Subpanel size question

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  #1  
Old 10-11-10, 07:01 PM
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Subpanel size question

I currently have 200amp service into my house. All slots are used (siemens 3030 panel) so no tandems are allowed. What I want to do is install a subpanel to run heat in my finished basement. I know I have to move over two circuits and was thinking of moving over the two smaller bedrooms which are on 15 amp breakers as the runs are easy to get too. My question is would a 60 amp feeder from the main panel to the sub be enough to run the two bedrooms (currently each on 15 amp breakers) and a double pole 30 amp breaker for the heat or should I go larger.

Or I could also move over the central air (currently on the main panel on a dp 30 amp) put in the 60 amp feeder to the sub and then put two 30 amp dp breakers in the sub. One for the heat and the other for the ac.

Thoughs are appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-11-10, 07:15 PM
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You will want to move over the smaller loads to the sub panel. I would suggest using a 100 amp value pack load center for the sub which can be had for about $60 (about a 20 ckt panel). You can feed this with what ever size breaker you want (up to 100 amp) in the main panel. You would likely be fine with 60 amps but the cost difference to go 100 amp would only be $100 more for the 100 amp breaker and #3 wire.
 
  #3  
Old 10-11-10, 09:09 PM
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So are you saying I am better off moving over 4 lighter loads to the subpanel and then putting the heat 30 amp dp breaker in the main as well as the 100 amp feeder? Also do I need to run the #3 wire in conduit from the main to the sub. The sub will sit approx. 3 feet to the right of the main. THe main is sheetrocked in (flushmount) but i can reach it through the sill plate at the ceiling. Can i just run the #3 along the sill and then down to the sub? Thanks again!
 
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Old 10-11-10, 09:33 PM
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Normally I run them in conduit but few case if you have under 6 feet you can able run flexiable conduit { this part it is limited useage unless you understand the rules with them But with EGC in there then you are ok } so you will need 4 conductors. Black , Red , White et green or bare { it eaiser to use green stranded } with 30mm { #3 AWG } and the conduit size you will need 1.25 inch or larger.

As Tolyn mention about hevey loads keep them in the orignal load centre and move the light load circuit something that have very light load in there that what I will do that as well.

Merci.
Marc
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-10, 09:34 PM
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Quite honestly, you can move whatever loads are easiest to move as long as you free up two side-by-side circuit breakers in the service panel.

No, you may NOT run the individual #3 conductors without using conduit.

I suggest that you cut out a fairly large section of drywall, drywall repair is fairly easy, and use a conduit to connect the two panels. This will greatly diminish the amount of wire needed and perhaps also make it easier all around.

This is what I recently did to install a sub-panel.



I used a short PVC conduit nipple and ran three #4 copper conductors and a #6 green equipment grounding conductor. Since the nipple is less than 24 inches in length no derating or fill requirements to worry about. Drilling the hole in the middle of the 2X4 stud is acceptable practice. I used an 80 ampere breaker in the service (main) panel and used a 125 ampere sub-panel. Be sure to NOT bond the neutral in the sub-panel to the box and you will likely need to purchase an equipment grounding bus bar.
 
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Old 10-12-10, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
Can i just run the #3 along the sill and then down to the sub? Thanks again!
For 100A: If you use conduit and THHN conductors the size is #3 copper w/ #8 ground. If you use a flexible cable like NM or SER the size needs to be #2 copper still w/ #8 ground. The temp ratings are lower for cable so you need a larger wire.
 
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Old 10-12-10, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
So are you saying I am better off moving over 4 lighter loads to the subpanel and then putting the heat 30 amp dp breaker in the main as well as the 100 amp feeder? Also do I need to run the #3 wire in conduit from the main to the sub. The sub will sit approx. 3 feet to the right of the main. THe main is sheetrocked in (flushmount) but i can reach it through the sill plate at the ceiling. Can i just run the #3 along the sill and then down to the sub? Thanks again!
By moving the light to the sub and keeping the larger loads in the main panel, you would likely be fine with a 60 amp breaker feeding the sub panel. (again you can use what ever size sub you want as long as it is rated higher then the breaker feeding it) With a 60 amp feed you can go as small as #6/3 NM-b cable. Might be easier to get the feed over with the finished wall.
 
