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Old 10-03-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
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Extending main feeder cables


I know you are allowed by code to extend branch circuit wires inside your main panel with an approved and acceptable connection(wirenut). Are you allowed by code to extend the main feeders in your main panel? Say you were to change the panel from a 20 to 30 slot and changed brands (same amps) and you weren't planning to change the wires but they weren't long enough to reach your connection points in the new panel. Can you with an approved type of connection extend them say 12-18"?
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:00 PM   #2
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If your trying to save money and not change your feeders. It might be helpful to flip your panel. Try doing that because extending the feeders that long is kinda crazy.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:18 AM   #3
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Yes it is legal. If flipping the panel does not work, they do make connectors for this, here is a sample:
http://www.ilsco.com/ProductsDetail....yLHJkJd44fw%3d
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:29 AM   #4
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Are split bolts not allowed/available past some wire gauge? Also, a while ago someone seemed to say that regular electrical tape was not legal for wrapping split bolts, that a special tape was required. If true, what names does that tape go by? Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:38 AM   #5
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Split bolts would be allowed, but they are bulky and still require you to insulate them. IMO the pre-insulated are a better choice.

Why do you need to extend the wires? Can you not just put the new panel in the same spot?
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:56 AM   #6
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Jim - Was the question aimed at me or OP? If me, I've had to splice wires AWG 2 or larger once setting up off-grid PV system and once adding a manual transfer switch between meter and panel. Just checking that split bolts and regular electrical tape are code legal. And, yes, the insulated connectors you posted look like a better way to go. Thanks. -- Phil
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philS View Post
Are split bolts not allowed/available past some wire gauge? Also, a while ago someone seemed to say that regular electrical tape was not legal for wrapping split bolts, that a special tape was required. If true, what names does that tape go by? Thanks.
There is no special rule on how to insulate a tap or connection. Usually you will see some instructions on the insulating material packaging.
This is something most electricians were taught to do. Heres how (I) would insulate a split bolt. (would never use one again) Well maybe.

First layer is Varnish Cambrick. (VC Tape). Roll the sticky side up for the first few layers then turn the sticky side down and use plenty. Years ago they did not make VC tape with a sticky side.

Second layer is rubber tape. Sometimes called "Scotch Fill". Its a soft pliable and stretchable tape that will mold to any shape. Comes in many widths.

Final layer is regular electrical tape. Wrap tightly and use plenty.

Back in the day we used a fabric tape that had no insulating qualities. The utility (POCO) still uses it. I cannot remember what it's called. I still have a roll. This was sometimes used as the last step instead of electrical tape.

It is not uncommon to use a whole roll of each tape listed above on one connection. This of course would be a large tap or connection.
The key was to have a soft round final product with no pointed edges that could be scrubbed off and shorted out.
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Last edited by J. V.; 10-04-2009 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Why do you need to extend the wires? Can you not just put the new panel in the same spot?
The panel would be going in the same spot, but the connection points are not at the same height and the panel can't be lowered enough to reach without having to put jb's above the panel for all the branch circiuts.Whoever installed the panel originally didn't leave enough wire to make it mainly for the neutral. Changing out the feeders won't be that bad actually, about 20' of cable length each in 2" rmc. There is a main breaker outside at the meter pan because it is more than ten feet to the panel. I will changing them if I decide to change the panel out. I was wondering if it was legal if it came to that. Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:42 PM   #9
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If the feeder cables are installed in conduit, then I would replace them with longer conductors.

No splices needed.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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J.V. (poster #7) I agree that there are no special rules for splicing large size wire! I'd skip the VC and start with Rubber tape. Apply generously. Then apply (regular) electric insulating tape. But on a practical level. I always leave slack no matter what size run of wire. I was called in on a semi-finished job. Wire was run by the General contractor. The second I loosened the clamp in the box, the wire "shot" in the wall. Contractor was stingy on wire. Guess who paid the price? (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spark plug View Post
J.V. (poster #7) I agree that there are no special rules for splicing large size wire! I'd skip the VC and start with Rubber tape. Apply generously. Then apply (regular) electric insulating tape. But on a practical level. I always leave slack no matter what size run of wire. I was called in on a semi-finished job. Wire was run by the General contractor. The second I loosened the clamp in the box, the wire "shot" in the wall. Contractor was stingy on wire. Guess who paid the price? (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
The VC tape has no dielectric strength, but it does provide physical protection. The rubber and the plastic provide little if any physical protection. Thats why I use the VC or the fabric tape in addition to both of the others.
Just the way I was taught in apprenticeship 33 years ago. You see, I am getting old. You can tell by some of my posts.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
The VC tape has no dielectric strength, but it does provide physical protection. The rubber and the plastic provide little if any physical protection. Thats why I use the VC or the fabric tape in addition to both of the others.
Just the way I was taught in apprenticeship 33 years ago. You see, I am getting old. You can tell by some of my posts.
I didn't graduate High School last June, either! Anyway. as far as using (or not using) VC tape. My team leaders skipped that step. But were generous with the rubber tape, to flesh out any sharp edges. As far as getting old. Wine, the older it is, the more valuable it gets. (No matter what)Don't drink and Drive, Ever!!!
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:51 PM   #13
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Just noticed this thread is still going -- so --- thanks for the tips on wrapping splices. I've always just used gobs of regular electrical tape until everything is nicely rounded (color coded to match the wire - red for the second leg of 240). But I'll start using rubber tape as a first layer. Maybe it'll make them easier to take apart?
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Old 10-05-2009, 06:06 PM   #14
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Attach wires and insulate (tape well) for a stealthy installation.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:41 PM   #15
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Heat-shrink tubing works well with the above connectors.

A lot of heat-shrink has a layer of glue-like stuff inside, and makes a completely water-proof connection. Like splicing a submersible pump at the bottom of a well.

I would use these connectors for any type of splice with only two wires. I would use split-bolts only if there were more than two wires.

Rob
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