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Eaton 150 amp breaker box: Converting main lug to main breaker.

Eaton 150 amp breaker box: Converting main lug to main breaker.

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  #1  
Old 01-31-13, 12:17 PM
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Eaton 150 amp breaker box: Converting main lug to main breaker.

I am installing a sub-panel breaker box that appears to be main lug, however I wish to use a main breaker rather than have a breaker at the main box.

Is there a kit I can use to enable me to use a main breaker?

Here are some photos for illustration purposes.











I could really use some help verifying my knowledge on these parts, so I colored them.

Purple: This should be the bar I will use for the ground, correct? :
Red: This Should be the bar used for my Neutral wire, correct?
Yellow
:
What is this little things purpose, is it to ground the box to the main ground steak that I will have driven into the dirt?
Green: This is a solid aluminum bar that physically connects the neutral and ground bars, why? Is that the way it should be when my box is fired up and live? Is this normal and safe?




Thank you very much.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-31-13, 12:40 PM
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Here are your options.....One, the reason you have the bar in the green is that this is a split neutral assembly...not a ground bar and neutral. Companies started using these several years back for ease of installtion. You would need to buy a ground bar from a Cutler Hammer distributor. We sell GE panels and I know some of the guys remove the pc in the middle and use one for ground but that panel is designed that way...yours does not appear so as the bar runs in the back rather than the front...that panel is not convertable to a main 150 amp. They have convertible ones but this is not. If you want a 100 or 125 amp main you can buy a Br2100 or BR2125 breaker, order a BRHDK anchor kit to make the breaker code complaint (has to be held in with a screw) and mount both in tha panel......Hope this helps. Call around your area to the local electrical distributorsand see if any are Cutler Hammer distributors...........
 
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Old 01-31-13, 12:57 PM
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I had to rush my first response so I apologize. This might help...
BR Load Centers for Service Entrances

The green screw is the bonding screw for the neutral, which is on both sides.....
Just to clarify, convertible means going from main lug to main breaker. What the "kit" does is give you the ablity to put a smaller series breaker, up to 125 amps in and "back feed it" thereby making it a main but they don't make any kit to make it a 150 amp panel. A convertable panel would have such a kit to install at the top and also the cover would have an opening for a larger frame breaker.

When you go to the website click on the documentaion tab and then open the pdf file "retail solutions catalogue". It has quite a few pages but you can find your panel and parts there......

If you need more than 125 amps I have no idea what to do.
 

Last edited by JimElectric; 01-31-13 at 01:30 PM.
  #4  
Old 01-31-13, 01:31 PM
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No, I do not need more than 125 amps, I just "need" a main breaker(for ease) and would also like to know this.....when I get another bar for the grounds, where exactly should I mount it and how? Thank you.

Also, why are the two neutral bars connected? Why was one of the bars "changed" from its use as a ground bar to a neutral bar, what is the purpose? Why did people need one neutral bar "several years ago" but now I need two of them?

This has got me tied in a loop...I can't figure why I need two of the same things??
 
  #5  
Old 01-31-13, 01:47 PM
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Having the neutral on both sides just makes it easier...how are you using this box? Feeding out of another panel to it? If so then buy a ground bar for it. The kit I refered to simply holds down a plug in 2 pole breaker. I have not used one of these but it consists of a plastic pc and a screw. The directions with it should spell it out better but bascially there are notches that allow you to simply put the 2 pole breaker in (snap it in) and then mount the plastic pc and screw in it to hold it to the panel. The ground bar will come with screws in it and you match them up with the holes in the side of the panel. Your panel should take a particular ground bar, which you can find on the file I showed you or simply tell the counter man what you have and they should be able to find it.
 
  #6  
Old 01-31-13, 02:01 PM
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I am using this as a subpanel. According to an instructional video I'm watch right now, when you have a sub panel, the neutral and ground CANNOT be connected.

