replace zinsco 125 amp service panel

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Old 03-28-10, 08:25 PM
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replace zinsco 125 amp service panel

Hi all and thanks in advance for your expertise:

Have functioning but twice failed and professionally repaired zinsco 125 amp service panel from 1968. It has 20 spaces and a split bus.

Want to install a new service panel myself. Will pull permit and have a friend with much experience to help. Would pay to have it done, but money is very tight right now.

Two questions: 1) without changing the incoming power lines, can I upgrade to a 150 amp panel? I found a GE that has 32 spaces.
If not, I've found a couple sources with 125 amp 24 space panels. I also want to run at least 3 new 15 amp circuits so need a few more spaces.

2) Is there a guide source for replacing a main service panel? I've found numerous articles on a subpanel, but this is the main panel.
 
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Old 03-28-10, 08:52 PM
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Unless the wires already installed are sized for 150 amps you could not upgrade without changing the cable size.

Except for the grounding and bonding issues installing a panel is not much different than a subpanel.
 
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Old 03-28-10, 10:02 PM
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I really doubt that you can go up to 150 amp service due you have to look at the service entrance conductors to see what size and if they are copper or alum that will affect the whole rating and with 150 amp service you will need at least 55mm² { 1/0 AWG } copper or 70mm² { 2/0 AWG } alum conductors.

The other thing once you replace the panel there may other items it will need to bring up to current code like bonding and ground rods there is good chance you will end up putting in new one in.

For myself I done alot of service upgrading and just let you know the cost between 150 amp and 200 amp is not very large diffince on cost due the meter socket I use they are rated for 200 amp { yeah there is 100 amp meter socket on market but you can not use the 100'er on 150 amp panel }

Total cost wise between two useally just couple hundred Euro/ Dollars.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 03-29-10, 06:40 PM
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{ yeah there is 100 amp meter socket on market but you can not use the 100'er on 150 amp panel }
That's right! What most of us consider a 100 amp socket is usually actually rated at 125 amps and that's most likely what you have unless you have an underground service. If you upgrade to 150 amp service, you'll probably have to upgrade everything, service entrance wiring, meter socket and grounding. But, by all means, get rid of that Zinsco!! It's on borrowed time!!
 
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Old 03-31-10, 09:29 PM
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Replacing Zinsco--seimans vs. GE

Thanks everyone. With all earned and due respect to professionals, I've decided to do it myself. (I hear the groans in the background.) Ordinarily I'd pay someone, but it's really hard to shell out $500 in labor when it's not that complicated. My wife's job is ending and we don't have a lot of discretionary income.

My thought is to go official. 1) talk with the inspectors before I start and get their advice. 2) talk with the electric company and get their input. 3) have the ground checking folks check for wires and pipes 4) place the two ground rods according to code 5) run the ground wire through the garage attic over to the panel 6) get the electric company to pull the meter or do it myself if they say it's ok 7) my neighbor and I will methodically replace the panel and circuits 8) get it inspected.

I'm thinking of two different panels. Is the Seimans brand ok? Sells at the big box home improv stores for $60 + $50 for a 125 amp main breaker. Comes with 6- 20 am single poles. I'll have to buy the rest. Another option would be a GE mail order panel. A bit more cost but I could get a 32 circuit panel.

Last and really important is advice from you guys. in another area of interest, ponds and fish i've learned a ton of great information from the forums. My only real concern is having the juice off to the house for a long time. I'd like to keep it under 24 hours, but I'm not sure if that can be done by a homeowner. I have some koi in a pond with filters and the juice really shouldn't be off more than 24-48 if at all possible. Not to mention the food in the cold boxes.

ideas are most welcome. i'm a little scared, but not of the juice itself because I won't touch it till it's off. i'm just scared because it's brand new and not simple either. I don't want to screw it up and then have to pay an electrician anyway to fix it
 
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Old 04-01-10, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FAW2010 View Post
Thanks everyone. With all earned and due respect to professionals, I've decided to do it myself. (I hear the groans in the background.) Ordinarily I'd pay someone, but it's really hard to shell out $500 in labor when it's not that complicated. My wife's job is ending and we don't have a lot of discretionary income.
I can understand the situation and some peoples can be little flexibale with it.


My thought is to go official. 1) talk with the inspectors before I start and get their advice. 2) talk with the electric company and get their input. 3) have the ground checking folks check for wires and pipes 4) place the two ground rods according to code 5) run the ground wire through the garage attic over to the panel 6) get the electric company to pull the meter or do it myself if they say it's ok 7) my neighbor and I will methodically replace the panel and circuits 8) get it inspected.
That is the wise move to get ahold of inspector to see what kind requirement it need to meet the state / local codes.

Don't be suprised if they request AFCI in there so expect that if your state do adpoted 2008 code that will cover just about everything but on 2005 only in bedroom IIRC.

Two ground rods yes best move.
You will need to bring in 16mm²{ #6 AWG } for bonding if you have 100 amp service but with 150 or 200 amp you have to bump up to 25mm²{#4 AWG }

The POCO { power company } will cut the service at the pole location or at the mast depending on the way the POCO personal will do and they will remove the meter themself for good dang reason due some meter can be stuck like heck or parts fall off and have short circuit and that can work like souped up welder.

