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Discussion Starter #1
I decided to bite the bullet and hire an electrician to properly install a generator. I could have done this myself but my wife felt more comfortable hiring a pro and I didn't want to spend the time trying to figure out which breakers to get.

In order to free up the 3 slots required for the interlock kit, the electrician had to move some breakers around replace some singles with doubles. I am strating to think that he did not use the right type of breakers. I probably should have just done this myself.

I have an 40 year old Arrow Hart/Murray panel, model LC230PS. The label states that it should work with:
Murray MP, MM, EP
Bryant BRD, BRO, BAR, BR, GFCB
Westinghouse QP, QPGF
ITE EQP, QF

The electrician has added:
1 GE THQL for the generator in
3 new MH-T
1 new MP-T

I've spent all day googling and can't find much to tell me if they are compatible. I did find this link here which says the MH is compatible with the MM but I think only for certain panels. I can't find anything documented about the THQL
breaker-substitutions-murray-MH-T.pdf (application/pdf Object)

I am concerned that these are not supported on my panel... I don't mind replacing them myself but don't want to if not necessary...


thoughts?

Thanks,
Chris
 

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Sparky
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The two murray breakers are correct if your panel is listed for tandem breakers(need more info,preferably a picture of the labels on the door/deadfront) but the GE breaker while not inherently unsafe is technically wrong, and could eventually cause a failure of the bus stab it's connected to.
 

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Sparky
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Tandem breakers are allowed where the breaker space has a ----------------- in that diagram appears to be the 10th row, and 12-15th row
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Techy, good catch. The tandems are not installed in the right locations AND the GE breaker needs to go .

The MH breakers still bother me, I can't find any literature that says they are ok for this panel - but given the other link that I posted I guess it should be OK. I might call Siemens on Monday to see if they can give me any more info. Do you know if there are any compatibility matrices out there?

Looks like I'll be calling back the electricians. Glad I didn't pay them yet!

Chris
 

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Lic Elect/Inspector/CPO
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369 Posts
Thanks, Techy, good catch. The tandems are not installed in the right locations AND the GE breaker needs to go .

The MH breakers still bother me, I can't find any literature that says they are ok for this panel - but given the other link that I posted I guess it should be OK. I might call Siemens on Monday to see if they can give me any more info. Do you know if there are any compatibility matrices out there?

Looks like I'll be calling back the electricians. Glad I didn't pay them yet!

Chris
The Ge has two go, the mh are ok, and tandems have to be moved.
If this being inspected than the inspector would have(should) picked it up. Also if it is being inspected never give any contactor full payment untill final inspection approval
 

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Licensed Electrician
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Many contracts are written so that final inspection is not needed for payment to be made. This is because a customer could put off having the work inspected for a long time before having to pay.
 

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Licensed Electrical Cont.
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The MH breakers still bother me, I can't find any literature that says they are ok for this panel - but given the other link that I posted I guess it should be OK. I might call Siemens on Monday to see if they can give me any more info. Do you know if there are any compatibility matrices out there?
You are WAY over thinking this.

The GE's are not a big deal, but are technically no correct for that panel.
Just have them install BR breakers and be done with it. BR are the most common breaker around as they are pretty much the final incarnation of all this listed.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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Many contracts are written so that final inspection is not needed for payment to be made. This is because a customer could put off having the work inspected for a long time before having to pay.
How could the customer put off inspection when it's the electrician that should be pulling the permits.
 

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Licensed Electrician
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In my area, Master Electricians are the only people that can pull electrical permits. When the EC calls to confirm (with the customer) that somebody will be available to let the inspector in, they won't "know their schedule", will be out of town, have company in from out of town, not answer the phone. Then if you do get a time nailed down, they will just not let the inspector in or leave. There are multiple ways.

In other parts of the country homeowners can pull permits. In this case I do not see any way an electrical contractor would wait till the permit has been inspected and closed to receive payment.
 

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Licensed Electrical Cont.
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Interesting, getting a permit was never even brought up. Thanks for the advice.
He did a service change without a permit/inspections???
Or was it just a panel change?
 

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Licensed Electrician
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He had a generator installed Speedy. But that wouldn't disqualify the need for a permit.

Slightly off topic: I can't imagine the number of illegally installed generators that are being put in on the east coast right now. If I were a lineman in that area, I would have to think about moving into another line of work. Especially when New Jersey has waived permit fees.
 

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Licensed Electrical Cont.
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He had a generator installed Speedy.
Oh yeah. Duh.

How quickly I forget once the original post drifts up to the top. :(
 
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Lic Elect/Inspector/CPO
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He had a generator installed Speedy. But that wouldn't disqualify the need for a permit.