  #8  
Old 10-12-10, 08:49 PM
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I just want to give you a head up I know some areas if you do add a subpanel and get permit for it and few case you will have to add a AFCI breakers for it { if you are on 2005 or 2008 NEC code cycle } so just prepare for it.

Merci.
Marc
 
  #9  
Old 10-15-10, 10:57 AM
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What is the exact name of the cable from the main to the sub I want to use? I beleive it is #3 THHN cable correct? Since this will be all black wire I will have to tape off two of them one for ground and the other nuetral?

Is it ok to run this in pvc conduit or must it be in metal?

Dumb question but if you used metal conduit that connected the two boxes wouldnt both of the boxes be grounded through the conduit, then why would you still need to remove the grounding strap from the nuetral in the sub?

I plan on installing the sub and 3 feet from the main. Can I simply run the pvc conduit through two studs (1 1/2 conduit through 2 X 6 framing) and into the subpanel flush mounted?

If i flush mount the subpanel can I leave insulation behind the panel or should I remove this? Box it in with sheetrock for safety?

How close can a subpanel be to an oil fired furnace? The location I was thinking is about 3 feet to the left of the power vent stack.

Thanks for the info!
 
  #10  
Old 10-15-10, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
What is the exact name of the cable from the main to the sub I want to use? I beleive it is #3 THHN cable correct? Since this will be all black wire I will have to tape off two of them one for ground and the other nuetral?
It sounds like you are going to run conduit. If that is the case, you want to run THHN wire. Yes, you will have to tape the ground with green and the neutral with white. If you choose to run cable, then use NM-B.

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
Is it ok to run this in pvc conduit or must it be in metal?
PVC is fine as is metal (EMT)

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
Dumb question but if you used metal conduit that connected the two boxes wouldnt both of the boxes be grounded through the conduit, then why would you still need to remove the grounding strap from the nuetral in the sub?
Not a dumb question! You are correct! If you run EMT you may skip running the ground. If you use flexible metal conduit you still have to pull a ground as flex is not an approved grounding method. You still have to separate the ground and neutral bar. The only place they are tied together is in the main panel.

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
I plan on installing the sub and 3 feet from the main. Can I simply run the pvc conduit through two studs (1 1/2 conduit through 2 X 6 framing) and into the subpanel flush mounted?
Sure.

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
If i flush mount the subpanel can I leave insulation behind the panel or should I remove this? Box it in with sheetrock for safety?
Insulation can touch the panel. You don't need to box it in with rock.

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
How close can a subpanel be to an oil fired furnace? The location I was thinking is about 3 feet to the left of the power vent stack.
That is fine. The clearances you need is 36" out from the front of the panel and 30" wide. The width does not need to be centered on the panel.
 
  #11  
Old 11-07-10, 08:39 PM
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Confused on temp of thhn wires or should I say wire temp. rating in general.

THHN wires all have a temp rating of 90 degrees... correct? As long as the temperature rating for the wire is over 75 degrees then the wire is ok to use?
If a panel states 75 then that refers to the min. temp rating right so anything over 75 is fine... just cant go below the 75?
 
  #12  
Old 11-07-10, 08:46 PM
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The THHN/THWN conductors are rated at 90C however to read the ampacity please use the 75C rating that is the correct rating due majtory termations spot are rated at 75C.

If you have to use the NM-B cable you have to use the 60C rating.

Merci.
Marc
 
  #13  
Old 11-08-10, 01:05 AM
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The temperature rating is actually a rating of the MAXIMUM temperature of the conductor and insulation during operation. You must also factor in the temperature rating of the connections the conductor is fastened to. Since connections are rarely rated for more than 75 degree C. the 90 degree C. Ampacity rating is used ONLY for derating purposes when the conductor(s) are subjected to temperatures higher than 30 degrees C. OR if there are more than three current-carrying conductors in a raceway or cable.

By definition most cables (type NM) are limited to the Ampacities listed under the 60 degree C. column.

You CAN use connections (terminals) rated at 75 degree C. with conductors rated at 60 degrees C. with no problem. You can also use terminals rated at 60 degrees C. with conductors rated at 75 or 90 degrees C. BUT then you MUST also use the Ampacities listed under the 60 degree C. column.
 
