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Old 05-21-2009, 09:00 PM   #31
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Panel Swap


Made it to the big box today to look at some prices and I was surprised at how cheap the ground rods and ground wire will be. I just assumed that the rods would be like $40/each or something, but they're only $10/each, so why not put 2 new ones?! All in all this is really not going to be that expensive of a project. With regards to 30/40 panels vs. 40/40 panels, is one of the panels typically longer than the other making it difficult to reach lower breakers with the existing panel? When it's all said and done I'm really only looking at about $100 diff. between the lower end panel and higher end, so really I just have to pick the one that makes most sense based on my constraints with the existing wiring.


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Old 05-21-2009, 10:54 PM   #32
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Yes, 40/40 panels are longer than the 30/40- However you can pigtail extension conductors inside the panel if you need some length. I had to do that to mine, only a few circuits required it- many were long enough. Also, I realized the rods weren't that expensive that's why I made the suggestion of adding two. They are usually copper bonded or plated, not solid copper or they would be a fortune! The wire connecting them will likely cost much more.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:02 PM   #33
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Just out of curiosity, how do you guys typically provide light in unlighted areas when the power is off? I thought of just using my generator to provide power for lights, but I can't stand the thought of burning that gas all day long. Also, I know this will likely be a question for the inspector, but is the inspection typically done before or after the panel is energized?
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:32 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Old College Try View Post
Just out of curiosity, how do you guys typically provide light in unlighted areas when the power is off? I thought of just using my generator to provide power for lights, but I can't stand the thought of burning that gas all day long. Also, I know this will likely be a question for the inspector, but is the inspection typically done before or after the panel is energized?
I just replaced my panel this week and I kept the laundry light circuit disconnected from the new panel and made it the last circuit I hooked up. Then I just pushed the bare wires into the end of a power cord and plugged it into a power inverter connected to a battery pack consisting of 3 car batteries. Probably could have just simply used a 100 watt clip light, but there was ample light with the 2 - 100 watt bulbs in the laundry/utility room.

As for the inspection, I found out the hard way this week that you will need 2 inspections (at least my inspector required it - check out the thread Angry Inspector). POCO here won't re-energize the panel until the inspector has signed off on the work, and then of course the inspector can't check to verify everything is wired correctly until there is power (his little plug-in tester won't light up).
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:18 PM   #35
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Oh man, that was you with the angry inspector? I just read that last night. My inspector told me that it would require one inspection, but I never thought about the utility company requiring an inspection. I failed to ask the inspector when the inspection would be required, so I'll call him back a little in a few days. I live in a small town, so it's the kind of thing where he works another job during the day and I have to call him at his home after hours. It's awkward calling someones residence, having their wife answer and feel like I'm inconveniencing them. I know it's his job, but it's still strange.
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:56 AM   #36
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Yeah, that was me with the angry inspector (what a great way to start out the day eh?) I'd definitely check and make sure you don't need 2 inspections. I'd swear this inspector doesn't know how to check wiring unless his plug-in tester lights up with two amber lights and the light switch turns on a light.

I'm just glad he didn't start pulling out switches to check wiring, I have one hallway light in the basement that gets its neutral from the ground wire on the switch loop with the rest of the basement lights. Yeah, I will be re-wiring it soon hopefully. The way the lights are currently wired downstairs in the family room is just way weird and stupid. I intend to rip the ceiling down and re-wire it all (in addition to wiring for a projector and surround sound, network and CATV in the bedrooms above it as well).
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #37
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Well, it's been a while, but now that I got a bunch of other projects out of the way, I'm finally starting to get into the panel replacement. I just went outside and pushed 2 ground rods in. The first one when in 3 feets just by pushing down hard, another 4 feet by pile driving it by hand with brute strength, and the last foot with a few strokes of a 4 lb sledge. The other rod only went in about 3 feet by hand and the rest took about 5 minutes with the 4 lb'r. Totally pumped about not having to rent a hammer drill. I have a question about the ground wires. Can the #6 to the rods, and/or the #4 to the water pipe be strand, or do they need to be solid wire? I picked up a couple feet of #4 solid for bonding in a couple of places that are currently inadequate (water filter/water meter). Also, my water pipe entrance is right below my panel. Do I need to run the ground wires in conduit down from the panel to the water line, and down the exterior house wall to the ground rods? It's about 1 1/2 feet from where the ground exits the house down to grade.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:37 PM   #38
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I read the code at work today and found out that I can use either solid or strand for my ground conductors, so that questions answered. So, I'm wondering about my supply cable to the panel. As you'll see from the picture, the supply to the existing panel sweeps down from the entrance point in the wall down into the panel. I'm wondering if this is considered unprotected, or if since it's up high it doesn't matter. I don't want to give the inspector any reason to not pass me when I replace this panel. Any concerns? If so, any suggestions? By the way, I plan to clean up the existing cables when I do the new panel.
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Last edited by Old College Try; 06-08-2010 at 06:42 PM.
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