Adding new circuit to "in-wall" panel

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  #1  
Old 02-16-07, 08:22 PM
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Adding new circuit to "in-wall" panel

Hello!

I will be adding at least 1 new circuit to my panel so I can add some receptacles for my home computer network equipment.

My main panel is in my garage and is built into the sheetrock.

All the wiring into the panel is also behind this sheetrock.

I have not explored what the wire routing down to this panel looks like from the attic, but just wanted to know if you guys think it's possible to snake the wiring from the top plate into the panel "without" removing the sheetrock?

I was also thinking about adding a subpanel next to the main, but wasn't sure how that would work. I think it's code now that the panel cannot be recessed in the wall like my main, so how would you guys run the branch feed if this subpanel has to be on the outside of the sheetrock? Hopefully this makes sense.

I've read my basic residential wiring book, but they don't explain what to do in my situation. Any help would be great!

I also understand I could tap off another circuit, but there isn't really any near this proposed receptacle location.
 
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Old 02-16-07, 09:56 PM
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My thought.

Damn!! You've been doing so much work and adding for some time now, Why have you not just cut out the 2' of sheetrock above the panel?

So as to run your ckts and just cut them in? Instead of snaking each one in alone?

Room to work is time saved. Cut out once... Patch once.

(KRXO- Like it?)
 
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Old 02-16-07, 10:17 PM
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I agree. Remove the drywall. The time it will take to remove and replace the drywall will be far less than working around it. Drywall work is pretty easy anyway, but garage drywall is even easier because it doesn't have to look perfect.

BTW, you are incorrect about electrical code not allowing recessed panels. Is this recessed into an outside wall, or a wall that is shared between living space and the garage? If the latter, then there may be a fire code involved. In any case, remove the drywall. If the drywall is 5/8" Type X, replace it with the same kind and be sure to tape it.

"Basic wiring" books are not going to cover this, because there is nothing "basic" about working in the panel. It's easy to get killed if you're careless in there.
 
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Old 02-17-07, 08:34 AM
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Thanks for the input!

lectriclee-
I've been trying to get all my ducks in line before I start. The more more prep time I take, the easier it will be for me.
 
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Old 02-17-07, 08:37 AM
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well that makes sence! when you cut out above, just be carefull not to nick the other cables. save the peice you remove.
 
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Old 02-17-07, 03:06 PM
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For the feed for the sub:

Since I have to run the feed wire through the sheetrock to the sub, is it usually code that they be in conduit? It may be a code thing that I might have to contact the building department, but just wanted to hear some suggestions.

I plan on using NM 10/3 as feed and use a 30amp feeder breaker if I can find one for my main.
 
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Old 02-17-07, 03:29 PM
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Sub Panel

I was also thinking about adding a subpanel next to the main, but wasn't sure how that would work. I think it's code now that the panel cannot be recessed in the wall like my main, so how would you guys run the branch feed if this subpanel has to be on the outside of the sheetrock? Hopefully this makes sense.##

If you surface mount the sub, You can come from the side of the main then into the back with your 10/3+grd. This would be fine. You must use the NM connectors on both sides.

If your that close you can use a "tap" rule and you don't need a breaker.
But there are other considerations.
 
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Old 02-17-07, 05:53 PM
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I plan on having the sub within 2 ft of the main. I will read some more in the NEC about the "tapping" rules.

Pardon my ignorance though, where would the feed wire attach to in the main without a breaker?
 
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Old 02-17-07, 06:30 PM
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Wink Sorry!

I should not have gone there. This can be very tricky and confusing.

Stick with the tried and true. Use the breaker. Make sure 30A is enough.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 01:45 PM
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Ok Gents.

I'm finally getting ready to tackle this subpanel project.

As stated before, I am adding this subpanel approx. 1 ft away from the main panel in my garage.

I asked my local building inspector about if the feed wires needing to be in conduit. The answer was yes, because the feed wire would be coming from behind sheetrock, to outside the sheetrock to the sub (if there is no punch out in the rear).

I am upping the amp rating as well. I am going to get a Square D QO sub rated for 100A. I plan on supplying this sub with 60amps using #6/3 WG Cu.

My main question is, what type of conduit do you think is appropriate for this feed wire? I would prefer PVC type seeing I have no tools to bend steel.

