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Thread: Can a load center have a breaker as large as its main?

  1. #16

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    Lee, wear rubbersoled shoes while working on electricity and standing on especially, concrete. Believe it or not, while concrete appears to be a very dense material, it is in fact quite like a blotter. It can and does absorb water. You can actually see this happen on a hot summer day. Sprinkle some water on your sidewalk or driveway and look very closely. You can actually see the water penetrate the surface of the concrete. I don't think it would be much diffferent in the basement or you would not had felt that tingle. Concrete soaks up water from the soil.
    Last edited by Cookie; 10-08-2011 at 08:48 PM.

  2. #17
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    work on electricity barefooted and you'll look worse than that photo you post.
    That photo you mention is not bad at all if you might happen to know and acknowledge the actual facts of the matter ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    Believe it or not, while concrete appears to be a very dense material, it is in fact quite like a blotter. It can and does absorb water. You can actually see this happen on a hot summer day. Sprinkle some water on your sidewalk or driveway and look very closely. You can actually see the water penetrate the surface of the concrete. I don't think it would be much different in the basement or you would not had felt that tingle. Concrete soaks up water from the soil.
    Yes, concrete is porous. In this particular case, however, I am concerned now that I know full voltage can go to ground without tripping a breaker ... and it is actually a good thing that I happened to be barefoot at the time or else I would not have even known there was a problem ... and so now I am thinking about installing a ground-fault breaker for the circuit in question. I just happen to have two of them on hand in the used panel the electrician is going to install in our house. My father-in-law had added an outlet out in the yard, and now I need to use GFI somewhere before reconnecting that wire anyway.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 10-09-2011 at 08:42 AM.

  3. #18
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Default Now baffled and needing some education ...

    Okay, here is my present dilemma helping me be grateful this is a DIY forum ...

    I have two QO120AFI breakers, and I have installed one of them in my workshop panel ... and now any attempt to place any kind of load on either circuit connected to the QO120AFI trips it. Why? I have the breaker's built-in "Panel" wire going to the panel's ground bar, and I have a second wire running from the breaker's "LOAD (N)" screw to the panel's Neutral bar ... and note: Disconnecting that second wire does not make any difference here.

    After turning off the main breaker in the workshop panel and checking for any possible continuity that should not be there, I have no continuity between any black and neutral or any black and ground ...

    ... however, I do have continuity between the panel's neutral bar and ground even though the panel is not bonded, and that suggests to me that the workshop's ground rod is working well and interacting with the ground rod about 80' away at the house where things likely *are* bonded.

    Other than my not knowing how to solve my present problem, what actually *is* my present problem?

    My goal here is to protect anyone and everyone from any kind of stray current while s/he might be standing either barefooted or with shoes on the workshop's concrete floor.

    Am I trying to use the wrong kind of breaker or something?
    Last edited by leejosepho; 10-09-2011 at 09:22 AM.

  4. #19
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    ... and now any attempt to place any kind of load on either circuit connected to the QO120AFI trips it.
    Any load, even a light bulb?

  5. #20
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Any load, even a light bulb?
    The itty-bitty charger for my iPod does not trip it, but yes, the lights (two 60W bulbs) or even just the larger AC adapter for the computer speakers I have there for my iPod will trip it.

    I just tried the second AFI breaker in place of the first, and it does the same. My only guess here is there must be a problem at the house and the AFI in the workshop is picking it up ...

    Is that possible?
    Last edited by leejosepho; 10-09-2011 at 09:28 AM.

  6. #21
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    If I understand your description you have the breaker hooked up wrong.

    Both of the circuit conductors go to the breaker. The black to the terminal marked load and the white to the terminal marked "Load Neutral" The white wire on the breaker goes to the neutral buss.

  7. #22
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    If I understand your description you have the breaker hooked up wrong.

    Both of the circuit conductors go to the breaker. The black to the terminal marked load and the white to the terminal marked "Load Neutral" The white wire on the breaker goes to the neutral buss.
    You understood correctly, and I am glad my description was clear! I had the circuit's white wire going directly to the neutral bar, and that left the AFI finding no neutral to monitor when a load was applied. I thank you.

    Overall, however, I am still wondering whether I yet have the kind of protection I am looking for like when I had the circuit's black shorted directly to ground and no breaker tripped. To test that kind of scenario with this AFI breaker now installed, I just placed a temporary load (a 60W bulb and my 3/8" drill) between the AFI circuit's black wire and the panel's ground, and that did not trip the breaker. Like I had mentioned earlier, I have continuity between the neutral bar and ground even though the panel is not bonded ... but shouldn't that AFI breaker have noticed (during my test) that not all of its current was coming back through its white wire?

