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Old 02-18-2009, 12:40 AM   #1
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


This is my awful breaker box. I have already taken out the drywall on the back side and had even MORE rat's nesting on the inside of the wall below this panel. I have plans to turn this into just where the meter sits and then move to a new breaker panel INSIDE the house somewhere where rodents won't plan on building their dream house!! I'm pretty sure the panel is from the 1950's but I'm no electrical expert...
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:50 AM   #2
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


Here's the panel I picked up to become the primary breaker panel in my house. I hope I did good! My plan is to set up this panel as a subpanel and then slowly re-wire each room until there are no breakers on the old panel outside. Am I doing good so far?

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Old 02-18-2009, 07:10 AM   #3
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


Siemens is a good brand. You can slowly rewire, but I would just get rid of that zinsco (old panel) asap. They fail alot.

How is your house wired, by romex or bx?
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


That box looks so messy it almost doesn't seem live! Regarding Siemens, I just installed mine- I like the ease of install although I went with the 200 amp 40/40 since I wanted full size breakers. The Siemens is easy to use, laid out well, and appears sturdy.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:20 AM   #5
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


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That box looks so messy it almost doesn't seem live! Regarding Siemens, I just installed mine- I like the ease of install although I went with the 200 amp 40/40 since I wanted full size breakers. The Siemens is easy to use, laid out well, and appears sturdy.
I didn't even notice the 20/40 on the op's new panel. To the Op: I would suggest that you return that panel and get the 40/40, the panel should be about the same physical size, and can hold the same number of circuits, but it is much easier to work with the full size breakers. I hate using the slim breakers in my GE panel, which is pretty close the Siemens. Mine is pretty old, I think mine is a 12/20; most spaces allow the slimline, and only a couple do not.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:35 AM   #6
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


That panel is a main lug. It doesn't have a main breaker. You are going to need a main disconnect at the meter to use that panel.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


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You are going to need a main disconnect at the meter to use that panel.
i thought you needed both? i did here. 100a breakers inside and outside the house on the pole.

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Old 02-18-2009, 09:54 AM   #8
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


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Originally Posted by perpetualjon View Post
Here's the panel I picked up to become the primary breaker panel in my house. I hope I did good! My plan is to set up this panel as a subpanel and then slowly re-wire each room until there are no breakers on the old panel outside. Am I doing good so far?


If this is going to eventually become you main panel you need a main breaker panel. I like the cuttler hammer ch panel. It's there best 120/240 main breaker panel, in the 42 space model they are $142 at menards stores (in the Midwest). Square d qo are really good also. Regardless you want a main breaker panel. Also seperate all neutrals and grounds.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:52 AM   #9
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


I skimmed through this and missed the main lug part.

Your going to need a main breaker or a disconnect at the meter.

I would return that for a 42 space with a main breaker.
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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That panel is a main lug. It doesn't have a main breaker. You are going to need a main disconnect at the meter to use that panel.
You can use this main lug panel with the use of a meter main panel. It is a combination meter and load center in one panel. It will have a main breaker to feed the Siemens sub you have purchased.
It will also give you a few extra beakers outside. Meter mains are not expensive. The disconnect could be more money. I would keep what you have (except get the 42 space) and change your existing meter to the type I have described.

Last edited by J. V.; 02-18-2009 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:55 AM   #11
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


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You can use this main lug panel with the use of a meter main panel. It is a combination meter and load center in one panel. It will have a main breaker to feed the Siemens sub you have purchased.
It will also give you a few extra beakers outside. Meter mains are not expensive. The disconnect could be more money. I would keep what you have (except get the 42 space) and change your existing meter to the type I have described.
The powerco in Wisconsin does not seem keen on meter combo's for some reason. The linemen I have talked to have said they have never seen one installed around here. Seemed odd to me because I know they are used in other part of the country. None of the big box stores around here still combo's either. I think they are a great idea if you can get one and are allowed to install it. Just something to verify before you make the purchase.

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Old 02-18-2009, 02:06 PM   #12
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


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The powerco in Wisconsin does not seem keen on meter combo's for some reason. The linemen I have talked to have said they have never seen one installed around here. Seemed odd to me because I know they are used in other part of the country. None of the big box stores around here still combo's either. I think they are a great idea if you can get one and are allowed to install it. Just something to verify before you make the purchase.

Jamie

Combos are nice so you dont have the unfused service conductors sitting around, but I too have not seen any at the big box stores around here.
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:23 PM   #13
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


Quote:
Siemens is a good brand. You can slowly rewire, but I would just get rid of that zinsco (old panel) asap. They fail alot.

How is your house wired, by romex or bx?
There's a little of both. The main house has what looks like an earlier version of romex as it's green and has a fabric covering (terrible stuff if you ask me). The addition that was built in the 1970's looks like standard romex.

Quote:
I didn't even notice the 20/40 on the op's new panel. To the Op: I would suggest that you return that panel and get the 40/40, the panel should be about the same physical size, and can hold the same number of circuits, but it is much easier to work with the full size breakers. I hate using the slim breakers in my GE panel, which is pretty close the Siemens.
I didn't know there were alternatives to that size when I made this purchase (over a year ago from a private party). I won't be able to exchange it now. Is it that big of a deal to work with slimline breakers? The only image I've been able to find that shows the breaker panel wired is this one:

Is this showing the larger breakers? If you guys have a pic that can show the difference between the two form factors that would be great.

Quote:
That panel is a main lug. It doesn't have a main breaker. You are going to need a main disconnect at the meter to use that panel.
That was my plan. I hadn't thought about replacing that entire old box but now that you guys talk about it, I guess I'll just go ahead and replace the outside breaker box completely and put in a meter + main breaker box in it's place.

Mainly, what I'm trying to do (besides removing the wiring abortion that's now in place) is to get as many breakers inside the house as possible. I grew up in Chicago and when I came out here to Southern California, I couldn't believe all the breaker panels are put on the outside of the houses!! I said, "I'm not walking outside in the rain at 2am in my PJ's to flip a breaker back on!!" But I do see how the meter and the main breaker can still be outside as I've never had problems with them yet...

Thanks for all your help so far everyone!!
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:55 PM   #14
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


It's not a problem doing it that way with a disconnect at the meter. Just wanted to point out that this was what is going to be required with that main lug panel.
Also remember that this panel will need to be wired as a sub panel with a 4 wire feed and ground and neutral unbonded.
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:04 PM   #15
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Have you seen a REAL "rat's nest" wiring job??!!


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Combos are nice so you dont have the unfused service conductors sitting around,
I agree completely. I think unfused service beyond the meter is a horrible idea and if it is done should be in RMC.

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