Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-17-2007, 11:29 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
Share |
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


I have a breaker panel outdoors with 3 circuits on it. One 220V 30A circuit for the pool pump, one for the pool light, and one for an outdoor outlet.

The current setup is this: There is a 40A, 220V double pole breaker directly under the meter. There is a 12/2 w/ ground wire connected to the 40A breaker. The hots are connected to red/black and the neutral is connected to the uninsulated ground wire.

The 12/2 w/ ground wire runs about 50ft. underground through conduit and comes up at the outdoor breaker panel. There is no "main" breaker on this panel. The two hots are hooked up to the two incoming lugs to feed the bus bars. The ground wire, which is actually a neutral from the meter, is hooked up to the neutral bus bar.

The neutrals and grounds from all the circuits connected to the outdoor panel are connected to the neutral bus bar.

Questions:

1. Should the 12/2 wire between the 40A breaker and the outdoor panel be a 12/3 instead? What are the ramifications of using an uninsulated wire for the neutral in this case?

2. Should the outdoor panel have a ground bus in it? Or can I treat this as a main panel? Can the 40A breaker back at the meter be considered to be the "main" breaker for this box, and the panel be wired similar to my main breaker in the house, or do I need to isolate the grounds in this instance?

Thanks
Lonnie

lhoney2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 06:18 AM   #2
Agent 000
 
SecretSquirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 334
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


First and foremost, the 12ga wire is way undersized to be sitting on a 40amp breaker. With that said here's what it should be;

3 - 8ga conductors with ground.
Obviously your 2 hot conductors, the neutral, and a ground wire.

This should be run to your subpanel and yes the panel should have a neutral bar and a ground bar. You don't need a main disconnect at the sub panel as there aren't enough devices (breakers) to warrant one. It escapes me at the moment but the code says that you should be able to turn off everything in 6 motions (or is it 7?) Anyway, the convenience outlet needs to be on a GFI circuit and I'm not sure about the pool light... someone else will have to chime in on that.

You have a safety hazard that needs to be addressed as soon as possible!!!

If you hired someone to wire this subpanel for you I would get my money back.

SecretSquirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 01:02 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Thanks for the input. I had a feeling that was the answer.

I understand how to wire the 2 hots and neutral in the 8ga wire you are referring to. Where do I attach the ground though? On the panel side, I would attach it to the ground bus. Where does it go in the 40A disconnect?

This wiring is about 15 years old. We bought the house 1 year ago. I put the new panel in myself, the bus bars on the old one were bad. I hooked the wiring up exactly as it was, though it didn't look quite right to me.
lhoney2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 01:28 PM   #4
Agent 000
 
SecretSquirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 334
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Quote:
Where does it go in the 40A disconnect?


Do you mean the panel near the meter with the 40 amp breaker?

Here's how it should look at the main panel;

There should be a neutral bar where all the white conductors (neutrals) are connected and a separate grounding bar where all the green or non-insulated ground wires are connected. A ground bar is usually an option when purchasing a panel. If you can get the panel model numbers and visit your local supply house, then they can fix you up. There should be a couple of pre-tapped holes in the panel to attach the bar to. If this isn't the case you'll have to drill and tap the panel yourself to mount the ground bar... and on the side is ok if there isn't any room on the back. It kinda sounds like they used the neutral bar for grounding also.

The subpanel should have the same facilities; a neutral bar and a ground bar.
SecretSquirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 01:46 PM   #5
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


The three conductors come from the meter to a one-breaker panel. This panel holds one 40A double pole breaker. There is no main panel in front of this breaker.

If I mount a ground bar inside of this panel, I will connect the ground of the new wire I install. I will also have to connect an earth ground to the bar, correct?

I will take pictures of everything tomorrow to help clarify things.

Thanks
Lonnie
lhoney2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 08:13 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


One more question -
IF the wire were 3 conductors plus a ground, would the 12 ga size be big enough, since the power is on two of the conductors instead of one?
lhoney2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 08:40 PM   #7
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,439
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


12 gauge wire is rated for 20 amp circuits. It way too small for a 40 amp circuit.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2007, 10:02 PM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Quote:
12 gauge wire is rated for 20 amp circuits. It way too small for a 40 amp circuit.
So it doesn't matter if the circuit is 240 or 120v? In the 240V case, the current is split across two different conductors. How do you take this into consideration when determining how much current a wire can carry?
lhoney2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2007, 01:43 AM   #9
UAW SKILLED TRADES
 
Stubbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 4,969
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Lonnie:

I'm sorry but I'm not following this 40 amp breaker directly after the meter. Please answer these questions....

