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Old 02-23-2014, 12:59 PM   #16
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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So whats your average electric bill per month?
around $1600

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Old 02-23-2014, 01:03 PM   #17
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


Let's try this again. At the meter, you have 240 volt service, which consists of two 120 volt legs. So if you are pulling 88 amps at the meter, the total wattage is 88 * 240 = 21,120 or 21 KW. Each individual computer actually draws 17 amps at 120 volts, for a total of 17 * 120 = 2,040 watts = approximately 2 kw per computer.

As to how 240 gets split into two 120 volt legs, each leg is 120 volts leg to neutral. You can think of one leg as +120 volts and the other leg as -120 volts, so between the legs you get +120 - (-120) = 240 volts leg to leg. The panel is set up with two busbars, one for each leg, so the busbars are 240 volts bar to bar, or 120 volts bar to neutral. You get either 240 volts or 120 volts on your circuit based on the type of breaker you put in.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:05 PM   #18
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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If you measured 88 amps at the meter, you do not have 21KW continuous.
The 88 amps was your entire house+computer load at the time it was taken.
I did not measure anything at the meter - the only thing I have measured is each unit, and they pull 2 KW at the wall. I multiplied this out to get total watts used for the computers only. I could probably reverse calculate it, knowing my electric bill before these computers started running.

but that 88 amps at the meter was more a question, as my total (computer) use is again, 21 KW.

I guess it boils down to this - if I were to gauge my usage on a scale from "empty to full", where would I be right now, knowing I have a 200A meter, 200A panel, and 21 KW being pulled from that panel?
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:07 PM   #19
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Because you fail to realize your total 120 load is split between the 2 separate 120v legs of your service. So if you're using 100 amperes total, at 120 volts, your 200 amp service will see about 50 amperes on each 120v leg.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:08 PM   #20
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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around $1600
I'm guessing the cops are going to be questioning you soon.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:18 PM   #21
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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Let's try this again. At the meter, you have 240 volt service, which consists of two 120 volt legs. So if you are pulling 88 amps at the meter, the total wattage is 88 * 240 = 21,120 or 21 KW. Each individual computer actually draws 17 amps at 120 volts, for a total of 17 * 120 = 2,040 watts = approximately 2 kw per computer.

As to how 240 gets split into two 120 volt legs, each leg is 120 volts leg to neutral. You can think of one leg as +120 volts and the other leg as -120 volts, so between the legs you get +120 - (-120) = 240 volts leg to leg. The panel is set up with two busbars, one for each leg, so the busbars are 240 volts bar to bar, or 120 volts bar to neutral. You get either 240 volts or 120 volts on your circuit based on the type of breaker you put in.
Got it. So is there a way for a n00b like me to tell what type of breaker my electrician put in (and I'm assuming you mean the main breaker at the top of the panel)?

worst case I have a 120 volt breaker, and that means I'm approaching capacity of the panel, correct?
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:19 PM   #22
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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worst case I have a 120 volt breaker, and that means I'm approaching capacity of the panel, correct?
No, thats not how it works.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:29 PM   #23
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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No, thats not how it works.
So how does someone find out if they have 120 V or 240 V going to their panel?
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:23 PM   #24
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


You have 2 120v legs from the utility through the meter to your panel. Loads that connect to both get 240 volts. Loads that are connected to either one and neutral get 120 volts. If you look at a 200a service and think 120v x 200 = 24,000 watts you are mistaken, it's actually 240v x 200 = 48,000. Post pictures of your meter and service and it'll be easier to tell you what you actually have.
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:35 PM   #25
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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You have 2 120v legs from the utility through the meter to your panel. Loads that connect to both get 240 volts. Loads that are connected to either one and neutral get 120 volts. If you look at a 200a service and think 120v x 200 = 24,000 watts you are mistaken, it's actually 240v x 200 = 48,000. Post pictures of your meter and service and it'll be easier to tell you what you actually have.
here's a picture of the meter, and the panel, not sure what you mean by "service"?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zz1pr7ew7z...%2056%20PM.jpg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jhryrou77y....31.52_00.jpeg

Last edited by starfighter; 02-23-2014 at 02:36 PM. Reason: pictures weren't showing up
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:44 PM   #26
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


A 20 amp circuit should be limited to 16 amps for a continuos load (3hours or more ).
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:46 PM   #27
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A 20 amp circuit should be limited to 16 amps for a continuos load (3hours or more ).
even with 12 gauge wire? (there is 12 gauge wire going from the panel to the outlet)
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:02 PM   #28
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


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even with 12 gauge wire? (there is 12 gauge wire going from the panel to the outlet)
Yes. Full load ampacity is limited to 80% of the branch circuit rating. 16 amps not 18.
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:44 PM   #29
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


Service = your meter, and main panel. Your's appears to be a 200 amp service. That's 200 amps on EACH of the 2 120 volt legs that comprise a typical residential service.
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:50 PM   #30
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Want to upgrade home from 200A to 400A service


You see the breaker at the top of the panel labeled 200A? That is a 200A, 240 volt breaker, so you have a 200A service, with a total capacity of 200A * 240V = 48,000 watts = 48 kilowatts (kw). In order to figure out how much spare capacity you really have, you need to do a load calculation on all of the devices and lights attached to your panel. But your electrician will be pleased to do this for you, as part of any required upgrade in service. Anyone who can afford 21KW worth of computers can surely afford an electrician to do the necessary work.

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