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Old 06-29-2009, 12:48 PM   #1
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Converting main panel to sub panel


Hello everyone,
I currantly have an old pushpop panel (5 breakers) recessed in the exterior wall. This is also a slab home, so no real access from below. I'm currantly setting up with Edison to spot new panel. I'm guessing I will have to trench from new location to existing. How can I turn the main into a sub panel, surface mount?

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Old 06-29-2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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Converting main panel to sub panel


To turn the main into a sub you must.
1. Feed it with four wires. 2 hots, neutral and ground
2. Separate all the ground and neutral cunductors within the panel.
3. Isolate the neutral so it is not bonded to the panel.

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Old 06-29-2009, 05:29 PM   #3
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Converting main panel to sub panel


If you only have 5 circuits, I would just consider feeding those from your new panel and making your old panel a junction box.
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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Converting main panel to sub panel


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Originally Posted by couter View Post
Hello everyone,
[I currantly have an old pushpop panel] (5 breakers) recessed in the exterior wall. This is also a slab home, so no real access from below. I'm currantly setting up with Edison to spot new panel. I'm guessing I will have to trench from new location to existing. How can I turn the main into a sub panel, surface mount?
If I understand you correctly, the breakers are of the "Push in" type. Probably a "Bulldog" brand. They should be replaced along with the panel. They were DE-LISTED by the UL, along with the FPE (Federal Pacific Electric) "Stab-Lok" circuit breaker and panels for failing to open the line on a GROUND FAULT (A "Short" from hot to GROUND)! Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:17 PM   #5
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Converting main panel to sub panel


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If you only have 5 circuits, I would just consider feeding those from your new panel and making your old panel a junction box.
Or.....If you have attic access you might be able to pull the 5 circuits up into the attic and install a jbox (or two) there.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:58 AM   #6
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Converting main panel to sub panel


Sorry guys, I didnt quit explaine what I need to do correctly. With what Wirenut said I need to convert the existing panel to a j-box. With it being recessed, can I put a surface mount box over it? Kinda like an extension ring in a since with the back open to access the existing circuits. The reason I want to do it like this is that I have no access from above (vaulted ceilings) and its also a slab home. If this is permitted it would give me access from below into the box from the new panel.
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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Converting main panel to sub panel


It still makes no sense.

You are running conduit inside to refeed the existing circuits?

You want to surface mount conduit to feed the box mounted over the old panel box?

Thats goofy You have better options. Explain exactly what you want to accomplish so I/we don't have to speculate an offer a dozen differnt options.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:28 PM   #8
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Converting main panel to sub panel


My whole intentions are to add circuits to my garage. My garage is in front of the house and my old panel is all the way at the back.The old panel is on the exterior wall and recessed. There is only 5 circuits in the panel. In order to add the circuits I have to upgrade the panel, the problem is the city says the new panel can't go where the old currantly is. It has to be at the front 1/3 the property or something like that. So Edison spotted it 30 feet from the original location and about 30 feet from the garage. Basically right in the middle. My new exterior surface mount panel has to feed the old panel for the existing circuits. I'm going to have to trench over and run conduit to it. I cant get up through the wall since its a slab home so what I need to do is turn the old recessed panel into a surface mount j-box.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:50 PM   #9
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Converting main panel to sub panel


I think I am understanding your question ok.
I would like to know that answer also.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:16 PM   #10
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Converting main panel to sub panel


Just a DIY here but I would think some setup like I just did would work. Can you surface mount a new sub-panel next to your old panel? Use an 8x8x8 inch deep J-box below your old panel. That would give you 4 of the J-box recessed and 4 exposed. You can use a nipple from the j-box to the bottom of the old panel and exposed conduit from the j-box to the new sub-panel. Take all the guts out of the old and then just spice each circuit from the old to the new. Your new sub-panel will be fed from your new main-panel by a conduit in a trench then up the outside wall into the back of the sub panel.

Hope I am not too far off base.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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Converting main panel to sub panel


So your old panel is flush mounted in the exterior wall facing outside?

What is the construction of the wall. Framed/stucco? Framed/siding? Block?

Surface mount a jbox under the old panel and fish some flex conduit thru the back of the jbox into the bottom of the old panel. You can then pull your wires in and feed them thru the jb without extra splices.


You are close to the max circuit allowed before derating and having to upsize the wires. In reality, it's a non issue but if you live in an area with nitpicky inspectors, be aware.

9 current carrying conductors max. Some inspectors don't count neutrals.

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