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Old 07-30-2009, 12:38 AM   #16
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reusing breakers


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Originally Posted by woobiken View Post
Use'em! You should find one brand that will work, only one will remember! Don't mind the electricians telling ya to waste your money on "NEW" breakers! Heck they sure as heck don't test and reset the breakers in their own homes on a monthly basis and I'm positive they don't run to the store buying new breakers every time they're wiring their own house! Sorry "Sparkles"!!! The man just asked a simple electrical question ......

Maybe so but it depending on the condtion and brand name of the breakers.

Really for me I just get new one and be done with it unless it was a major mistake by have wrong load centre then can change with same brand name and series then yeah I can do that but that word "reused" I used very loosely.

The cost of single and double pole are not very much about 5 $/ for single pole breaker while double poles useally run about 10 $/ unless you got GFCI or AFCI then it will go up depending on size and requirement. ( that will cover most common brand name but the old loadcentre that is out of question )

Merci,Marc

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Old 07-30-2009, 04:21 AM   #17
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Maybe so but it depending on the condtion and brand name of the breakers.

Really for me I just get new one and be done with it unless it was a major mistake by have wrong load centre then can change with same brand name and series then yeah I can do that but that word "reused" I used very loosely.

The cost of single and double pole are not very much about 5 $/ for single pole breaker while double poles useally run about 10 $/ unless you got GFCI or AFCI then it will go up depending on size and requirement. ( that will cover most common brand name but the old loadcentre that is out of question )

Merci,Marc
Right on! Being new to this site I've noticed tons of common sense and great advice from everyone that responds to questions being asked. I'm almost tempted to throw out a few gristle ladened questions for everyone to chew on! I just talked myself into it........
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:33 AM   #18
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The reason I am replacing the panel is I just put in the underground conduit and the old panel is designed for overhead only. Sure, there is a punch-out on the bottom, but there would be no partition between the line side and the load side of the box, which I believe is required.

I had the old panel put in less than 5 years ago, and maybe one or two of them have tripped a few times because of obvious overloading (bathroom heater plus hairdryer). I had never heard of a breaker actually failing before, but then I don't work in the trade. I did see the SquareD article about counterfeit breakers being sold.

I eventually want to bring the whole house up to code, so I'll look into AFCI style breakers.
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:44 AM   #19
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The reason I am replacing the panel is I just put in the underground conduit and the old panel is designed for overhead only. Sure, there is a punch-out on the bottom, but there would be no partition between the line side and the load side of the box, which I believe is required.

I had the old panel put in less than 5 years ago, and maybe one or two of them have tripped a few times because of obvious overloading (bathroom heater plus hairdryer). I had never heard of a breaker actually failing before, but then I don't work in the trade. I did see the SquareD article about counterfeit breakers being sold.

I eventually want to bring the whole house up to code, so I'll look into AFCI style breakers.
Perhaps I am missing something. It is impossible to isolate the line side from the load side aside from the use of a main breaker or main fuse block.

If the panel is located indoors in a typical residential setting, NEMA 1 panels (indoor only use) are used and they are capable of top, side or bottom line feed. Knock out seals are used to close the opening. Two styles are available - snap-in or bolt-in.

Panels located outdoors will be at least a NEMA 3R. If it is fed from an overhead drop, a separate hub that bolts to the top of the panel enclosure receives the mast. If bottom feed is desired, the opening on the top can be capped with seal designed for that enclosures hub opening.

Breakers fail for a number of reasons. Among the most common are repeated tripping, the amp surge caused by a dead short, the heat that results from loading a breaker to its rated ampacity and the excessive heat generated by adjacent breakers. One sign of breaker failure is tripping while carrying a fraction of the breakers listed ampacity. Another is a breaker that is loose on its buss finger. SquareD QO style and Cutler hammer BR style literally clip onto the buss finger. The clip that snaps onto the buss finger will spread with age and heat resulting is arcing when under load. Similar failure symptoms apply Murray and the 'interchangable' breakers as well as bolt-on breakers.

Anything device that carries electrical load is subject to failure eventually.
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:38 AM   #20
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The combo panels I have been looking at either say "overhead only" or "overhead or underground service entry". The ones that are intended for both seem to be either side-by-side design with completely separate compartments, or over-under design with a metal partition keeping line side wiring physically separate from load side wiring. Yes, they are electrically connected at the bus, but the intent seems to be to separate the line and load everywhere else. Even the breakers force a 2" or so physical separation between bus finger and load terminal.

If I were to punch out the bottom of my shallow "overhead only" box and run the feed up the inside to the meter at the top, those line wires would have to cross a bunch of hot,neutral and ground connections very close to the exposed screw terminals. Heck, the line wires would probably be laying right on top of those load wires, even bare grounds. Code or not, this sounds like a bad idea.
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Old 07-31-2009, 06:10 PM   #21
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The combo panels I have been looking at either say "overhead only" or "overhead or underground service entry". The ones that are intended for both seem to be either side-by-side design with completely separate compartments, or over-under design with a metal partition keeping line side wiring physically separate from load side wiring. Yes, they are electrically connected at the bus, but the intent seems to be to separate the line and load everywhere else. Even the breakers force a 2" or so physical separation between bus finger and load terminal.

