Remote distribution panel or subpanel?

This panel is in a workshop next to house and is fed by 3 conductor feeder from a 40amp breaker in main panel. Is this a amateur electrician home owners attempt at a subpanel (obviously done totally wrong) or can this be a Remote distribution panel done by an electrician? This is my first picture upload so hopefully it works.

Conway Powell 038.jpg

Is the workshop detached?

Yes, the workshop is detached.

It’s a “panel” or “panelboard.” Call it an electrical panel, load side panel, distribution panel, equipment panel, remote panel - whatever. The point is, it is not “service” equipment, and that’s all that really matters.

I know subpanel is a fairly common term, but it is not recognized by the NEC, and if you read through the electrical forum, you’ll see where it leads to a large amount of confusion, especially with newer inspectors.

There is “service” equipment and then there is “other” equipment.

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What’s up with the grounds?

Are you referring to the fact that they’re attached to the neutral bus?

If this is a deteched structure, and there are no other metallic paths between the house and the detached structure (phone lines, metal water lines, etc.), then it is permissible to feed that panel with 3-wire.

But the grounding bus would still be required to be bonded to the enclosure.

Also, with strict interpretation of the code, the disconnect for that panel would be required to disconnect all three conductors (H-H-N) in a 3-wire feed.

It’s easier (acting as a home inspector) to simply defer a 3-wire feed to a load side panel, and let the sparky make the call.

I was only addressing one matter, which was the 3-wire feeder. In the past, when I’ve addressed the entire photograph, I get blasted for providing too much information. Now, I only address one portion, and I get “but… also…”. I have no idea which set of rules to follow.

OK Jeff I think I understand. Let me try to ask this question another way. Is there anything wrong with this panel being supplied by a 3 wire conductor from another panel? I think the neutral ground conductors and the grounding conductors should be isolated in this workshop panel and a fourth conductor (a dedicated grounding conductor) should have been ran to this workshop panel from the main panel and I think this workshop panel should also have its on grounded electrode. Help me out me, am I correct? I hope I my terminology is correct.

I dont’ care if you’re addressing Jeff directly or not. If it’s a detached structure with no other metallic paths, 3-wire is legal.

Take a chill pill Marc, This is an open discussion to all knowageble inspectors. Thank you for your opinion.

Jeff, why would you need to open the neutral on a feeder disconnect?

It can be difficult to verify “no other metallic path.” That’s why I say defer a 3-wire feed.

In your picture, it’s wrong, no matter what. If it’s a proper 3-wire feed, that G/N bus needs to be bonded to the enclosure. Also, it does not appear that there is a grounding electrode (rod/pipe) for that panel, which would be required in either case.

The disconnecting means for that panel (in a 3-wire feed) should disconnect all three conductors - essentially, a three-pole breaker or switch.

That’s how I interpret the code section that allows for a 3-wire feed. I don’t have it in front of me (I’m getting ready to start an inspection), but I’ll post it later if nobody else does.

It’s not an opinion. It’s a statement of fact. I’m starting to feel like I’m casting my pearls before swine.

Join the crowd

Jeff 225.38(B) and © get misunderstood sometimes

It says the disconnect shall open all ungrounded conductors (B) and if it doesn’t open the grounded conductor it is OK to open that in the busbar in the main panel by pulling the wire off. ©
I can’t imagine a scenario where that would not be true. I suppose you could CadWeld the connection to the service ungrounded connection but I can’t imagine anyone doing it. 225.38 says don’t do that.
In a practical sense why would you really want to disconnect the ungrounded conductor in normal situations? It would only be done for diagnostic reasons as far as I can see.
It is also pretty easy to find parallel grounding paths. Look at what is bonded in the far panel. The normal things would be a metal raceway or metal plumbing. If you didn’t install a grounded Dmark/TVSS on TV, LAN and phone at the far building they are not parallel paths. From a surge protection standpoint that is probably a bad idea but if you live in a place where that is a minor issue it probably won’t be done.

I count “six” ground wires connected to the neutral/ground bar and “six” wires entering the panel (including the wire feeding the panel). This indicates to me that it is a "four-wire feed. The neutrals and grounds need to be isolated and the panel needs to be bonded. Harry-homeowner hard at work:D

Marc, do you like pig sausage?