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Old 12-22-2007, 04:25 PM   #1
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Electrical Panel Question?

I have a couple questions...people in this forum seams to have some good insights so I'm giving it a try.

My house has a 200 amp main service.
I want to supply power for a "backyard stage". this is a very large project, involving some of the most expensive moving stage lights to be found. Stage lights naturally draw quite abit of power, about 6 amps a piece. I want to run as many of these as I can. I've done enough electrical projects in the past, so I know a good amount about ect. stuff.

Here's my main delema, we have 200 amp main service, and well of course I cannot plug all these lights into a small 15 amp outside circuit, combined with all the sound equip., it just wouldn't work. Already on our service we have a pretty large house, 2 stories with a entertainment system downstairs taking one thirty amp circuit, an inground pool (has its own subpanel) pulling a 30 or 40 (can't remember),a pull house coming off the subpanel for the pool, elect. 30 amp or 40 amp range, AC, and a hot tub, plus all the other things houses have, lighting circuits, bathrooms, bed's etc etc. I plan after Christmas here to run a ampre's test on the panel and see how many amps I'm actually using. I have one space left in my panel, however there are three circuits which are all 20 amp, single outlet GFCI's, directly (1 foot) below the panel. They were construction circuits when the house was built. I figure I can drop two of these, giving me space to put in a 50 or 60 for the stage stuff. My plan was to permanatly mount a 50 or 60 amp outlet under the panel, and when the stage was set up, run a heavy gauge waterproof cable out to the stage, and from there break off the 50 or 60 amps into a "sub panel" (legal or not?). I have an aquaintence who is a Building Official, and I will ask him about legal stuff, but I'd like to get some answers first here before I ask him and sound stupid (I'd rather sound stupid here than in front of this guy who is invairably described as smart).

If I pull a 50 amp circuit, and break it off into smaller 20 and 10 amp circuits, will this work? What type of cable is needed from this outlet and the sub panel?

One thing that has always confused me is this, I have 200 amp service, but when you add up the amps of all the breakers, it's well over 200? How does this work?

Thanks for any insight you may have.


Last edited by Freedomii6; 12-22-2007 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 12-22-2007, 05:16 PM   #2
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What you want to do CAN be done but would require load calculations to determine how much new load (30,50,60 amps) you can put on your sub panel.

Google "residential load calculations" and you can figure it out yourself.

200 amps is the MAX you can draw. Obviously you aren't loading all of your breakers to their full rating. If you load them collectivly to over 200 amps the main will trip.


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