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Old 01-29-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


I'm replacing my LoadCenter because I've run out of room to expand. At the same time I'm going back to full-size breakers because the new box has plenty of spaces. What I want to know is, and focusing just on the various wall outlet / lighting circuits scattered about the house, is there any rule of thumb or something per code (we're NEC-2008 here) that suggests how you should distribute each circuit to either of the 240 legs?

This is why I ask. I use X-10 controllers & outlet modules during the holidays to control xmas lighting and, if you know how these things work, the main controller must be able to talk to each outlet module in order for the system to work correctly. If any of the outlet modules (that you simply plug into an existing receptacle) are on the opposite line as your controller, then the controller can't talk to them. So to get everything to work I have to find outlets on the same 240 leg as the controller and then I'm OK, but its a real hassle. Yeah, there's boxes you can buy to "bridge" the X10 signals across both 240 legs but I'm trying hard to avoid this.

Is there any reason from preventing me from loading up all wall outlet/lighting circuits on the same 240 leg? Is there a significant current balance issue with these circuits? Or, once I get the new box installed should I just "play around" and swap circuits between legs until I get what I want (but then it gets back to the load balance question)?

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Old 01-29-2012, 11:50 PM   #2
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


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Old 01-29-2012, 11:52 PM   #3
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


I personally start with all my heavier loads/2p circuits at top of panel and try to distribute them as evenly as possible,then i install my single pole 20s the same way followed by my single pole 15s
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Joe, read it again.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:58 PM   #5
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Plummen, makes perfect sense, and I agree. But no formal guidance to do so?
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:00 AM   #6
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Joe, sorry, I probably threw you off with 240. S/B 220. My error. What I work on day-to-day, difference between 220 & 240 doesn't mean much.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:06 AM   #7
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


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Plummen, makes perfect sense, and I agree. But no formal guidance to do so?
Just too many years of changing out panels,same way that was beaten into my head as an apprentice under ben franklin!
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:11 AM   #8
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Plummen, so for example, being asked to "add" a 40A circuit, would you move all the 30s, 20s, and 15s down - if you could?
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:16 AM   #9
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


If there was enough slack in the wires to do so i would try,but then again i was raised by a pack of anal retentive blacksmiths-boiler makers/plumbers/electricians back in the days when they could still beat apprentices for doing things the wrong way!
Do you have any way of dedicating the circuits you want to use for your controllers and lighting before you remove your old panel to make it easier to land them on same phase with each other?
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:25 AM   #10
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Yeah, I agree that's what i'll need to do; i'll survey and tag the "select" circuits.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:27 AM   #11
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


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Old 01-30-2012, 06:36 AM   #12
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


In a residential panel, there is NO logical or effective reason to move around breakers to have certain ratings in certain positions. 2-pole breakers are inherently balanced, and the 120v loads will be nearly impossible to intentionally balanced since the loads are so transient.
The ONLY reason to put certain breakers in certain positions is personal preference, nothing else.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:03 AM   #13
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


For your X-10 stuff, i don;t think it matters what leg they are on. From what i understand X-10 sends a command over your whole system and also to all the other houses connected to your transformer. That's the primary reason they have house codes
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:03 AM   #14
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnd85053 View Post
This is why I ask. I use X-10 controllers & outlet modules during the holidays to control xmas lighting and, if you know how these things work, the main controller must be able to talk to each outlet module in order for the system to work correctly. If any of the outlet modules (that you simply plug into an existing receptacle) are on the opposite line as your controller, then the controller can't talk to them. So to get everything to work I have to find outlets on the same 240 leg as the controller and then I'm OK, but its a real hassle. Yeah, there's boxes you can buy to "bridge" the X10 signals across both 240 legs but I'm trying hard to avoid this.
Do yourself a favor and get X10's active coupler and stop worrying about which leg of power your devices are plugged into. I use a bunch of X10 stuff and was going quietly insane trying to keep things on the same side. Much nicer when you can simply plug in what you want where you want it and not worry about whether it's going to work or not... (Note: the passive coupler is a waste of money -- the active coupler works every time.)

PS: And yes, it does indeed make a difference which side of your power the controller and modules are on. When some of my 240v appliances were on, the system would work - apparently the signals were coupled side-to-side through the appliance. But when they were off, it wouldn't. Hence my impending insanity. And make sure you put the module in a small junction box - I don't think you can have active electronic thingies in the panel itself.

Last edited by slickwilliam; 01-30-2012 at 09:11 AM. Reason: Update
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:34 AM   #15
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Lighting Circuits on which 240 leg?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
In a residential panel, there is NO logical or effective reason to move around breakers to have certain ratings in certain positions. 2-pole breakers are inherently balanced, and the 120v loads will be nearly impossible to intentionally balanced since the loads are so transient.
The ONLY reason to put certain breakers in certain positions is personal preference, nothing else.
Like I said its just the way I was taught and I think it looks more professional is all,no requirement to do things that way

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