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I believe I found the answer. I was able to track down the now retired electrician who did the work. I have two meters on the main electric company service box. This box comes INSTALLED with neutral and ground bonded. The basement panel (which services HVAC) is connected to one of the meters which the electric company refers to "Heat Only" and gives me a lower Kw rate. The other meter is connected to the main floor panel.

[Main floor panel]

I have an electric panel in my basement that I want to run a 120v line from All of the circuits currently on it are 240v. It seems to me that this is the main service panel as the underground service wires come in at the bottom right of the panel (where all the caulking is), and the ground is connected to a rod set in the basement floor concrete.

There is currently nothing connected to the service common line bus strip except the large service black with yellow line wire, which is isolated from the panel. There is also an electric panel on the first floor of the home, and every circuit there is 120v. I'm guessing the basement panel is the main and the main floor panel is a subpanel, but I'm not sure.

I just want to make sure I can install a single pole 120v breaker in this basement box and attach the white common wire to the neutral bus bar....but should it be somehow bonded over to ground?

Okay, update on this panel. There are actually 3 electric panels on the property..this one in the basement, one on the main house floor, and one in the garage outbuilding. This is a manufactured home so the main floor/house came pre-wired. I don't know when the other two panels were installed. The previous owners left me NOTHING and they are not available for questions.
I put a meter on this panel. The neutral bar to a single pole on a breaker is 122 volts, neutral bar to ground is 0.00...so, it is bonded somewhere in the configuration, although I don't know (yet) where. Does that now mean it is not the main? These are the panel's circuits shown in the photo: Left side top down; Pond: This is a 6 gauge wire that me and my well driller installed to service a panel with two breakers at my pond for a 230v deep well and a 230v pond aerator (I meter 243 volts there at the terminal). We ran a 3/G wire in the event 120 volts is ever needed at that location, which is why you see a capped white common wire at the top left. If it is ever connected to the neutral bus it will be with a proper size insulated connector on a 6ga pigtail; Geothermal Unit (water to water, open loop, discharges in pond); Geothermal Unit; Hot Water Heater; Pond Contactor: This is a 12ga wire we also ran underground to a 240v contactor inside the pond well's control box. This allows that well to be activated from this panel, whether as a backup for the house main well (the pond well is plumbed to the house) or to connect it to the GEO if desired. It is also wired to a 240v timer (seen mounted on the wall to the right of the panel) in accordance with it's instructions, so the pond well's run times can be programmed to maintain full water level.
Right Side top down Geothermal; Spare,; Basement Sauna Electric Heater; Domestic Well, main house. To my knowledge every circuit is 240v, if you see one that is split I'd sure like to see it. As far as I can tell everything is Hot/Hot/Ground as it should be.
I appreciate the comments on the mix-match of circuit breakers. This is a Cutler Hammer panel and I WILL replace all the wrong breakers with Eatons.
As far as the appropriate wire sizes for supporting whatever is at the other end of each circuit, that is something I can investigate with a professional electrician. "I could have done it faster and cheaper, but I decided to do it myself." Me.

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    +1 for asking well and documenting your question properly on your first post. That you got clear, accurate and concise answers without having any back-and-forth is a good sign.
    – Criggie
    Mar 3, 2022 at 0:58
  • Okay, update on this panel. There are actually 3 electric panels on the property..this one in the basement, one on the main house floor, and one in the garage outbuilding. This is a manufactured home so the main floor/house came pre-wired. I don't know when the other two panels were installed. The previous owners left me NOTHING and they are not available for questions. Mar 3, 2022 at 22:59
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    Can you get us photos of the inside of the main floor panel please? Mar 4, 2022 at 1:22
  • I do not have wild voltages anywhere, and in the 5 years I've lived here there's never been a circuit breaker trip. Mar 4, 2022 at 11:38
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    I added a new comment above. I do in fact have two service drops with two meters and the main electric company service box comes installed with neutral and ground bonded. Mar 4, 2022 at 14:04

2 Answers 2

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It's a dangerous disaster

No. This is not a panel with all 240V-only loads in it. Such a panel would look like that, yes... but this is not one. This is a code dumpster fire.

Because in fact many of the loads are split 120/240V -- and do need neutral. However, they do not have neutral, because the cheapskate who wired this used /2 cable for everything.

For all appliances and subpanels that needed neutral, they bootlegged neutral off of ground. That is certainly the case with dryer and range, and if they used 3-prong sockets, those were illegal since 1996. (and use of /2+ground to cable them was always illegal). If the socket is 4-prong, they bootlegged neutral in it.

Now in the case of the #6 cable going to the 60A breaker, it looks like neutral comes into the panel, but they capped it off rather than connecting it. /facepalm. That needs to be connected. Best to obtain an ILSCO "Mac Block Connector" which is a mini-Polaris that's just right for splicing #6 copper, and about 2 feet of white #6 THHN to make it to the neutral bar.

The dryer and range circuit need to be re-cabled with /3 with neutral. And that should be paid for by the guy who did this. Every other 240V load needs to be evaluated to see if it needs neutral - air conditioners, water heaters and electric heaters do not, but other appliances may.

And what is up with the two white wires on the bottom left 15A breaker? Notice the wire nut with 1? 2? black wires in it. That all needs to be investigated, because that ain't right.

The Siemens breakers do not belong

The 15A and 40A breakers are the wrong type for this Eaton BR panel. They need to be replaced with Eaton BR215 and BR240. The wrong breaker won't grip the bus properly and may result in damage to the bus stabs.

Yes, there needs to be a neutral-ground bond.

I don't see where it is.

Wow, just wow. I wonder if this house has been suffering a "Lost Neutral" since the day it was built. Since the neutral appears to be connected to nothing. The symptoms would be the two 120V phases adding up to 240V, but one of them being between 40 and 115V while the other is 125-200V. Not great for the equipment.

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    I think the top-left 40A is the one that's got the capped neutral, not the 60A. The 60A is fed with /2 and the white is wrapped with red tape. Not that it really matters - this panel is a complete disaster and needs attention from a competent person. I don't think OP is that person. I'd guess that at least the 60A is feeding a sub panel somewhere and there's surely a disaster in there too... and no neutral. 0_o
    – J...
    Mar 2, 2022 at 17:37
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You have a double 15 amp breaker not being used. If you want a 15 amp circuit, then all you need is a black wire to one half of the breaker, white to neutral bus and ground to ground bus.

Can also add single 15 amp breaker or a single 20 amp breaker to the panel.

If using 20 amp breaker then will need 12 gauge wire for the circuit. 15 amp circuit can use the smaller 14 gauge wire.

240 volt circuit is just two 120 volt hot wires on a double breaker going to the same device/outlet.

110 volts is not used any more(except in a few countries). The standard is 120volts for North America.

Before adding to and working inside the panel, turn off the main breaker on top and double check the power is off to that panel.

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    I would go use Harper's answer as the best one. He has seen problems I did not.
    – crip659
    Mar 2, 2022 at 12:11
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    Harper can be a little... expository. Yes, this panel is crap. Can you put a breaker in there to make an outlet work, also yes. +1 .... Does it violate code to touch this panel and do nothing about it? IDK, probably. It should.
    – Mazura
    Mar 2, 2022 at 23:43

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