1.) Does this meter also serve as the meter to your home?

2.) Is this 40 amp breaker that serves as the pool feeder disconnect remote from the feed that goes from the meter to your house.

3.) What disconnects the power to your house? A individual breaker like the 40 amp breaker or is there a main breaker type panel that deenergizes the branch circuits in your home.

4.) Are there two feeds out of the meter? By this I mean is there a feed to the 40 amp breaker from the meter and another feed coming from the meter to your home.

It almost sounds like someone has made a poor judgement and made a tap at the meter possibly putting both the house service entrance and pool panel feeder under the same lugs in the meter can. Would you explain a little bit more on what is going on as to feeders coming out of that meter of yours?

During your rewire you need to get up to speed on pools....art. 680 of the NEC ....Pools have strict guidelines that must be followed for safety. And of course your local codes have a say in how pools are wired. Most however follow the NEC.

I'm sorry to be a rain cloud on the parade but your going to have to rewire this feeder. Since this is a feeder to a panel from which branch circuits serve pool equipment the feeder must be installed in one of the following....rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, liquid tight flexible nonmetallic conduit or ridgid nonmetallic conduit. The equipment ground wire of the feeder must be insulated and not smaller than 12 awg copper.
You cannot use cables like uf-b or nm-b --- they do not have insulated ground wires... they have bare covered ground wires. Plus nm-b cannot go outside underground in conduit.
You can probably use the existing cable to pull your new individual insulated wires through the run of conduit. I would strongly suggest THWN copper individual wire. For 40 amps (no adjustments for voltage drop) will require #8 awg copper for the insulated conductors and a insulated #10 awg ground wire. You will need a length of black#8, red#8, white #8 and Green insulated #10 awg for equipmenrt ground

Conduit has specific burial depths... if you use the most common conduit that being rigid non-metallic shedule 40 it must be buried 18 inches deep.

4 wire feeders require their neutral and ground be isolated...ie...not bonded... at the pool panel. This usually requires adding a ground bar to the panel and connecting the feeder ground to that ground bar along with all the grounds from the branch circuits to the pool equipment. Do not install the bonding means between the metal can and the neutral bar.

There is a bunch to know about pools,... first identify what kind of pool you have using article 680 of the NEC. Then bone up on the appropriate sections that apply.

Here is a link .......http://www.mikeholt.com/files/PDF/Pooldownload.pdf

Read carefully then you should come back and ask any questions you may have.

stubbie
Stubbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2007, 04:09 AM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 14
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Stubby,


Quote:
1.) Does this meter also serve as the meter to your home?
Yes
Quote:
2.) Is this 40 amp breaker that serves as the pool feeder disconnect remote from the feed that goes from the meter to your house.
Not sure that I understand this question. The 40 amp disconnect is mounted just below the meter pan.

Quote:
3.) What disconnects the power to your house? A individual breaker like the 40 amp breaker or is there a main breaker type panel that deenergizes the branch circuits in your home.
There is a main breaker panel inside garage, on the other side of the wall from the meter pan. There is a 200A main breaker on this panel. Killing this breaker kills all the power to the house, but does not affect the outside power whatsoever.

Quote:
4.) Are there two feeds out of the meter? By this I mean is there a feed to the 40 amp breaker from the meter and another feed coming from the meter to your home.
Yes, the indoor and outdoor feeds are both coming from the same meter. I can't actually see this connection, but they must be both on the same lugs. I don't know exactly how this is wired.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be pulling a new wire. The existing wire does not appear to be the UVF type, so I am assuming it is in conduit for the whole run. I'm not sure how big this conduit is, I will have to look and see. The conductors I will be pulling through are quite a bit larger than what is already there, so I know there is a chance I won't be able to reuse the existing conduit. The run is completely covered in concrete now, so I won't be able to bury a new conduit if I can't use the old. I'm in a two story, so attic could be tough too.

Quote:
4 wire feeders require their neutral and ground be isolated...ie...not bonded... at the pool panel. This usually requires adding a ground bar to the panel and connecting the feeder ground to that ground bar along with all the grounds from the branch circuits to the pool equipment. Do not install the bonding means between the metal can and the neutral bar.
I understand the isolation of the grounds and neutrals at the pool panel. What does the ground get connected to at the 40A disconnect side? Does it get connected to an earth ground at that point?

Also, is it bad to have the two taps at the meter like that? What would the better alternative be? To have a breaker from the main house panel instead?

This really is making me mad. Whoever installed this 15 years ago could have done it right without much more effort or expense. The original pool pump (which I just replaced) was wired for 240V also, so I know the service requirements haven't changed since then.

