how to move the breaker panel

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  #1  
Old 09-24-08, 06:23 AM
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how to move the breaker panel

another good question.. I bought a house with a 30x40 metal building barn/shop. they ran 100amp service to it.. but (in my opinion) flubbed the panel install.. its only 3ft off the floor, and supported only by the 3in plastic conduit.. (and the interior water supply is directly behind the conduit)

I haven't opened the panel yet, but I expect that they clipped the leadin wires with no slack.. if so, what is the proper way to extend them, maybe another 2-5 ft?

I will be running 220v compressor(30amp), a split heatpump A/C(30amp), and a 220volt welder(30amp)+overhead lights and for short durations (<1minute) all three at the same time.

Sam
 
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  #2  
Old 09-24-08, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sdetweil View Post
its only 3ft off the floor
This isn't a problem by the code, but certainly a PITA to work on.

and supported only by the 3in plastic conduit.. (and the interior water supply is directly behind the conduit)
These are both problems. The panel should be mounted to secure framing, and there should be no other utilities in the space above or below the panel. Is the water line plastic or metal? Do you know if there are any other metal paths between the buildings (gas line, phone, cable tv, etc)?

what is the proper way to extend them, maybe another 2-5 ft?
How does the conduit enter the building? Any way you could post a photo to a sharing site with a link for us to see the problem? Also, it would be helpful if you could open up the panel and let us know what kind of wire we're dealing with -- please list AWG, metal type and any other markings visible on the conductors.

I will be running 220v compressor(30amp), a split heatpump A/C(30amp), and a 220volt welder(30amp)+overhead lights and for short durations (<1minute) all three at the same time.
Probably okay for the 100A panel.
 
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Old 09-24-08, 11:53 AM
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If replacing the wiring in the conduit is not an option, you can put a junction box where the panel was, and more conduit to the new panel location, and splice the old wires to the new in the junction box.

If replacing the wiring in the conduit is an option, just use a coupler or other appropriate conduit piece to extend it, minding your turns (you can have no more than 360 degrees between pull points)
 
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Old 09-28-08, 06:34 AM
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thanks IP.. I'll get and post some pics.

the conduit comes up thru the cement slab floor about 4 inches inside the wall edge on slab.. the plastic water line comes up about 1 inch inside the wall edge on the slab.

the main line splits at a telephone pole about 100ft from both the house and shop, underground from there to both.. its 200amp service to the pole(meter/breaker main panel), 200amp panel in the house, 100amp in the shop. 100 amp breaker in the main panel for the shop.

there are no other wires between the buildings that I am aware of.. (am thinking about how to get all those there currently, powerline network currently the best choice I think, need to run X10 as well for remote control, lights, etc)

Sam
 
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Old 09-28-08, 09:18 PM
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here are links to the pics. never seen lead cables this large, aluminum. house was built in 2005.

front view -

side view, with water pipe -

inside view -

lead wire closeup -

Sam
 
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Old 09-28-08, 10:07 PM
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OMG.,, I just can't really comment how someone done that but there are quite few code related issue that NEEDED to be taken care of it.

Was this person did the installation is a electrician or someone else ??


Second part that the subpanel It will need a main breaker anyway due you will be over 6 throw rule allready

I am suprised how come this breaker box is not propely suppprted at all.

The other thing that the recpetale below the breaker box it must be GFCI no question asked on that part.

You will need 6X6X4 inch juction box below the main conduit so you can splice the conductors to raise it up higher for other conduits you will have do something with it either get Jbox set up so you can make a splice or shorten up the runs depending on which way it goes.


I will add more details little more later but as other members can chime in and give you some guidelines as well.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 09-29-08, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
OMG.,, I just can't really comment how someone done that but there are quite few code related issue that NEEDED to be taken care of it.

Was this person did the installation is a electrician or someone else ??


Second part that the subpanel It will need a main breaker anyway due you will be over 6 throw rule allready

I am suprised how come this breaker box is not propely suppprted at all.

The other thing that the receptcle below the breaker box it must be GFCI no question asked on that part.

You will need 6X6X4 inch juction box below the main conduit so you can splice the conductors to raise it up higher. For other conduits you will have do something with it either get Jbox set up so you can make a splice or shorten up the runs depending on which way it goes.