    Most important of all: I want to reconnect the receptacle out in the yard, and I am wondering whether it would be best (or maybe even required?) to use a GFI outlet out there even though its power will be coming through the AFI breaker ...

    The crazy history of all of this is that my father-in-law had put that outlet out in the yard many years ago so he could use it to squirrel-proof his bird feeder, and now I want to keep that outlet out there for the legitimate purpose of a small fountain pump for a birdbath setup, and I want it to be completely safe for squirrels and humans, alike.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 10-09-2011 at 04:49 PM.

  8. #23
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    You have a lot going on in that head of yours(reference to profile picture).

    Continuity between the neutral and ground bar is a good thing. It has nothing to do with ground rods. It has to do with tripping breakers under fault conditions.

    GFCI breakers protect people and do it very well if they are hooked up properly and tested regularly.

    AFCI breakers share some of the technology of GFCI but are not intended to protect people from a shock. They are not a substitute for GFCI protection.

  9. #24
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Lee

    Sorry but I am not at home and my time is very limited on the internet for answering questions like this..

    First the ground rod or electrode system does nothing to prevent someone from being shocked or to open an over current device. Forget about the electrode after installing the system. The grounding electrode system be it rod pipe plate or whatever is there in case lightning strikes and nothing more.

    It is the connection between the equipment grounding conductor and the neutral at the service that prevents things from happening. In this installation the absence of the equipment grounding conductor with the feeders mandates that the neutral and equipment grounding conductor be bonded together in that small panel or the equipment grounding conductors are useless and just if they weren’t installed.

    Either install the bonding screw or run an equipment grounding conductor along with the feeders to the remote panel. Under the 2011 NEC the equipment grounding conductor must be installed with each and every installation

  10. #25
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Hey jw, in the photo the feeders are in emt and there is no bond at the sub-panel, which would be correct. Where are you seeing no egc?

  11. #26
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    Hey jw, in the photo the feeders are in emt and there is no bond at the sub-panel, which would be correct. Where are you seeing no egc?
    The breaker did not trip when the connector cut through the conductors. This means that there is no equipment grounding path back to the neutral or the EMT is not electrically continuous from one panel to the other.

  12. #27
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Rodger that.

  13. #28
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Lee

    Sorry but I am not at home and my time is very limited on the internet for answering questions like this..
    I definitely appreciate your and everyone else's time spent here, and I thank each of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Either install the bonding screw or run an equipment grounding conductor along with the feeders to the remote panel. Under the 2011 NEC the equipment grounding conductor must be installed with each and every installation
    I will install the bonding screw for now and then see what the electrician and/or inspector might say (if the inspector even looks at the workshop) when my service entrance at the house is updated.

    @ActionDave: I apologize for my first photo and post not being completely clear about the EMT not being electrically continuous back to the main panel.

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    You have a lot going on in that head of yours (reference to profile picture).
    I have Asperger's Syndrome and I am a bit like Temple Grandin: I think in pictures. Hence, and especially when I do not know specific details like when dealing with some of the stuff in this thread, my only option is to verbalize as much as possible and then listen for informative feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    AFCI breakers share some of the technology of GFCI but are not intended to protect people from a shock. They are not a substitute for GFCI protection.
    Well then, that answers the question about the yard receptacle and I will install a GFCI. I thank you.

    If you have a moment to enlighten me a bit, what would be a typical scenario where an AFI breaker would catch a problem? Or, is there really any good reason for my having the AFI breaker for my workshop lights and receptacles?
    Last edited by leejosepho; 10-10-2011 at 06:03 AM.

  14. #29
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Default Okay, now what?!

    I went out and installed the bonding screw, and now it only takes a 60W bulb to trip the AFI breaker. Prior to bonding the panel, the circuit connected to the AFI worked fine.

    Do I still actually have a problem somewhere, or is the AFI just not working well in a bonded sub-fed panel without an equipment ground running back to the main panel at the house?

  15. #30
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    As to the picture, I realize well, that life is full of hideous twists and turns that no one deserves.

    Not to be rude, but to save a life, wear some heavy rubber stompers when working on this strange panel or picture flames coming out of the top of your head.

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