200 amp outdoor load center install

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  #1  
Old 09-09-07, 12:19 AM
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200 amp outdoor load center install

I have to install a 200 amp outdoor load center tomorrow in our house. I have just one question, the main breaker is of course 200 amp. I know which wire is the ground, but of the two other large wires which are hot wires, I do not know which wire goes in which hub.
The new load center is set up differently than our very old(20 + years) load center, the hot wires both fed from the top, the new load center is set up so that the two hot wires feed from the right side.
The new load center is a siemens w0404mb1200.

I have no choice but to do this myself.
The meter will be pulled in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-09-07, 04:50 AM
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Although what you are trying to do is very complicated, you asked a simple question. Your endeavor requires a working knowledge of electricity. The two hot wires can go to either post, one each of course. They are supplying 120 volts to each of two buss bars in the box. The neutral goes to the third post. There are certain code requirements for outdoor installation of such boxes. Is the wire being supplied via conduit? Is it from an underground source or overhead? Have you pulled a permit for the work, yet? You will need one before the POCO will re-energize the box.
For safety's sake, I can only suggest you get the help of an electrician, but I understand the constraints of having to do it yourself. Please be careful. Pulling the meter does not de-energize the wires you will be working with. It must me disconnected at its source.
 
  #3  
Old 09-09-07, 08:41 AM
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All of the old wiring is still in place. I am just installing a new load center.
The wiring from the meter to the load center is in conduit pipe.
The meter is in a separate enclose.
The power company told me last week that as long as the meter was pulled I could safely work on anything on my side of the meter. I am not replacing anything in the meter box, just the main load center beside the meter box.
 
  #4  
Old 09-09-07, 08:47 AM
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I feel really uncomfortable giving you any advice on the subject because this is a project that really should be left up to an experienced electrician. Please understand that working on your service is like playing with fire. Like Chandler said, pulling the meter does not deenergize the utility lines coming into the box. If you do attempt to do this yourself I'd at least suggest that you use electrically insulated tools. This means tools with an electrically rated insulation, not with the common insulated grips and not taping them with electrical tape. Make sure you wear protective clothing as well. I don't know exactly what the NFPA would require for you situation, but I'd suggest a minimum of leather gloves, safety glasses, and fire retardant long sleeve shirt and pants. Do not try to insulate any live parts with any materials not rated for such use. I knew an experienced electrician who did this and blew himself up. If you have a rubber mat of some sort to stand on, that'd be a good idea as well. Not only do you have to worry about electocution, but a direct short could cause an intense fireball and molten metal projectiles. Obviously, getting the power company to deenergize the lines feeding the meter box is the way to go, but still treat them as if they're hot. I always follow the same rule as with guns. In hunter's safety courses they teach you to treat a gun as if it's always loaded, even if you know it's not. Electricity is just as dangerous and should be treated with the same respect.

All that being said, I'll answer your question. The utility's neutral goes to the neutral bar and bonds with the ground. The grounding electrodes (ground rod, water pipe, ect.) should be bonded there via your grounding electrode conductor. Obviously the two hots go to the hot lugs of this panel. It doesn't matter which hot goes to which lug, just make sure you have 240 volts between the two and 120 volts from each to the neutral/ground. Keep in mind that any panels fed downline of the load center are subpanels and the ground and the neutral are not to be bonded at that point. This means that if you have an existing panel inside the dwelling that will remain in use, you have to move all of the neutrals and the neutral feeder to a seperate terminal bar that's insulated from the panel. Hope this answers your question and then some.

BE SAFE!
 
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Old 09-09-07, 09:14 AM
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Thumbs down Ill advised

"The main is 200A"- Wich main, the new or the old or both? This matters. Are you changing the wires from the meter to this new load center?
If so, Cut the power at the pole NOT the meter!

Remember it will be dark, have you good battery tools? Testers?

If a neighbor or someone else has a bad ground/neutral, you could be in for a "Shocking" surprise!

And depending on your location, You may need to bring the existing ckts up to 2005 code, IE: bedrm. AFCI, Gfci, grounding/bonds,where required etc...

When the POCO does their test before re-energizeing, You may need to redo somethings. they may not even reconnect until after the inspectors visit.

Uncharterd areas can offer some real surprises.

Good luck.
 
  #6  
Old 09-09-07, 09:23 AM
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Both the old and the new are 200 amp.
I am not changing the wires from the meter box, I will be using the existing wires which were installed for 200 amp originally.
The only thing in the meter box I will touch is the meter itself. Which we have done several times in the last few days.
When I pull the meter nothing on my side of the meter works. So how can i still have power on my side.

All existing wiring from the meter will remain, we are simply having to replace the outdoor load center.

We dont really have inspecters where I live.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 10:58 AM
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Thumbs down Even more Ill advised!

YOU Are Pulling A "HOT" Meter !!?

And your question was:

##"I have just one question, the main breaker is of course 200 amp. I know which wire is the ground, but of the two other large wires which are hot wires, I do not know which wire goes in which hub.
The new load center is set up differently than our very old(20 + years) load center, the hot wires both fed from the top, the new load center is set up so that the two hot wires feed from the right side."####

If this is not a dire situation, I recomend you save your pennies.
If you have the panel and breakers, This is easily under $1000.00 job.

What to do when the existing wires don't reach? Any plan "B" and the associated material on hand?

Hate to be a downer, But reconsidder.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 01:35 PM
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One more question. If the old panel is 200 amp, why are you having to change it to another 200 amp panel. We are trying, with safety in mind, to make this work, but need more information.
 
  #9  
Old 09-09-07, 02:56 PM
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Well its all finished. We had one minor problem. But all solved.

We had to replace it because the main hot lug feeding into the top of the breaker had broken loose from the panel box. It was orignally fused into the backing of the panel box. When it broke loose it messed up the old 200 amp breaker, so we had to replace the entire panel box.

But like I said its all complete, and I survived to tell about it.

It was a dire situation, its way to hot to be without a/c, plus right now we cant afford an electrician. Unemployed.

But thanks for your concern.
 
  #10  
Old 09-09-07, 03:05 PM
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You can't afford to be without air conditioning, but you can't afford an electrician? Your priorities are in the wrong place.
 
  #11  
Old 09-09-07, 04:45 PM
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Dacholiday , Glad it worked out for you.

Hope there are no hidden issues.

We want everyone to be safe! Thats all.

"Stupid is as Stupid does"
 
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