New sub panel install

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Old 03-28-14, 06:48 PM
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New sub panel install

I'm going to be putting in a new sub panel in my basement, and would like some advice. I took a trip to. Home depot to price out some stuff but was quickly overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge. First, I would like to put the new sub panel right next to my main breaker, how close can it be? Second, I was looking for 6/4 wire, but it doesn't look like it exists (60amp breaker is going to feed the lug), can I just use 6/3 and run a single wire for ground? Third, I assume that I need to run PVC between the two panels, what's the best size/ rating for my short run?

Any help is appreciated, and links to specific products as we'll. I should mention that my main breaker is a Cutler-Hammer 200amp BR type panel it was professionally installed about 5 years ago, but is 100% full.

The only 2 circuits planned to be in the second panel are a 30a 240v breaker for a brewery and a 20a 240v electric heater, maybe a 15a breaker for extra lighting or a fan.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 07:39 PM
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The sub panel can touch the current panel.

Type NM-B cable could be used. The cable would be 6-3 with ground.
I would move smaller circuits to the sub panel and leave, the heavy loads in the main panel.

A 1" PVC nipple could also be used with individual conductors.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 07:43 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You'll need to move a circuit or two over to the sub panel so that you free up a spot for a 2P60A breaker in the main panel or use tandem breakers to pick up two spaces. You can also move smaller loads to the sub panel and keep the larger loads in the main panel.

You can use 1" or 1-1/4" PVC, or a threaded pipe nipple with locknuts. An 1-1/4" offset nipple would be a good choice too . You can then use #6 THHN for all your wiring.

Your new sub panel requires you to purchase a ground bar so that the grounds and neutral are kept separate.

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(fast fingers Jim there)
 
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Old 03-28-14, 07:44 PM
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how close can it be?
Almost touching.Just far enough not to interfere with opening and closing the panel doors.
Second, I was looking for 6/4 wire, but it doesn't look like it exists
You need 6-3 with ground but that is cable. If they are next to each other you use individual THHN wires and a nipple.(6-3 is 4 wires if you count the ground but in describing it the ground isn't included.)
I assume that I need to run PVC between the two panels, what's the best size/ rating for my short run
Use a short threaded steel nipple with bushings on the inside of each panel. The nipple can be used instead of a ground wire if you use grounding bushings. A ground bar will need to be added to the subpanel and the neutral bar isolated.

Dang, PC and Pj you guys are speed typists.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-28-14 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 03-28-14, 08:04 PM
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Use a short threaded steel nipple with bushings on the inside of each panel. The nipple can be use instead of a ground wire if you use grounding bushings.
I'm not following your statement here, can you explain it? Is this referring to the pictures that PJ posted?

Thanks everyone for the posts so far, that's makes sense about the wire, it's probably easiest to just use the individual THHN wire. As far as moving some of the smaller circuits over, I'll have to plan on that at a later date, I'll have to survey to see if any cables can be moved.

I've read about the ground bar on several other posts, but thanks for the heads up.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 08:19 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

First, I would like to put the new sub panel right next to my main breaker, how close can it be?
From other context in your post it appears that when you say "main breaker" you're referring to your main distribution panel. If so, you can add a second distribution panel (a subpanel) as close to it as you like. They could even touch, if you could do that and get both covers to fit. The only requirement is that the clear working space required in front of every panel will have to be wide enough to include both boxes.

Second, I was looking for 6/4 wire, but it doesn't look like it exists (60amp breaker is going to feed the lug), can I just use 6/3 and run a single wire for ground?
6/4 and 6/3 refer to cables, which are sets of conductors (wires) sheathed in a single jacket. Actually, it sounds like it would be easier, faster and less expensive to just use four single conductors to feed the new panel, if you actually need to add one (more on that below).

Third, I assume that I need to run PVC between the two panels, what's the best size/ rating for my short run?
I would use a threaded RMC - Rigid Metal Conduit - to run the wiring through. Easier, faster and only slightly more expensive, plus it bonds the two enclosures. With a conduit nipple, regardless of the material it's made from, you use individual conductors, not cable.

I should mention that my main distribution panel is a Cutler-Hammer 200amp BR type panel it was professionally installed about 5 years ago, but is 100% full.

