I added a circuit breaker to my box yesterday. In the process, I
found that the ground buss their-in was already totally occupied with
existing white and bare-copper wires. In fact one buss spot had two
white wires held in one spot (under one screw). So, I figured it
would be okay for me to do the same with my new white wire and
bare-copper wire. So now I have three buss screws that each hold two
Any problem here?
So have I , but sadly that doesn't prove it is okay.
My house had a multiwire circuit all on one leg, and my cottage had three
#12 wires connected to one 50a breaker. The fact that they had been like
that for 20 years certainly didn't prove they were okay.
2005 NEC information, summerized, so read the codes directly.
110.14 "Terminals for more than one conductor and terminals used for
to connect aluminum shall be so identified"
- Unless you have a lables and listings in your panel, or put out by
the panel manufacture you can not put two conductors under a terminal
110.3(b) "in accordance with any instractions included in the listing
- Get information from the manufacturer
110.12 "Electrical equipmen shall be installed in a neat and
- No guessing allowed. ;)
408.41 "Each grounded conductor [neutral wire] shal terminate within
the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for
There is an exception for parallel conductors, but from you
description, you need to not double up seperate circuts under a screw.
1. Get information for your panel. Find out if you grounds can be
doubled up. In my square-d panel, equipment grounding conductors
"grounds" can be doubled up if they are of the same guage "size".
2. Following manufactures instructions, re-manage your wires, and if
you run out of room, invest in installing a seperate ground bar, if
3. Get a qualified electrician!
Nothing of this is meant as a how-to, just a starting point to
understand that only 'qualified personel' should work on electrical
equipment. The potential for problems isn't just limited to voided
house warranties, code violations, fires, loss of property, and worse,
loss of life.
I have never seen a wire come off the buss, though I expect it can happen; I
have had them fall off breakers and it is not too different.
If it did, 999 times out of 1000 you would simply have a dead circuit if it
were a neutral. If it were a ground, you would probably never know, though
it would be pretty obvious if you ever encountered a situation where you
need a ground.
Even that 1 chance in 1000 probably wouldn't be serious. But of course, it
could be. Since you don't want to gamble with your life, it is important to
So, be scared enough to follow code, but not scared enough to lose sleep.
About 3 months ago, being an electrician, I got a call to repair what
a "fire job".....where the Fire Department was called because of an
electrical fire. I talked to several witnesses who said that where the
fault occured in the circuit flames were shooting 20 feet. Even if
that was an exageration it was still shooting some serious flame.
Fortunately it was outside. Must have been a pretty good show since it
was dark when it happened. While fixing the circuit I noticed that the
equipment ground (bare) and the neutral (white) wires were landed under
the same screw on the busbar (as were many others). The neutral wire
was burnt about 12 inches. The connection was loose and corroded and
had a very high resistance. The resulting current during the fault was
under the 20 amp breaker limit, yet large enough to cause some serious
fire damage. So ,Wade, I don't know where you are getting your
numbers, but you are way off. It happens more than you know. All the
more reason to have electrical work done by qualified people.
Something that gets installed by hacks might take 5, 10, even 15 years
My panel is a Siemens W0816MB1200CT Series E Type 3R
It is now full with 8 breakers:
left side 220V 20A for garage baseboard heat
110V 15A for porch addition (single)
110V 20A for 8000 BTU window A/C alone (single)
110V 15A for reefer and freezer in garage alone (twin with next)
110V 15A for garage lights and door openers (twin with prior)
110V 15A for garage workbench alone (twin with next)
110V 15A for computer equipment only (what I added this) (twin with
220V 20A for outside whole-house surge protection device (double)
It has a 200A Main Breaker
What do you think?
On Sat, 9 Sep 2006 17:16:55 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove
You know - you are right there. I'll have to look again to see if
there is room. I would think so, since the box itself is quite large.
Can you buy a short buss at Lowes or HD? I never saw one, for what
On Sat, 9 Sep 2006 18:20:50 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove
One more -
I can examine breaker boxes in the store I guess to see how two
ground-busses are linked, but do you know? That is, should a second
new buss be connected to the first one (which of course is grounded)?
Or does a second buss need its own ground?
On Sat, 9 Sep 2006 19:17:56 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove
Look at your panel. Many times the neutral bar is bonded to the case
via a screw. It might be a very pale green. By adding your ground
bar to the panel (usually screwed right into the back metal panel),
the two are now bonded on your main panel.
Just a guess, didn't look up your specific panel.
tom @ www.FreelancingProjects.com
I saw a loose neutral wire, one time. The lady had a socket in the
front room which didn't want to run the window AC. However, the socket
in the kitchen was OK, but that didn't cool the house as well.
I pulled the panel box open, and went to turn on the AC. She noticed
the sparking "up in the corner there". Tightened all the neutrals, and
found the one that was loose.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
As to twins, I'm like a newbie. Do you mean physically coupled
together? Why? I've only seen that with 220 circuits like stoves and
water heaters, where one wants to diconnect both sides of one thing at
the same time. Does your garage freezer lose power when a garage
light trips the breaker?
Maybe 'twins' is the wrong term. I was told that the term was the
correct descriptor. There are regular size 15A breakers about some 1"
wide. There are other 15A breakers that are the same size but
contain two (yes two) actual 15A breakers completely not associated
with each other. What you end up with is two 15A breakers that occupy
the breaker panel space of one normal 15A breaker. Thus you have two
15A breakers that function as two breakers normally would, but the use
less pane space. I hope I described this clearly.
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