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Old 08-07-2012, 07:08 AM   #16
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Panel Relocation and Partial rewire


If you pull the switches out and take pictures or describe the3 colors and numbers of wires in the box you someone might be able to correct the wiring and get this working. You may want to look at some 3 way wiring diagrams before you do this to help you understand what you see.

Neutrals do not get connected to switches in your case.

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Old 08-07-2012, 08:56 AM   #17
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Panel Relocation and Partial rewire


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If you pull the switches out and take pictures or describe the3 colors and numbers of wires in the box you someone might be able to correct the wiring and get this working. You may want to look at some 3 way wiring diagrams before you do this to help you understand what you see.

Neutrals do not get connected to switches in your case.
Yep. Ive got my Black & Decker "complete home wiring" book open to the switch diagrams section already. Ive got a good handle on how the circuits function, its really a question of seeing what I have for wiring in the walls. If its non grounded wire, theres never gonna be an easier time to pull new cable through. I am also contemplating cutting a square of drywall out at each switch location, and installing new plastic boxes. (im sure some people swear by metal, but I feel a little safer not having switch terminals that close to a metal box.) I figure this will also give me a little more room to play with the wires in the wall, especially if I have to pull new wire through.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:15 AM   #18
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Panel Relocation and Partial rewire


Alright, I know everyone has an opinion about brands and styles of anything, so what say you guys about loadcenters/main panels/breakers?

I think I probably see more of the homeline Square D panels than any other, but I work in an industry where Cutler-Hammer has their name everywhere. And then theres GE (a little known brand right? ha) Basically the biggest issue I could see is the cost and availability of breakers down the line, I would imagne theres a couple standards...but most likely each brand has their own style not interchangable with another.

On a related note, Lowes has 2 square D load centers that look identical, except one has a grab bag of breakers with it. But the empty panel is about $100 more than the bundle!? The only other difference I can see is copper bus bars, but that hardly seems worth the difference in price.

Another term I am not sure if I should be worried about is feed through lugs. I would assume this means you can run multiple panels right off the main line as opposed to my setup, where the sub panel is fed through a breaker in the main panel. Am I close?

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Old 08-07-2012, 11:21 AM   #19
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Panel Relocation and Partial rewire


Well....I just installed the SD panel on my house....I did have a Murray.....big difference in quality....the Murray was OK...but the over all fit and finish of the SD is better.

I think I paid like $120 for my 200A bundle...came with about 4 or 5 breakers...

Like you, I see a lot of CH as well....when it comes to industrial load centers and MCC's....CH seems to have the majority...then SD...but when it comes to MCC's....give me AB...

It should be noted that the residential load centers are not the same as what we see in industry.....I priced out a CH and SD load center from our local supply.....OUCH..........
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:35 AM   #20
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Well....I just installed the SD panel on my house....I did have a Murray.....big difference in quality....the Murray was OK...but the over all fit and finish of the SD is better.

I think I paid like $120 for my 200A bundle...came with about 4 or 5 breakers...

Like you, I see a lot of CH as well....when it comes to industrial load centers and MCC's....CH seems to have the majority...then SD...but when it comes to MCC's....give me AB...

It should be noted that the residential load centers are not the same as what we see in industry.....I priced out a CH and SD load center from our local supply.....OUCH..........
I had initially budgeted about 4G for this project just in case all went wrong and I had to hire an electrician to gut and rewire the whole house...now that it looks much more managable and DIY friendly, the sticker shock of load centers doesnt bother me much. I would just assume pay a little more for a better product...I just can't figure out which one is the better product!

As for CH in industry, thats what the navy has used since...forever...so much for AB (a more cost effective or a more superior product doesnt mean a go to product in their eyes.)
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:16 PM   #21
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Panel Relocation and Partial rewire


Hmmm, load centers. Well i usually install SqD because of value and availabilty in breakers for avg homeowners.
They are a good "builders grade" panel. Eventually when i upgrade my own service, im gonna get
The SqD with copper bus. Sure its a bit more, but with Cu there is less to worry about with heat and friction.
I like to put NoAl-ox on the non-Cu panels before installing breakers. It cuts down on friction and scratching
of the bars which could lead to arcing on the breakers.

As for your switch dilemma, it looks as tho you have a decent understanding.
If you know how to trace wires with continuity, that should help sort them out.
When you disassemble all switch box wiring, cap all the wires separately and check which gets power from the panel.
After that, labeling all the travelers and feeds will get you on your way

You can check continuity by nutting wires together, but this could be time consuming.
I like to use a remote continuity tester. You can pick one up at Lowes for around $20, and it can save you time.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:00 AM   #22
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Ok guys...you asked for it...





The colors indicate switches that have an effect on the same light. (or in the case of blue...(2) recepticles.

Theres about a 95% chance that after I put the new panel in, I am going to run new circuits for every one of these. Also, all of the 2 lead cables have no ground. (they are a silver ruberized kind of cable...not the standard romex I am used to seeing.) And Im pretty sure there are some circuits crossed in here which may explain why I have to open 2 breakers to kill all of the boxes.


Also, I think that picture pretty much sums it up best...but I have photos of each box with the switches pulled out that I can link to if anyone wants, also, if my schematic is too hard to see, I can cut it up and post bigger individual pieces.

Thanks a ton guys! (or girls!)
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:58 AM   #23
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Alright. Ive got it worked out (on paper at least) Ive got 6 out of 9 switches with miswires, and 5 out of 9 switches with current carrying neutrals (that arent coded black) But it looks like 1 of the switches is 100% correct. I'll dig into it today after work and see if I'm right!
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:32 AM   #24
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Got everything traced last night and about 60% fixed. I started by identifying what cables went from box to box, (Thanks MrZ for telling me about that remote continuity tester...worked great!) then figured out what leads were hot, I was able to get the rest of it through process of elimination. Had 2 lights that were white hot instead of black hot, which tells me the light is upstream of the switches instead of the other way around, when I figured that out, I coded all my whites as hot and it was pretty simple from there! It looks like who ever orignally wired it messed up by not coding the ends of the whites, and losing track of what was what, also, I dont think they understood the internal wiring of a 3 way switch.

Overall it was a good confidence builder so I can tackle the panel project!
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:16 PM   #25
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Panel Relocation and Partial rewire


Haha, that was a good first project for you.
Once you understand how things work, it makes life a bit easier

Thanks for sharing your success. Its good to know when problems are worked out.
If you have any other Q's just ask.

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