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i have a 100 amp main panel. it was put in in the 70's; i was wondering if it is ok to add a small box to put a new ground bus bar in to run all the grounds to because the box is bar very small and there are not enough slots in the boxes small bus

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    What make and model of panel do you have? Most panels can accept extra ground and/or neutral bars... Aug 21, 2015 at 3:06
  • the box is a GE. it wont let me upload a pic. it says the pic I took w/ my phone is too large. this is why I asked , I have a gutted small breaker box that I wanted to attach to bottom of the main and put the new ground bar in just so it would give me more room.
    – James
    Aug 22, 2015 at 1:52
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    upload the pic to imgur.com or some other image uploader and put a link in your question -- we can take it from there. Aug 22, 2015 at 2:35

3 Answers 3

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You should be able to purchase an additional grounding bar at the local big box home improvement, or a local electrical supply shop. You should be able to install the bar in your panel without too much trouble.

Without more detail about your equipment, it's difficult to be more specific than that.

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  • the box is a GE. it wont let me upload a pic. it says the pic I took w/ my phone is too large. this is why I asked , I have a gutted small breaker box that I wanted to attach to bottom of the main and put the new ground bar in just so it would give me more room.
    – James
    Aug 22, 2015 at 1:53
  • @James you'll want to install the additional ground bar in the existing panel, not in a separate panel or box.
    – Tester101
    Aug 22, 2015 at 3:07
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TL;DR

No, it would not be a good idea to add another box for the express purpose of adding additional bus bar. I can't imagine that it would be up to code, and it could create a dangerous situation. If you don't feel comfortable with making changes to the main panel, then by all means hire a licensed electrician take care of it. It is not worth gambling with your life for around a hundred dollars.

Most panels have the ability to upgrade the bus bar, or add an additional one as Tester101 and Ecnerwal indicated in their answers. This would be the cheapest and easiest option.

If your box cannot be upgraded, then you may need to have a new panel installed. This would not be a DIY solution and the panels must be installed by a licensed electrician. They usually also require an inspection from the local housing inspector. Since the service is also an older one, you may also have to have a new line installed from the pole and a whole new service mast and meter installed.

You should provide more details about the setup such as the brand/type of box. If you can, remove the cover of the panel and post pictures on it in your question.

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  • the box is a GE. it wont let me upload a pic. it says the pic I took w/ my phone is too large. this is why I asked , I have a gutted small breaker box that I wanted to attach to bottom of the main and put the new ground bar in just so it would give me more room.
    – James
    Aug 22, 2015 at 1:48
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"Adding a small box" for the ground connections is probably not correct/compliant.

Normally additional grounding bus bars are deployed inside the main panel box.

If the size of the box itself seems insufficient, I'd give serious consideration to replacing the whole box/panel with a new, larger (and probably 200A) box/panel.

Other alternatives would be to place a sub-panel (correctly wired with isolated neutral and ground) below the too-small main panel and shift several circuits to the sub-panel, to free up space in the main panel. That's a proper, code-compliant route to "something like" the non-compliant "gutted small breaker box to put the grounds in" you mention in a comment.

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    Instead of installing a ~$10.00 part, you're suggesting a service upgrade that could cost thousands of dollars?
    – Tester101
    Aug 21, 2015 at 16:58
  • Or could cost less than $200, depending on specifics - that would be part of considering. And I suggest installing the $10 part, first; but if that's not possible, rather than building a bad kludge (ground bus in a box separate from service panel) I prefer a proper solution.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 21, 2015 at 17:16
  • the box is a GE. it wont let me upload a pic. it says the pic I took w/ my phone is too large. this is why I asked , I have a gutted small breaker box that I wanted to attach to bottom of the main and put the new ground bar in just so it would give me more room.
    – James
    Aug 22, 2015 at 1:53
  • @Ecnerwal to upgrade a 100amp panel to a 200amp panel would not be just $200. First the wire coming from the service head would now be way to small per code for the new service load. So new wire, which means new conduit up to the service, and new weather head. Second the meter would is now to small, so now new meter would have to be added. Third got to bring the new service and panel up to code, so ground rod, and cold water clamp. Fourth the new panel is going to be larger, so some of the wire are not going to reach the breakers and now you need to fix that also. Or add a ground bar, done.
    – WarLoki
    Aug 22, 2015 at 17:16

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