If I were to punch out the bottom of my shallow "overhead only" box and run the feed up the inside to the meter at the top, those line wires would have to cross a bunch of hot,neutral and ground connections very close to the exposed screw terminals. Heck, the line wires would probably be laying right on top of those load wires, even bare grounds. Code or not, this sounds like a bad idea.
Where are you located? That sounds like a Canada-style panel.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:31 AM   #22
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If you have a meter-main type panel that is rated "Overhead only" then yes, you will most likely have to replace it when changing your incoming lines to underground.

One way around that would be to have the new incoming underground feeder go to a lateral trough-box above the existing panel, with a splice there, and then feeding down. It would look a bit cluttered and ugly, but that is life.

Otherwise, replace the whole she-bang with the same brand panel, and reuse those breakers if desired.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:55 PM   #23
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So Cal, EUSERC.
I took another look at my Murray JA110AF panel. There are two vertical channels on either side of the bus. The left side (where my conduit would come in) is too packed with load feeds to be used. Also I'd have to punch,drill,nibble a hole for that 2" conduit. The right side is not so bad but there is no room to snake those fat wires inside the box. I'd have to put a big offset in the conduit so it came in on that side. It still wouldn't be easy.

The inspector said the conduit has to be continuous to the box, so to use the top hub I'd have to get really creative. There isn't any way I could do it and still have 36" radius bends.

I specifically made the conduit come up at a 3.5" offset from the left since that is where the punchout is on the new panels.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:57 AM   #24
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The combo panels I have been looking at either say "overhead only" or "overhead or underground service entry". The ones that are intended for both seem to be either side-by-side design with completely separate compartments, or over-under design with a metal partition keeping line side wiring physically separate from load side wiring. Yes, they are electrically connected at the bus, but the intent seems to be to separate the line and load everywhere else. Even the breakers force a 2" or so physical separation between bus finger and load terminal.

If I were to punch out the bottom of my shallow "overhead only" box and run the feed up the inside to the meter at the top, those line wires would have to cross a bunch of hot,neutral and ground connections very close to the exposed screw terminals. Heck, the line wires would probably be laying right on top of those load wires, even bare grounds. Code or not, this sounds like a bad idea.
I am not familiar with the code requirements for your particular area but did check out the catalogs for the majorpanel manufacturers used in the US to ensure that the information I presented in my last post was accurate. Breaker panels are essentially a box with a distribution buss bolted in. Could not see the channels to which you are refering. In fact, many electricians will remove the buss from the panel during installation to allow more space in which to bend and route conductors be they line or load.
Line conductors are usually installed first, allowing one to bend the line conductors so that they are located to the back and side of the panel enclosure. Tywraps and self adhesive Tywrap bases will keep the line conductors out of the way of load conductors. Once the cables or conduits are in place, the buss is returned to panel and the termination work begins. If having line and load conductors cross one another is problematic for you, doing this will be the best way to put your concerns to rest.

I do not understand why allowing incoming line conductors crossing any load or ground conductors troubles you. The first requirement of any electrical code will always be that the electrical work must be done in a workman-like manner. This includes ensuring that any insulation on any conductor - line or load - remains undamaged. There will be no possibility for a short between line and load conductors if the conductor insulation is not damaged.

As far as your concerns about making a hole of the appropriate size in the panel enclosure to accomodate the conduit for your underground line feed, that's what hole saws and knockout punches are made to do. Here again, the phrase 'workman-like manner' does not include 'nibbling'
or any techinique that would leave ragged, uneven holes for the conduit.

One other consideration is the panel itself. Trying to install a 2 1/2", or 3" conduit in a 100 or 125 amp enclosure for an underground siingle phase service is an exercise in futility. The box simply is not deep enough to allow that large a conduit knockout. You'd also find that trying to bend 3/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum conductors to meet minimum conductor bend radius requirements will be nigh impossible. A 200 amp panel enclosure will have plenty of room since the 200 amp service is usually fed with - you got it - 3/0 ncopper or 4/0 aluminum.

Last edited by Noel; 08-02-2009 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:43 AM   #25
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One other consideration is the panel itself. Trying to install a 2 1/2", or 3" conduit in a 100 or 125 amp enclosure for an underground siingle phase service is an exercise in futility. The box simply is not deep enough to allow that large a conduit knockout. You'd also find that trying to bend 3/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum conductors to meet minimum conductor bend radius requirements will be nigh impossible. A 200 amp panel enclosure will have plenty of room since the 200 amp service is usually fed with - you got it - 3/0 ncopper or 4/0 aluminum.
Which is exactly the situation I have. End of story. Time for a new panel.

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