Is it OK to use meter socket for a pass-thru?

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  #1  
Old 08-06-13, 09:00 AM
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Is it OK to use meter socket for a pass-thru?

Below is an artist(?) rendering of what I'd like to do with the service entrance on my cottage. The pole is located at the corner of the house that is over a slab. The meter needs to be by the pole and the disconnect needs to be close to the meter--but I don't want the main breaker panel to be in that section of the house. I propose to mount a main disconnect on the other side of the (log) wall from the meter, run the wires from the socket to the main, then back through the socket and down the conduit & over to where the basement starts. This is where the breaker panel will be.

This seems to me to satisfy the NEC requirements as well as the POCO but I don't know if it's allowed to use the meter socket this way--that isn't covered in my wiring book.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 09:16 AM
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You cannot have both fused and unfused conductors in the same raceway.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 09:59 AM
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Drawing in 3D is beyond this "artists" capability I'm planning to use separate conduit for the "out" and "back". I don't think 2" rigid could hold 6 anyways. Or I may use cable for those short pieces.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 10:50 AM
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I propose to mount a main disconnect on the other side of the (log) wall from the meter, run the wires from the socket to the main, then back through the socket and down the conduit & over to where the basement starts. This is where the breaker panel will be.

The meter needs to be by the pole and the disconnect needs to be close to the meter
It appears that the feeders from your meter socket or disconnect will be in exterior conduit until they reach the point where they will enter through the foundation directly into your main distribution panel. If so, why do you need a disconnect near the meter?

Originally Posted by pcboss
You cannot have both fused and unfused conductors in the same raceway.
You didn't say whether you were planning to use a fused or an unfused disconnect. If it's unfused and the feeders are being run outside the cabin, what purpose does the disconnect serve? If it's fused and the feeders from it enter the meter socket, then you've used the meter socket as a raceway and placed both fused and unfused conductors in it.

Am I missing something here?
 
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Old 08-06-13, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Nashkat1

If so, why do you need a disconnect near the meter?
I thought NEC requires a fused disconnect as close as possible to the meter.

Originally Posted by Nashkat1
If it's fused and the feeders from it enter the meter socket, then you've used the meter socket as a raceway and placed both fused and unfused conductors in it.
That may be an issue--I didn't view the meter socket as a "raceway" but I guess it can be interpreted that way.
Then I guess I will have to forego the "neatness and workmanlike appearance" of using the socket as a "hub" for the service wires. It's OK then to just use conduit & elbows after the disconnect?


Just so I understand the distinctions since such variations aren't covered in my book--there are meter sockets available that include main breakers or with unfused disconnect switches--why are those OK to have fused & unfused in the same box?
 
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Old 08-06-13, 07:50 PM
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Just so I understand the distinctions since such variations aren't covered in my book--there are meter sockets available that include main breakers or with unfused disconnect switches
Yes, meter sockets are available with the disconnect/main breaker built into them, but will your power company accept one? You need to talk to your power company and see if they have a listing or service rule book that will have the approved metering devices listed in it.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 08:02 PM
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I didnt say I plan to use one of them...but I want to understand why it is allowed to have fused and unfused wires in them. Shopping for my ordinary cheap socket online I also see many choices with "things" inside the box. The sites dont describe what they are or how they differ from a plain meter socket.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 08:20 PM
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A meter socket with the built in disconnect/breaker, the non-fused and fused wires are separated. With what you are proposing to do, they will be intermingled in the unfused socket.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 09:08 PM
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Some poco's specify the type of meter pan they require. Here in NJ there are two major companies and they use two different meter pans.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 07:43 AM
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To elaborate just a little more, when a socket has the breaker/disconnect built in, there are two distinct sections. The metering section has it's own cover and is sealed and sometimes locked by the power company, you will have no access to this section. The breaker section remains accessible by the customer to make changes and do maintenance. In the typical meter socket, the entire thing is sealed and/or locked. Customer wiring is never allowed to run through sealed metering equipment by power company rules.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 08:14 AM
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When I called mine they (a rural co-op) had no equipment requirements. Nothing other than unobstructed access & at eye level.