The only 2 circuits planned to be in the second panel are a 30a 240v breaker for a brewery and a 20a 240v electric heater, maybe a 15a breaker for extra lighting or a fan.
OK, here's the $64 question: With a new main panel, why do you need to add another panel just to add two circuits? If your existing panel is full of breakers, you'll have to move two of the existing circuits (or one existing 240V circuit) to the new panel just to make room for the 240V breaker you need to install to feed the second panel.

Instead, you may be able to re-work your existing panel to add the new circuits there. To find out if that's doable, you need to take a careful look at your existing panel. You said it's a Cutler-Hammer 200amp BR type panel but you didn't say how many full-size breaker spaces it has, whether some or all of those spaces can accept half-height (tandem) breakers, and whether it's full of full-height breakers now or already has tandem breakers in it.

Most of those questions can be answered just by opening the door on the panel. Maybe all of them. The breakers you see will either be full height (1") or half-height (1/2"), or a mixture of the two. The number of spaces will be obvious. The information about which of the spaces can accept tandem breakers should be in a diagram that's part of the label on the inside of the panel door. If you don't see that diagram, or don't understand it, look for the catalog number there and post that here. Then we can help you figure out what that panel can take.

If you'd like, you can take a couple of pictures - one of the breakers and one of the label - and post them. Then we can see what you have now. See How To Include Pictures for advice on doing that.

Everyone's a speed typist compared to me tonight.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047
Use a short threaded steel nipple with bushings on the inside of each panel. The nipple can be use instead of a ground wire if you use grounding bushings.
I'm not following your statement here, can you explain it? Is this referring to the pictures that PJ posted?
Yes.

As far as moving some of the smaller circuits over, I'll have to plan on that at a later date, I'll have to survey to see if any cables can be moved.
If you're going to install a 2-pole 60A breaker in your existing panel to feed a second panel, you'll have to move some of the existing circuits to make room for that breaker. What PJ was suggesting is that it's better practice to relocate smaller 120V circuits and keep the heavier loads on the main panel. In fact. if you must add a second panel, I'd try to move enough of the smaller circuits to it to allow the new 30A 240V breaker for your brewery to be installed in the main panel.

Originally Posted by PJmax
You'll need to move a circuit or two over to the sub panel so that you free up a spot for a 2P60A breaker in the main panel or use tandem breakers to pick up two spaces.
If you can replace enough of your existing breakers with tandem breakers to fit the 60A 240V breaker in, you may be able to find enough room in your existing panel to add your new circuits there and avoid having to add a subpanel at all.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 08:50 PM
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[SUP][/SUP]The reason why I want to install a new panel is for future expansion, I have other projects planned for the summer which will require more circuits, new furnace or heating system.

Sorry about my confusing language, I'll attach a picture below. My plan is to use the 20amp space on the bottom right that's not labelled and move that circuit to the new sub panel. I've traced out everything in the panel already and only had trouble with finding 2 circuits.

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Last edited by ray2047; 03-28-14 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Rotate, crop, enlarge image.
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Old 03-28-14, 09:02 PM
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Thank you for the picture. I also rotated, cropped and enlarged it.

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This tells us that your panel has 30 breaker spaces and that you only have full-size breakers in it now.

The reason why I want to install a new panel is for future expansion, I have other projects planned for the summer which will require more circuits, new furnace or heating system.
Your existing panel might have room to add up to 10 new circuits. How many will you need in total?
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:07 PM
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A steel nipple will serve as the ground so only three wires needed, one neutral, two hots.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:31 PM
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Your existing panel might have room to add up to 10 new circuits. How many will you need in total?
I can't imagine more than 5 or 6, how would I get more space out of this one?

Thanks for fixing the picture, I posted from my iPad, not sure how it ended up sideways.
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:54 PM
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I can't imagine more than 5 or 6, how would I get more space out of this one?
By replacing some of your full-size breakers with tandem breakers. What does the label in your panel tell you about that? Or, what is the catalog number of your panel?
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:57 PM
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Here is what I did. Service panel to right, 1-1/4 inch PVC nipple through stud to sub-panel. I used an 80 ampere circuit breaker and three #4 copper THHN conductors with a #8 equipment grounding conductor. The sub-panel is a Siemens 125 ampere, 8/16 circuit.

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Old 03-28-14, 10:16 PM
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I posted from my iPad, not sure how it ended up sideways
From previous occurrences like this apparently turning the tablet only rotates the display not the orientation of the picture (EXIF data). For that you need to use an image editor such as IRFanview.
 
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