After you get all done the inspector will have to come back to your location and get this approved before the POCO can rehook up new service conductors.

I'm thinking of two different panels. Is the Seimans brand ok? Sells at the big box home improv stores for $60 + $50 for a 125 amp main breaker. Comes with 6- 20 am single poles. I'll have to buy the rest. Another option would be a GE mail order panel. A bit more cost but I could get a 32 circuit panel.
I have no issue with Seimens at all they are pretty good to me how many space that panel you saw ? I know they useally come in 20 space verison but yeah there is 30 space avaible but it cost little more but it worth it instead adding subpanel down the road unless you got detached garage.

I am not going to say too much about GE panels and I don't install it unless the customer request it then I will do it my most common items I deal is either SqD or Cullter-Hammer both been good to me for many years.

Last and really important is advice from you guys. in another area of interest, ponds and fish i've learned a ton of great information from the forums. My only real concern is having the juice off to the house for a long time. I'd like to keep it under 24 hours, but I'm not sure if that can be done by a homeowner. I have some koi in a pond with filters and the juice really shouldn't be off more than 24-48 if at all possible. Not to mention the food in the cold boxes.
For experinced electrician we can swap the panel box and have the power back up in typically in half day so half day you will have no power.

But for DIY person it will be little longer maybe a full day all it depending on that person skill and understand the codes and what it have to be done to meet the code requirement.

But if going be off more than 8 hours either get a generator or ask a next door neghibor for tempory power cord hook up by using the extendison cord to keep the frigde and frezzer cold and I know you have Koi pond if the power requirement is very small you can have it on the neghbour house power for breif time otherwise generator will work.

ideas are most welcome. i'm a little scared, but not of the juice itself because I won't touch it till it's off. i'm just scared because it's brand new and not simple either. I don't want to screw it up and then have to pay an electrician anyway to fix it
I useally can snag a SqD in QO or HOM series and I can get them in 30 space veirson and that is not a issue for me

and also keep the unfused service entrance conductor short as possible { most states codes useally keep about 5 feet or so depending on the local requirement }

And before you make a change over on panels just watch the 240 volt conductors especally with unmarked white conductor that used for 240 volt circuit.

With 240 volt circuit if not use the netural just straght 240 and you can use the XX² { XX AWG } in two conductor format { the ground is included in NM , UF , MC but for others no it don't have it }

With unmarked white conductor for 240 volts load make sure you get marker or colour tape { can use any colour but not green , white , grey that is off limit colour for live conductors }

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 04-01-10, 05:30 AM
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Marc has given you some good info. I would just ask why you plan on taking the ground into the attic before it goes to the rods? Is there something that stops you from going out of the panel bottom to the rods?

BTW, freezers that are full will stay cold for a fairly long period.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by FAW2010 View Post
My thought is to go official.
That is really the only way to do a service. The power company in most areas will not reconnect service unless there is an approval card/sticker from the electrical inspector. They also get pretty upset if you break the seal on the meter without authorization.

Something else I recommend is to get your timetable set up in advance -- especially if the inspection is mandatory before reconnect. Otherwise, you might be overnight or two without power. Schedule a disconnect with the power company as early as possible, an appointment for the inspector in the afternoon, and a reconnect appointment with the power company before the end of the day. Hopefully you can get in done in that time frame. If not, your power company may be able to do a temporary reconnect but not all will do that without the inspector's approval.

Before the power company gets there in the morning, you can get ahead on some work by labeling all of your branch circuit cables and carefully pulling them out of the panel. You can also get some stuff done like cutting your new conduit to the right lengths and maybe gluing some fittings -- that sort of thing to save the daytime hours for work on the service.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 06:22 PM
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Before you go too far and start buying materials and calling the power company, it might be a good idea to see if the AHJ will even allow a homeowner to change his own service panel. Some will and some won't. If it is allowed, your plan sounds good for a DIYer. I wouldn't do it that way, but it is a safe plan your you.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 06:36 PM
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"Two questions: 1) without changing the incoming power lines, can I upgrade to a 150 amp panel? I found a GE that has 32 spaces."


Answer is no. 2008 code states a minimal of a 200amp service is required. If you are to upgrade you have to meet this code. 150amp service is not acceptable other than a sub panel.

Also you MUST have the permit pulled by a licensed electrician due to power will have to be shut off from electrical supplier at the meter base!

"You will need to bring in 16mm²{ #6 AWG } for bonding if you have 100 amp service but with 150 or 200 amp you have to bump up to 25mm²{#4 AWG }"

200 amp service requires 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SilverTattoo View Post

"You will need to bring in 16mm²{ #6 AWG } for bonding if you have 100 amp service but with 150 or 200 amp you have to bump up to 25mm²{#4 AWG }"

Silver .,, I allready did stated the conductor size but I did mention the OP about the EGC aka bonding conductor that is diffrent than service entrance conductors and that size above that is correct for proper size.