So...2" elbows are expensive, large and will make the install look too industrial. Because of this I'm now considering using cable for everything after the meter. Water tight connectors, sill plates/putty for the wall (log) pass-thrus.
Is it OK to bore a hole through the block basement wall to pass the SE cable through, then mortar it? This would put the cable right above the box. I'd prefer not to punch through my new siding, if possible. This also isn't covered in my wiring book. In fact only stud-wall homes are used as examples. If you have block, log, adobe, etc you're on your own.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 04:27 PM
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I would sleeve a piece of PVC through the wall and use a good caulk around the cable.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 05:26 PM
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Unless the jurisdiction or the POCO required rigid, I would run EMT with compression fittings down to a nice, sweeping 90[SUP]o[/SUP] bend to head for the panel. I'd try to drop it to the height needed to enter the panel through the back. Or Schedule 80 PVC. Yes, that means you'll need an LB to turn to go into the basement. But...

I'm now considering using cable for everything after the meter.
If you do that you'll wind up making a big shepherd's crook in the cable to get it through the foundation, assuming you'll take it straight through. I don't know of any inspectors who'd accept that, and you probably don't want it anyway.

Do you need 2" pipe for this? Seems to me 1-1/2" would be big enough.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 06:32 PM
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Do you need 2" pipe for this? Seems to me 1-1/2" would be big enough.
I don't believe the OP ever mentioned the amperage of the service or type/size of the wire, just that he might use cable.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 06:39 PM
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I think you're right, Joe. I thought he'd said 200A but I may have had that in mind from a different thread. Be that as it may, I figured on the material for a 200A service and still did it in a 1-1/2" pipe.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 07:10 PM
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100A service. The 2" comes from Wiring Simplified, 43rd Edition:
Unless your power supplier has other requirements, the service conduit should not be smaller than 2-inch rigid metal conduit. Smaller conduit could be used if braced or guyed for extra strain support or...attached to a timber...
My credit card hasn't even cooled yet and now I'm told I could use a cheaper more appropriate size mast for 3 puny pcs of 4ga THHN?

Please explain the "big shepard's crook" comment. In every instance of service cable I've seen going through a wall it was merely bent into a moderate sweep--maybe a 2" radius. Sill plates sold for the purpose of sealing and protecting the SE cable where it penetrates the building require a tight bend in the cable in order to fit under the plate. In other words--what are you suggesting? I have to get all this gear sorted out and in my truck by the weekend.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 08:13 PM
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...My credit card hasn't even cooled yet and now I'm told I could use a cheaper more appropriate size mast for 3 puny pcs of 4ga ...
No, you did good on the mast. The 2" is for cantilever strength, from things like a tree limb falling on the overhead lateral. Conduit supported from strap to strap or underground can be much less robust. For instance, from Annex C of the code, four #4ga is legal in 1" rigid.

I don't think the main disconnect in your picture is necessary. Every locality has it's own interpretation of this section. But conduit run outside the walls of the structure is seldom counted. It's the distance from the penetration that concerns most localities.

Would you prefer to run underground along the slab, rather than visibly on the wall?

And, even if your locality requires a main disconnect near the meter, why not on the outside wall next to the meter?

Lastly, I hate penetrations below grade. They're just a leak waiting to happen. Any chance you could make a "window well" at the basement penetration. Something with a drain at the bottom?
 
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Old 08-07-13, 10:05 PM
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My credit card hasn't even cooled yet and now I'm told I could use a cheaper more appropriate size mast for 3 puny pcs of 4ga THHN?
I wasn't talking about the mast. I was talking about the wiring from the meter base to the panel.

On that same topic, where will you make your GEC? If it's in your panel you should only need three conductors from your meter to your panel. To feed a 100A service (thanks for clarifying that), three 1 AWG conductors should be sufficient. Those will fit in 1-1/4"" conduit.