Thanks for the links and the advice stubby and squirrel.
lhoney2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2007, 07:07 AM   #11
Agent 000
 
SecretSquirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 334
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by lhoney2 View Post
So it doesn't matter if the circuit is 240 or 120v? In the 240V case, the current is split across two different conductors. How do you take this into consideration when determining how much current a wire can carry?
When specifiying a panel, wire size, and over current protection you would sum all the full loads and try to balance the load between legs (the 2 hots). Here's an example;


Device_______ L1 amps__ L2 amps
-----------------------------------------------
5HP Pump______21.4_______21.4
Pool light________1.7__________(assuming 200 watts)
Receptacle_______________12.0 (potential full load)
-----------------------------------------------
Total:__________23.1______33.4
-----------------------------------------------
25% Safety _____28.9_____41.75
-----------------------------------------------

You would chose the greater load and size the wiring and overcurrent protection accordingly. In your case the 41.75 is the greater which says that a 40Amp breaker should feed the panel and that #8 wire should be used since it is rated for 40amps. You have to overrate the system by a factor of 1.25.

Does this clear things up?

Note: I had the table nicely formatted but for whatever reasons when I first submitted it all my spacing was truncated, thus the need for the underscores. I hope it makes sense.

Last edited by SecretSquirrel; 07-19-2007 at 07:13 AM. Reason: re-Formatting data table
SecretSquirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2007, 12:32 PM   #12
UAW SKILLED TRADES
 
Stubbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 4,969
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Lonnie:

It's very hard for me to just assume I know what you have with that pool panel feeder. Nothing about how they have that 40 amp breaker directly served from the meter then to the pool panel is right in my opinion. I don't see where it complies at all with the feeder tap rules. This being a pool feeder makes me advise you to get a inspector from your codes department out to make sure what has been done is in compliance with tap rules but I'm not seeing where what you have is acceptable. The fact that the installer of this put 12 awg protected on a 40 amp breaker and tapped at the meter ahead of the main service disconnect for the dwelling just isn't making sense to me. Best to have that approved before you proceed.

Yes it would better to have the pool panel served from a breaker in your main panel.
Speaking of the pool panel where is it located? Is it attached to your house or is it out by the pool in a shed or on a post or what??

You cannot use any kind of 12/2 or 12/3 cables period. And a bare neutral is frankly insane if used in a pool panel feeder.

Quote:
I understand the isolation of the grounds and neutrals at the pool panel. What does the ground get connected to at the 40A disconnect side? Does it get connected to an earth ground at that point?
Lonnie... I really don't think this is going to be allowed period. The equipment ground wire in the feeder and the grounding electrode conductor (earthed) are not the same thing. You never connect the ground wire of the feeder to an earth ground only... it must at some point be bonded with the service neutral.

You don't even have a ground wire in your existing set up. This was another major oversight by the person who installed this pool panel feeder.

I'm concerned at what was done at the meter to feed this pool panel... you need to have someone qualified look at it.
Get your permits for rewire and get this thing inspected.

I'm all for homeowners working on their own rewires and other projects but pools are very complex and at lot of knowledge is needed. I would be very suspect that other requirements have been met with this pool of yours based on what I'm seeing in your description of the wiring for your pool.

We haven't even talked about the branch circuits out of the pool panel and if they are in compliance with swimming pool code.

There are a lot of bases we need to go over with you so my suggestion is to seek a professional to look at what you have and then make a decision whether or not what will be required to bring the pool up to code is within your abilites.

Stubbie
Stubbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2007, 05:44 PM   #13
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,439
Default

Outdoor breaker panel questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by lhoney2 View Post
So it doesn't matter if the circuit is 240 or 120v? In the 240V case, the current is split across two different conductors. How do you take this into consideration when determining how much current a wire can carry?
A 240 volt circuit uses 2 breakers. One to protect each conductor. 20 amp is 20 amps. A 20 amp double breaker 240 circuit is not a 40 amp circuit.

joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
This doesnt seem right. JoulesWinfield Electrical 27 07-26-2009 07:40 PM
Aluminum-wired house, questions LMH Electrical 2 05-24-2009 03:06 AM
Splice in Neutral to Panel - OK or Not? allpraisebob Electrical 4 08-12-2006 05:54 AM
Adding new circuit breakers to 100 amp sub panel DrP Electrical 8 05-25-2006 10:05 PM
Main/Sub/Garage Gen Backup Questions crecore Electrical 9 04-17-2006 06:31 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.