  #14  
Old 11-08-10, 01:37 PM
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Fill question

I am planning on using 1 1/4" pvc conduit with the #3 thhn wire. I will need four #3 wires for the two hots, the nuetral and ground. I believe that the max number of #3 wires in 1 1/4 conduit is 6 is this correct?
I also calculated the fill rate as .0973 X 4 = .3892 for the wires and the conduit at 40% or .598. So the 1 1/4 conduit is sufficient and code. Do these numbers look right? Or should I step the conduit up to 1 1/2?
Its not a long run (a few feet with 2 bends). Thanks for the help.
 
  #15  
Old 11-08-10, 01:43 PM
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The 1-1/4" conduit is fine. The #3 THHN is good for hots and neutral, but the ground can be reduced to #8 copper (bare or green) if you wish.
 
  #16  
Old 11-08-10, 09:20 PM
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The 1.25 inch PVC schedule 40 is fine in this useage the shedule 80 is thicker wall and you will not need in this useage at all.

Merci.
Marc
 
  #17  
Old 11-22-10, 10:36 AM
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Backfed question and a few others

I have mounted a GE 125 amp panel and ran the 1 1/4 inch conduit. I noticed on the panel it has stamped says "back fed to main" on the right side over where the breakers go. I am assuming this means when you run the hots from the breaker in the main into a the hots of a breaker in the subpanel and then this energizes the sub? If I am using the main lugs in the subpanel then this does not pertain to the installation. Is this correct?

Another dumb question: When you run the hots from the breaker in the main does it matter which hot lug (left or right) you attach them too in the sub panel?

I have removed the bonding screw on the neutral bar but left in the bonding screw on the ground bar. I believe this is correct as I do not see any other way the nuetral and ground could be connected besides the bonding screw which screwed into the back of the panel.

Thanks!
 
  #18  
Old 11-22-10, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
I have mounted a GE 125 amp panel and ran the 1 1/4 inch conduit. I noticed on the panel it has stamped says "back fed to main" on the right side over where the breakers go. I am assuming this means when you run the hots from the breaker in the main into a the hots of a breaker in the subpanel and then this energizes the sub? If I am using the main lugs in the subpanel then this does not pertain to the installation. Is this correct?
Correct.

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
Another dumb question: When you run the hots from the breaker in the main does it matter which hot lug (left or right) you attach them too in the sub panel?
Nope.

Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
I have removed the bonding screw on the neutral bar but left in the bonding screw on the ground bar. I believe this is correct as I do not see any other way the nuetral and ground could be connected besides the bonding screw which screwed into the back of the panel.
Sounds correct. You can confirm this before you connect the wires with a meter set to Ohms. Just put one probe to the neutral bar and the other to the ground bar. You should get no reading.
 
  #19  
Old 11-23-10, 08:20 PM
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Running supply wires

The wires enter the subpanel at the bottom left. Is it to code to have these run up the side of the inside of the panel and bend around to the top lugs?
 
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Old 11-23-10, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
The wires enter the subpanel at the bottom left. Is it to code to have these run up the side of the inside of the panel and bend around to the top lugs?
Yep that is not a issue they are design like that purpose as you described.

Merci.
Marc
 
  #21  
Old 11-23-10, 08:33 PM
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let me clarify. I did not mean they are entering from the bottom of the panel on the left. They are entering from the left hand side of the panel, the knockout on the left side near the bottom. SO technically from the left side, not the bottom of the box.
I would then bend them, run up the left side and then bend to the right and down to the lugs.
 
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Old 11-24-10, 08:49 AM
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Yes it is okay, just make gentle bends in the wire -- do not kink it. If you can't make tight enough bends in the left gutter go the long way around and cross them at the top.
 
  #23  
Old 11-24-10, 11:00 AM
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Neutral Lug question

I had to purchase a neutral lug (one kind that attaches to two of the screws on the bus bar) so that it will accomadate #2 wire in the main panel. The directions that came with it were a little confusing. Basically what I want to know is if I can connect this to any two screws on the neutral bus bar? Or does it have to be the first two screws from where the service neutral attaches?