I will add more details little more later but as other members can chime in and give you some guidelines as well.

Merci,Marc
thanks.. I don't know who did the work here, I am the third owner, and I suspect the immediate prior owner was not capable of doing this (main box), so I'm guessing the owner/builder.

as this is a metal building, 30x40, there is not a lot of surrounding support.. I guess I could make a 2x4 stud wall in this area to anchor the box in. I know it would make ME feel better..


My guess is that I need either a different subpanel (with the main shutoff), or some new box interior.. never done that before. advice welcomed..

6x6x4 junction, got it.

there is another outlet mounted on the SIDE (behind the open door) as well.

Sam
 
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Old 09-29-08, 03:33 PM
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They also notched a spot on the panel for that receptical.

You might be able to use that panel if you get a backfeed main breaker with tie-down, and rectify that notch, perhaps by getting a new deadfront.
 
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Old 09-29-08, 04:53 PM
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"6x6x4 junction, got it."

You'll need a bigger junction box. NEC says the size of the box is 8 x the largest conduit entering the junction box for a straight pull. If that's a 3" conduit, you'll need a 24" box. I wouldn't go that route.

Leave the panel where it is and maybe use this to support it:

http://www.flexstrut.com/strutfittings.htm

Look at the channel bracket.

This is the channel (double back) that would go horozontially across the back of the panel and fastened to the channel that extends out from the wall:

http://www.flexstrut.com/channel.htm

You also need to support those conduits entering the panel from the top.

It may be difficult to buy those parts where you live, though.

You have other issues with the current installation:

You need to install a main breaker with a retaining kit. This breaker would mount just like the exisiting ones. The retaining kit prevents the main breaker from being pulled out.

The white wires landing on the the circuit breakers need to be re-indentified with black tape. So does the feeder neutral.

Where do those two bare copper wires go to that are connected directly by the terminal lugs to the panel?

There are more issues.
 
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Old 09-29-08, 10:06 PM
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the two bare wires clamped to the back of the panel go to the building frame


Sam
 
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Old 09-29-08, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by thinman View Post
"6x6x4 junction, got it."

You'll need a bigger junction box. NEC says the size of the box is 8 x the largest conduit entering the junction box for a straight pull. If that's a 3" conduit, you'll need a 24" box. I wouldn't go that route.

Leave the panel where it is and maybe use this to support it:
I really don't like the panel where it is..

what kind of wire junction device is used for this size wire?

Sam
 
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Old 09-29-08, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by thinman View Post
You need to install a main breaker with a retaining kit. This breaker would mount just like the exisiting ones. The retaining kit prevents the main breaker from being pulled out.
in this case, the main wires then go to the breaker instead of the built in anchors, and the power is then fed thru the breaker, right? Do they make then to take wire this size?

Sam
 
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Old 09-30-08, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sdetweil View Post
what kind of wire junction device is used for this size wire?
There are a couple methods. The tried-and-true is to use a split-bolt connector and lots of no-ox grease which mechanically joins the wire then you wrap the heck out of it with heavy-duty electrical tape.

There are also insulated splice connectors made by a company called Polaris which do a very good job and are very easy to use correctly, but they can be a little pricey and might require a special order at the supply house.

Finally there are kinds of crimp connectors which do require a special tool to apply but your local supply house may be willing to lend or rent you the tool when you buy the supplies there.

in this case, the main wires then go to the breaker instead of the built in anchors, and the power is then fed thru the breaker, right? Do they make then to take wire this size?
Yes. You could back-feed a 100A breaker which should accommodate the #2/0 wire.

My recommendation would be to remove the "guts" of the current panel and buy or fabricate a blank steel cover. This converts your current panel to a big junction box in which you may splice to new wires and continue conduit to a better panel location*. You could also use this box to splice the other circuits and continue their conduits to the new locations if it is too difficult to relocate the existing circuits. Purchasing a new main-breaker panel is not that expensive they are usually sold in kits and the big box stores have one on-sale almost every week.