In every instance of service cable I've seen going through a wall it was merely bent into a moderate sweep--maybe a 2" radius.
You may be more familiar with the properties of SE cable than I am. It isn't used to feed the electrical gear I'm used to installing.

That said, I would run THHW feeders in pipe, underground, and bring the pipe into the back of the panel, using the tips that Glenn posted.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 10:11 PM
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I actually want the disconnect on the inside next to the door. It may be a cottage thing but it's very convenient to be able to kill the power without needing to fumble around at the panel in a dark basement. When I moved the breaker panel in my 1st cabin I installed a small main lug in its place. It was close to the door (easy all on/all off) & satisfied the ground issue at the same time.

Whether I punch through the siding or the block just below, they're both above grade. I just need to know about that big bend/little bend question...What does the NEC say? It's not in my book (which I'm less impressed with the more I read) so I need the assistance of the pros here.

As for the mast--if the book's recommendation isn't based on NEC then I think I'd prefer 1.5". The 2" stuff looks ridiculously huge. There's little chance of anything falling on the drop--the pole is right at the corner of the house and the meter is 10 feet away. The drop wires will practically "fall" into the head and there are no tree branches nearby. The mast will be supporting almost no weight or tension.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Nashkat1
On that same topic, where will you make your GEC?
In the 1st panel, to ground rod I need to add. The inspector may require me to add a 2nd rod due to the sandy soil but I'll be ready for that.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 10:31 PM
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It's not in my book (which I'm less impressed with the more I read)
What book are you using? Wiring Simplified is the one we've found to be reliable, comprehensive, code-based, readable and affordable.

The specification for the mast won't be in any general electrical reference because that's determined by each jurisdiction, to meet local conditions within their adopted standards, whether based on the NEC or not. You'll have to get that answer from them.

What does the NEC say?
Your jurisdiction's authorities may have adopted the 2005, 2008, or 2011 edition of the NEC, or some other model code. They may have written and adopted their own. To answer your question, the 2011 cycle of the NEC includes this within several pages of requirements for overhead services:
230.28 Service Masts as Supports. Where a service mast
is used for the support of service-drop conductors, it shall
be of adequate strength or be supported by braces or guys
to withstand safely the strain imposed by the service drop.
Where raceway-type service masts are used, all raceway
fittings shall be identified for use with service masts. Only
power service-drop conductors shall be permitted to be attached
to a service mast.
 
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Old 08-08-13, 05:33 AM
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That's the book.
Originally Posted by previously
This also isn't covered in my wiring book. In fact only stud-wall homes are used as examples. If you have block, log, adobe, etc you're on your own.
Not very comprehensive IMO unless you have new a new construction frame house or farm building. There's a lot of space dedicated to farm wiring. I would have preferred some of that space go to renovations and homes other than studwall construction. Maybe with todays declining interest in DIY the author felt he'd grab more readers interested in wiring a chicken coop than in rewiring an older home.
 
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Old 08-08-13, 08:11 AM
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As for the mast--if the book's recommendation isn't based on NEC then I think I'd prefer 1.5". The 2" stuff looks ridiculously huge.
This is generally a power company requirement in their service rules. I have never seen a mast allowed smaller than 2" heavywall (RMC), but some on this forum have previously stated that some areas allow IMC conduit, but still 2" minimum. If you continue with the service disconnect at or near the meter, remember that you will need 4 wires from that disconnect on to the service panel. That could be 4 THWN or XHHW conductors in 1 1/4" conduit or it could be SER cable. Regardless, you'll need 2 hots, 1 neutral and 1 ground. The NEC allows either #4 copper or #2 aluminum conductors for a 100 amp residential service.
 
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Old 08-08-13, 10:08 AM
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I've called my little co-op POCO twice and they don't care what I use as long as it's NEC compliant.

