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Old 11-03-2008, 01:47 AM   #1
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main subpanel questions


Hello,

i have a quick question, but possibly an in depth one also... first let me explain how my service is setup, i have the poco's line coming to the meter then i have attached to the meter a 240 main panel with a 90 amp disconnect for the 120 panel in the laundry room, and a few other 240 breakers for the usual, dryer, a/c heat, etc.... the 120 subpanel runs the rest of the house.

now for the problem.

we had an issue over the last week where our living room breaker just started tripping out of the clear blue, only a tv and overhead fan/light in use on that circuit. well i called the landlord and he came over yo check it out pulled the breaker reinserted it and all was good till we went to take a shower and the water heater fired up(it runs off the 120 panel in the laundry, 2x30) well thats when i smelled something strange and when i touched the panel cover it was really hot to the touch so i called him back and he came over this time we noticed the red stripped feeder was really hot and when he touched it the lug connection to the bus started glowing red, so we kill the power and he tightened the screw(was half way out) but in the process the insulator broke around the lug and the lug still doesnt attach really tight to the buss, he is having an electrician come look at it tomorrow and see what needs to be done.

and the question

the landlord says the panel doesnt need to be replaced, we are in the process of buying the house and i may wanna replace it later if it doesnt get replaced now, however there are only 3 feeders the 2 hots and a ground, the ground is connected to the same bus as the neutral wires. same as in the 240 panel outside. i thought from reading on here the last few days that new nec doesnt allow that? this is a 70's era house. now if i wanna replace the 120 panel will i have to run a new 4 wire set to it so i can isolate the neutral and ground in the subpanel?

thanks for your time and sorry for such a long winded post!

oh yeah the 120 panel is a federal pacific brand that says stab lock on the cover.

Rat

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:00 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by rsriverrat View Post
Hello,

i have a quick question, but possibly an in depth one also... first let me explain how my service is setup, i have the poco's line coming to the meter then i have attached to the meter a 240 main panel with a 90 amp disconnect for the 120 panel in the laundry room, and a few other 240 breakers for the usual, dryer, a/c heat, etc.... the 120 subpanel runs the rest of the house.

now for the problem.

we had an issue over the last week where our living room breaker just started tripping out of the clear blue, only a tv and overhead fan/light in use on that circuit. well i called the landlord and he came over yo check it out pulled the breaker reinserted it and all was good till we went to take a shower and the water heater fired up(it runs off the 120 panel in the laundry, 2x30) well thats when i smelled something strange and when i touched the panel cover it was really hot to the touch so i called him back and he came over this time we noticed the red stripped feeder was really hot and when he touched it the lug connection to the bus started glowing red, so we kill the power and he tightened the screw(was half way out) but in the process the insulator broke around the lug and the lug still doesnt attach really tight to the buss, he is having an electrician come look at it tomorrow and see what needs to be done.

and the question

the landlord says the panel doesnt need to be replaced, we are in the process of buying the house and i may wanna replace it later if it doesnt get replaced now, however there are only 3 feeders the 2 hots and a ground, the ground is connected to the same bus as the neutral wires. same as in the 240 panel outside. i thought from reading on here the last few days that new nec doesnt allow that? this is a 70's era house. now if i wanna replace the 120 panel will i have to run a new 4 wire set to it so i can isolate the neutral and ground in the subpanel?

thanks for your time and sorry for such a long winded post!

oh yeah the 120 panel is a federal pacific brand that says stab lock on the cover.

Rat


Yes, you are correct! The Sub panel (versus the main (not called the 240 panel)) cannot have the bonding wire tied to the neutral. All the grounding conductores must be on a seperate buss.

You must understand that the panels you have are out dated. The Stab Loc breakers are known for never poping. The broken lug mount will need to be replaced, this may mean a new panel must be installed, or if the part can be replaced. It's hard to determin this without seeing it. The electrician will be able to direct the owner the best fix. Just like most landlords I'm sure he will want to go the cheapest route. THe electrician will make sure all the connections are tight and will be able to determin why one of the conductors was getting hot. It sounds like there is a short in the circuit causing the conductor to heat up and is inline with breakers not tripping as they should. If the owner goes the cheap route hopefully the home inspector will catch it and you can get money in escro to upgrade the panels.

