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Rick Bruner 05-13-2007 10:12 AM

Obsolete sub-panel
I am new as well and unfortunately posted this on the electricians site - and was told to "hire an electrician" - I have been doing my own electrical work for a long time....anyway here goes again - I have a 100A panel in the basement which had been updated some time ago - there is also a sub-panel upstairs in the back hallway - it is a Square D very old 70A panel with 8 breakers - 6 1/2" x 10" (I sent an email to Sq D and they could not find the panel) - several of the breakers do not work so I have had to move branch circuits areound a couple of times to keep them operating - this panel mostly feeds the 1st and second floors - second floor two bedrooms and bath and large closet - probably not a lot of service remains and I am going to do that mapping here shortly....the wiring is all B/W and W - cloth wrapped and of course no ground wire on the remaining my question is can I just buy a small 100A panel and do as best what I can to replace it completely with the wiring that is there or spend the next six months trying to fish new wire to all of the remaining service locations - obviously the latter would be preferred - I live in NY and need to know what is allowed......Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated......

Stubbie 05-13-2007 03:32 PM

I would just replace the sub-panel as you are thinking. My observation is that by moving your breakers around seems to restore a non-functioning branch circuit to one that works. So a good first step would be to replace the sub. A 100 amp 6 slot 12 circuit would be pretty good choice I think.

The old cloth wrapped wiring is usually fine. Where you really have problems with it is at light fixtures where the insulation of the wires becomes brittle from the heat generated by the lamps over time.

You are going to have a few issues with the existing feeder as it is most likely a 3 wire feeder since your wiring has no equipment ground. Its been my experience that the inspector many times will allow the replacement panel only and keep the 3 wire feeder. You should check with your codes department.

Remember there is no way to bond the metal panel to a fault path without using the neutral wire of the feeder. This is not wanted. So not as safe as modern nm-b wiring that has an equipment ground where you are able to isolate the neutral and equipment ground at the sub.

Also remember that you are not allowed to extend branch circuits that do not have equipment ground. You must leave them as they exist.

Did I get even close to answering your question?


tribe_fan 05-13-2007 04:11 PM

It might be cheaper to call an electrician - they might have more contacts to find replacement breakers. If you can find an Electrical supply place that will sell to the public, they might be able to find a replacement.

I doubt if the manufacture put much effort into finding you an answer.

Rick Bruner 05-13-2007 04:24 PM

Obsolete sub-panel
Thanks much for the quick reply - all of what you said is where I was tentatively headed assuming some confirmation....I certainly do appreciate the extra tips as well - I had just read about the bonding and you have again confirmed what I have read.....I looked below your name - I thought that it was going to say IBEW instead of UAW.....Anyway hope all of the wires reach - otherwise I am going to have pigtails in the box.....I have two the way with the old panel the breakers do not remove so it is moving the branch circuits to other breaker positions - this box is really old and in bad shape....that concerns me more than the circuits....Thanks again....

Tribe fan....
I talked to a couple of electricians and one said he would not touch it - leave as is....which was about ten years ago - the breakers have a solid metal cover plate over all eight :) so they are unfortunately not removable....the whole panel is on its last best...

Thanks again.....!!

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