Two main panels no sub?

Hello all,

I inspected a manufactured home and found a panel in the laundry room and one in the attached garage. There was a meter on a pedestal about 2 feet away from the building. Normally in this area you can assume that the panel nearest the pedestal/meter socket is the man and the panel in the manufactured home is the sub panel.

It appears there are two main panels. I noticed two separate conduit‘s coming from the meter pedestal one going into the garage and one going into the house. Neither one of the panels have the neutrals bonded to the panel ( neutrals are floating).

Can’t say I ever noticed this configuration before. Is this common or legal?

Were you able to open the panel cover below the actual meter? I doubt there are any breakers hidden inside there which would mean you have a separate main for each building.

The service panel is:

  1. the first point of disconnect; and that’s where…
  2. the bonding jumper connecting grounds and neutrals should be.

The condition you show is common here. The remote exterior panel is the service, the panel in- or attached to- the structure is a subpanel. Anything downstream from the service should have a floating neutral and is a distribution (sub-) panel.

  1. and 2. are the primary factors separating service panels from subpanels, not the number of breakers.

In a few areas (Las Vegas) two separate services are acceptable if configured correctly, but these areas are rare exceptions.

Good point. I didn’t know you could open that.

That’s typically how it works here but these two panels are not connected in anyway there is a separate man running to the panel in the house and a separate man running to the panel in the garage.

They are both subs running from the main at the pedestal.
If you would have open the main at the pedestal you would have seen the breakers feeding the 2 subs…
I see this frequently.

Yes you should be able to open the panel below the meter they should be seperated. Common for rural service should find one main and probably two other breakets for remotes. You may also remove the dead front to verify proper wiring etc. Also each remote panel should have a ground rod (or equivalent). Treat this as the service panel just like you would if it was in the basement.

The system grounding electrode should be at the service, not at each subpanel. The location of a panel and the number of breakers it contains makes no difference as to whether it’s the service panel or a sub.

Saying each remote panel should have it’s own grounding electrode is INACCURATE.

The first point of disconnect is the service panel, and that’s where, and only where, you should see the neutrals and grounds connected, and that’s where the system grounding electrode shot due located. There may also be other electrodes like a water pipe. Under certain conditions, a panel in an outbuilding may also have its own grounding electrode.

With all due respect Kenton, I would consider both of these as remote buildings because the service panel is remote from both.

As Don said that’s not always true.

4 wire feeder.jpg

Service equipment is at the meter. There’s a cover below the meter that opens and contains the service disconnect.

Each panel at the MH is a sub panel. The MH must include its own Grounding electrode and a disconnect on or within the structure.

If each panel is fed independently from the service equipment, it’s likely that you won’t meet the disconnect requirements. My bet is there’s actually a feed from one sub panel to the other. This would be easy to confirm if you open the service panel for inspection.

If two building are being fed from a pole service the remote panels absolutely need a grounding electrode system. No different than a detached shed being fed from a house panel.