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Old 01-13-2010, 01:51 PM   #46
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No inspections here. I live in an area where there are no inspections required. In this type of situation, I'm begining to see the downside of this. The immediate downside is that there's nobody to consult with. I guess the upside is that any solution I decide on will be "approved."

Meanwhile, I just got back from making the shopping rounds, including a bonding screw. Doesn't fit. My fault, didn't know the brand of the 2nd panel (after all this, you'd think.......).

While at the orange box (which didn't have any bonding screws), I talked to their electrician sales person. Another concern he raised: If #4 wire is going from the meter to either panel (or both), it's a problem because it junctures off the 200A meter; a short could cause 200A to feed to a single panel, which could overload #4 wire.

We discussed a solution of converting the situation to a true main and sub panel setup. I'm replacing the FPE panel anyway, so I could replace with a 200A panel, sub the other panel off it, and use the existing cable to finish the connection (plus the other obvious details). I might have to splice the #4 wire, though, to reach the the main panel. I could to this in the junction box just off the meter, and feed the cable through the meter box into the wall to the panel. (See attached photo). Any problems with splicing, if done with proper splicing harness?

Also talked possibly putting the new main panel outside, to remove it from the bathroom. I hate outside panels, particularly since this panel would would be street-facing (although only a cul-de-sac street; we're on a corner). I'd have to make a new hole through the brick wall for wiring, deal with splices, etc. I just don't know...
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:00 PM   #47
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I just looked at the close-up pic of the wire to the further panel & it looks like #2 wire

Do not do anything a big box store tells you to or trust what they say until you have verified it
Some stores may have some knowledgeable people, most do not

Power doesn't "Go" it is drawn
You would have to exceed 100a on one feed wire before you would have a problem
And even then the breaker panel main 100a breaker kicks out



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Old 01-13-2010, 05:02 PM   #48
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(Hmmm. I posted a reply earlier, but don't see it here now. Must have missed a button before jumping to lunch. Guess I'll try again...)

Good eye, Dave. I don't do this every day, so I don't recognize the guages of wires by site. Also, the exposed wire printed everything BUT the guage. At least I know it's rated for outdoor conduit.

The "drawn" vs "go" error is mine, not the orange apron guy (I'm still screwing up standard terminology). He's apparently this store's go-to guy for all things electrical, and seemed to have a lot of experience as an electrician before retiring to HD.

Anyway, good to know the wire issue isn't another problem -- plenty enough as is!

I've installed the correct bonding screw. Now to contemplate solutions to the bigger problems...
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:17 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I just looked at the close-up pic of the wire to the further panel & it looks like #2 wire

Do not do anything a big box store tells you to or trust what they say until you have verified it
Some stores may have some knowledgeable people, most do not

Power doesn't "Go" it is drawn
You would have to exceed 100a on one feed wire before you would have a problem
And even then the breaker panel main 100a breaker kicks out
Dave. On the subject of obtaining reliable technical and Code-compliant information. I just heard on the news (I think CBS Radio) this past Friday, that one of the major home renovation organizations attached to Home centers is recalling One Million copies of a book that shows a diagram for electrical wiring, that if followed, could cause a fire! In one of the threads there was a discussion by an OP, where he said that a book that's being published, surely checks out the technical information. !
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:56 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsdanf View Post
We discussed a solution of converting the situation to a true main and sub panel setup. I'm replacing the FPE panel anyway, so I could replace with a 200A panel, sub the other panel off it, and use the existing cable to finish the connection (plus the other obvious details). I might have to splice the #4 wire [actually #2] , though, to reach the the main panel. I could to this in the junction box just off the meter, and feed the cable through the meter box into the wall to the panel. (See attached photo). Any problems with splicing, if done with proper splicing harness?

Also talked possibly putting the new main panel outside, to remove it from the bathroom. I hate outside panels, particularly since this panel would would be street-facing (although only a cul-de-sac street; we're on a corner). I'd have to make a new hole through the brick wall for wiring, deal with splices, etc. I just don't know...
Any suggestions on these options...?
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:44 AM   #51
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You are not supposed to take unfused wire (the wire from the power co) through the samp pipe with fused wire ( the wire you will be running to make your other wire a sub panel)!
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:05 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsdanf View Post
Any suggestions on these options...?

Looking at this whole installation for code compliance you have several issues to overcome.

The FPE panel is in a bathroom behind the toilet. This in itself is a big code violation. The worst place for an electrical panel is a bathroom and having a toilet set in front of it is another code violation. So if you upgrade the FPE panel an inspector is going to require you to move it out of the bathroom. Or remove the bathroom..... This of course is based on your area requiring inspections for this type work. I wouldn't want my FPE loadcenter where yours is....