I also had a question earlier, but was not answered. I am trying to determine what service amperage I have. The meter on the house says "CL200, 240V 3W," and my main breakers in the panel are (2)100 amp tandem.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 06:37 PM
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That close?

How about a recess panel? Drill the stud. Knockouts left in the bottom of the house panel? And the bottom of the new one. If concentric, you need bonding bushings. so if 3/4" only, use it (in both). If it must be surface, buy a hole saw,come in the back of the new panel. They only sell pipe in 10' lengths and now your into "change over" connectors.

Go 6/3 w ground. buy 3/4" NMB connectors, and again..Recess if you can.
No conduit needed.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 08:04 PM
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I wish I could recess. Code here requires it to be on the outside of the sheetrock now (per inspector). I thought I read that somewhere in the NEC as well, I can't remember.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 08:08 PM
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Well each area is different. What code cycle are you on? Can you still come in the back? then no conduit is needed.

It looked like you guys go by NEC only. Do you have county codes?
 
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Old 02-21-07, 08:17 PM
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He said they were on the 2005 cycle, but if you go the next country over, they are still in the 2002. Go figure. I'll make another call and get clarification. It would be much easier having it recessed, and look cleaner.


EDIT: I just looked up our Cities electrical code, it is says it's using the 1999 Edition of the NEC but amended in 2005?! In the amendments, it does not say anything about panels being externally mounted. I will definetly have clarify.
 

Last edited by HotxxxxxxxOKC; 02-21-07 at 08:24 PM. Reason: Added last para.
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Old 02-23-07, 02:25 PM
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Smile Able to recess

Sorry to be annoying, but here's an update.

After calling 4 local licensed electricians, I CAN have my subpanel recessed in the wall. This is a big relief for me seing I do not have to use conduit. I'm sure I'll have more questions when I start installing ("I mean when the licensed electrician") the panel.

Thanks for the insite and advice to this point.
 
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Old 02-25-07, 03:40 PM
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Ok, Home Depot did not sell and Square D panels, so I went with a Cutler-Hammer BR2024L 125A.

This panel has two buss bars, 1 on each side of the panel.

I want to make sure I got this right before wiring it, which is the point I am at now.

I will run my NM 6/3 WG like this:

Main panel - Black & Red to the double pole 60amp breaker
White and bare ground together at the buss bar

Sub panel - Black & Red to the main lugs
White to the buss bar
Bare to ?
Can I attach this bare to the other buss bar, or should I get one of those lugs you screw into the case? I think I need that lug that screws into the case, but will wait for a response.

I'm almost there! My wife also loves what I have done to the sheetrock! :-p
 
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Old 02-25-07, 04:58 PM
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Buss bar

The 2 buss bars are there for neutral and ground.
They MUST not be connected together.
The neutral bar will be isolated from the metal of the can.
A bonding screw (green) most likely came with the panel. This connects thru the other buss and into the panel metal.... This is your new ground buss.
 
  #18  
Old 02-25-07, 05:00 PM
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Every panel provides a way to connect the neutral bus bar to the shell of the panel. It might be a green screw or some sort of metal bar. The important thing for you is to NOT install it. If you have such a green screw or metal bar, throw it away.

Now, before you connect anything up, figure out which of those two bars is electrically connected to the panel shell, using an ohmmeter. That is your grounding bar. All the bare wires go there, including the bare wire coming from the main panel.

The bar that is electrically isolated from the panel is the neutral bar. All the the white wires go there, including the white wire from the main panel.

On each of these bars, there's probably one hole that is larger than the others. That is to accommodate the thicker wires coming from the main panel.
 
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Old 02-25-07, 05:08 PM
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bond screw

John, most panels that I have seen will have the 2 bars connected and be isolated from the can, then the bond screw is inserted to make the bond connection.
In the event of the bar from buss to can, Then the bond screw is not needed but the bars must still be diconnected from each other.


Brain F---. If they can't be isolated from each other toss the bond screw and get a ground buss kit for that panel.
 

Last edited by lectriclee; 02-25-07 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Light dawns...
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Old 02-25-07, 05:34 PM
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Here's some pics.

Note: The two bars appear to be connected to each other?

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h178/normanmj/DSCN2131.jpg

Here's a pic of the frontal view. Admin my lovely sheetrock work and brace. Haha

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h178/normanmj/DSCN2129.jpg


I added that small grounding bar below the main lugs. It was the only available space that had the mounting holes for it. Let me know if this needs to be removed.
 
