Grounds & Neutrals

1981 Square D panel- found almost all the grounds under one lug. This is a first!


That termination is not listed for that grouping under its one screw, IMHO.

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Would it be considered a defect

Yes, IMHO…

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As always thanks for your help!

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An NEC violation and it needs to be corrected.

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Robert, this one is obviously a problem, especially since there is a larger solid conductor in there as well, that will prevent solid attachment. But I see this occasionally where they twist all the conductors together, and then attach under one lug. I typically dont call that out, but would that be acceptable?

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No, there’s too much chance one of the wires will be loose.
Better, but still not listed, is a split bolt connector to connect a bundle of wires together like a large wire nut:

image

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Not if they are all twisted together first, hence the question

Twisting alone won’t make a reliable connection for all the wires.
Twisting plus solder, sure. Knob & tube uses this in my area, works great.
Twisting plus a wire nut is fine. The nut is a spring, keeping thing together over time even as hot and cold cycles work to pull things apart.
Twisting plus a crimp. Sure. But why bother twisting?

Twisting alone… no.
Twisting plus a screw no.


Check NEC 250.148/110.14(B)'s history for the date that got explicit in the NEC. It was never a good idea, and if you pull at each individual wire in such a bundle you’ll see why on enough occasions to be of concern. The ground wire is only needed in case of the failure of something else. Just because it looks OK does not mean it can carry the needed current when the time comes.

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End of discussion

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Not code complaint but if they’re twisted tightly and inserted then there might not be a hazard either problem is you will never know if the connection is reliable. That’s similar to SEU cable where the neutral is made of multiple strands wrapped around the ungrounded conductors. That neutral is terminated by twisting all of the strands together and inserting it into the terminal. And although that is a similar type of connection for the neutral it is permitted, for multiple EGC’s it is not and should be called out for correction.

Same thing for a split bolt often you will see multiple EGC’s in the split bolt and the connection may be adequate to carry the fault current but since that split bolt has not been tested and listed for multiple conductors you cannot reliably predict if it will operate correctly under a fault.

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