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Old 04-18-2010, 10:27 PM   #1
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


Hi everyone, im new here and I have a question. Long story short is i needed to replace a panel in my condo. I didnt have a lot of money so I thought Id do it myself, which I know I can do. A friend of mine had an almost new square d 125 amp panel just laying around. It is a main lug panel tho.

I was wondering if I could just get a 125 amp breaker and snap it in there and attach the feeders to it "backwards" to feed thru what is normaly the load side into the bus. Esesially using it as a main. I think the breaker will still function propperly I just dont know if this is a code or safety violation. Is the inspector going to not like it?

Im pretty handy and electrically inclined, i just dont know all the "rules". Anyone have any feedback on this?

Thanks

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:29 PM   #2
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


I believe that is permitted IF you bolt the breaker into the panel. It can't be just snapped in.

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Old 04-18-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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I believe that is permitted IF you bolt the breaker into the panel. It can't be just snapped in.
So i would just have to get one of those bolt down clamp things?
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:38 PM   #4
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


Where are you located ?
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:44 PM   #5
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


Seattle, and I did some more looking online and they do sell these metal retaining brackets for just this use. Id just hate to get everything installed and have the inspector make me take it all out! hehe.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:55 PM   #6
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


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Long story short is i needed to replace a panel in my condo. I didnt have a lot of money so I thought Id do it myself, which I know I can do.
Have you checked with the local inspector to determine if they will allow you to do this work on your own? There are many localities that allow home owners to perform electrical work in there own home. But there are locatities that limit that to single family dwellings.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:01 PM   #7
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


That is a good point. I did call the city when I got the permit and they said since the way our building layout is, we are good to go. So they have given me the OK to do it and the property manager is cool with it too.
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:28 AM   #8
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


Just be careful about touching those main lugs. Usually in a main breaker panel, only the two screws on the main breaker are hot when the main is off. Now you have two main lugs that will also be always live.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:34 AM   #9
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


For the price of the breaker you can probably get a panel with the main breaker already installed.

Also the Square D hold down is only for the smaller panels like the 6/12 and the 8/16.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:09 PM   #10
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


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So i would just have to get one of those bolt down clamp things?
It usually comes as a kit. together with the panels that have a "Main" Breaker. But they're sold separately. But the line (feeder) into your condo is already protected at the distribution point past the meter/s.!
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:02 PM   #11
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


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Just be careful about touching those main lugs. Usually in a main breaker panel, only the two screws on the main breaker are hot when the main is off. Now you have two main lugs that will also be always live.
I'd be more worried about arc-flash, for which you need level 2 gear for resi.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:03 PM   #12
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feeding a breaker backwards as a main?


Home Depot has a Square D Homeline 20 space panel with 100Amp breaker and 5 free 20Amp breakers for $50. Just pick one of those up and you're set.

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