And look at my quote from near top of this topic

I really doubt that you can go up to 150 amp service due you have to look at the service entrance conductors to see what size and if they are copper or alum that will affect the whole rating and with 150 amp service you will need at least 55mm² { 1/0 AWG } copper or 70mm² { 2/0 AWG } alum conductors.
I underline it that for 150 amp service and the OP did not ask about 200 amp yet but if he required 200 amp then the correct conductor size is 70mm² { 2/0 AWG } CU or 95 or 120mm² { 3/0 or 4/0 AWG } alum conductors { this part will depending on which type of conductor you will use if SE conductors it will be 120mm² but in XLPE then it will be 95mm²

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 04-01-10, 10:01 PM
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Yes you are correct. I did not see that part for the 150amp service bond, I was referencing just the 200amp entrance connections. Thanks for the clarity. Beer 4U2
 
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Old 04-01-10, 10:10 PM
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Silver.,

It is not a problem at all.

I been doing this stuff for over 20 years in both Wisconsin and France so I am well verised with both system.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 04-01-10, 10:44 PM
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negotiating

the panel is on the outside wall of house, inside wall of attached garage. there is a slab so have to put ground rods outside. there's no way to route the ground wire under the slab to the panel, thus up through the attic seems to be the only way.

frankly gents, I really don't want to do this. so, i'm negotiating with a neighbor who is an electrician for a lower price. i've offered to do grunt work like driving the rods and running the ground wire to the panel. he's going to get back to me tomorrow with a new bid.

his first bid was $620 + 100 for the permit. I think that's a fair bid, but I just can't afford it. so we'll see what he comes in with.

The permit is fixed cost. the panel, circuits, rods and wire probably run $200. So that's $300 fixed cost. If he can do the work with me doing grunt work for $300 more I'm sold. As much as I know in my gut I can do it, I am not an electrician nor do I have any experience. So, I'm really hoping $300 is good enough for him.

If not, I'll be here a lot in the next few weeks because some of what you have written already is going to take some study for me to understand.
 
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Old 04-01-10, 11:28 PM
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Uhh yea that's a good deal even WITH YOU AS A GRUNT for a service upgrade!! And the garage thing really is not that big a deal. I have had slabbers pour concrete right in my way more than once. You can jackhammer/hammer drill a small hole in the slab under the panel and 90 under the side (wall of the garage) with PCV out and down to grounding rod.
 
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Old 04-02-10, 04:17 PM
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For that matter, you could put the ground rod in the garage if you rotary hammer a 3/4" hole all the way through the slab. You don't see it like that often, but I have seen it in basements and underground levels of commercial buildings. I am not aware of any provision in the NEC that says the ground rod has to be outside.
 
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Old 04-02-10, 10:17 PM
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Yea you are right. I could not find anything code about distance from panel or anything really... Though it would prob be next to impossible to get a 8" grounding rod in with a roof there. Unless the hole was at a 45 then it would not be to bad or if the rod "hit a boulder" and had to be sawed off at about 3 ft..But the closer the better and that is right under the panel! If anyone has any codes (articles) I could look up on this please post them.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 07:57 PM
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Status of the project

bought Square D Homeline 24 space 125 amp panel + required breakers. Mapped out the layout for the circuits.

prepared panel with appropriately sized wire clamps top and bottom.

cut hole in sheet rock wall + enough to allow room to work.

moved two switches out of the way

ran # 6 ground wire under the crawl space outside to the 2 ground rods which are driven in to grade and 6 ft apart.

contacted Power company and will coordinate timing with them.

meeting with inspectors next week for Q&A and to buy permit.

Needed to do: label all existing wires

build in shim since opening between studs is a bit big

pick a day.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 08:02 PM
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Grounding the main + ground wires

on the homeline panel there are two common/ground connection bars on either side of the circuits. the one on the left has a larger square fitting at the top intended I think for feeding in the ground wires of the main and those going out to the rods.

The opening is about 1/2 inch. The main incoming wire is aluminum, ergo big and thick. I have serious doubts that all the ground wires will fit in that hole.

--Can they be pigtailed?

--Or can the wires in the aluminum main ground be split and fed into some of the other, smaller holes in the ground bar?

--Or is there a large hole fitting I could buy to replace the one that came with the panel?
 
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Old 04-29-10, 06:15 AM
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There are some violations like neutrals and grounds in the same hole, but, this should give you an idea.



The strands from the stranded conductors all need to be in the same buss hole. Do not separate into several holes.
 
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Old 04-29-10, 07:26 AM
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thanks and F/U

Thanks very much PC Boss. the pictured panel has a separate connection for a ground rod type wire left of the main ground.

How about putting our # 6 ground wire into one of the smaller input holes on the ground bar?. Should easily fit and that'd leave more room for the other aluminum ground in the big hole.

I'd post a picture but it doesn't appear possible at this point
 

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Old 04-29-10, 08:12 AM
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Using one of the smaller holes is good for up to #4 wire. #6 will easily fit.
 
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Old 04-30-10, 07:49 PM
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thanks

thanks very much. I called the electric company today and we scheduled the meter pull for the 11th. i'll go by the county for the permit next week. they need 2 day lead time for the inspection, so barring any hiccups, we should be able to get it done in one day.

thanks again,

rw
 
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