Also I went with #2 thhn wire for the hots and nuetral and #6 thhn for the ground. Is this ok?

Thanks again...project is almost complete!!
 
  #24  
Old 11-24-10, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
Basically what I want to know is if I can connect this to any two screws on the neutral bus bar?
Any two.

Also I went with #2 thhn wire for the hots and nuetral and #6 thhn for the ground. Is this ok?
Assuming copper, it's good up to 115A with allowable round-up to a 125A breaker.
 
  #25  
Old 11-27-10, 07:02 PM
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Neutral Lug problem

I purchased a square d nuetral lug connector the type with two prongs on it that go under two screws on the bus on the main panel. Like this:

Neutral Lug Kit, 100 Amp # Q070AN by Your One Source

The problem is my panel is a siemens and this did not fit (the spacing of the prongs is too close together.) I searched on the net and cannot find a siemens part like this. Does anybody know what part I need, if siemens makes one, etc.?

I also so the lugs like this:
Square D LK150AN Neutral Lug For QO Load Centers #1-4/0 Aluminum/Copper Wire

but if i were to use this and screw it onto the middle of the bus bar then the connector hole is vertical and not horizontal. I dont think it is code to have the #2 guage wire connecting vertically midway up the vertical bus bar?

Thanks
 
  #26  
Old 11-27-10, 10:01 PM
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Check out this page of the Siemens' catalog:
http://cmsapps.sea.siemens.com/contr...1/01_35-36.pdf

The lug kits are in the right columns. Ignore the prices, they are much higher than you should actually pay at a dealer.
 
  #27  
Old 11-28-10, 07:51 AM
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All of these lug kits are the kind that screw onto the bus bar like the second link I showed above. The problem is the hole is facing the same way the bus bar runs. For example the bus bar runs vertical and if I screw this onto one of the screws on the bus then the hole is also vertical.
Is it ok to screw this onto one of the screws midway down the bus, and if yes, then just bend the wire into an L and then put it onto the lug? Or can I screw the lug onto one of the last screws on the bus and run the wire vertical into it....the problem with this second option is the bolt for the bonding strap is on the end of the bus and the wire would be running over it? Seems strange since all the neutral wires connect horizontal into the screw terminals that they wouldnt make a lug the hole drilled on the other side.
 
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Old 11-28-10, 07:30 PM
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In addition to my lug question above:

Is the #2 wire supposed to "crush" a little when tightened in all the lugs? I dont mean flatened but it does crush a little. Its #2 thhn wire?
 
  #29  
Old 11-29-10, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
just bend the wire into an L and then put it onto the lug? Or can I screw the lug onto one of the last screws on the bus and run the wire vertical into it.
Either method is acceptable. Installing it to the lowest point of the bar is probably the best option in this case.

Is the #2 wire supposed to "crush"
Yes it should deform a little bit, but without cutting into the wire. If you have a torque wrench the lugs do have a rating in inch-pounds if you want to get it exactly to mfr spec. If using an automotive torque wrench divide inch-pounds by 12 to get foot-pounds so your wrench is on the right scale.
 
  #30  
Old 12-14-10, 06:48 PM
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I have to subpanel up and running. Thank you everyone for your help.

My last question was I moved over two circuits to make room for the 100amp breaker. The two cables were just long enough to make it into the subpanel so the ground on one of the circuits was a little too short. I just twisted another 6 inch lenght of ground to this ground (as if you were making a pigtail but only the two wires) so that it could reach the ground bar terminal. Is this acceptable?

Also I used the two top knockouts (at the top of the panel) spots 1 and 2 to locate the new breakers. In the furture can I use the last two knockouts 7 and 8(at the bottom of the subpanel) and leave the knockouts in the center free for future use or do you have to continue down in order leaving the unused slots at the bottom?
 
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Old 12-14-10, 07:26 PM
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I just twisted another 6 inch lenght of ground to this ground (as if you were making a pigtail but only the two wires) so that it could reach the ground bar terminal. Is this acceptable?
As long as you used a wire nut that is fine but you could just have left the ground in the original panel.