The local (to home) orange and blue Borgs have example systems on the wall, both with 1.5" rigid. I'm still waiting for a call back from the part-time elec. insp. up there so I can ask if he has any "hot buttons" on size/brand/type/placement.
 
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Old 08-08-13, 06:14 PM
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What's the visible difference between a ring-type socket and ringless? Meters in this jurisdiction are ring-type but I can't find that type enclosure in stock anywhere I've called or visited. I thought I had lucked out at one electrical supply but when I opened the "ring-type" box it was identical in every visible way to a "ringless". I expected to find an inverted lip surrounding the meter opening for the clamp ring to grab, but there wasn't.

They're easy to locate online so I didn't know they are rare.
 
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Old 08-08-13, 06:39 PM
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The ring type socket does have a lip the ring hooks onto to lock the meter into the socket. Ringless is by far the most common.

Google Image Result for http://www.meter-china.net/uploadfiles/images/ZMMB-100-square-meter-socke.jpg
 
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Old 08-09-13, 09:10 AM
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After looking at some more Google images it's clear to me the meter socket in the box labeled "ring type" was in fact a ringless enclosure. I'm glad I opened it at the counter & didn't buy it. Nice job Eaton :NO NO NO:

Local electric inspector called me back today. From our discussion:
Use either type meter socket--the poco will have to install a meter to fit. This is the same suggestion an electrician at the supply house told me yesterday. I didn't know I could "force" the poco to upgrade my meter to the more common type.
With no need to support the weight of several yards of feeder wire from the pole a 1 1/4 mast will be fine as long as it's rigid conduit.
Bend radius where it goes through a wall is no issue as long as it's simply hand bent and not "hammered" into a sharp 90*.
He confirmed--and this may be a local interpretation--that a disconnect must be placed where the service wire enters the building. It would not be acceptable to to locate it in the main breaker panel 15 feet away--unless the feeders were run in conduit OUTside the building & enter AT the panel. He liked the idea of the main breaker next to the back door on the other side of the wall where the meter is mounted. I'm sure he sees this a lot in seasonal cottages.
 
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Old 08-09-13, 09:16 AM
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Now this might be my final question on this project:
If I understand correctly my ground electrode MUST be connected to the first inside enclosure (a small box with one 2-pole breaker). I can not attach the ground to the main breaker panel a few feet downstream on the same wall as that is now technically a sub-panel--am I correct?
 
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Old 08-09-13, 11:00 AM
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If I understand correctly my ground electrode MUST be connected to the first inside enclosure (a small box with one 2-pole breaker). I can not attach the ground to the main breaker panel a few feet downstream on the same wall as that is now technically a sub-panel--am I correct?
Since you say in this post that you're planning to use a fused disconnect, that is true. The Grounding Electrode Conductor is established in the enclosure where the main overcurrent protection device is mounted. The conductors from ground rod(s) and cold water inlet (if metal), the POCO neutral and the enclosure are all bonded together there.

You may already know this but, having done that, you'll need to pull a grounding conductor to your panel. All of the grounding conductors in your (now) subpanel need to be bonded together and to the panel enclosure. All of the neutral conductors need to be bonded together and isolated from ground, including the enclosure.

a disconnect must be placed where the service wire enters the building. It would not be acceptable to to locate it in the main breaker panel 15 feet away--unless the feeders were run in conduit OUTside the building & enter AT the panel.
That's not what you're doing? Regardless, yes, unfused power can only be run a foot or so inside the building at most.
 
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Old 08-09-13, 04:06 PM
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Those things ARE what I'm doing--but in the previous posts it wasn't clearly resolved.

My final question was just to verify that the GEC needs to be connected to the FIRST fused panel. If the sub-panel is also fused is it ever allowed to connect the GEC there? I think I know the answer but frankly it makes more sense to me for the MAIN breaker panel that contains all the actual ground wires to be the one that gets earthed.
 
