Live panel Change


Old 08-25-05, 10:39 PM
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Live panel Change

Whats the safest way of doing a live panel change? (120/240). Uderstanding it is dangerous and illadvised. I.E tape or cap ends.
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Old 08-26-05, 04:38 AM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
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Call an electrician!!!

There is NO safe way for a DIY to do a live panel swap. There is NO safe way for a DIY to do a live ANYTHING!!!
Old 08-26-05, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
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I apologize in advance for being unhelpful in a DIY forum, however a 'live panel change' is unsafe enough as to be illegal if a professional was doing it for hire (OSHA rules, not NEC rules).

The only time under OSHA rules that you can 'work hot' is if there is no reasonable way to cut power to the load. In this case, you are required to calculate the potential available fault energy, and then use appropriate 'personal protective equipment' to protect you in the event of a fault of that energy. For a common everyday 'pole pig' transformer feeding a home, a fault could deliver a couple of megawatts to an arc, with total energy determined by fuse activation time or the time it would take for your service wires to burn away.

For the situation that you describe, you are _disconnecting_ one panel, and then reconnecting the new panel. By definition you are cutting power to the load, and thus there is no acceptable reason to work hot.

How about telling us _why_ you want to do a 'live panel change'. Perhaps there is alternative advice that we could give which would satisfy your ultimate goal without pulling such a crazy stunt.

Old 08-26-05, 07:48 AM
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1.) Being an electrician for over 17 years...I have NEVER had to do a live panel change and if a contractor is TOO tight or worried enough to have a meter pulled a GOOD electrician does not need their business.

2.) JUST NOT SAFE and in a DIY forum we are not going to give the impression it can be done or should be done.

NOTICE: Electricity can KILL......PERIOD !


I would suggest you contact a local Electrician who will inform you of the requirements and need to have the meter pulled and process for working in a panel correctly. We do work in live panels all the time but NO ONE should attempt a service change on a LIVE panel.

The proper procedure is to contact your POCO or UTLY company and set a date to have your meter pulled. Then schedule the service upgrade or change while the meter is pulled and then inspected and then contact POCO or UTLY to come and replace the meter. This requires good timing and scheduling to have completed in one day ( usually in a 6-7 hour period ).

Last edited by ElectricalMan; 08-26-05 at 08:05 AM.
Old 08-26-05, 09:23 AM
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There are probably 20 ways to die and 100 ways to be permanently disabled from a mistake in a live panel change. It is simply not worth the risk under any circumstances, period.

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