Not wanting a outside meter/main set-up I would do the following. I'd extend the circuts or move them to a new location close to the meter outside of the bathroom and not in a closet. Install my new 200 amp loadcenter. Then replace the service entrance wires to the new loadcenter (the old ones are not going to reach anyway).

Once that is done you need to run a 4 wire feeder to the square d panel at the workshop. Your present feeder is three wire so your going to have to run a equipment ground to the workshop panel. It looks to me like those a #1 or 1/0 copper conductors in that conduit to the workshop. so your probably going to have to pull those out and reinstall all four wires together. If you do that be sure to pull rope/string in the conduit as you pull the wires out.

I hate splicing feeders but you can if you want as you mentioned earlier. But that conduit run across the outside of your house looks cheesy.... I would look for an alternate route either inside using cable like SER or underground in conduit using the existing wires. Hopefully without splicing them. Then install a 100 amp breaker in the new loadcenter to protect the new feeder. Do away with the tap at the meter. This way you have a single disconnect at the new main breaker loadcenter that removes power from your home and all is well.

You cannot run the feeder to the workshop in the same conduit with the service entrance wires coming from the meter to the new 200 amp panel. You might consider using cable like SEU or SER for the service entrance conductors from meter to new panel location using the existing hole in the brick if it makes life easier.

Does the house have basement access below the meter location? I am assuming the window to the left of the meter is the bathroom window?
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Last edited by Stubbie; 01-14-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:47 PM   #53
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Okay, I've resigned myself to moving the main panel, and avoiding routing anything through the meter enclosure.

I've been struggling with a new pannel location, because 1) I'm on a slab, and 2) I've got a partial 2nd floor, which covers most of the obvious locations for a new panel. On the attached diagram. The shaded area shows the 2nd floor covered area -- the area I have no attic access for installing a panel below.

After some study (i.e., eliminating unavailable walls and consulting with the wife), I've marked the preferred location for the new box. The upside to this location is that the circuit wires coming from the attic (majority of the wires to the panel) will likely reach the new location with no splicing. The downside is that the new panel will be above the side of the dryer, which raises the panel up a bit (see photo of location; old panel is just in the background). Let me guess: Code problems? I could move the panel instead to the alternative location; however, I'd have to splice most of the wiring, and deal with a tighter work location in the attic (close to roof overhang).

Either way, I'll plan on re-wiring to the panel in the workshop (thanks Stubbie for the detailed advice). I'll probably re-route the conduit to go into the attic above the brick. I can't route through the attic due to the 2nd level, and don't want to try going under the driveway. (Anyway, I'm not sure it's so cheezy -- it's more like post-modern industrial chic ; see photos).

Thanks for ongoing feedback!

Dan

PS: Is there a link to code restrictions regarding panel locations? I'd like to read up more...
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Neutral & grounds on separate bus bars?-proposed-new-panel-location.jpg   Neutral & grounds on separate bus bars?-img_3442.jpg   Neutral & grounds on separate bus bars?-img_3429.jpg   Neutral & grounds on separate bus bars?-img_3430.jpg  
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:04 PM   #54
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Have you considered the garage for the new main ?
Then you could re-use the wiring to the shop as it would be long enough



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Old 01-14-2010, 05:10 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Have you considered the garage for the new main ?
Then you could re-use the wiring to the shop as it would be long enough
The garage was my first preference, but the upstairs covers ALL of the garage. I couldn't figure out a way to route any wiring to there from the attic.

...unless I put it all into conduit and route through the top of the walls (just below the ceilings, or via the outside). Of course, if I did that, I'd have to deal with routing any future circuit additions through the conduit. Also, I already have 27 circuits from the original panel (including 7 240V), plus the wiring from the workshop panel-- yuck. (Also, it might look... hmm, what's the phrase?... -- yeah, cheezy. )

There are disadvantages to having a slab (along with the advantages, of course...).

Last edited by Itsdanf; 01-14-2010 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Correct count of circuits.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:36 PM   #56
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As per the NEC for your service disconnect
225.31 Disconnecting Means.
Means shall be provided
for disconnecting all ungrounded conductors that supply or
pass through the building or structure.

225.32 Location.
The disconnecting means shall be installed
either inside or outside of the building or structure
served or where the conductors pass through the building or
structure. The disconnecting means shall be at a readily
accessible location nearest the point of entrance of the conductors.
For the purposes of this section, the requirements

in 230.6 shall be utilized.
230.6
Conductors Considered Outside the Building.