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
however there are only 3 feeders the 2 hots and a ground, the ground is connected to the same bus as the neutral wires.
2 hots and a neutral is what that is. There may or may not be a grounding conductor (GC) or (EGC) E = Equipment.

Quote:
now if i wanna replace the 120 panel will i have to run a new 4 wire set to it so i can isolate the neutral and ground in the subpanel?
After re-reading your post, your going to need a new sub panel most likely. The new panel will require a properly sized EGC regardless if your homes existing wiring has grounds wires or not. Circa 1970 usually has ground wire within the romex. There are alot of other things to consider with respect to the electrical system...such as AL wire or copper clad...If it was me, I would hire my own electrician to look over the electrical systems prior to the sale, so you can be well informed before buying the house. Getting a plumber in there might not hurt either. You want unbiased professionals working for you to give you the real deal, instead of learning that you will need expensive repairs / upgrades in the near future. THe fact that you had a glowing hot lugg is a little concerning when you have your family in the home. An experienced electrican can not only save you lots of money, but your life too. Good Luck
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:15 AM   #4
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http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/FPESummary.htm

Stab Loc is a fire waiting to happen. Get it replaced if you can possibly do so.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:19 AM   #5
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You might want to get any aluminum wire checked out, you don't need to go for a full blown rewire, just a repair called "copalum".

http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/aluminum.htm
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:35 PM   #6
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ok so the electrician replaced the panel today with a new GE unit, looks nice and is all pretty except that NONE of the circuits are labeled, he told my son we would have to figure that out... lol yeah ok whatever.... anyway i wish i had of taken some pics of the old panel for you guys but i forgot, was more concerned about not letting the house burn down.. anyway, i took a couple pics of the new cover showing nothing written on it, and the inside showing the wiring job, i still have a concern/question tho.

i thought that all subpanels downstream of the main service panel were to have a 3 wire plus ground with a neutral/ground isolation to meet current code? or is this still considered part of the main? obviously code in the 80's didnt require 3 wire plus ground, since this panel was put in today, does it need to meet current code? or is what was done in the pics sufficient?

thanks again
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:40 PM   #7
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An electrician did that install? Yikes.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:42 PM   #8
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An electrician did that install? Yikes.
LOL yeah the landlord told me he normally does their a/c work, but is also a licensed electrician also. i was like ok whatever, but this isnt my house yet so i guess i cant complain....

Ratt
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:46 PM   #9
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LOL yeah the landlord told me he normally does their a/c work, but is also a licensed electrician also. i was like ok whatever, but this isnt my house yet so i guess i cant complain....

Ratt

Holy crap man... I would love to see the permit for that one. That install has more violations than worth mentioning.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:48 PM   #10
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Holy crap man... I would love to see the permit for that one. That install has more violations than worth mentioning.
permit? lmao this all went down last night, and he was out here at 11 this morning, and gone by 3, dont think he got a permit...
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:50 PM   #11
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main subpanel questions


Four wire feed is absolutely required for sub panels. This would not pass inspection. Make sure you list it as a deficiency when you offer on the house.
Also what is that single black wire that is coming out of the same connector as the feed cable. something not right about that either.
All the circuit grounds and neutrals are in the same bus as well. They need to be separated when the four wire feed is installed.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:51 PM   #12
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oh yeah forgot to mention my wife came home for a bit and asked the guy if he needed to replace the feeder, he told her no it looks fine.. also, there were about 4 20amp breakers, the 30's for the water heater, and the rest 15's in the old panel, now i have 1 gfci 20 the 30's for the water heater, and the rest 15's

Ratt
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:51 PM   #13
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permit? lmao this all went down last night, and he was out here at 11 this morning, and gone by 3, dont think he got a permit...

Might want to upgrade your renters insurance, hell, I would save these photos for evidence.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:54 PM   #14
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Strongly consider having a professional electrical inspection done before buying that property!
If that is a subpanel those grounds and neutrals need to be on seperate bus bars and the neutral bar needs to be isolated properly. There are other issues as well.

I'd like to know who gave this guy a license...
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #15
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Strongly consider having a professional electrical inspection done before buying that property!
If that is a subpanel those grounds and neutrals need to be on separate bus bars and the neutral bar needs to be isolated properly. There are other issues as well.

I'd like to know who gave this guy a license...

Look at the feeder, there are some obvious violations.

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