Originally Posted By: rmoore
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If the panel was installed as a main (oops) service panel then the main neutral bar would have to be bonded to the cabinet. Once that is done, then yes, the small grounding bar could be used for neutrals. However?in this case I would add, why bother, as there is clearly enough room on the neutral bar(s) for any combination of breakers.
If the panel is installed as a ?sub-panel? (or non-service panel) as shown without the bonding jumper (as would be correct) then no, neutrals cannot go on the small grounding bar (or grounding conductors on the neutral bar). The why, is that it would create parallel paths back to the service panel for any unbalanced current in those circuits connected that way. This current is normally carried only by the insulated neutral (grounded) conductor. If, for example, the equipment grounding conductor between the sub and service panel was metallic conduit, then that conduit would likely be energized anytime an unbalanced load was put on those circuits with neutrals connected to the grounding bar. Not full voltage but probably enough to zap someone. You would have to be standing in the proverbial bucket of water to get zapped badly but the potential is there.
In short?the main service panel is the only place where neutral bars should be bonded and neutral and ground bars may be shared.
Bob...do electricians really vary on this?
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