Panel Question

If what is supposed to be a main panel (with a main breaker and bonded neutral conductor) is disconnected by a fused safety switch next to the meter, wouldn’t that panel be a sub-panel? I would think it needs the neutrals and grounds separated and not bonded. I must also add that it is fed by SER cable from the fused switch.

It depends on how it’s set up. Do you have a picture?

It may be all part of the service equipment (depending on the connection method, the distance between the switch and the panel, etc.) or it may be separate equipment.

What do you mean by “SER” cable?

It sounds like to me you just have two disconnects (one outside and one inside).

The good news if everything else was done correctly, with the SER type SE cable you probably only need to remove the bonding screw at the sub-panel.

I will dig up a pic. since I am in the middle of the report now. SER meaning a neutral and an equipment ground. In contrast, SEU cable having a helically wound neutral conductor only.

Where is the Grounding Electrode Conductor(s) connected?

This is the disconnect, the birds nest of a neutral bus-bar with neutrals and grounds under the same screw, and yes the panel is mounted to the ceiling.:smiley:
Those are the obvious things. I thought if the disconnect were fused or a breaker, that was considered the main and anything downstream of it was a sub-panel.



It is a water pipe grounding conductor out of a trough that is below the meter and disconnect.

I’m guessing that Robert is asking if the GEC is connected @ the fused switch or the ceiling mounted panel (I haven’t typed that too many times) to establish your main and remote panels.

Your photo’s shed some new light on to this installation. Yes, the EGC’s and neutrals should terminate separately in the sub panel. The GEC should go to the fused disconnect neutral and the neutral should be bonded to the enclosure. You said that they ran SER to the subpanel, did they terminate both the neutral and EGC in the feeder to the same bus?

Yes they terminated on the same bus as if it were a main panel. That was why I questioned myself on that one.

In my report, I went with my gut feeling and called out improper installation and that the neutrals and grounds needed to be separated and not bonded to the panel.

Thanks for the info.



The fused safety-switch is the service panel. The downstream panel is a distribution panel (aka sub-panel) and should be wired accordingly. SER is OK. Having a main breaker in the distribution panel is OK too.

I think you mean “service equipment” … :wink:

And also the service disconnect. :slight_smile:

Okay I am learning something new because it is not being done in my area, but it would not surprise me it is wrong because our electricians and code officials are mainly hillbillies.
So if there was a main outside breaker at the meter before it goes into the panel inside the house, the panel needs to be treated as a sub-panel?

The service panel would be the first means of disconnect. Any panel downstream of that first means would be wired with the neutrals isolated from the grounds.

In rural areas, which must areas are rural in Missouri, the utility companies are requiring disconnects below the meters before they go into the house. I assume, just in case of a fire the electric can be cut off easily. So is the main panel that the disconnect runs to gets treated as a sub panel?

In that case the disconnect is the service equipment. A 4 wire feeder would be wired to any panel downstream of the disconnect. The N/G would be isolated.

Okay thanks!

Yes, any panel beyond the service disconnect would be called a subpanel.