The guy goes over this starting at tthe 34 minute mark, if you're a prrofesional at this, this video will probably drive you nuts, but it's kinda helping me understand why neutral and grounds WILL be connected in a primary panel, but NOT in the sub panel.

Does what this guy is saying make sense to you? I understand the reasining for keeping the two separated somewhat, but not completely.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FMbDPyYAfXw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Thank you so much for the help, and the links on that page don't seem to match up. I cannot find the "retail solutions catalog" pdf link.
 
  #7  
Old 01-31-13, 03:37 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I am installing a sub-panel breaker box that appears to be main lug, however I wish to use a main breaker rather than have a breaker at the main box.
The circuit breaker you install in your main panel to protect the wires that feed your subpanel will determine the size of the connecting conductors and the maximum load your subpanel will supply. That breaker is the MOPD - the main overcurrent protection device - for the subpanel. Any "main" breaker in the subpanel is only there to be a service disconnect.

If you want a main breaker in the subpanel so that you can kill the power to the hot buses when you want to do some work in it, you can buy any panel with any size main in it that you want, so long as the breaker is as large as or larger than the feed breaker in your main panel. The MOPD in your main panel can be a 125A 240V breaker and the disconnecting breaker in the subpanel can be a 200A, for example. The same thing goes for any "main" breaker you install. Just buy one that's big enough and install it in whatever way is needed to make it code-compatible, including the anchor kit that Jim suggested.

In a subpanel, the grounds must be bonded together and to the enclosure. That almost always requires that a separate ground bar be purchased, installed and bonded. The neutrals in the subpanel must be connected together and isolated from the enclosure. If the neutral bars installed in your panel are not bonded to the enclosure unless and until a bonding screw is installed, then you may be able to use those as they are.
 
  #8  
Old 01-31-13, 04:17 PM
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You may be able to buy a panel with a main cheaper than trying to convert the one you have.
 
  #9  
Old 01-31-13, 05:26 PM
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The grounds and neutrals are not connected in a sub panel because it could cause the ground to carry voltage/current between the sub panel and the main panel. This is never supposed to happen except during a fault.
 
  #10  
Old 01-31-13, 10:24 PM
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pcboss--I have a funny feeling that's the case and will be simply purchasing a new one tomorrow. A friend gets me a good discount from a commercial electrical distributor anyways.

Mr. Ironhand--OK, I like that simple-to-the-point description.


Just for a little more clarification though:

The neutral bar--This needs to be connected to the primary panel neutral, correct?
The only wire that will not be run to or from the primary panel is the ground, which will be connected to a grounding rod.
 
  #11  
Old 02-01-13, 04:39 AM
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The only wire that will not be run to or from the primary panel is the ground, which will be connected to a grounding rod.
No. You always connect the ground bar in the sub to the supplying panel. That is your EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor). It provides a low resistance path to clear faults. If the sub is in the same structure no ground rod. If it is in a detached structure at least one ground rod in addition to the EGC. The ground rod (GEC - Ground Electrode Conductor) is for bleeding off atmospheric charges and bonding to earth.
 
  #12  
Old 02-01-13, 06:23 AM
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FYI if you decide to still use your panel a 100 amp breaker SHOULD be around 35 bucks and the hold down kit should be less than 8-9 bucks....A ground bar no more than 5-6. Your panel has a bonding screw installed in it (the green one) to bond the neutral to the box. You would need to remove it and simply install the ground bar into the correct holes. I would not advise a 125 amp breaker as those are TWICE the money. If you opt for a complete panel you will STILL need a ground bar as most companies don't include them since most main breaker panels are used as service entry and in those cases the neutral does double duty.
 
  #13  
Old 02-04-13, 11:05 AM
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Well, another thing to add to my issue is that we have a sizable amount of 4 gauge wire from when my parents built their house a while back. We thought that'd be more than good for 100amp, but it seems that #4 is only good to 80amp. Would you guys say that to be spot on? If so, I might as well limit my main breaker to 80amp.