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Old 08-09-13, 09:01 PM
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If the sub-panel is also fused is it ever allowed to connect the GEC there?
Yes and no.

When the subpanel is in the same structure, which is what you have, no. When the subpanel is in a separate structure, kinda/sorta. In each case, there is an EGC fed from the upstream enclosure to the subpanel. The neutrals are bonded together in both cases and isolated from ground. In each case, the main overcurrent protection device in the subpanel, if it has one, becomes just a main disconnect, convenient for killing the power to the buses.

The difference is that for the separate structure - a detached garage is a common example - a separate path to ground is created and bonded to the already separated and bonded grounding conductors. So there's a new GEC kinda/sorta created there.

I think I know the answer but frankly it makes more sense to me for the MAIN breaker panel that contains all the actual ground wires to be the one that gets earthed.
The main breaker is the first overcurrent protection device downstream from the meter. In your case, you've decided to install a disconnect that has a circuit breaker in it. That circuit breaker is your first, or main, overcurrent protection device and your GEC must be constructed and bonded in the enclosure where it is mounted. You can actually install a 200A panel in your basement and leave the 200A main breaker in it if you want to - that breaker is now just a service disconnect.

If you'd decided, instead, to install an unfused disconnect behind the meter base, your first. or main, overcurrent protection device would be the main breaker in your distribution panel. It would have to be no larger than 100A. Your GEC and its bonding would be constructed in that panel and all of the neutral and grounding conductors would be bonded together, and to the enclosure, there.

Make sense?
 
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Old 08-10-13, 08:26 AM
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With no need to support the weight of several yards of feeder wire from the pole a 1 1/4 mast will be fine as long as it's rigid conduit.
That's usually a power company rule. Good luck finding a roof flashing that small. A 2" RMC mast is almost universally recognized as the minimum size allowed.
 
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Old 08-12-13, 11:37 AM
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Thanks Nashkat1. That's how I thought it's supposed to be but it's one of those things that doesn't really make electrical sense to me. It makes more sense to me to have a "star" ground in the panel where all the ground wires in cables converge in a central location.


One more last question

Do bugs & hornets get in the weather head? Should the knock-out holes around the feeders be plugged with duct seal?

 
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Old 08-12-13, 05:11 PM
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What is the clamp looking thing at the top of the meter socket hub? Where did you find your roof flashing, in the plumbing section?
 
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Old 08-13-13, 11:30 AM
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See photo.
All items are from the electrical aisles at Home Depot.
 

Last edited by guy48065; 08-13-13 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 08-13-13, 03:45 PM
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It makes more sense to me to have a "star" ground in the panel where all the ground wires in cables converge in a central location.
Remember that the reason for creating the GEC is to create the lowest-impedance path to ground you can as close to where the service enters as possible. The purpose of the GEC is to protect your system - your house, you and yours - from high-voltage transients. Think lightening.

Doing this the way you are, with the fused disconnect and the GEC bonding point right behind the meter, is about as close as you can get to just right on that. Having the disconnect on the outside might be a shade better.

One more last question

Do bugs & hornets get in the weather head? Should the knock-out holes around the feeders be plugged with duct seal?
I've never heard of that but I suppose it could happen. Bet if they did where could they get to. Just the meter base, right? No, I would not put duct seal around the conductors where they enter the weatherhead. I would leave that area unsealed for heat and moisture exchange, and to allow the conductors to move a bit with changes in temperature.
 
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Old 08-18-13, 09:41 PM
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Finished all the wiring this weekend. One thing waits for the wood siding to go up--the ground wire to the rods. Does this need to be stapled to the new siding or am I allowed to side over it?

Boy the ground "system" is messed up in this old cottage. I look forward to straightening it out in the next phase of the project.
 
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Old 08-18-13, 10:29 PM
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Does this need to be stapled to the new siding or am I allowed to side over it?
You'll have to ask your inspector. Under the siding may be acceptable if you're using #6 or larger solid copper.
 
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