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Old 01-05-2009, 05:39 PM   #16
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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The existing panel and all wiring terminates in the garage, on the opposite side of the wall where i made the red meter marking in the photo. It would be cost prohibitive to move the panel anywhere else.

Any new wiring between the house and the garage has to go through conduit on the outside of the house as there is no other way (short of tearing walls apart) to get the feed to the basement.


Here are two more photos from a different angle.
You can leave the panel there. What I am suggesting is to install the meter and a disconnect at the end of the house, very close to the transformer. Then, just bury conduit over to the garage where it needs to go to the panel.

Then the power co's feed is only a few feet from the transformer to the corner of the house.

Jamie

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Old 01-05-2009, 06:40 PM   #17
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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You can leave the panel there. What I am suggesting is to install the meter and a disconnect at the end of the house, very close to the transformer. Then, just bury conduit over to the garage where it needs to go to the panel.

Then the power co's feed is only a few feet from the transformer to the corner of the house.

Jamie
I am not sure what this accomplishes other than me now having to absorb the cost from the corner of the house to the main panel in the garage.

As it stands now, the utility company is responsible for the cable from the transformer to the new meter and has already told me they would run new cable regardless of wether I go 200 amp or 400 amp.

It seems to me that if I go 400 amp, it forces(ensures) they run larger cable anyways and would minimize any voltage drops.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:52 PM   #18
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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I am not sure what this accomplishes other than me now having to absorb the cost from the corner of the house to the meter.

As it stands now, the utility company is responsible for the cable from the transformer to the new meter and has already told me they would run new cable regardless of weather I go 200 amp or 400 amp.

It seems to me that if I go 400 amp, it forces(ensures) they run larger cable anyways and would minimize any voltage drops.
The power co does as they wish. NEC does not apply. You can order and install the larger service, They may put in a new cable, but I highly doubt they going to put in a a cable large enough to handle the voltage drop.

Your right it is going to cost you a lot more to install as I suggested. It really comes down to how much you care about the voltage drop and the light flickering issue.

Did they tell you they would size the cable differently for 400a service?

Jamie


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Old 01-05-2009, 07:39 PM   #19
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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Why is there a giant onion on your roof???
Looks like a water tower in the background?
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:49 PM   #20
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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Looks like a water tower in the background?
Well I like to see it as an onion. OK?
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:56 PM   #21
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Well I like to see it as an onion. OK?

It is a funny picture.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #22
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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Did they tell you they would size the cable differently for 400a service?

Jamie
Yes, they did. I spoke to the chief engineer. He said he'd drop in new wire and would most likely go ahead and drop in cable big enough for 400 amp service so that i don't have to go through all of this again, but if I did upgrade to 400 amp they would definitely run big enough wire to service it.

My thought is that if I install 400 amp service, and they install bigger wire, and I only need peak 250 amps of service...I shouldn't necessarily have the voltage drop issue.

--------

Yes, it is a water tower across the street that looks like an "onion".
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:59 PM   #23
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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Yes, they did. I spoke to the chief engineer. He said he'd drop in new wire and would most likely go ahead and drop in cable big enough for 400 amp service so that i don't have to go through all of this again, but if I did upgrade to 400 amp they would definitely run big enough wire to service it.

My thought is that if I install 400 amp service, and they install bigger wire, and I only need peak 250 amps of service...I shouldn't necessarily have the voltage drop issue.

--------

Yes, it is a water tower across the street that looks like an "onion".
I understand, and In theory what you have planed sounds good in concept and may work out well...

As far as I know 400A service is normally protected at a max of 320A, so if you peak out at 250A of use, your still using around 80% of your service capacity.

Motors use such a huge amount of power at start up that you have to really go out of your way to size the conductors big enough that you don't get the dimming / flicker form a motor start up, especially from a load as big as a heat pump.

Even really small voltage drops cause flickering / dimming in lighting, and we are able to see those really small changes.

If they put in a larger cable, it should help, but they don't care if your lights dim or flicker and are not likely to size ($$$ to run that large of a cable) to prevent the voltage drop.