Also I used the two top knockouts (at the top of the panel) spots 1 and 2 to locate the new breakers. In the furture can I use the last two knockouts 7 and 8(at the bottom of the subpanel) and leave the knockouts in the center free for future use or do you have to continue down in order leaving the unused slots at the bottom?
No, it is a matter of your choice. You can't really balance a residential so anywhere that is convenient is OK.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 02:17 PM
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Question: why are you using a siemens main with a ge sub? if you use a siemens sub, you can re-use the breakers, and siemens is a better company. ge is one of the few panels i hate, next to fpe and zinsco.
 
  #33  
Old 12-17-10, 07:19 AM
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I had actually bought a siemens subpanel and was not impressed with the quality of it. I then returned it and picked up the GE as parts around here are alot easier to get for it. Siemens breakers I would have to order.

What is wrong with the GE panel? Is it not safe or is it a matter of preference of what you like to work with? All of the subpanels (main lug 100/125 amp) looked the same quality to me.

Lets not forget Siemens just had a massive recall on breakers. I'll give you that comparing main panels other brands seemed better quality but all the little subs all seem comparable.
 
  #34  
Old 12-17-10, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
What is wrong with the GE panel? Is it not safe or is it a matter of preference of what you like to work with? All of the subpanels (main lug 100/125 amp) looked the same quality to me.
The quality is pretty much the same, except Cutler CH line or SquareD Q0 line which are both a leap above the rest. Any panel with a copper bus is better than one with an aluminum bus of any brand. You also may want to look at what gauge steel the tub is made from, whether it uses tapped machine screws or pierced sheet metal screws, some others types of general construction quality like that.

One of the problems with GE panels is that the panel allows 240V breakers to be installed incorrectly which can create a dangerous situation with multiwire circuits.

Lets not forget Siemens just had a massive recall on breakers. I'll give you that comparing main panels other brands seemed better quality but all the little subs all seem comparable.
The actual number of breakers affected was pretty small (6 days of manufacturing), but they recalled almost the entire summer's production just to be sure they got them all out of the supply chain. I like Siemens as a good balance between cost and some of the features of the premium lines like copper bus option on most panels.
 
  #35  
Old 12-17-10, 10:27 AM
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So now you have me paranoid with the GE panel. Is the panel safe. Do the breakers actually trip when they should.

Its rated at 125 amps which I thought was better (even compared to the SqD which was only 100amp) so I figured the bus (both Sq D and GE were almn) was a little better quality to handle the extra amps.

I am running two circuits each 30 amp DP breakers to 4000 watt heaters/ one circuit to a pole light / and one circuit to a sump pump and radon fan. The load shouldnt be close to 100 amps so I am hoping the GE panel and bus are good.
 
  #36  
Old 12-17-10, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
So now you have me paranoid with the GE panel. Is the panel safe. Do the breakers actually trip when they should.
Oh yeah the breakers work fine, and everything is okay on the safety front as they pass the same UL tests for listing. I wouldn't worry about it at all. When you install the double-pole breakers, just use your multimeter to verify 240V between the hot lugs. If you have 0V between the lugs and 120V between either lug and the metal case, then the breaker is in the wrong position.

You were probably comparing to a Square D Homeline panel, by the way. That is their "economy" line sold through Home Depot. The Square D Q0 is the premium line and you would know right away by the price.
 
  #37  
Old 12-17-10, 01:30 PM
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Wouldnt I know that it is in the correct position just by looking at the two bus bars. As long as the breaker is picking up one stab from each it should be good correct?
 
  #38  
Old 12-17-10, 01:38 PM
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Correct..................
 
  #39  
Old 12-17-10, 03:39 PM
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The only breakers in my ge panel that tripped are the siemens ones the last idiots put in, that go with the 14awg on 20a circuts and wires going nowhere. Did I mention the rotted out outside receptacles?
 
  #40  
Old 12-17-10, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hammerdown22 View Post
Wouldnt I know that it is in the correct position just by looking at the two bus bars. As long as the breaker is picking up one stab from each it should be good correct?
If you are using the full size type THQL breakers, you cannot accidentally install them without getting 240 volts, you have no problem. If you are using the thin line, type THQP breakers, you must be careful as ibpooks indicated. GE panels and breakers are perfectly safe, but I also prefer Siemens with copper bus. GE and Siemens panels are both generally available with either aluminum or copper bus.
 
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