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Old 01-27-2010, 10:59 AM   #1
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


I've got an unorthodox sub-panel install that I consider safe for my use, but my inspector doesn't like it, and I'm looking to see if there are any remedies I might be able to do short of ripping it all out or replacing the source wire.

What I did to power a workshop inside my garage was to run 10-2 from a 30 Amp single pole breaker to a typical 60 Amp 2/4 breaker sub-panel. I feed the 10-2 to both poles of the sub-panel and installed a 1" 20 amp breaker for power tools, and a 1" 15 amp breaker for lighting.

Generally speaking, the inspector didn't like the fact that I didn't power the sub-panel with 3 conductor wire. But replacing the 10-2 with ?-3 defeats my whole purpose of the sub-panel, to get two circuits for the workshop but using only one spot in my breaker box.

The inspector suggested twin breakers, but apparently GE doesn't make twin breakers.

So I wondered if I could "fix" this sub-panel by keeping the 10-2 inplace, power only one leg of the sub-panel, and replace my 1" breakers with two mini-breakers connected to that one leg?

Before actually proceeding with anything, I'll double check with the inspector, but I figured I would ask here first to avoid bombarding him with too many question.

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Old 01-27-2010, 11:13 AM   #2
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


A 3 wire sub is no longer legal under code, not sure code on a 120v sub
Even wiring 1/2 the sub may not be acceptable since it could be moved back after inspection
Bottom line you will need to do whatever your inspector requires
Kind of crazy to have only run 10-2, price isn't that much more for the right wire

Attached structure or detached ?

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Old 01-27-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
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As long as you have a hot, neutral, and a ground wire you are set.
Where he might have a problem is putting 2 wires under the lug that is rated for one wire.
Remove the wire to the other leg, replace the 1 " breaker with 2 1/2 " breakers and close up the open spot on the cover.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
A 3 wire sub is no longer legal under code, not sure code on a 120v sub
Even wiring 1/2 the sub may not be acceptable since it could be moved back after inspection
Bottom line you will need to do whatever your inspector requires
Kind of crazy to have only run 10-2, price isn't that much more for the right wire

Attached structure or detached ?
Attached - everything is inside the garage.

At the time I was doing this, I didn't know what codes were for a sub-panel. I was simply winging it based on a degree in electrical engineering, my wits, and the tools available from Lowe's.

And like I said, I've come up with something that no one has indicated is unsafe... "FOR MY USE". Apparently the only danger is what "someone else" might do with it.

What I've learned since then is that building codes are apparently written not ownly for "safety" but also "uniformity"... and my "creativity" keeps getting me in trouble with that "uniformity".
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
As long as you have a hot, neutral, and a ground wire you are set.
Where he might have a problem is putting 2 wires under the lug that is rated for one wire.
Remove the wire to the other leg, replace the 1 " breaker with 2 1/2 " breakers and close up the open spot on the cover.
He seemed more concerned with the fact it wasn't powered by ?-3.

If the problem was simply the fact that I have 2 wires under the lug rated for one, I could fix that problem with a rabbit ear... strip some insulation mid-wire (which based on other threads appears to meet code), run the wire TRHOUGH the 1st lug, and loop the end of it to the 2nd lug.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:47 PM   #6
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
I've got an unorthodox sub-panel install that I consider safe for my use, but my inspector doesn't like it, and I'm looking to see if there are any remedies I might be able to do short of ripping it all out or replacing the source wire.

What I did to power a workshop inside my garage was to run 10-2 from a 30 Amp single pole breaker to a typical 60 Amp 2/4 breaker sub-panel. I feed the 10-2 to both poles of the sub-panel and installed a 1" 20 amp breaker for power tools, and a 1" 15 amp breaker for lighting.

Generally speaking, the inspector didn't like the fact that I didn't power the sub-panel with 3 conductor wire. But replacing the 10-2 with ?-3 defeats my whole purpose of the sub-panel, to get two circuits for the workshop but using only one spot in my breaker box.

The inspector suggested twin breakers, but apparently GE doesn't make twin breakers.

So I wondered if I could "fix" this sub-panel by keeping the 10-2 inplace, power only one leg of the sub-panel, and replace my 1" breakers with two mini-breakers connected to that one leg?

Before actually proceeding with anything, I'll double check with the inspector, but I figured I would ask here first to avoid bombarding him with too many question.
GE does not make these - are we sure?
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
GE does not make these - are we sure?
The local Lowe's and Home Depot only have 2" Double Pole, 1" Single Pole, 1/2" Mini-Single Pole, and 1" mini-double pole, but not 1" twin Single Pole.

