I have a Cutler Hammer CH30e panel. On the right side on the panel there is a neutral buss with the a #6 cu ground and a 1/0 Al THW neutral. The buss is also connected to the panel enter image description here

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What I find very strange is that on the left side of the panel where I'd expect to find a ground buss, there are two lugs with all the grounds from the panel connected to them and screwed into the panel.

Is this proper? I have never seen this done before. Should the grounds have been connected to the empty slots on the neutral buss?

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Here are the labels from inside the panel. It appears I can use a CH9G ground bar but I don't know how I'll get it in there as the 2-2/0 AL go right up that left side

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  • what's up with that extra hot wire, stripped, in the middle photo? – dandavis Dec 5 '19 at 18:14
  • @dandavis I knew someone would ask that.. It's for a dishwasher we removed and didn't replace. The Romex came through the wall and was connected to the box on the washer. I didn't want to leave it hanging so I shoved it back into the wall and disconnected it from the breaker so it wouldn't accidentally be switched on. There was a tag on it but i removed it for the picture. – JACK Dec 5 '19 at 18:31
  • Dunno the fussy details, but used to be (may still be) that panels designed as "entry" panels (not downstream from another breaker panel) did not need separate ground and neutral bars, and it was common for them to be shipped without a ground bar -- the ground bar was an extra co$t item. This required that a special bolt be installed in the neutral bar that would tie it to the panel case. – Hot Licks Dec 6 '19 at 1:26
  • Can you post a photo of the label on the inside front of the electrical panel? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 6 '19 at 1:29
  • @ThreePhaseEel I added some pictures. looks like a CH9G will do it. – JACK Dec 6 '19 at 2:55

No, that's not right. -- Unless UL says it is (i.e. if they approved the labeling and instructions for the lug to say that you can do that). But I really doubt that.

Retrofit a ground bar. They are readily available in the $7 range. Your panel probably has holes pre-drilled and pre-tapped for an accessory ground bar; add a photo of your panel's labeling and someone (ThreePhaseEel :) might even be able to identify the particular Eaton part number that will fit right up.

Then attach the wires 1 per hole, or whatever the ground bar's labeling/instructions tell you to do.

About separate bars

In a perfect installation, this N-G bond is a heavy wire (or several, redundancy allowed) that, ahem, you can put a clamp meter around.

In a best-practice installation, they may skip that, but still put neutrals and grounds on separate bars -- not least, this makes it easy to convert a main to a subpanel.

Worst-practice (but still legal) is to simply declare all bars neutral+ground bars, and simply land all neutrals+grounds onto the nearest convenient bar. Obviously, that makes it a lot harder to put a clamp meter around the neutral-ground equipotential bond, or convert to a subpanel.

So it looks like somebody started out doing the "best practice" version of this, with neutral on one bar and grounds on the other.... and somebody else came along and added a circuit with the latter doctrine.

Since fully separated N-G has its usefulness, and it's 95% done already, I would maintain that in this panel.

Those MWBCs

One other thing. Judging by the red+black wires, it looks like you have some multi-wire branch circuits. From the numbered stickers being out of sequence, it also looks like breakers have been moved around. This combination is a recipe for disaster. To fix it, follow each red wire back to its origin cable, identify the red+black pair from that cable, then follow them back to their respective breakers. Make sure the breakers are adjacent (240V between them) then add a handle-tie ($3) or replace both breakers with a 2-pole ($9).

  • @NateS-ReinstateMonica Oh, snap! Edited. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 5 '19 at 18:44
  • 1
    FYI. There are two MWBC's : one for dishwasher & disposal and one for refrig & kitchen outlets. 240V between them but they are not adjacent. They were installed this way. Some numbers fell off breakers and I used some wire markers ( didn't have a 12). House was built in 1981. I will fix this. Thanks – JACK Dec 6 '19 at 0:30

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