Conductors shall be considered outside of a building or
other structure under any of the following conditions:
(1) Where installed under not less than 50 mm (2 in.) of
concrete beneath a building or other structure
(2) Where installed within a building or other structure in a
raceway that is encased in concrete or brick not less
than 50 mm (2 in.) thick
(3) Where installed in any vault that meets the construction
requirements of Article 450, Part III
(4) Where installed in conduit and under not less than
450 mm (18 in.) of earth beneath a building or other
structure

225.33 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
(A) General.
The disconnecting means for each supply
permitted by 225.30 shall consist of not more than six
switches or six circuit breakers mounted in a single enclosure,

in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switch-
board. There shall be no more than six disconnects per
supply grouped in anyone location.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:58 PM   #57
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I'm sorry but I am not following. What does feeders to detached buildings in part 2 of art 225 have to do with anything we are talking about? This is a service to a single family dwelling.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:25 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
I'm sorry but I am not following. What does feeders to detached buildings in part 2 of art 225 have to do with anything we are talking about? This is a service to a single family dwelling.
Oops wrong section , was in a hurry and tired sorry.
Should have been=

VI. Service Equipment - Disconnecting Means
230.70 General. Means shall be provided to disconnect all
conductors in a building or other structure from the serviceentrance
conductors.
(A) Location. The· service disconnecting means shall be
installed in accordance with 230.70(A)(l), (A)(2), and
(A)(3).
(1) Readily Accessible Location. The service disconnecting
means shall be installed at a readily accessible location
either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the

point of entrance of the service conductors.
(2) Bathrooms. Service disconnecting means shall not be

installed in bathrooms.
230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
(A) General. The service disconnecting means for each
service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of serviceentrance
conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception No.1,
3,4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets
of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six
switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single
enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a
switchboard. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects

per service grouped in anyone location.

Last edited by codeone; 01-14-2010 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:38 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codeone View Post
Oops wrong section , was in a hurry and tired sorry.
Should have been=

VI. Service Equipment - Disconnecting Means
230.70 General. Means shall be provided to disconnect all
conductors in a building or other structure from the serviceentrance
conductors.
(A) Location. The· service disconnecting means shall be
installed in accordance with 230.70(A)(l), (A)(2), and
(A)(3).
(1) Readily Accessible Location. The service disconnecting
means shall be installed at a readily accessible location
either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the

point of entrance of the service conductors.
(2) Bathrooms. Service disconnecting means shall not be

installed in bathrooms.
230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
(A) General. The service disconnecting means for each
service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of serviceentrance
conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception No.1,
3,4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets
of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six
switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single
enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a
switchboard. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects

per service grouped in anyone location.
No problem I understand what happens when your tired....
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:23 PM   #60
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Ok using the word "cheesy" for that conduit was not politically correct. Let me re-phrase ... the LB conduit body on the side of the meter can is "cheesy" and the conduit is peachy nice.... That conduit does have support brackets I hope....

Well ... you have more obstacles than I thought so I see your dilemma. I don't think you gain much moving that panel from where it is now. Above the dryer is not compliant either. You do not have the required "free" working space.

Let me run this by you. What about a meter main combo like this ....



This has 8 spaces with a 200 amp main breaker installed and feed thru lugs at the bottom of the buss rack. You would install a 100 amp breaker under the 200 amp main breaker in two of the spaces for the feeder to the shop. The other spaces could be for outdoor lighting or whatever you would like.

There may be some meter mains with less spaces you just have to go to an electrical supply and see what they have in their catalogs.

Use the feed thru lugs to feed a new 200 amp mlo panel (no main breaker in it just main lugs) installed where your existing fpe panel is now unless you can figure out a way to get to the garage.

This will get rid of those big split bolt splices you have now.

We are splitting hairs here as for code compliance for a service. Art. 230.70 (A)(2) says service disconnecting means are not to be installed in bathrooms. So in this case your service disconnecting means is not in the bathroom it is in the outside meter main. but then you have problems with panelboards in bathrooms but one out of two ain't all bad..... Also you do not have a shower or bath tub so the humidity issue is considerably less. Panels don't like humid environments....

Anyway though I don't in particular like this advice it is a viable option IMO under the circumstances. You need 4 wire feeders to both panels with neutral and ground separated in those panels which means your going to be throwing away that bonding screw you just bought and adding grounding bars to the square d panel. The ground and neutral are bonded at your meter main (service equipment). I'd opt for a square d 200 amp mlo panel in the bathroom also or whatever location you end up with just to keep uniformity of the panels.

EDIT: If I were you I'd have the power company come out and pull the meter and get power off the line side if you choose this option. You really are not to mess with the meter as a DIY project. You do not want to install a new meter can with hot line side service entrance conductors so cover that base and don't be foolish.
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