Basement living room (Lighting+Outlet)

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  #1  
Old 04-09-13, 10:42 PM
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Basement living room (Lighting+Outlet)

I live in a very old home with a very dated electrical system that looks like it was thrown together willy-nilly. Multiple rooms are chained together on the same breaker and that often causes the breaker to trip. I assume it's like that because there are no more breaker positions left and they didn't want to replace the ancient main box.

I've framed a new room in the basement and am beginning the electrical work.

I don't want any more of the already strained breakers incorporated in the new room and the new room would require 3 more spaces for lighting and outlets. So I will be installing either a new main breaker or a breaker lug. The breaker lug may be better suited to me for convenience and cost.

I believe I require a double pole breaker to branch off the main breaker to the new lug. However I'm unsure what breakers in the current panel would be ideal for me to move into the new box in order to clear up the spaces required for that breaker. For example; Can I move the drier out of the main box, plug in the required breaker to sufficiently feed the new panel in it's place and then plug the displaced drier into the new panel, along with the other 3 breakers for the new room? I've heard it's not ideal to run a drier off a lug but I'd like to make sure it's not against code or unadvised.

(Potential loads in the new box; Washer [15A], Drier[30A], 3 Pot lights[~3A], 2 recessed lights [~2A], many electronics {51" Plasma, Modem, Router, 3 27" Screens, High end computer [10A], Speaker system}

Assuming a 100A breaker on the crazy high end to feed the lug, w/ 2gauge cable perhaps and maybe a 20A AFCI breaker would be best suited to such electronics for the room.

I don't really have an all to specific question or issue. It's just that it's my first time doing this and while I understand the associated risks and know how to wire junctions, lights and outlets, etc... I've never installed a lug before and would like to make sure it's done properly and safely.

Hopefully my picture can help illustrate the situation more clearly and if anyone has any tips and pointers that would be very much appreciated, thank you!

http://i.imgur.com/q8BN4hv.jpg
(The basic layout is correct but some of the labeled information is wrong.)
 
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  #2  
Old 04-09-13, 10:52 PM
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Lug ? Could you mean a sub panel with lugs ?

You want to add a sub panel off of your main panel. You will need a two pole breaker that will go into the main panel to feed the sub panel. It's best to keep your larger loads in the main panel and transfer two lighter ones to the sub panel to make room for the required breaker.


When older homes were built there wasn't a big demand for electricity like there is now. A few circuits in most homes was plenty. Now since everything uses electric.....your demand has exceeded the few breakers allotted to it.
 
  #3  
Old 04-09-13, 11:18 PM
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Lug indeed They are like a main breaker but don't have the primary overload protection that a main breaker has, so they are used downstream from the main and cost less.

I'm curious about moving the larger loads. If I were to move the drier I would be able to cut the drier cable much shorter (The sub panel would be a few feet away from the drier) and it would make for a much cleaner wiring job. Moving the other smaller duty ones for lights and outlets upstairs would require a lot of staple removing, feeding the cables through the cable routing holes and possibly having to extend the cables to reach the new subpanel and then have to reroute and staple them. If I must do this I will, however its much more of a nuisance than just cutting the drier shorter. What would be the consequences of having a drier running of a sub panel?
 
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Old 04-09-13, 11:30 PM
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In your case.....moving the dryer to the sub panel would make a lot of sense.
 
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Old 04-14-13, 11:39 PM
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Thanks for the help so far PJmax.

I've actually decided to get a new main service panel instead. The cost of buying the higher gauge cable, 80 amp breaker, main lug, breakers etc would be about the same as just getting a newer panel with more slots. (If the service cables are long enough for me to do so that is...)

I`m considering doing two multiwire branch circuits in order to power the two light circuits and to divide the load of the outlets.

Does this diagram I made sum up what needs to be done properly? I'm aware I need a 2 phase breaker or two singles ones bridged on separate phases, and that the neutral is key to not frying all the electronics.

http://i.imgur.com/2oCw7QM.jpg

Check out the current dated panel :P Maybe I can find out when it was installed by reading one of the news paper articles.

http://i.imgur.com/g39uqBh.jpg

I was thinking of getting something like this; Schneider Electric Homeline | 100 Amp, 32 Circuits Maximum Homeline Retrofit Panel Package with Breakers | Home Depot Canada

I have a question about it though. It says its single phase. Does that mean it only has 1 service bus bar and the neutral? I'd need to be able to install 120V and 240V and thought that you'd need two phases in order to get 120V or 240V.
 