If you really want to get rid of the flicker / dimming, putting the meter / a disconnect really close to the transformer is the answer (then running the necessary size cable, possibly a dedicated cable to the heat pump,,, again that is only if you really care about getting rid of the flicker).

Running the large cable yourself would be expensive. So unless the light dimming really bothers you, then you mind as well let the power co run it to the garage, then you just have the short run in.

Jamie
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:18 PM   #24
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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My thought is that if I install 400 amp service, and they install bigger wire, and I only need peak 250 amps of service...I shouldn't necessarily have the voltage drop issue.

--------
Do not count on it, Power Companies know what residential loads actually are, not like the NEC which is WAYYYYYYY overkill, so you will IMO still have lights dimming, but you can always invest in a hard start kit.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:21 PM   #25
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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I understand, and In theory what you have planed sounds good in concept and may work out well...

As far as I know 400A service is normally protected at a max of 320A, so if you peak out at 250A of use, your still using around 80% of your service capacity.

Motors use such a huge amount of power at start up that you have to really go out of your way to size the conductors big enough that you don't get the dimming / flicker form a motor start up, especially from a load as big as a heat pump.

Even really small voltage drops cause flickering / dimming in lighting, and we are able to see those really small changes.

If they put in a larger cable, it should help, but they don't care if your lights dim or flicker and are not likely to size ($$$ to run that large of a cable) to prevent the voltage drop.

If you really want to get rid of the flicker / dimming, putting the meter / a disconnect really close to the transformer is the answer (then running the necessary size cable, possibly a dedicated cable to the heat pump,,, again that is only if you really care about getting rid of the flicker).

Running the large cable yourself would be expensive. So unless the light dimming really bothers you, then you mind as well let the power co run it to the garage, then you just have the short run in.

Jamie
Jamie, I know you mean well and your care shows, but moving the unit, increasing wire size will accomplish nothing. just IMHO. Voltage drop is just a fact of life, why it bothers people I just dont understand.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:33 PM   #26
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post

If you really want to get rid of the flicker / dimming, putting the meter / a disconnect really close to the transformer is the answer (then running the necessary size cable, possibly a dedicated cable to the heat pump,,, again that is only if you really care about getting rid of the flicker).

Running the large cable yourself would be expensive. So unless the light dimming really bothers you, then you mind as well let the power co run it to the garage, then you just have the short run in.
Jamie, I have to agree with Chris. What you are suggesting is no guarantee that there will be no dip or "flicker" in the incoming power or in the house at all.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:42 PM   #27
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


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Jamie, I have to agree with Chris. What you are suggesting is no guarantee that there will be no dip or "flicker" in the incoming power or in the house at all.
I was of the understanding (perhaps misunderstanding) that the voltage drop that leads to these flickering problems is due to the limitations (resistance) on the service conductors between the transformer and the panel.

I thought this was due to the service drop cables not being able to handle the draw that is present with the inrush of motor start ups, without having some voltage drop.

I must be confused with something.

Jamie
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:29 AM   #28
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


The dip/flicker can be related to the transformer, sometimes, regardless of the size of service conductors, you will have dip/flickering. You could put bigger start caps on the motors, that may reduce the amount of dip.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:05 AM   #29
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Panel Replacement/Upgrade 400 Amp


He could try changing to CF lights, they seem to smooth over flickers a little better than incandescents which show you every dipped half wave (if you got the eye for it). Since incandescents are banned for general lighting, taking effect in 2014, he might as well.

I agree it's probably the transformer contributing to a large part of the drop.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:46 AM   #30
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He could try changing to CF lights, they seem to smooth over flickers a little better than incandescents which show you every dipped half wave (if you got the eye for it). Since incandescents are banned for general lighting, taking effect in 2014, he might as well.

I agree it's probably the transformer contributing to a large part of the drop.

CFs sound like a good idea. Yeah, that transformer was probably designed for one 500-600 amp load. Unlike the ones powering several houses.

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