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Old 01-26-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
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Connecting a Sub Panel


I am almost all ready to wire up my sub panel and wanted to ask everyones opinions on HOW to do this.

I am using 4/0 Aluminum wire.

I have done a lot of wiring in my day but never with this heavy of stuff.

Is it the same as any other wire? As long as I hold the wire by the rubber casing when I put it into the feed thru lug on my main panel and a rubber handled screw driver I should be A-OK right?

I guess I just want confirmation that there is no special tool out there that holds the wire, or another tool that is used to secure the feed thru lug.

I have the wire gunk to put on it too (anti corrosiion stuff), I assume that I can put that on before I put the 4/0 into the feed thru lug.

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Old 01-26-2009, 04:45 PM   #2
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Connecting a Sub Panel


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Originally Posted by mntnvew View Post
... As long as I hold the wire by the rubber casing when I put it into the feed thru lug on my main panel and a rubber handled screw driver I should be A-OK right? ...
Power is OFF, right? Why the concern about holding it by the insulation and using a rubber screwdriver?


Last edited by WaldenL; 01-26-2009 at 04:46 PM. Reason: spell rubber correctly
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Old 01-26-2009, 04:54 PM   #3
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Connecting a Sub Panel


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Power is OFF, right? Why the concern about holding it by the insulation and using a rubber screwdriver?
No the main panel is LIVE AND KICKING. Should I contact the power company, Northwestern Energy, and ask them to come out and turn it off while I hook up the sub panel's main feeds?
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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No the main panel is LIVE AND KICKING. Should I contact the power company, Northwestern Energy, and ask them to come out and turn it off while I hook up the sub panel's main feeds?
I dont get what your doing? Just turn the main off.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:17 PM   #5
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Connecting a Sub Panel


It is not the same as any other wire. A wire that big needs to be torqued correctly with a torque wrench or it could burn your house down.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:10 PM   #6
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Connecting a Sub Panel


Whoa buddy!! Shut the main off! You're gonna kill yourself!

The feed thru panels I've used, the main has always killed the bus and the associated feed thru lugs at the bottom too.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Connecting a Sub Panel


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As long as I hold the wire by the rubber casing when I put it into the feed thru lug on my main panel and a rubber handled screw driver I should be A-OK right?

Most tools rated for live work are expensive and have thick insulation on the handles. A little bit of rubber on a standard tool is not going to protect you from shock. There are other hazards beyond shock associated with live work as well.

There is likely no reason to do this kind of work live, you should have the powerco pull the meter or pull the butt splices at the pole. (you should not do this yourself) If it has to be done live someone that has a good understanding of live work should be the one doing it.

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Old 01-26-2009, 10:48 PM   #8
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I dont get what your doing? Just turn the main off.
If I turn off the main, is the buss still charged? I am using the feed thru lugs on the buss to feed the sub panel.
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:50 PM   #9
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Whoa buddy!! Shut the main off! You're gonna kill yourself!

The feed thru panels I've used, the main has always killed the bus and the associated feed thru lugs at the bottom too.
Is there an easy, safe way to test the buss for a charge after I turn off the 200 AMP main breaker? I have alittle voltmeter (joking
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:05 PM   #10
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If I turn off the main, is the buss still charged? I am using the feed thru lugs on the buss to feed the sub panel.
With a main breaker style panel, the main breaker when opened will deenergize the buss. However the service conductors will still be energized. Depending on the style of the panel, the service conductors may be very close to the lugs your trying to attach to. Working near these conductors is EXTREMELY dangerous.

With the main off, my dad was moving some wires around and caused a direct short on one of those unfused conductors. It melted water pipes, flooded the basement, and destroyed many wires. We are currently rewiring the entire 3,000sqft house. Anyone that isn't positive they know they can work safely around unfused conductors needs to have the powerco cut the power. He was very lucky that he was using one of my insulated tools or he might have been killed.

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Old 01-26-2009, 11:10 PM   #11
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...Anyone that isn't positive they know they can work safely around unfused conductors needs to have the powerco cut the power...
So I CAN call my power company and ask them to disconnect while I hook up the sub panel feeds?..?.?..?...?...?..
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:23 PM   #12
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So I CAN call my power company and ask them to disconnect while I hook up the sub panel feeds?..?.?..?...?...?..
YES. And It is normally free to have them disco / reconnect.

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Old 01-26-2009, 11:32 PM   #13
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excellent, then I will call them tomorrow. I aint about to fry my own ass
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:20 AM   #14
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Connecting a Sub Panel


Not only do you need to torque the big stuff properly, you need to retorque it after letting it sit for a few hours. Copper in particular "cold flows" so when you leave it under pressure it gradually flows away form the pressure points and the connection loosens. I don;t know if Al is better or worse than copper in this regard, but why take a chance. Retorque these connections after letting them sit for a few hours.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:31 AM   #15
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Connecting a Sub Panel


I'm with Chris I don't understand what your doing? If your connecting to the feed thru lugs....just turn the main breaker in the panel off. The freakin power company is going to think your related to an OKIE or something.... Never ever let those guys think you don't know what your doing!!! They will abuse your horses!!!

Test the lugs to ground for peace of mind. I don't care how you do it. Grab a rabbit put him on a dry wood stick and short the critter.. See if he smokes if he does power has not been removed and you just made dinner.

Remember your in BIG SKY COUNTRY.....

I think you need a test to see how much beer your drinking......


It's 5 below zero and your dog is barking at the back door and your wife is yelling and cussing at you to let her in at the front door.....Who do you let in??

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