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Old 09-28-2008, 06:35 AM   #1
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Tandem Breakers vs Capacity


This is the first question for me and I apologize if is has been previously answered. My home is equipped with 2 ea Challenger 200 amp 20 slot main panels ( 400 amp service) with a total of 40 slots. I am in the process of completing a total load calculation for my home. When the home was built 15 years ago, the electrician told me that he had installed many circuits so that we would never experience the dreaded light flicker, etc. He unfortunately used up all 40 1" slots. I would like to add additional circuits in the unfinished portion of my home for lights, standard 110v hand power tools, and general use receptacles. Assuming the existing loads are far from capacity, how many tandem BR2020/ BR1515 breakers can be legally/practically installed in the panel boxes? I noticed that the Challenger 200 amp Panel came in 20, 30, & 40 1" slot sizes. Thank you for your response.

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Old 09-28-2008, 06:44 AM   #2
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Tandem Breakers vs Capacity


You have to read the inside of the panel to see if yu can mini the panel. Even if you can your best bet probably would be to put a sub panel off one of the 200's. Its all about draw now how many amps your panel is rated for

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Old 09-28-2008, 07:40 AM   #3
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After looking at the the label on the covers, I did not see any reference to "Mini". However, for branch circuits, the label lists Type A, C, HAGF, GFCH where Type C is 1 pole and Type A is 2 poles. The " typical wiring diagram" on the cover shows a 30 slot main panel with the 1st 10 slots each side as Type C and the bottom 5 slots on each side with 5 Type A breakers.

Assuming that I install a sub panel, how far away from a utility sink does it have to located? Available wall space in the utility/mechanical room is at a premium.

Thanks for your previous answer.
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:59 AM   #4
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After looking at the the label on the covers, I did not see any reference to "Mini". However, for branch circuits, the label lists Type A, C, HAGF, GFCH where Type C is 1 pole and Type A is 2 poles. The " typical wiring diagram" on the cover shows a 30 slot main panel with the 1st 10 slots each side as Type C and the bottom 5 slots on each side with 5 Type A breakers.

Assuming that I install a sub panel, how far away from a utility sink does it have to located? Available wall space in the utility/mechanical room is at a premium.

Thanks for your previous answer.

I wish I had my book with me but if I recall you have to give yourself 3' of clearance on each side. Just make sure you have no water pipes above the 3' window. Or you could always mount the panel under one of the other panels if that is easier.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Tandem Breakers vs Capacity


400 amp service. That alot of juice for a house. Whats your square footage?????
If you cannot understand the markings in your panels then contact the manufacturer and see how many tandems are allowed and where they go. Use a sub panel as last resort.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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If you plan on adding alot of circuits to your house or putting on an addition to your house your better off with the sub panel IMHO.
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:20 PM   #7
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Thanks for the interest in my question. We have approximately 6000 conditioned sf with another 800 sf of shop area and 900 sf of attached garage. The two existing finished floors are 4400 sf with a couple circuits utility/light circuits in the unfinished (2400 sf with shop) area. I would like to finish the downstairs and anticipate more circuits (10 or so). Unfortunately the panels are Challenger nla so no help from supply sources or pdf. files. The Cutler Hammer BR series breakers are the proper replacement. Obviously, when I spec'd the 400 amp service, I wanted room to grow and add circuits. As I have previously stated, I can't determine if the panel is restricted to 20 1" breakers or 40 1/2" breakers ( 20 tandems) or a combo of the normal 20 and 10.
I'm not doing anything unusual, just a 4BR/ 4 1/2 bath with an unfinished lower level to become a hobby room, shop area, large den, BR & bath. I have recently replaced my old 2 gas water heaters with 2 Rinaii tankless heaters, and the cooktop is gas. So the major demand is a 50 amp dbl oven circuit, 30 amp clothes dryer, 50 amp main floor AC, 30 amp upstairs AC, and 20 amp lower level AC. We have a lot of 15 amp can light circuits, and a lot of 20 amp receptacle circuits including GFCI for kitchen and baths. I am compiling appliance rating data to plug into the NEC ampacity worksheet to determine available capacity.
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Old 09-28-2008, 05:52 PM   #8
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6000 sq/ft??? You must have a BIG family!
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:30 PM   #9
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often, the panel designation will include the number of circuits it will hold. Something in the line of a XXXXX30/40 or such. Can you give us the panel model?

depending on what code cycle you are under, that may be irrelevent anyway. Up through the 05 code, you would be limited to 42 circuits. If under the 08 code that limitation was removed under most circumstances (don't have my 08 handy to tell you for sure but I believe your limitation would be removed).
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:22 PM   #10
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From your description the panels can accept tandem breakers. I would not install a sub panel until all the available slots in your existing panels are used up.
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
6000 sq/ft??? You must have a BIG family!
How big is Al Gore's family?

Quote:

An obscure conservative group in Tennessee claims to be offering up the utility bills on Al Gore’s 10,000-square-foot Nashville mansion.

The group cited some damning kilowatt-consumption figures — 221,000 for the Gores in 2006, compared with the American average of 10,656.
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:55 PM   #12
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Relevance?

Al is probably a billionaire. I seriously doubt he is a DIY'er.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:47 PM   #13
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Tandem Breakers vs Capacity


The panels are Challenger SL 20(30-40) CT
200 AMP Max, Type I Enclosure

These panels were manufactured in 1993.

Actually, my wife and are empty-nesters. After putting our kids through college and getting them married off....college and weddings are sure expensive....its now time for US to pursue some quality time together. Yes we have too much house now, but we love it! Another 15 years and we'll cash it in for the "retirement home".

I did not see the designation as described on the label. I have taken a picture of the panel label and hopefully someone can "break the code." Please see the attachment. Thanks for all the interest and help!!
Attached Thumbnails
Tandem Breakers vs Capacity-picture-020.jpg  
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:55 PM   #14
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You can install tandem breakers in the bottom 10 positions in that panel, for a total of 40 circuits.
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:01 PM   #15
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Thanks to all of you who have responded!!!

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