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Old 05-12-2013, 02:29 AM   #1
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Hi, new to forum, new to electric, new to my house. At present I want to add two circuits in the garage: one 240v 30a, another 120v 30a both circuits are to power shop tools. I also want to increase breaker slots for future circuits such as possible addition to garage, disposal, swimming pool equipment, outdoor lighting, service to tree house, whatever... Home was built in 1980. Main panel is full, and AFAICT there is no main breaker (which I would like to have.) Service is underground from street to meter. Current breaker panel has 26 slots (see photo) if it helps, Ive also appended a sketch of my best guess as to the wiring/load of the house (wiring routes in the sketch are notional.) ALso, from what I can tell, the panel splits at #9 slot, where there is a 50a double pole main lighting breaker.

So, I want to: 1.) add a main breaker, 2.) add breaker slots, 3.) use three of the new breaker slots to add two 30a circuits to my garage.

First question is: what level service do I have? My meter indicates: "FORM 2S CL200 240V 3W 60Hz TA=30..." Does this mean I have 200a service? Or am I going to have to call my local power company to verify?

Second question: How do I accomplish what I want? Subpanel or new main panel?

Third question: Can I maintain the existing wiring and simply add either the sub panel or new main in situ?

Fourth question: I'd like to perform as much of the work myself as is possible, then have a professional inspect it and wire it hot. Is this acceptable practice?

TIA for any and all input. - mark




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Old 05-12-2013, 02:37 AM   #2
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Couple Questions:

what's the name of that panel?
How far away from this panel is your meter, and
Is there a Disconnect Switch outside, after the meter?

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Old 05-12-2013, 02:46 AM   #3
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thanks for getting back to me, SSaL. the meter is just on the other side of the garage wall (cinder block) from the panel, maybe 2' away. there is no switch that i can see (or have access to.) does this help ID the panel:

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Old 05-12-2013, 03:16 AM   #4
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This is a type of panel (a split buss, I think) I'm not too familiar with, so give the pros some time to jump in here.

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Old 05-12-2013, 03:28 AM   #5
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Split bus panel, you will need to change it out, in order to do any kind of updating for your needs.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:48 AM   #6
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Yes replace the main panel ....

PHP Code:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_188143-82364-CH42B200V_0__?productId=3018788 
something like this you can use the old breakers ...and have room for expansion
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:10 AM   #7
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The bottom seven rows of breakers in that panel can accept twin breakers. Those are the kind in the bottom right two spaces.

That panel is in very good shape. There is no reason to change it other than the neutral/ground bars being completely full. Determining if it is full and/or making room is another task in itself.

If you are this new to electric there is NO WAY I would advise you, or give you any advice on running new circuits from that or any other panel. Doing the work and having it checked by a pro is sketchy at best. Most would not want to work that way since there are always things that cannot be seen. Have a pro do this and start learning small stuff and work your way up to work like this garage project.

I'll also ask, what in your garage requires 30A? Especially the 30A-120V? About the only thing I can see requiring that circuit would be a travel trailer or camper.
Remember, you CANNOT put general use 15 or 20 amp receptacles on a 30A circuit, regardless of the wire size.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:41 AM   #8
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My suggestion is to put a subpanel under the existing panel. Commandeer two slots from the existing panel (above the bus break) to provide the subpanel feed. Move the respective two displaced circuits to the subpanel. Run the new garage circuits from the subpanel.

By leaving the existing (main) panel intact you don't have to get the power company involved and coordinate pulling the meter and redoing/replacing the service conductors and get the power turned back on quickly. Also, replacing the main panel requires a separate permit in many cities.

Somewhere on the panel label it should state the maximum number of circuits that roughly translates to the maximum number of breaker handles. This number usually allows putting in a few twin breakers but not a twin breaker in every slot.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
The bottom seven rows of breakers in that panel can accept twin breakers. Those are the kind in the bottom right two spaces.

That panel is in very good shape. There is no reason to change it other than the neutral/ground bars being completely full. Determining if it is full and/or making room is another task in itself.

If you are this new to electric there is NO WAY I would advise you, or give you any advice on running new circuits from that or any other panel. Doing the work and having it checked by a pro is sketchy at best. Most would not want to work that way since there are always things that cannot be seen. Have a pro do this and start learning small stuff and work your way up to work like this garage project.

I'll also ask, what in your garage requires 30A? Especially the 30A-120V? About the only thing I can see requiring that circuit would be a travel trailer or camper.
Remember, you CANNOT put general use 15 or 20 amp receptacles on a 30A circuit, regardless of the wire size.
you boot these guys out of the pro forum so they come here for advice and then you wont advise them? This work is not rocket science and if the OP asks questions the rest of us WILL give him advice after all this is the DIY forum
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:24 AM   #10
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So you're going to tell someone who, by his own admission, has never done electrical work...how to "get his feet wet" by changing out an entire panel?

'fraid not....not by me. Sorry, no offense to the OP, but none of what you're planning is a first time type of job.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adis View Post
Hi, new to forum, new to electric, new to my house. At present I want to add two circuits in the garage: one 240v 30a, another 120v 30a both circuits are to power shop tools. I also want to increase breaker slots for future circuits such as possible addition to garage, disposal, swimming pool equipment, outdoor lighting, service to tree house, whatever... Home was built in 1980. Main panel is full, and AFAICT there is no main breaker (which I would like to have.) Service is underground from street to meter. Current breaker panel has 26 slots (see photo) if it helps, Ive also appended a sketch of my best guess as to the wiring/load of the house (wiring routes in the sketch are notional.) ALso, from what I can tell, the panel splits at #9 slot, where there is a 50a double pole main lighting breaker.

So, I want to: 1.) add a main breaker, 2.) add breaker slots, 3.) use three of the new breaker slots to add two 30a circuits to my garage.

First question is: what level service do I have? My meter indicates: "FORM 2S CL200 240V 3W 60Hz TA=30..." Does this mean I have 200a service? Or am I going to have to call my local power company to verify?
you appear to have a 200 amp
Quote:
Second question: How do I accomplish what I want? Subpanel or new main panel?
I would look at a sub panel it will allow for future also
Quote:
Third question: Can I maintain the existing wiring and simply add either the sub panel or new main in situ?
yes
Quote:

Fourth question: I'd like to perform as much of the work myself as is possible, then have a professional inspect it and wire it hot. Is this acceptable practice?

TIA for any and all input. - mark
some electricians will some will not. we work with homeowners all the time who wish to save money by doing the drilling and wire pulling what you want to do is bring the electrician in at the start and get his advice as he has eyes on the project. Also check with your local building dept to see if they will sign off on the permit.



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Old 05-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usair View Post

you boot these guys out of the pro forum so they come here for advice and then you wont advise them? This work is not rocket science and if the OP asks questions the rest of us WILL give him advice after all this is the DIY forum
That is his prerogative.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
So you're going to tell someone who, by his own admission, has never done electrical work...how to "get his feet wet" by changing out an entire panel?

'fraid not....not by me. Sorry, no offense to the OP, but none of what you're planning is a first time type of job.
He does not need to change out his entire panel.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:47 AM   #14
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That is his prerogative.
so mote it be
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post



I'll also ask, what in your garage requires 30A? Especially the 30A-120V? About the only thing I can see requiring that circuit would be a travel trailer or camper.
Its a garage. Some of us use our garage for more than a place to park a car. My compressor takes a thirty amp so does my welder. The OP said he wanted to operate "tools" . Now it is important to match the receptacle to the circuit amperage so a thirty amp receptacle will be needed on a thirty amp circuit

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