Jimelectric--Where would I get this mounting kit and are the pieces needed to connect it to the main lugs included in the kit? The links from your instructions do not seem to match up and I couldn't find the catalog as I stated in an earlier post.

ray2047--so I need to run all three wires included in the wire I have:hot, neutral, and ground? The primary panel is located in a separate structure, the wire will be buried underground for 20' or so to the next structure with the subpanel. oh yes....Do I not have enough wires since I "need" two hot wires?

Thank you all so much.
 
  #14  
Old 02-04-13, 11:20 AM
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No. You need four wires. A white wire, two blacks (or black and red) and a green #10. The back fed breaker that will act as your main breaker does not go on the main lugs. It plugs into your box like a branch circuit breaker. However to prevent it from coming loose while energized and creating a safety hazard it must be held in place with a lock down kit.

What kind of wire are you using? Is it THWN in conduit buried at least 18"? If your connectors on both ends are rated 90 then You could use #4THWN since there are no 95a breakers and you are allowed to round up.
 
  #15  
Old 02-04-13, 11:36 AM
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I would highly suggest trying to find a local distributor to help you on this...Look in the yellow pages under electrical and see if any of them advertise Cutler hammer on their ads...Distributors usually list their main panel line that way....If nothing else there are tons of distributors online that can help you. You could simply search google for" Cutler Hammer BRHDK125" or even your panel number BR2030L150 and get several names that sell these online. The ground bar is frustrating as the catalogue does not list certain bars for certain panels. I am pretty sure that is due to the fact that most companies set their panels up to accept more than one type or size. best thing is call on of these places and tell them what you want. The hold down kit is easy(BRHDK125). As for your main...is 80 is enough that is fine. The bad part is that an 80 amp breaker will cost the same as a 100. Breakers usually are the same up to 60 amps, then a big jump to 70 amp, then bigger jump to 100 amp.
 
  #16  
Old 02-04-13, 03:55 PM
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If your connectors on both ends are rated 90 then You could use #4THWN since there are no 95a breakers and you are allowed to round up.
It is EXTREMELY unlikely that he has terminals rated for 90 degrees C. on EITHER end. The 90 degree C. column is ONLY used for derating purposes.
 
  #17  
Old 02-04-13, 06:03 PM
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This is just a subpanel. Unless you have some pretty heavy loads for the subpanel, just use an 80 amp breaker and the #4 wire you have.
 
  #18  
Old 02-15-13, 02:24 PM
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Thanks again everyone for the help. I have another question or two though.

I kind-of solved my main breaker question.

First of all, who could I ask questions regarding my local code?
I went to the main distributor that I've bought all of my supplies from so far and it was suggested that I could possibly "back-feed" into my box from the primary box. Is that something you'd all know or should I explain what he said?

However, he also stated he wasn't sure if it was allowed anymore and that he couldn't give me advice on how to actually "do" the work and that I needed to check the local code.

The backfeeding thing makes perfect sense, really no reason it wouldn't work other than legality.
 
  #19  
Old 02-15-13, 03:35 PM
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it was suggested that I could possibly "back-feed" into my box from the primary box. Is that something you'd all know or should I explain what he said?
A back fed breaker is what I described in post #14.
The back fed breaker that will act as your main breaker does not go on the main lugs. It plugs into your box like a branch circuit breaker. However to prevent it from coming loose while energized and creating a safety hazard it must be held in place with a lock down kit.
 
  #20  
Old 02-15-13, 07:37 PM
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To educate yourself on LOCAL code (the ONLY "code" that matters) you ask the "Authority Having Jurisdiction" or AHJ. This would most likely be the local electrical (or building, or mechanical, etc.) inspector for your political subdivision. Could be city, county or state depending on your particular area. It MAY be available on the city (or whatever) website or it may require a visit to city hall. Sometimes simple questions may be answered over the telephone.
 
  #21  
Old 02-16-13, 02:22 PM
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I apologize, I obviously didn't pay attention, nor did I really understand what you were saying. Thank you for the help anyways.

I'll be making some calls on Tuesday.
 
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