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Old 04-15-13, 12:51 AM
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I've actually decided to get a new main service panel instead. The cost of buying the higher gauge cable, 80 amp breaker, main lug, breakers etc would be about the same as just getting a newer panel with more slots.
Are you planning to use this to replace your existing panel or to add as a subpanel?

I`m considering doing two multiwire branch circuits in order to power the two light circuits and to divide the load of the outlets.

Does this diagram I made sum up what needs to be done properly?

http://i.imgur.com/2oCw7QM.jpg
Your diagram looks OK except for the box immediately after the breakers. Those splices will need to be made in the first outlet box on one of the two runs, and 2-conductor cable fed on from there for each run or, if you make them in a separate box, you will have to leave that box covered and accessible.

Better practice is to feed receptacles with 20A circuits and lighting with 15A circuits. Better practice is also to splice the current-carrying conductors in each box and add a pigtail to connect to the receptacle. Did you only show two duplex receptacles on each circuit as an example?

I'm aware I need a 2 phase breaker or two singles ones bridged on separate phases,.
Better practice is to use two single-pole breakers with their handles joined with a handle tie. This allows each of the breakers to trip independently but requires both to be turned off together.

and that the neutral is key to not frying all the electronics
What do you mean by this?

Check out the current dated panel
I don't care for that design, but it doesn't look all that old.

Looks pricey compared to what I would expect to pay around here. But yes, that's the basic concept.

I have a question about it though. It says its single phase. Does that mean it only has 1 service bus bar and the neutral? I'd need to be able to install 120V and 240V and thought that you'd need two phases in order to get 120V or 240V.
A matter of confusing terminology. Your house is fed with a single-phase 120/240V service which comes in on two legs. You can get 120V power by connecting from either leg to neutral. or you can get 240V by connecting across both legs. And yes, each leg is often referred to as a phase - and that's not incorrect.

See? Clear as mud!

maybe a 20A AFCI breaker would be best suited to such electronics for the room.
AFCI protection does not add any additional protection for electronic appliances. Neither does GFCI protection. Both are needed and each is required in certain locations. If you want to provide additional protection for the electronics, plug them into a power-conditioning UPS and add a whole-house surge suppressor in your new panel.
 
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Old 04-15-13, 08:07 AM
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Are you planning to use this to replace your existing panel or to add as a subpanel?
Replace the existing panel if possible.

Your diagram looks OK except...
Thanks for the tip, I forgot to include the separate cable connecters in the junction box.

http://i.imgur.com/PV2BtPl.jpg

Did you only show two duplex receptacles on each circuit as an example?
Yes, however its not far from reality. 2 receptacle on one and 3 on the other.

What do you mean by this?
Well if the neutral was hooked up wrong then you would have a series 240V circuit, rather than 2x 120V with the neutral carrying the unbalanced juices.

Better practice is to use two single-pole breakers with their handles joined with a handle tie. This allows each of the breakers to trip independently but requires both to be turned off together.
Will do.

A matter of confusing terminology.
Aha I read some more about it on wiki and better understand the difference now.

 
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Old 04-15-13, 01:33 PM
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Replace the existing panel if possible.
That's usually a job for a licensed electrician, and should require a permit. There will be a limit on how far the unfused current can be run before the main overcurrent protection device. If you want that to be inside your new panel, it may need to be pretty much where the ITE box is now (assuming that's the existing MOPD). If you want to leave the MOPD alone, you can mount the new panel wherever it's convenient and you have sufficient clearance. You'll just have to wire it as a subpanel.

You might be able to get away with mounting the new panel, setting it up as a subpanel, and feeding it off a 2-pole breaker in the existing panel temporarily, while you relocate and add circuits into it. You'll have to ask your local jurisdiction.

I forgot to include the separate cable connecters in the junction box.
That separate J-box where the splices the circuits divide must remain covered and accessible after you're done. What is the advantage you see to running a MWBC rather than two individual circuits?

2 receptacle on one and 3 on the other.
Although the best practice is not to extend them to the limit, standard calculation will allow up to 10 receptacles on a 15A circuit and 13 on a 20A circuit, if they only supply receptacles. I like to stop at about 6 on a 15 and 8 on a 20, but that's just me -- and experience.

if the neutral was hooked up wrong then you would have a series 240V circuit, rather than 2x 120V with the neutral carrying the unbalanced juices.
You would have a 240V circuit - series doesn't enter into it. But that's why we make the wires the pretty colors and almost always connect them color-to-color.

Reading through your own copy of Wiring Simplified before you get too involved in this project should answer a lot of questions. You may be able to find it in the electrical aisle at a home improvement store. We'll be here to answer the others.
 
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