No Main Breaker

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-30-06, 10:59 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
no main breaker

I have a 200 amp service, a digital meter on the outside wall of the house with no main shut off switch, and no main breaker or shut off switch on the 30 year old circuit breaker panel. How do I shut off power if I need to work on the main CB panel?
Do I need to call the power company?

Thanks.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-30-06, 11:09 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
What is the make of panel you have?

There is a way to kill power on the main hot busses, it just isnt evident to you. I'm thinking you may have one of the old split buss panels.

Roger
 
  #3  
Old 11-30-06, 11:27 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
The panel is a GE. 200 amp with 24 total slots. There are 5 double pole (?) 220 breakers on the top 12 slots and 11 single pole (?) 110 breakers on the bottom 12 slots.
Please excuse my ignorance of terminology.

I was thinking of putting in a 220 line for an electric water heater in the open double slot in the top section of the panel.
 
  #4  
Old 11-30-06, 12:13 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
Well I am not sure what you have there but doesnt sound like a split bus...not sure ge even made split bus panels. Though split bus does generally have doubles in the top half and singles in the bottom.
Dont suppose you have a digital camera and could post a picture/pictures at a storage site like photobucket, then give us the link?
I know we are venturing off the original question some but there has to be a way to deenergized the panel busses unless someone did some ill advised resourcefull wiring to a main lug panel from the meter.

Can you describe (if a picture isnt possible) how the service entrance wires from the meter connect at the panel?

Do the two hots wires connect to a "set" of lugs similar to a double pole breaker?

Or do they connect to individual lugs set apart from one another?


Roger
 
  #5  
Old 11-30-06, 12:23 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
Thanks for the help Roger. No picture possible but I will pull off front of panel and see what's what.
 
  #6  
Old 11-30-06, 12:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
inside main panel

Large wires coming into panel connect to large lugs seperated from each other. The top section of the panel has 5 double pole breakers for oven, dryer, etc. and one double pole 100 amp breaker that is connected to the bottom section of the panel where the single pole breakers (110V) are.
I can't see any way to turn off power to the top section of the panel. The 100 amp breaker apparently (I haven't tried it yet) turns off power to the bottom section. The bottom section contains all the light circuits, etc. in the house.
 
  #7  
Old 11-30-06, 01:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
Well I'm not going to say I know the design of every split bus panel out there but this is sounding like a split bus if that 100 amp turns power off to the lower half of the panel. I guess the best way to find out is to turn it off and see what you get. If it kills power to the single pole breakers then this is some kind of split bus but it just isnt sounding familiar to me. So I'll tell you what I have experience with on split bus panels. There are two breakers that kill power... one does the top half and one does the bottom half. I have never seen a 100 amp used for deenergizing the bottom half 120 volt circuits.
So I must defer to someone who may be familiar with this panel.

It may be wise to get a knowledgeable electrician in there to see what you have going on. It is critical that you understand what deenergizes that panel. The lugs that the big wires coming from the meter connect to will always be hot no matter. If this is indeed a split bus I would consider getting it replaced as this is obsolete service equipment.

Roger
 
  #8  
Old 11-30-06, 01:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
I'm shutting down here to try that 100 amp breaker.
The only way I can see to cut power on main panel is to pull out the meter. The incoming power co. wires are underground. There's no switch or anything near the meter. Will post back when I find out something.

Thanks again for the help.
 
  #9  
Old 11-30-06, 02:26 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,533
There is an additional complication with adding a 240V circuit to a split bus panel. The six double pole breakers at the top of the panel together make up the main disconnect. The sum total of the DP breakers should not exceed the ampacity of the service entrance conductors. Adding the 30A DP for the water heater could increase your service from a 200A to a 230A, putting the entrance conductors at a risk of overload. You also may not be able to de-energize the top side of the panel without having the power company or an electrician pull the meter.
 
  #10  
Old 11-30-06, 02:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
obsolete GE panel

I would say the bottom section of the panel acts as a "sub panel". When I shut off the 100 amp breaker, all the 110V circuits in the house were cut off.
Still no way to cut power to the 220V breakers in the top section.
Panel may be obsolete but I can't replace it right now.

Seems like a strange design.
 
  #11  
Old 11-30-06, 02:29 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,533
> Seems like a strange design.

Yes, the split-bus design is now considered obsolete.
 