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Old 02-25-07, 06:19 PM
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Don't go by appearances. Use your ohmmeter and test. What it takes to isolate a bar from the panel can be almost too small to be seen. Test it with no wires connected to get accurate results.

If you're lucky, you'll find one bar connected to the panel, and one not. If they both are, then you have to remove something. If neither are, then you have to add something.
 
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Old 02-25-07, 06:38 PM
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Gotcha!

Well, I'm not sure if I was Ohming it correctly.

What are the procedures for this?

I put one lead on large lug on the buss bar, the other to the case; reading of 1 (infinite)

I did this to the other as well, and got the same reading.

I think I did it wrong. :-p

EDIT:

Removed smaller ground bar, and added larger one. Do you think this bar is too close to the breaker setup?

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h178/normanmj/DSCN2134.jpg
 
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Old 02-25-07, 06:59 PM
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Looks like the correct ground bar should go to the top right above the neutral buss. see the factory holes? The neutrals look isolated.

With your meter on ohms, touch the 2 leads together. that reading indicates a short (continuity). you DO NOT want to see that reading between the neutral buss and the can.
 
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Old 02-25-07, 07:25 PM
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I have two different ground bars, one is the longer one which was is the last pic, and a pretty short one which was in a earlier photo. (bought seperately)

I could mount the longer bar up in the top right side like you said, but only the two screw holes in the bar do not line up with the can. Is it ok to use only one screw to hold it on?

I re-did the Ohms checking on both the factory buss bars. When I have a lead on one buss bar, the other touching anywhere in the case, I get no continuity. This is the same for both bars.

Pics of Ohm testing:

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h178/normanmj/DSCN2137.jpg
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h178/normanmj/DSCN2136.jpg
 

Last edited by HotxxxxxxxOKC; 02-25-07 at 07:33 PM. Reason: Added pics
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Old 02-25-07, 07:42 PM
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Look on the back of the ground bar, you may need to relocate a terminal screw,. there may be optional mounting holes in it.

If not,, you could drill one for the second hole. as long as the screw is in a threaded hole.

I've done it..... 100% to code... I'm unsure.
Someone will let us know.

Test looks good.
 

Last edited by lectriclee; 02-25-07 at 07:44 PM. Reason: test looks good
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Old 02-25-07, 08:00 PM
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Thank you!!!!!

I will connect the neutral to the neutral bus bar (green screw with "s" thing removed".

Then connect the bare to the "soon to be modified ground bar".
 
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Old 02-25-07, 08:14 PM
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HEY HOT... I must be tired. set the meter to the ohm scale... bottom left of your meter. the funky little horse shoe thingy.

( how's that for technical?)
 
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Old 02-25-07, 08:28 PM
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Lol, I caught that after I was done. Went and turned it to the Ohm (horseshoe) and still got 1. Good to go.

Thanks for the headsup.
 
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Old 02-26-07, 05:19 PM
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Talking Done!

Finished the sub today! Thanks for all your help. I think I did a good job seeing this is my first major job. I was crossing my fingers while flippin the breaker. :-p I have good voltage going to the panel.

I have one question before we can put this thread to an end.

Is it permissable to leave the sheetrock off above the panel for some time? I plan on obviously routing some new wiring for new circuits in the feature, and did not want to keep tearing into the wall too do it.

I guess I could devise a door of some type so I could close and open it when needed.

Thanks again for all the help.
 
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Old 02-26-07, 06:04 PM
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Subjective

"some time?" Is subjective. I feel yes. So long as your permit (you do have one?) is active. If it's a fire wall, In your best interest, finish sooner than later.

How about some pics? If your good with that.
 
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Old 02-26-07, 06:56 PM
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This is the outside wall in the garage. I think only the garage walls that are adjacent to the inside have to be fire resistant. Not truelly sure. Wonder if I could create recessed door with a piece of plywood the a piece sheetrock over it to fullfil the firecode. I will look into it some more.

Yea, the permit issue.....My county requires only a licensed electrician to do work like I did and have a permit. Only the electrician can apply for the permit. I am calling a electrician this week to take a look at my work, and hopefully he can sign off on it.

I installed the sub per the NEC and local requirements, minus the electrician portion so I should be ok. I'll let you know.
 
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