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Old 08-26-2009, 06:21 PM   #1
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What to use as a subpanel


What makes a panel a "sub" panel? Is it just a normal panel wired as a slave? I know the ground and neutral are not connected in the sub, but run as seperate runs back to the main, it's more a question of what kind of box can I use?

Do I just get a "normal" load center box and wire it downstream of a breaker in the main box? Say it's a 100A box, can I wire it downstream of a 60A breaker? In that case is the 100A box just a switch? As it will never trip as the upstream 60A would trip first.

Also, what's with these 10 space, 20 circuit boxes? Are they assuming tandem breakers? The only problem there is there aren't any tandem GFCI or AFCI breakers, right? Between GFCI and AFCI requirement for bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors how many tandem breakers can you use anymore?

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Old 08-26-2009, 06:41 PM   #2
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What to use as a subpanel


I used a normal main breaker 100a that is powered by a 60a at the main panel
The main 100a breaker provides a disconnect - detached pool cabana
I have another 100a sub next to the 200a panel - powered by a 100a breaker in main panel
Even with it next to the Main panel I used a main breaker panel

I use a 100a for more room - 20 circuits
With GFCI outlets you could still use tandem breakers

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Old 08-26-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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What to use as a subpanel


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Originally Posted by WaldenL View Post
What makes a panel a "sub" panel? Is it just a normal panel wired as a slave? I know the ground and neutral are not connected in the sub, but run as seperate runs back to the main, it's more a question of what kind of box can I use?

Do I just get a "normal" load center box and wire it downstream of a breaker in the main box? Say it's a 100A box, can I wire it downstream of a 60A breaker? In that case is the 100A box just a switch? As it will never trip as the upstream 60A would trip first.

Also, what's with these 10 space, 20 circuit boxes? Are they assuming tandem breakers? The only problem there is there aren't any tandem GFCI or AFCI breakers, right? Between GFCI and AFCI requirement for bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors how many tandem breakers can you use anymore?
I'd say you really have a good handle on this.
Basically correct on all points.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:49 PM   #4
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What to use as a subpanel


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With GFCI outlets you could still use tandem breakers
True, but one gfci breaker seems cheaper (and simpler to test) than a bunch of gfci outlets, plus then you're protecting stuff other than outlets. Unless there's a reason you can't wire stuff like highhats (for example) downstream of a gfci.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:57 PM   #5
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What to use as a subpanel


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True, but one gfci breaker seems cheaper (and simpler to test) than a bunch of gfci outlets, plus then you're protecting stuff other than outlets. Unless there's a reason you can't wire stuff like highhats (for example) downstream of a gfci.
Why would you need multiple GFI receptacles? One at the head of the circuit serves the same purpose as a GFI breaker.

Also, WHY would you want to GFI protect lighting???
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:06 PM   #6
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What to use as a subpanel


I have about 12 outside circuits right now protected by $2-3 GFCI outlets instead of $30 (25?) GFCI breakers
Plus the other 5-6 normal GFCI portected circuits in the house
I like the $36-54 cost VS $540 cost

And I'll be adding at least 8 more outside circuits
But that's just me - crazy Christmas decorator

http://www.diychatroom.com/f39/why-i...ircuits-50297/
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:22 PM   #7
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What to use as a subpanel


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I have about 12 outside circuits right now protected by $2-3 GFCI outlets instead of $30 (25?) GFCI breakers
Plus the other 5-6 normal GFCI portected circuits in the house
I like the $36-54 cost VS $540 cost

And I'll be adding at least 8 more outside circuits
But that's just me - crazy Christmas decorator

http://www.diychatroom.com/f39/why-i...ircuits-50297/
Where are you getting $3 GFCIs?
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:25 PM   #8
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What to use as a subpanel


I bought in bulk, I have a bunch that were $3 - Levitron
I also have blank face GFCI's that were about $2 a piece
I think all together I bought over 40
Between the house, garage, basement, pool cabana etc
There were only (3) GFCI's when I moved in
One outside outlet was not protected at all
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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What to use as a subpanel


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Where are you getting $3 GFCIs?
Yeah no kidding, and I thought 60 bucks for a pack of 3 was a steal.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:31 PM   #10
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What to use as a subpanel


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Why would you need multiple GFI receptacles? One at the head of the circuit serves the same purpose as a GFI breaker.
D'Oh... I knew that too... Thanks for reminding me. Cool. Makes life simpler.
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Also, WHY would you want to GFI protect lighting???
Why not? Not going out of my way to do it, but if it's a side effect of wiring downstream of a gfci outlet/breaker no harm, right?
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:39 PM   #11
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What to use as a subpanel


No harm in GFCI protecting a light, especially in a bathroom. It certainly isn't a code requirement though, and could be quite a nuisance if the receptacle trips and the lights go out.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:46 PM   #12
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What to use as a subpanel


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No harm in GFCI protecting a light, especially in a bathroom. It certainly isn't a code requirement though, and could be quite a nuisance if the receptacle trips and the lights go out.
Makes it easier to know the GFCI has tripped though...
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:12 AM   #13
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Makes it easier to know the GFCI has tripped though...
Yeah, much easier to detect than that little click!!!
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:30 AM   #14
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What to use as a subpanel


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Yeah, much easier to detect than that little click!!!
That reminds me, when nwe moved in someone had wired the gfci in the bathroom backwards. The bathroom lightswent off when you tripped it, but thye plug itself stayed hot. Maybe it was just a bad gfci, i ended up replacing it anyway as it was the wrong color.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:41 PM   #15
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What to use as a subpanel


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No harm in GFCI protecting a light, especially in a bathroom. It certainly isn't a code requirement though, and could be quite a nuisance if the receptacle trips and the lights go out.
I was under the impression that a GFCI receptacle had a maximum number of downstream devices it could protect. Five receptacles is in my memory. Right or wrong?

I was also under the impression that the lighting circuit and wall outlet circuit for any room could not be common. i.e. one tripped breaker will kill the outlets or kill the lights, but not both. Right or wrong?

I need to get familiar with the code again. A lot of changes have been adopted in the past 10 years.

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