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Old 11-13-2010, 08:43 PM   #1
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


I have a problem i'd like some input on. I'm replacing an old 240/30A outlet in the garage with a small 2slot 70A main lug. after i mount the load center in place, the existing wires are too short to reach their connection points; the hots about 1-2", the neutral about 4", and GND about 1". The wire is pulled pretty tight under the subfloor and penetrates a brick/concrete wall into the garage.

I'm wondering peoples opinion on ideas to remedy this. Such as using a pig tail on each to give me some more wire length to make connections. Similar to that, I also have on hand various colors of these Ideal ***#12 Term-a-nuts:
[IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/Owner/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.png[/IMG]
http://www.drillspot.com/products/73...tail_Connector

Or maybe even soldering some more solid copper wire on. Which I've never had to do (I have done lots of nuclear grade soldering and in machinery but not solid copper; at home).

I suppose I could (possibly) unmount the cable under the house and move it in more a straight line from the main panel (it shoots out at ~45 deg. angle to a corner of the garage) to give me a few more inches... but I'd rather not have to deal with that.

It definitely seems like an odd setup to extend the incoming supply, but in essence this 70A main lug is just another box supplying power to loads. I want what ever will do the job safely/reliably and is easiest. But I'm not sure of the strength of a soldered solid #12 (probably just fine in reality), or of the screw on pigtail resistance (should be pretty minimal and it is #12 designed for that load). Seems the pigtail provides more surface area than even the main lug screw. I assume soldering is lower resistance connection, but just unsure of reliability...

***EDIT: DOH, I WASN'T THINKING REGARDING THESE WIRES BEING ONLY #12; SO DISREGARD USING THOSE.


Last edited by EndlessGrowth; 11-14-2010 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:56 PM   #2
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


Extending the wires via any approved splicing method in a junction box is your solution.

Mounting the panel "upside down" may help.

More importantly, am I reading you correctly, that you intend to install a 70-amp subpanel powered by 12awg wire?!

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Old 11-13-2010, 09:28 PM   #3
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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Originally Posted by emolatur View Post
Extending the wires via any approved splicing method in a junction box is your solution.

Mounting the panel "upside down" may help.

More importantly, am I reading you correctly, that you intend to install a 70-amp subpanel powered by 12awg wire?!
Yes, I understand that splicing is (likely) the solution- but I'm looking for ideas on which way is best. or peoples experience with such a thing since i've never seen this done feeding a panel. I know it is not ideal, but surely has happened somewhere before.

Rotating this panel doesn't change the geometry/distance to the lugs unfortunately- entry point is at the end/bottom of the box. I could spend $30+ on a 1/2 ko punch, but I was hoping to not spend any more money. I could make a new hole at the top rear of the box above the lugs, but the ground would still be 1-2" short. (which is less "risky" than spliced power admittedly)
[The bottom of the panel (due to the wire wall penetration point) is 18" off the floor; I realize this is not typical but is permitted since there are only limits to the max height of a panel. So in my situation with a new hole in the upper of the box, I would simply mount the panel upside (top-hole) down to keep from having the panel any more odd/lower.]

And yes, a 70A box, Eaton BR24L70RP, which is fine. I could install a 200A rated box if i wanted to waste $$ and be really odd... the only thing that matters is what i put in the box (breaker sizing), and the wiring/outlets/load downstream of that.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:47 PM   #4
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


the breakers on that are vertical, yes? Unless the breakers can be installed upside down, you cannot invert the box. The must be down in the off position.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:24 PM   #5
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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the breakers on that are vertical, yes? Unless the breakers can be installed upside down, you cannot invert the box. The must be down in the off position.
doh! you are right- since at least 1975; verified on nachi.org... thank you. although it looks like the breaker mount components are actually reversible for use in other enclosures, but not this one since it needs a notch to hook into, and there would be no space to insert wires into the breakers- just plain not doable.
interestlingly, according to nachi, it is ok to mount any box sideways though, with side/side breaker like we use in industrial... but that would be very odd here; plus i need to send cables left & right from the side KO's

Last edited by EndlessGrowth; 11-13-2010 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:25 PM   #6
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


I hope you have a 20 amp breaker feeding that panel, and not something bigger.

Also first time I hear of the breaker having to be down in off position, but guess that's a NEC thing. I know here in Canada you can mount most panels upside down or even sideways. I believe the panel has to be rated for it.

If the feed is really just a #12 then I'd just use a standard octagon jbox to extend it.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:41 PM   #7
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I hope you have a 20 amp breaker feeding that panel, and not something bigger.

Also first time I hear of the breaker having to be down in off position, but guess that's a NEC thing. I know here in Canada you can mount most panels upside down or even sideways. I believe the panel has to be rated for it.

If the feed is really just a #12 then I'd just use a standard octagon jbox to extend it.
actually, it can be mounted sideways. I was meaning to address the upside down issue only in my statement.