* a good panel location is one that has no obstructions with 30" clearance side-to-side and 36" clearance out from the panel. A rule of thumb is that you should be able to slide a refrigerator box up to the face of the panel without hitting anything else. It can be in a closet, but that closet can be used only for electrical equipment (no storage). The panel can be behind a door swing so long as the door can be positioned to meet the stated clearances. The panel should be supported by steel strut (shown above), stud wall or other similar structural material.
 
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Old 09-30-08, 10:12 AM
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What’s the distance from the panel to its source?

Convert panel to junction box:

Disconnect the wires. Take note which wire goes where. Remove the circuit breakers and buy filler plates to cover the slots where the breakers were. Remove the guts from the enclosure. Now you can use the enclosure as a junction box.


Be sure to identify the white conductors with black tape that are landed on the circuit breakers. This will help you when it's time to connect wires to the circuit breakers.

Be sure to seal all unused openings in the converted junction box.

Installing the Grounding Electrode System:

I don't know why they routed two separate grounding electrode wires to the building steel. I would remove one of them. Make sure the remaining one is #6 AWG copper. Connect it to the neutral ground bar in the new panel.


You need to install 2 ground rods, if they aren't installed already. The grounding electrode conductor from the panel to the ground rods would be a # 6 AWG copper.

Drive the first ground rod outside directly behind the new panel. Drive the second rod at least 6 feet away from the first one. Drive the ground rods a few inches below grade Use ground rod clamps that are rated for direct burial. Route the #6 AWG copper from the neutral bar panel in the panel to the first and then second ground rods. Be sure to keep the #6 AWG copper conductor protected from physical damage. If you don't, you'll have to use a PVC conduit to protect it.

I would use a 2" PVC conduit for the feeders from the converted junction box to the new panel.
 
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Old 09-30-08, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by thinman View Post
What’s the distance from the panel to its source?
This subpanel is about 150ft from the main panel at the pole, shown below



Sam
 
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Old 09-30-08, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by thinman View Post
I don't know why they routed two separate grounding electrode wires to the building steel. I would remove one of them. Make sure the remaining one is #6 AWG copper. Connect it to the neutral ground bar in the new panel.


You need to install 2 ground rods, if they aren't installed already. The grounding electrode conductor from the panel to the ground rods would be a # 6 AWG copper.

Drive the first ground rod outside directly behind the new panel. Drive the second rod at least 6 feet away from the first one. Drive the ground rods a few inches below grade Use ground rod clamps that are rated for direct burial. Route the #6 AWG copper from the neutral bar panel in the panel to the first and then second ground rods. Be sure to keep the #6 AWG copper conductor protected from physical damage. If you don't, you'll have to use a PVC conduit to protect it.
I think one of these two wires actually goes to a ground rod outside. I will have to check that again when I am at the property.

Sam
 
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Old 09-30-08, 11:00 PM
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I did review this question on the forum and two guys got the best answer on this costwise.,,

You can take the guts out and converted to the junction box and put new breaker box at simaur location or offset a little it will work good that way.

However you will need few things to get up to the code is have proper support like strut channel to hold the breaker box properly and also any wall receptale { all 120 v circuits } have to be GFCI'ed.



To Thinman .,, you can not remove the bonding wire to the building steel structure this is very important part here.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 10-01-08, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
To Thinman .,, you can not remove the bonding wire to the building steel structure this is very important part here.Merci,Marc
I know that Marc. Seeings how the installation has numerous code violations, I guessed maybe the installer routed two wires to the building steel. The OP is going to confirm where exactly the second wire goes to. Is it a bonding wire or a grounding electrode conductor?
 
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Old 10-01-08, 08:50 AM
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thanks.. I will probably build a 2x4 wall segment, and provide the panel box support that way.. and install GFCI breakers..

sam
 
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Old 10-01-08, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by sdetweil View Post
thanks.. I will probably build a 2x4 wall segment, and provide the panel box support that way.. and install GFCI breakers..sam
You still plan on relocating the panel?
 
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Old 10-01-08, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by thinman View Post
You still plan on relocating the panel?
still strongly considering it.. I'm tall, I do NOT like things down around my knees.

Sam

Also, will post pic later, the other copper wire goes thru the building wall to a ground rod.
(the pics are not great, cellphone)



Sam
 

Last edited by sdetweil; 10-01-08 at 10:19 PM.
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