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Old 04-21-2013, 07:00 AM   #1
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Upgrading Service for a Better/Neater Layout (Subpanel, or Complete swap?)


Hi guys,

I've been a "controls" technician (Building Automation - Andover Controls/Schneider Electric) for the past 25 years. I'm now studying to get my own license, instead of working under the master electrician at my shop. What got me into this business was mobile electronics - I've been installing car stereo's since I was 14 (47 now). Based on that - neatness counts, it also helps prevent problems in the future, as well as helps with troubleshooting if things go wrong.

With that being said, When I bought my home 12 years ago, I always wanted to upgrade the electrical because it looked like crap. (I really like the neatness of panels I work with in buildings). It appears that the panel was upgraded at some point prior to me buying the house, but the electrician that performed the swap did not do a neat job.

I've added a few circuits over the years, but now want to "upgrade" the breaker panel. I don't want to add capacity (100A to 200A), I just want to make the panel more organized.

My question is, do I add a subpanel and move some circuits over to it, or do I get a new panel with more breaker spaces? If I replace the panel entirely, what is the best method of splicing/extending the old wires to the new panel? I don't want splices in the breaker panel so my thoughts were:

1) Mounting a 3"x 3" trough alongside the panel to make all of the splices to NEW wire, then come into the panel with the new wiring.

2) Mounting 4x4's along side the panel and making splices to NEW wire, then come into the panel with the new wiring.

3) Any OTHER idea.....

Thanks in Advance.

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Old 04-21-2013, 09:46 AM   #2
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Upgrading Service for a Better/Neater Layout (Subpanel, or Complete swap?)


Either is an option. The panel swap looks cleaner, but wll require the power to be cut at the meter. A subpanel will not involve the power company and is less labor intensive.

Splices are allowed in the panel and wire nuts can be used. The trough or junction boxes could also be used.

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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Upgrading Service for a Better/Neater Layout (Subpanel, or Complete swap?)


Thanks Jim, I wasn't sure about the wire nut splices.

How is it usually done? Are the wires spliced (wire nuts) when a conversion/upgrade is normally done?

Since the panel is relatively new (12+ years), and the power company WOULD have to be involved to disconnect power, I may just add the subpanel instead. I'll contact the power company to get pricing anyway (if there is any) just so I know....
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