  #12  
Old 11-30-06, 02:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
200A service

I think I'm already over the 200 amp total. The top section has a 100A, a 50A, and 3 40A breakers.

Correct me, but I think this may be a problem if all the circuits are in use at the same time?
 
  #13  
Old 11-30-06, 02:53 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
hijacked thread

Sorry Tyger52 for hijacking your thread. Will start a new one if need be?? Would like to find out more about this. I've been wondering about that panel ever since I moved in here.

-------------------------------------------------

***Moderator's note: "Hijacked" thread has been split ***
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 11-30-06 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Split thread note
  #14  
Old 11-30-06, 02:54 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,533
> a 50A, and 3 40A breakers... may be a problem if all the circuits are in
> use at the same time?

It depends on what these serve.
 
  #15  
Old 11-30-06, 03:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
oops

Sorry. I put this on the old thread.

100A controls lower panel--lighting, dishwasher, gas furnace blower, etc.--all 110V

50A--AC unit

3-40A--dryer, oven, stovetop
 
  #16  
Old 11-30-06, 04:51 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
electric water heater would be too much?

The main question I have is whether or not an electric water heater (30A) could be added to this main panel without overloading it?

200A service.


Top section of CB panel:

100A--controls lower panel--lighting, dishwasher, gas furnace blower, clothes washer, receptacles--all 110V--6-15A and 5-20A breakers in lower panel.

50A--3 ton AC unit

3-40A--dryer, oven, stovetop

2 empty slots to possibly put in 30A breaker for water heater.
 
  #17  
Old 11-30-06, 07:11 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
Hello Planter

Well I see Ben has helped considerably as to what you have going on there. I'm an industrial apprentice so my experience with split bus residential is limited. I've maybe had my hands in four or five over the years. Usually (and I may be corrected) when you think of split bus you think of a panel called Zinsco. Maybe GE was part of that years ago I just dont know for sure.
I have a few questions on the double breakers. 40 amps is rather odd for a dryer should be 30 amps in almost all cases. 50 amps for a 3 ton A/C seems pretty hefty also. Doesnt change what the appliance draws for current but these sizes may be incorrect for what you have. Check the nameplate on the dryer and see what it calls for on the wattage requirement. Should be like 4.5kw or 5kw there abouts. See what the a/c amperage is from the nameplate. If it is a newer unit it should give a maximum breaker size. The oven is probably ok and 40 amps for a 4 burner cooktop seems reasonable. If you can check these nameplates and give us the amperage requirements or wattage requirements we can look them over to see if the breakers are correct. Correct wire size is important also for these branch circuits.

Back to the question of adding the 30 amp breaker for a water heater... a 200 amp panel will probaly support that. You dont add up the breakers it is a matter of a thing called demand. I suppose in order to be sure you arent exceeding your service you will need to do a demand load calculation and see if you can add that water heater. You can give it a try yourself by reading this and doing your own estimate if you like.......

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/homewiringusa/2002/definitions/demandcalc/index.htm

As for getting the power off that panel sounds like the meter has to be pulled. So what ever that takes I would be all for it. Just be sure someone qualified does that and let the power company know whats up.

Roger
 
  #18  
Old 11-30-06, 08:11 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 41
stovetop looking good

Thanks for the help all. Haven't done the calculations yet but here are the appliance max. ratings from the nameplates.

oven--5100w at 240v = 21.25A
has 40A breaker

stovetop--8100w at 240v = 33.75A
has 40A breaker

dryer--26A at 240v
has 40A breaker

AC--max. c.b. = 30A
has 50A breaker

!?
 
  #19  
Old 12-01-06, 10:39 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
The a/c definitely needs to be changed to 30 amps as you are exceeding the max. breaker with a 50. There should be a min. circuit ampacity listed also. but 10 awg copper. would be fine.

The dryer should be 30 amp breaker with minimum 10 awg copper wire.

The oven IMO should be #10 awg copper on 30 amp breaker or 25 amp breaker. 25's are hard to find at the box stores.

The cooktop I agree with if #8 copper wire has been used.

This is my opinion as long as there arent any big distances from appliance to breaker. Big distances being over 100 feet.

Roger
 
  #20  
Old 12-01-06, 07:29 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North of Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,113
oven/cook top.

Have you tried an AMPROBE yet? This will tell your total draw.

the oven, Check the name plate,Your cook top should draw less, Again,Check the name plate, On both appliances.

You realy can't wire any thing, Untill you know what your needs are.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes