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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello. I have a Mobile Home (all electric) in a rural part of Florida which i bought recently, and the Main Panel is on the Pole outside . The Meter and Panel appear to be all one piece with the Meter Bus Bars running about 12" to the Panel Bus Bars (held in contact with each other by a few screws) . There was no Main Breaker to kill the power for everything at the Pole , so i wanted to install a 125 amp G.E. Breaker to act as the Main Shutoff .

So, what i did was the following which is working well thus far...but i want to know if it is acceptable and safe ? : I pulled the Meter out of the sockets , and carefully drilled a 1/4" hole thru the center of each Meter's Bus Bar and installed a copper Lug to each after shining up the Bus Bar and backside of the Lug ; the Lugs are bolted into place using a split washer in front of the nut and torqued down very tight with no movement whatsoever . I attached #3 gauge THHN copper Wire to each and ran a short distance (maybe 12") to an empty space in the Panel for the new 125 amp Breaker . In order to detach the existing Meter Bus Bars from the Panel Bus Bars...i seperated the two from each other and placed a 3/8" thick piece of plywood to permanently seperate the two, leaving the Meter Bus Bars resting on the front of the wood and impossible of making electrical contact. I did a dry run to make sure that the Meter Cover would close tight and adequately , in which it does. I made no changes to the Main Nuetral or Ground Wires .

After putting everything back together, i ran my Electric Furnace which pulled 63 amps., for about 15 min.... and monitored the modification i had made to see if anything adverse occured. All was fine. I waited a few days then rechecked my modification work and everything was fine
. I measured the voltage at the Main Panel (new) Lugs i installed and compared it to the voltage in the house...and there was no difference (246 volts) . I measured voltage between each new Lug and Ground and get 123 volts .

Questions : 1. Was this an acceptable and safe way to do it ? 2. Anything i should be aware of ? I could take a short video of the installation if that would help you analyize it .

Many thanks, David.
 

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Plywood would not be the best choice as an insulator. It can absorb moisture which will in turn allow current to flow through. It would not be the path of choice for the current as it would be a fairly high resistance, but it might pass enough current to zap you if you thought the circuits were dead because you turned off your main breaker. Not sure about codes in Florida, but modifying the entrance panel or meter socket is not allowed here. It voids the UL approval.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Plywood would not be the best choice as an insulator. It can absorb moisture which will in turn allow current to flow through. It would not be the path of choice for the current as it would be a fairly high resistance, but it might pass enough current to zap you if you thought the circuits were dead because you turned off your main breaker. Not sure about codes in Florida, but modifying the entrance panel or meter socket is not allowed here. It voids the UL approval.
Thanks for your reply. What WOULD be a better insulator other than plywood then ?
 

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No, it is not legal. Nothing you did was legal. You may even be subject to a fine for tampering with the POCO's meter. There is a chance that when/if the meter reader comes out and sees their tag missing they might shut you down either for tampering with their equipment or for altering listed equipment.

Aren't you glad you decided to do this on your own and not consult before you made the modifications?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, it is not legal. Nothing you did was legal. You may even be subject to a fine for tampering with the POCO's meter. There is a chance that when/if the meter reader comes out and sees their tag missing they might shut you down either for tampering with their equipment or for altering listed equipment.

Aren't you glad you decided to do this on your own and not consult before you made the modifications?
I considered all that before doing the modification. The Tag is still in place and the cut i made on the Tag wire is neatly inside the Screw that secures the Meter Door so it cant be seen. Futher, im willing to take a chance on repercussions .... although where i am in rural Florida the Authorities could care less if you launched a Bullistic Missle from your rooftop. My main concern is that it is SAFE by what i did ... and after i replace the bit of plywood with ceramic as an electrical insulator, it will be. If you choose to be non-hostile, can you tell me what else would make it unsafe in your opinion ?
 

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One more thing, now that you have installed a breaker at the pole, the panel in your dwelling is now a sub panel. Therefore, grounds and neutrals would have to be separated along with any neutral to ground bond.
 

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and after i replace the bit of plywood with ceramic as an electrical insulator, it will be. If you choose to be non-hostile, can you tell me what else would make it unsafe in your opinion ?
No it will not be safe. It may work, but it will not be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
One more thing, now that you have installed a breaker at the pole, the panel in your dwelling is now a sub panel. Therefore, grounds and neutrals would have to be separated along with any neutral to ground bond.
1. Why the heck didnt they originally install a Main Breaker at the Pole so all the power for the dwelling could be conveniently shut off there , in case a hurricane would come and tear into the house ?

2. Why would grounds and nuetrals need to be seperated . I am curious . Please explain from a safety standpoint. Thanks.
 

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1. Why the heck didnt they originally install a Main Breaker at the Pole so all the power for the dwelling could be conveniently shut off there , in case a hurricane would come and tear into the house ?

2. Why would grounds and nuetrals need to be seperated . I am curious . Please explain from a safety standpoint. Thanks.
1) I have no way of knowing. It may be that there are less than 6 breakers in the panel and no main is needed.

2) After rereading your OP, if all the branch circuits for the dwelling originate from the panel you installed that main in, you would not need to separate them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mobile home, indoor panel shouldve been a sub the entire time.


The correct way to do this is buy a UL listed Main Breaker Meter Combo panel
The indoor panel WAS always a Sub to the Pole Panel , right ?
For safety sake, i wanted a Main shut off at the Pole in case a Hurricane comes in and destroys part of the dwelling including the electrical therein. Im ticked that it wasnt done this way from the start.
 

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Mobile home, indoor panel shouldve been a sub the entire time.


The correct way to do this is buy a UL listed Main Breaker Meter Combo panel

At first read, I thought the service went to the meter then directly to the dwelling. Thus the panel inside the home was a main panel. After rereading the OP, I more inclined to agree with you. There was a panel with breakers, just not a "main breaker".
 

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The indoor panel WAS always a Sub to the Pole Panel , right ?
For safety sake, i wanted a Main shut off at the Pole in case a Hurricane comes in and destroys part of the dwelling including the electrical therein. Im ticked that it wasnt done this way from the start.
I don't understand why you think improperly modifying electrical equipment is a better solution than just turning off the breakers in the panel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
1) I have no way of knowing. It may be that there are less than 6 breakers in the panel and no main is needed.

2) After rereading your OP, if all the branch circuits for the dwelling originate from the panel you installed that main in, you would not need to separate them.
1. In the Pole Panel , there were 5 breakers in it (6 now with my added Main Breaker) . Before, there was a double breaker for the Electric Furnace, the A/C unit , the Well Pump , and for the Dwelling ...and a single one for 115 v. power at a weatherproof outlet right at the Pole . The dwelling Main Panel, has a 100 amp Main Breaker with about 12 circuits i think ... mostly single breakers... and double breakers for the Water Heater and Range.

Again, i wanted a Main shutoff at the Pole .

2. Ok. Thanks.
 

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No main was needed if there were only 5 breakers in the panel at the pole. All you have to do is to turn off those 5 breakers to cut off all power.
 
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