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Old 05-22-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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service entrance question

I live in a state where you can build you own home 100% and I have encountered a question when putting in the electrical service.

Went to Home depot, got a square D 200 amp meter socket, a square d 40 circuit 200 amp service panel and a length of SE cable that has 3 insulated and identified conductors and a 4th uninsulated conductor. Looking at the meter socket there are lugs for L1, L2, and the neutral. There is a small std head screw on the neutral lug where a #4 solid copper conductor goes. Where does the larger bare aluminum conductor go that is in the SE cable? Did I get the wrong cable ? Does it go together under the neutral lug with the white conductor. Do I cut it off and not use it ? It looks like there is a lug in the breaker box that this wire will fit under on the neutral bar.

I looked at how another home in the area was wired and they had cable that had only two insulated conductors and the bare ground cable was under the neutral lug.

Can anyone answer this question


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Old 05-22-2011, 06:01 PM   #2
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You bought type SE-R cable where you only needed type SE-U. SE-U has the two insulated hots and a concentric neutral.


Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:02 PM   #3
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You only need three conductor cable.
For 200 amp service it should 4/0 Al SE cable, what you bought is ser cable.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:23 PM   #4
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Thank You
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Can I use the cable I have or do I have to get the other stuff ?

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Old 05-22-2011, 09:44 PM   #6
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You need to find out more detail of your power company's service entrance requirements. I read several different power companies requirements besides my own in the process of researching my service entrance project, and there is a point here on which answers vary depending on which power company is involved.

Some power companies want the ground conductor connected to the ground lug in the meter socket. Other power companies, such as mine, forbid ground conductors to bond the meter socket. So for a service in my power company's domain, SE-R with it's 4th conductor would not be appropriate between the meter socket and the panel.

Unfortunately also you can't return cut cable at Home Depot, at least assuming the policy exists everywhere and they mean it... You might be able to use it and just not connect the ground and cut it off where the cable enters the box, but someone else would have to answer that - and IMO manuevering 4/0 inside your panel and meter socket is hard enough.

I'm assuming the run should be a short one, if it's not too painful just get the 4/0 SEU.


Please do NOT consider any "before" picture of my house as any kind of endorsement of any particular construction method. In fact, you should probably assume that if I post a "before" picture, I am posting it because I am soliciting advice on a proper replacement for one of MANY things done wrong by a previous owner.
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