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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am in the process of renovating a house and am going to upgrade the main panel. The new panel will be a Square D 200 amp, 42 space, ground on neutral panel.

I feel pretty comfortable doing the work myself, but I have some questions. I'm sure that some of my questions are super basic. Maybe they all are. Here are my questions thus far.

1. I've seen examples of very neat work inside panels where like wires are bundled and even zip tied together. Is this a good idea, or does bundling wires create excessive heat?
2. How much thought do you put into trying to balance the load on the two hot bus bars? I have read things that say it's important, and other things that while not saying it is unimportant, suggest that most residential loads aren't big enough to create a big problem. I don't know who to believe.
3. The panel is in a utility room. The conduit to the panel comes down from the attic through a stud bay, and the panel is recessed. The distance from the top plate to the panel is greater than 12". Do you tack a 1x piece of wood between the studs for securing the cables? A 2x won't fit, because of the conduit. I've thought about cutting the conduit and mounting the panel higher, so I wouldn't need a cross member for the cables, but that makes the main breaker feel kind of high to me. Although it isn't higher than is permissible. Any thoughts?

These aren't all my questions. But I don't want this to get too long. Thank you very much for any thoughts.

Leo
 

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Hello everyone. I am in the process of renovating a house and am going to upgrade the main panel. The new panel will be a Square D 200 amp, 42 space, ground on neutral panel.



Leo

I hope that is a plug on neutral and not ground:smile:
Neat is fine, cable ties are anal and make any future rearrangement difficult.
Don't worry about balancing load.
Main breaker can be no higher than 6.5'. Piece of 1x is fine.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My bad, yes, plug on neutral!

And yes, the old panel is a 200 amp Crouse Hinds panel from the mid-80s. It is a smaller panel with 24 spaces. It isn't big enough for us, so I thought this would be a good time to upgrade it.

Thank you guys for your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here is another question.

1. The old panel is flush mount. There are not enough holes in the top plate for the new cables. The existing holes are random and pretty thoughtlessly spaced. I can probably get a few more holes in there, but even so, it won't be enough. Is it acceptable to bore holes through the top plate in adjacent stud bays and pass the cable over through holes bored in the studs? If so, do those horizontal holes through the studs count as points where the cable is considered secured within 12" of the panel?

The main reason I'm thinking to flush mount the panel is because the old one was, and the room is a first floor utility room that will be finished with drywall.

Thank you again for any thoughts.
 

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Much simpler to add a subpanel and leave the old panel in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. The old panel is already out. Capacity wasn't the only reason I decided to swap it out.

Any thoughts on the questions in post #5? Thank you guys for your help---I really appreciate it.
 

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Use a couple\few sticks of EMT, as large as the box will accept, and run that thru the top plate.
Not legal for a recessed panels using cable. Would need to splice all those cables to individual conductors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is there a limit as to how big the holes can be in the top plate? Or how many holes there can be? It is not a weight bearing wall. There is conduit through which the main service cables come down from the attic, and that hole is enormous. It looks like a beaver made it. I can put up metal on either side of the top plate to keep nails or screws from being using in that area, to protect the cables.
 

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Is it acceptable to bore holes through the top plate in adjacent stud bays and pass the cable over through holes bored in the studs?
Yes, that is perfectly acceptable. Depending on which knockouts in the panel you use, you may need nail plates over the stud on one or both sides.

Look at plastic cable connectors that install from the inside of the box to avoid having to bore out huge holes in the stud. Arlington's 94X or Raco's insider are two examples.

If so, do those horizontal holes through the studs count as points where the cable is considered secured within 12" of the panel?
No, you still must secure the cables with other means within 12". Stacker staples will work for this and will keep the cables centered within the wall cavity. If you have too many cables for those you can use a support called a Colorado Jim. Yes, it's a real product. I didn't name it.

Is there a limit as to how big the holes can be in the top plate? Or how many holes there can be? It is not a weight bearing wall.
If that wall is an interior wall there isn't a limit other than common sense. But you have your service entrance conductors coming in through an interior wall?
 
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