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Old 05-07-2020, 10:13 PM   #1
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Identifying Incoming Service


I'm trying to figure out what my service amperage is and I'm confused. The lines from the pole come to this panel. There are just a couple circuits here for two hvac units, dryer, and then the two 100amp breakers are for two subpanels inside. Can anyone help me figure out if I have 400amp service or will I need to consult with the power company? Sorry I'm just ignorant on this.
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


It looks like a 400 main panel. I see it uses a 100 amp meter with a current transformer spec. at 400. I can't read the tag at the bottom right side which would verify the panel rating.
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:23 PM   #3
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


The panel is listed for 400A when fed with 600 kcmil wire. That wire does not look like 600 kcmil. It's probably time to have a conversation with your power company.

While we're here... that blue handled BRyant breaker does not belong in there, and must go. It needs to be replaced by one of the types listed on the panel labeling, it appears the THQL250 is readily available. ($10).

Competitor breakers will "seem to fit" but the panel's bus stabs are shaped differently, and their bus clips won't have the right shape or pressure to mate reliably. This will cause burn-up of the bus stabs, by wild coincidence, huh, the #1 way panels fail. It may not matter on a 15A circuit that charges cell phones, but it matters when you pull 50A of current lol.

Double breaker #5 is double-tapped, which is not OK unless the breaker labeling says double-tapping is OK. (don't count on it). A ground wire is double-tapped, again not OK unless the panel labeling says so (I don't see it).

Double breaker #5 is double-tapped with wires smaller than 10 AWG. They can't be there. (unless they have an unusual edge condition relating to large motors, but if that's the case, the circuit must be dedicated, so no.) So remove the black, red, white and green wires from that circuit and cap them off. If something breaks, find another way to power it.

This is a "Rule of Six" panel. All six breakers are main breakers. This is done as a cost cutting measure because smallish breakers like this are $10-35. The breakers are 70, 50, 100, 100, 30 and 100. It's OK that they add up to more than your service.

Last edited by seharper; 05-07-2020 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:47 AM   #4
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


Wait a minute! Don't rule of six main panel breakers and the upper breakers of split bus main panels (i.e. main breakers if more than one) have to add up to no more than the service amperes rating as specified by the power company? What protects the service conductors from overcurrent?

A tankless electric water heater, or a workshop with welder you invite your friends to, or charging of electric cars for a large family, can draw a very large amount of power.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-08-2020 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:12 AM   #5
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


That sticker says 400amp, but I'm suspect of that.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by seharper View Post
The panel is listed for 400A when fed with 600 kcmil wire. That wire does not look like 600 kcmil. It's probably time to have a conversation with your power company.

While we're here... that blue handled BRyant breaker does not belong in there, and must go. It needs to be replaced by one of the types listed on the panel labeling, it appears the THQL250 is readily available. ($10).

Competitor breakers will "seem to fit" but the panel's bus stabs are shaped differently, and their bus clips won't have the right shape or pressure to mate reliably. This will cause burn-up of the bus stabs, by wild coincidence, huh, the #1 way panels fail. It may not matter on a 15A circuit that charges cell phones, but it matters when you pull 50A of current lol.

Double breaker #5 is double-tapped, which is not OK unless the breaker labeling says double-tapping is OK. (don't count on it). A ground wire is double-tapped, again not OK unless the panel labeling says so (I don't see it).

Double breaker #5 is double-tapped with wires smaller than 10 AWG. They can't be there. (unless they have an unusual edge condition relating to large motors, but if that's the case, the circuit must be dedicated, so no.) So remove the black, red, white and green wires from that circuit and cap them off. If something breaks, find another way to power it.

This is a "Rule of Six" panel. All six breakers are main breakers. This is done as a cost cutting measure because smallish breakers like this are $10-35. The breakers are 70, 50, 100, 100, 30 and 100. It's OK that they add up to more than your service.
Thanks! I'll give the company a call. This panel is actually in better shape than when we first got here. One breaker was triple-tapped. There are double-tapped circuits all over the house. That's the reason for me figuring out the SEC load is to start redoing those subpanels.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:34 AM   #7
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


Just to add to @seharper comments.....it appears the sub panels are fed by 3 wire circuits but really can't tell from the pics.

Lots of things wrong here to bring up to code.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:37 AM   #8
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


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Just to add to @seharper comments.....it appears the sub panels are fed by 3 wire circuits but really can't tell from the pics.

Lots of things wrong here to bring up to code.
Yes it is 3 wire, neutral and ground tied together in subpanels. It's a real mess haha and that doesn't account for all the splices I've found in the walls, no box connections, and improperly sized wiring. Plus some old aluminum.

But...we got a good deal on it, right?
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


Is this a subpanel? In your first post, you stated this was the panel to which the wires from the pole were connected, making it sound like the main. If it is the main, then the neutrals and grounds SHOULD BE bonded.

As to what's going on in the wall boxes, ground wires may be twisted together and wirenutted. Not so in the panel.
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:22 PM   #10
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanS26 View Post
Just to add to @seharper comments.....it appears the sub panels are fed by 3 wire circuits but really can't tell from the pics.

Lots of things wrong here to bring up to code.
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Originally Posted by chetwisner View Post
Is this a subpanel? In your first post, you stated this was the panel to which the wires from the pole were connected, making it sound like the main. If it is the main, then the neutrals and grounds SHOULD BE bonded.

As to what's going on in the wall boxes, ground wires may be twisted together and wirenutted. Not so in the panel.
Sorry for the confusion. The panel pictured is the main and of course the neutral and ground are bonded at the main. They aren't separated in the two subpanels, which is one reason among many that I need to replace the subpanels. Zero room for expansion and several double-stacked breakers.

The connections I was talking about in the wall weren't even in boxes haha.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:28 PM   #11
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


The easiest road would be to put another panel near by
then slowly move circuits one by one to the new panel
You can still keep the old panel if you want
But there will be much less running off it
And with two panels, set up for a back up generator is easier.
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:22 PM   #12
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


Sorry to keep this thread going. I called the power company and they said they'd have an engineer get up with me, but that's been several days ago, so not certain I'll hear from them. I looked again to try and determine why kind of SEC I have and couldn't read the writing on the sheath. Does this image help anyone identify what type wire I have? I'm guessing the big "200" is important haha, but I don't know if that means 200 per leg or just 200 total.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:42 PM   #13
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


looks like a 200 amp service.proably 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:01 PM   #14
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


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looks like a 200 amp service.proably 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum.
Thanks! Definitely aluminum
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:13 AM   #15
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Re: Identifying Incoming Service


size wise I would say 200A
It for sure is not 400A
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