My previous search on the internet didn't find any 1" twin single pole breakers either.

Know a good source for GE twins?
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
Attached - everything is inside the garage.

At the time I was doing this, I didn't know what codes were for a sub-panel. I was simply winging it based on a degree in electrical engineering, my wits, and the tools available from Lowe's.

And like I said, I've come up with something that no one has indicated is unsafe... "FOR MY USE". Apparently the only danger is what "someone else" might do with it.

What I've learned since then is that building codes are apparently written not ownly for "safety" but also "uniformity"... and my "creativity" keeps getting me in trouble with that "uniformity".
You hit the proverbial nail on the head when you said "that part of the Code is to create "Uniformity"! Without that, we would have chaos! I spent half a day not long ago, trying to figure out what some "Genius" rigged up on Six Fluorescent fixtures that failed to light up. I finally ran a new line from the panel, "picking up each fixture. Took me half the time rather than following someone else's "Creativity"!!
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
The local Lowe's and Home Depot only have 2" Double Pole, 1" Single Pole, 1/2" Mini-Single Pole, and 1" mini-double pole, but not 1" twin Single Pole.

My previous search on the internet didn't find any 1" twin single pole breakers either.

Know a good source for GE twins?

Or will those mini-1/2" breakers go into my 12yo 150 Amp GE Breaker Box with the 1" holes?
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:16 PM   #10
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Or will those mini-1/2" breakers go into my 12yo 150 Amp GE Breaker Box with the 1" holes?
It depends on the panel. If it's a residential, Single Phase panel (a/o 3PH.) it'll accept "Twin" breakers. Then the trick is (if you want 240V.) to put it in the right spot. But you'll need a handle tie for a common trip.!
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:26 PM   #11
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I hope 'creative' electricians do not believe in curses or Karma.

I had a 'creative' former homeowner who used questionable shortcuts, frankly unsafe solutions, and illegal cheap outs whenever possible. Guess what I think of him?
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by spark plug View Post
It depends on the panel. If it's a residential, Single Phase panel (a/o 3PH.) it'll accept "Twin" breakers. Then the trick is (if you want 240V.) to put it in the right spot. But you'll need a handle tie for a common trip.!
Yea, we're talking about typical residential.

Now I might not be using the right words here... but again, I'm not finding GE "Twin" breakers. In my view, a "twin" is like two "mini"s that are physically connected together, but otherwise two independant breakers (i.e. two seperate circuits, and if one trips, the other will not).

I stopped by Home Depot today and looked inside a GE 200 Amp panel, and it looked like it would accept either 1" "full" breakers or 1/2" "mini" breakers. If so, I'm suprized given that the panel seemed to have only full size knockouts. That ment, while surely not legal, someone chould knock out one of the knockouts, but only put a single "mini" leaving have the space exposed. But as best as I could tell, the power bar was set up to take either the vertical tabs or the horizontal tabs that diferentiate the full size GE breakers from the mini breakers.

I'll have to look at my own panel to see if it looks like it will accept the "mini". If so, I problems are solved and can totally ditch a subpanel. I'll have to look later (don't want to have to take the cover off the box again right now), but like I said, the panel is about a 12yo GE.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:57 AM   #13
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The quickest way to slove is run us the model number of your breaker box.

Typically will found either in the door cover or inside the breaker box once you give us the model number we can able tell you if they can take twinner or not.

But if you going with one inch double pole verison be extra carefull where you land it due it too easy get it wrong due the bussbar tab arrangement.

Merci,Marc
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:55 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
The quickest way to slove is run us the model number of your breaker box.

Typically will found either in the door cover or inside the breaker box once you give us the model number we can able tell you if they can take twinner or not.

But if you going with one inch double pole verison be extra carefull where you land it due it too easy get it wrong due the bussbar tab arrangement.

Merci,Marc
A stroke of genius!!!

Here's what I can find on the inside panel...

GE PowerMark Gold Load Center 10055274P17

Type 1 Indoor Enclosure
Front Cat. No. TM32C
Use with GE LoadCenter Enclosure Cat. No. TM3215CCU
Main Rating: 120/240 VAC, 1 Phase, 3 wire, 160 Amp Maximum

Use Only GE type breakers:
THQL, THHQL, TQDL, THQDL, or TXQL



And that SEEMS to answer the question of whether or not I can use the mini-breakers found at Lowe's and Home Depot. Apparently NO, because those are THQP type breakers.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:05 AM   #15
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According to your model number and if I did read it right this breaker box only can take full size breaker no twinner or half inch breaker at all.

And that is 32 space load centre.

Merci, Marc

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