NEC allows it to be mounted sideways as well but they will not allow a disconnect to be up in the off position. That is why we cannot mount a typical panel sideways. 1/2 of the breakers would be up in the off position.

yes, in canada, you guys get to mount the panels any which way.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:43 PM   #8
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I hope you have a 20 amp breaker feeding that panel, and not something bigger.

Also first time I hear of the breaker having to be down in off position, but guess that's a NEC thing. I know here in Canada you can mount most panels upside down or even sideways. I believe the panel has to be rated for it.

If the feed is really just a #12 then I'd just use a standard octagon jbox to extend it.
wha,why would you limit to 20A? as i stated, the outlet i'm replacing has been 240v/30A )for decades). that is not the issue i'm having. #10 wire is conservatively rated to 33A max anyhow, hence the 30A rule; and the free-air current rating of that wire is 55A. and those ratings are at max temp rating. i've built & repair machines that use #10 carrying over 30A no problem. it super conservative. the current limits are based on voltage drop, not wire heating, except for in magnet wire... and they test out to 1000' or more to get the current rating. in a house we would rarely deal with 1/10th that distance. mine is about 30 feet of wire to main panel. even if i had spurious trips, i wouldn't hesitate to throw a 35A on there instead.

if the jbox were acceptable, then why not just just do the same thing & splice and connect in the main lug? i have never seen a high current jbox either actually (>20A?) my issue is i have never seen a (higher current) spliced feed to a panel.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:55 PM   #9
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


there is no concern with making a joint is a typical junction box.


the reason you have to use a 20 amp breaker is because that is the largest allowed on your #12 wire. To use a 30 amp breaker, you must use at least #10 wire.

and you cannot use just a solder joint. It must have a mechanical connection other than solder.

Quote:
the current limits are based on voltage drop, not wire heating, except for in magnet wire..
Not correct. The size is based on heating. The code does not deal with voltage drop. All there is in the code concerning voltage drop is a suggestion to limit voltage drop to a certain level. There is no requirement it be followed.

Last edited by nap; 11-14-2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:13 AM   #10
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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there is no concern with making a joint is a typical junction box.


the reason you have to use a 20 amp breaker is because that is the largest allowed on your #12 wire. To use a 30 amp breaker, you must use at least #10 wire.

and you cannot use just a solder joint. It must have a mechanical connection other than solder.
dumb me, i finally see, you are talking about if i use those ideal twiston leads. and it didn't even register that they were only #12. thank you.

but for soldering i was going to use scrap #10 wire; solder that to the short feed wires, in order to extend a few inches. it would still have a mechanical connection to the lug screw in the panel. acceptable?
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:17 AM   #11
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


no wire connection can depend solely on a soldered joint. You need to use wire nuts, polaris connectors, approved crimp on connectors, or some other mechanical connector.

that means the wire to wire connection must use something other than solder for the connector.

what size is the wire from the house to the garage?
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:55 AM   #12
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


I did read that you will put a small subpanel and you have to understand that we do follow the codes and with 4.0mm≤ { #12 AWG } you are only restricted to 20 amp max no if but or what that it.,,

And what size the conductor you have in there now ?? that will make the big diffrence on safety issue.

Normally 6.0mm≤ { #10 AWG } typically limited to 30 amp max in USA / Canada side.

Any other size let us know what you have there.

And Make sure you have true 4 wire feeder there.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:57 AM   #13
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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no wire connection can depend solely on a soldered joint. You need to use wire nuts, polaris connectors, approved crimp on connectors, or some other mechanical connector.

that means the wire to wire connection must use something other than solder for the connector.

what size is the wire from the house to the garage?
#10 wires, except ground is #14... attached garage, right thru the house wall. i've never seen those polaris connectors, but that looks better than wire nuts or crimp to me; but damn $15+? just seems so silly to me to have only a few inches of wire with a connector for all 4 wires in this little box. but now i'm seeing pics on nachi.org with WIRE NUTS, and they say it is ok as long as less than 75% of cross section is filled
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:00 AM   #14
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
I did read that you will put a small subpanel and you have to understand that we do follow the codes and with 4.0mm≤ { #12 AWG } you are only restricted to 20 amp max no if but or what that it.,,

And what size the conductor you have in there now ?? that will make the big diffrence on safety issue.

Normally 6.0mm≤ { #10 AWG } typically limited to 30 amp max in USA / Canada side.

Any other size let us know what you have there.

And Make sure you have true 4 wire feeder there.

Merci.
Marc
right, i mind blanked that those ideal leads were only #12 and not #10 like the feed... yes 4-wire
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:17 AM   #15
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Old wires too short to reach new main lug connections


Ok as long you remember to keep the ground and netural seperated at the subpanel.

I have done all the time use the wirenuts to extend it And genrally it allowed in USA side but Canada useally not allowed.

Just remember that all the 120 volts circuits have to be GFCI protected.

Merci.
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