Slightly off topic: I can't imagine the number of illegally installed generators that are being put in on the east coast right now. If I were a lineman in that area, I would have to think about moving into another line of work. Especially when New Jersey has waived permit fees.
The permit fees have only been waived for replacing or repairing electrical services.
All other work require permits. I have had to get many. Also in NJ final payment is not required until final inspection.
 

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Licensed Electrician
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Also in NJ final payment is not required until final inspection.
That completely discourages contractors from pulling permits. And what stops a homeowner from never calling in for an inspection? Is the contractor also notified?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
He just added a generator inlet and the interllock kit (so I can't have the main and the generator circuits on at the same time)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Maybe that is what he did.. The previous owner of the house had been backfeeding the generator into the subpanel... the electrician I hired moved the backfeeding circuit to the main panel for the interlock kit...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OK. I called Siemens... The Siemens guy agreed that the MH-T breaker should be fine although it has not been UL approved with my specific panel because the panel is just too old. It would void the warranty if the panel weren't 40+ years old but it should be safe. .

I did replace the mismatched GE breaker with an MP.

My electrician tells me that the newer tandem breakers don't utilize restrictive clips so they can go anywhere in the panel. The Siemens guy said that as long as it fits and I'm not overloading the board it should be fine. My panel is jammed with circuits for electric heat which we don't use anymore so I am sure we're not overloading it. The Siemens guy also tells me that this is not 2 separate 1/2 inch breakers (which were around in the 70s), it is technically a one inch tandem breaker so it is probably just fine.


Here is the thing. I asked my electrician to check out everything in the panel while he was there for the genny because the basement was smelling really funky -- like a dead fish. It seemed to be coming from the panel but I could not be sure. Of course he said everything looked fine, just like the previous electrician told me a month ago.

Before I replaced that GE breaker I heard the breaker for my water heater buzzing a bit. 10 minutes after turning off the main, the water heater breaker was still hot. I disconnected the wires and this picture shows what I found. The insulation on the wire seems nicely toasted. I trimmed the copper back a bit and installed a new breaker.. but I am wondering if I can trust that the wire is safe? The hot water heater is always running and I don't want to burn the house down!

Last night I also found another damned charred wire in the basement. This one was running along a floor joist. It looks like someone damaged it a long time ago with a staple. They removed the wire from the staple (probably by yanking on the wire) and just left both the staple and the wire there, the wire had a small cut and was badly bent. I'm not really sure what I am supposed to do. I peeled away the blackened insulation and charred ground-paper, then electrical-taped the tiny part of the hot wire that was exposed and arcing to the ground wire which now looks sorta oxidized.. Should I be running a new wire there?

Now I am going to vent a little.. sorry in advance. You can stop reading if you like. This is probably the 20th electrical issue I've found since I moved to this house and I'm about to lose it.

I've found inaccessible junction boxes hiding in the walls. If there is a metal box somewhere, I guarantee it is not grounded. I've grounded about 30 of them myself and it is not a fun nor rewarding job. I've found wires that are just nutted together inside of a wall cavity, not in any junction box at all. That is fun. Light fixtures that are screwed in and sit flush against the ceiling without a connection box or any barrier between the drywall and lightbulb, 100 watt bulbs when the maximum is 60... Funky electrical timers tucked away high up in the attic to control a flood light near the top of the roof because the previous owner was too lazy or stupid to install a switch in a place that made sense... Overloaded circuits everywhere. Improperly wired two and three pole switches. No GFCIs on the exterior outlets. Basement lights that just sizzle when you turn them on because the idiot has like 2 inches of exposed wire in there. Here is my favorite... Two pole switches that have been "modified" to become a one way switch for an outlet. Yes folks, when you walk into my kitchen in the dark and try to turn on the lights instead of touching a light switch you're sticking your finger in an outlet! My inlaws love that feature.... the list just goes on and on over here.

I have a young family here. 3 kids, 2 in diapers. I am really worried about the safety of this house.

It is impossible to find someone -- an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, anyone at all that really cares and wants to do the job right -- use the right parts, look for other issues, etc.. even when I explicitly ask them to do it and say that I am willing to pay for their time.

I did take a residential electric course when I first moved here and luckily have experience with digital electronics so I am somewhat comfortable with these types of repairs, but not this magnitude, everyday something comes up. I'm at the end of my wits and have a day job to focus on. I can't spend all my time on this house. Sigh. Sorry to vent. I think it is time for a beer or something stronger I guess.

If you have any advice, I'm all ears!

Thanks in advance
Chris
 

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