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I am trying to run new ground wires from outlets in the house into my breaker panel that handles an old 2-wire system. There is only one panel after the meter that has the main cutoff, the various breakers and a neutral bar ( at the right in the photo ) with what look like bare copper grounding rods of varied thicknesses. Looking in the panel it only has one neutral bar where the white colored wires and bare copper rods connect. Is it proper to connect my new, green ground wires to that bar? Do I assume that there is a grounding rod for the box? If I do use that bar as my ground, is the position of my new green wire on the bar relevant?

btw, one of the smaller bare copper rods in the panel goes from the neutral bar down and into my crawl space, where it ends as if it has been cut sometime in the past. Could I, as a matter of convenience, use that as my ground if I place another box down there with a "grounding" bar. It could come in handy that way if I find a way to get ground wires to the outlets in other rooms on the lower floor.

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  • Can you see where that big fat bare copper wire near the top of the bar runs to? It looks to me as though that would go to your existing grounding rod. – brhans Apr 26 '17 at 20:13
  • In the case of a main (bonded) panel, both grounds and neutrals go to the one bar (if that's all that's available). Code calls for just one neutral wire under each screw, but I believe grounds can be doubled up. The sparkies will enlighten us. – isherwood Apr 26 '17 at 20:14
  • btw, one of the smaller bare copper rods in the panel goes from the neutral bar down and into my crawl space, where it ends as if it has been cut sometime in the past. Could I, as a matter of convenience, use that as my ground if I place another box down there with a "grounding" bar. It could come in handy that way if I find a way to get ground wires to the outlets in other rooms on the lower floor. – H. Wayne Apr 26 '17 at 21:10
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Since this is your main panel, you can land the ground wires on the same bar as the neutral, as this is the point where they come together anyway. However, I don't believe you can "extend" the grounding bar using the cutoff bare wire from the panel, as it doesn't fall under anything in 250.130(C) -- if it were connected to a grounding electrode, it'd work though as it'd be a grounding electrode conductor then.

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The bare copper wire into the crawlspace, more than likely, was attached to a copper water pipe. Probably was removed or disconnected during a remodel/repair. You are probably not grounded at all. Set a ground rod outside, and connect the rod back to that bare wire.

As far as grounding, you can run a grounding block as you stated. Very common in remodelling older homes that lack the extra ground wire in receptacles. However, this will not work if you don't install another rod, as I stated above.

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