring--something not overly simplified?
Thanks, Tim
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I took an evening course at the local vocational ed school. I learned a lot more than I would have from any book.
A messy circuit box is difficult to work with, but otherwise doesn't much matter. Mine was a mess when I got it, and then I put in a transfer switch; you can imagine what it looks like now. But it works and isn't unsafe. Some day I will redo everything so it is neat and nice.
The ground and the neutral is the same, at the circuit box (though not at a subpanel). It is nice if they are segregated so as to be clearer, but it doesn't affect anything functionally.
Presumably your ground bus is screwed into your box; so it is grounded. No?
Unless your breaker does say it can accept two wires you should pigtail them and put one wire to the breaker. But that probably doesn't matter much either. I had 3 circuits going to one breaker and nothing happened for the 30 year prior to my owning it; which was darn lucky, since they were 20a/240v going to a 50a breaker. I sure fixed that quickly!
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If your "main" disconnect is not in that panel, NEC would require the grounds and neutrals to be segregated. You can double up on ground wires, but neutral wires must be under individual screws. If the panel itself is grounded, it would be via either a small strap screwed to the panel and attached to the neutral buss or by a screw tapped straight through the buss

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goodegg wrote:

I believe lowes.com has instructions on wiring on their website. or maybe it was home depot, but I think it was lowes
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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Ref the "ground", yes it is OK to attach the grounding electrode in the meter base but I would look for the wire going there to be sure you have one. It will probably be a 1/2" EMT going down to the ground rod.
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