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I am exploring a way to install an outdoor outlet out of my main electrical panel but I couldn’t find any visible ground bar(s) that the ground wires (in green color) can connect to, nor do I see a ground wire somewhere attached to any bars at all other than one that got attached to a bonding screw on the lower side of the panel.

Is it okay to connect the ground wire directly to the neutral bar (on the right) (it also looks like I don't have any slots available)? Just wondering whoever installed this box many years ago connected those ground wires to. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks.

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  • Hey ThreePhaseEel, am I seeing things, or does the top left breaker say "Bryant" on it, whilst all the identically-styled breakers say Murray? I bet there's a story there. Know it? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 17 '20 at 4:41
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This panel is all done in metal conduit. There are no ground wires because the conduit serves that purpose.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Whoever went to all the trouble to use metal conduit, probably did it because that is a Code requirement in your locality. So continue onward in same vein. Fit metal conduit e.g. into a knockout in this panel. Run the conduit to your new recep location. Use a metal recep box. Then throw two THHN wires into the pipe - white/gray for neutral, and any other color for hot.

As far as landing that wire on a breaker, just pick a breaker whose outlets are is unlikely to be used hard while the outdoor recep is. Then pull the hot wire off its breaker, put a pigtail on the breaker, and join its original wire, and your new one with the pigtail.

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  • Thanks. Yes, I did notice metal conduit all around the crawl space. I was wondering why, but now it starts to make more sense. As far as landing on the breaker, I was planning on using an empty slot on one of the cheater breakers, hence the question on where I may land the neutral. – ybbwwwww Apr 17 '20 at 19:43
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The large bare wire going into the buss on the right is the ground. With the age of the panel you may have a 2 wire system. However the ground wire should have been bonded to the case, this is done many times with a screw thru the buss and into the box today this bonding screw is green but I have seen panels I hat the bonding screw was not green. In a main panel both the ground and neutral can be bonded to the case you might purchase a small ground bar kit and mount it to the panel. Take one of you neutrals an put it on the new bar and use the open hole to jumper the busses together. Anyway it goes the box should be connected to ground it looks like someone ether saw a jumper or assumed there to be one because of the green wire bonded to the case.

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  • Thanks. The neutral bar on the right appears to have two columns, with the rightmost one being somewhat unused. I wasn't able to tell as it is so close to the left column (could this be a code violation or a concern to the more experienced?). May I use the rightmost bar to land the new neutral? – ybbwwwww Apr 17 '20 at 19:51
  • Make sure they are bonded together since it’s your main plane they should be, I could not tell in the photo. Are your connections only connected with conduit? I saw 1 orange and 1 blue those would indicate conduit but I could not see writing on the wires that would indicate NM cable. If only conduit In Chicago that is required some steam and buildings over 3 stories. – Ed Beal Apr 17 '20 at 21:30
  • I could not tell exactly if all wires are connected using conduit since this is a 2-story house and I had not checked the wiring between the first and the 2nd floor. But one thing I was certain is that all receptacles in the house are properly grounded (as indicated with an outlet tester). My new recep is going inside a PVC conduit (I laid the PVC down before this post) so I will need to add a ground THHN and tie it to the main panel. My plan is to tie the ground THHN directly to a screw on the bottom right and tie the neutral to the neutral bar to the right. Hopefully that is acceptable. – ybbwwwww Apr 17 '20 at 22:45
  • That sounds correct , I would not trust an outlet tester as I have found 2 wire receptacles that had “bootleg grounds” the neutral and ground connected an outlet tester can not tell the difference. – Ed Beal Apr 18 '20 at 1:08

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