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Questions about installing a new breaker panel and some outlets

Questions about installing a new breaker panel and some outlets

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  #81  
Old 01-21-15, 01:11 PM
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Yes, but the ESG from Oncor says that my meter needs to be 4-6' high, and it is currently 7-8' high (the Zinsco too). This means that I will be moving everything down a few feet. See attached image.... is anything wrong with this?

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  #82  
Old 01-21-15, 02:35 PM
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This means that I will be moving everything down a few feet.
Actually better than previous in my opinion See my picture below. Move the shelf up a couple of inches if needed. I'd install a frame and hinged cabinet door over the access opening I have outlined. There may even be knockouts in the panel you can use without drilling.

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If there are knockouts in the panel you may be able to do this.

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  #83  
Old 01-23-15, 07:29 AM
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I see no problem -- it would be easier to work at the new height anyway.
 
  #84  
Old 01-23-15, 07:41 AM
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Perfect, thanks again guys. Now that I have the makings of a plan I think I might temporarily shift focus a bit, and circle back to the new circuits I want to put in. Getting that done seems like a necessary first step anyway, and it gives me some time to continue my research and let everything soak in regarding the more involved parts of this project. It also gives me time to allocate funds, shop around and purchase my new equipment.

I think I will probably start a new thread for the new circuits sub-project, and if I do I will link it here. This thread has largely become about the meter/main installation, and I think that is plenty for one thread.

I will keep you posted
 
  #85  
Old 01-23-15, 08:26 AM
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I might temporarily shift focus a bit, and circle back to the new circuits I want
Thy will go into the opening you cut in the closet so keep that in mind as you plan. You might even go ahead and cut it open. If the boss doesn't mind you can duct tape cardboard over it till you get a door built for it. (We can help with ideas for the door once we know whats behind the Sheetrock. I'm guessing one stud in the corner and one against the Zinsco panel but you won't be sure till you open it.)
 
  #86  
Old 01-23-15, 08:43 AM
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Yea, that is part of the reason I am shifting, as running these new circuits will require figuring out the access holes / tunnels / whatever I need to make in order to get everything to the panel. The plan is for the new wiring (and any future new wiring) to be run up the wall from the new panel, and then across the attic to the destination of the new receptacles... so I need to figure out the best way to get the new wiring to the panel through the attic. Hopefully this won't be a huge pain.

I've cut a ~6x6" hole right where we've been looking at, under the Zinsco and a bit to the right, just so I could take a peak. Your assessment is correct, and it looks like wide open space for the most part (just some old insulation, and studs along the left and right edges).

Edit: And it looks like there are knockouts on the right side of the Zinsco box.
 
  #87  
Old 01-23-15, 09:51 AM
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Sounds very good. Easier though to come from the bottom of the Z-box if there is a 2x4 next to the right side of the Z-box because best practice is to use Romex connectors (cable clamps) with no more than two cables per clamp. On the side if there's a 2x4 against the side of the Z-box that would make things a lot harder then through the bottom..
 
  #88  
Old 01-23-15, 10:02 AM
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If there is a large knockout in the bottom of the old panel you could use a large diameter nipple less than 24" down to the new panel and would not need to consider derating issues.
 
  #89  
Old 01-23-15, 10:14 AM
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The beam is to the left of the Zinsco, and the opposing beam is on the back corner of the closet so it is really just completely open behind the wall here. No knockouts in the bottom of the Zinsco box, but on top and to the right yes....

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  #90  
Old 01-23-15, 12:21 PM
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Good. This just gets easier and easier.
 
  #91  
Old 01-23-15, 03:37 PM
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I'm not quite clear on something. So will I be needing to install a new box inside the wall, and some conduit running from it to the old Zinsco box? Or can my wiring just go from the panel to the knockouts on the old Zinsco, and be concealed by an access panel that I install? Either way I am assuming there must be a clamp to hold the wiring in place at the holes.

And pcboss you mentioned 24" nipples and derating, but my googling is coming up short so I am not quite sure what you mean there.
 
  #92  
Old 01-23-15, 04:34 PM
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You remove the insides from the Zinsco box and use it as your splice box. My plan was just to run two nipples from the back of the new breaker box just long enough to reach inside the wall cavity. The cables for the new circuits through one nipple and the cables to the circuits in the old Zinsco box through the other. (One nipple wouldn't be large enough for all the cables.) The cables to the Zinsco box would just run through the stud space to the Zinsco box. The cables for the new circuits would come down from the attic above in to the space.

PCboss was talking about if the two boxes were connected by continuous conduit. I don't think that can be easily done in this case.

The "access panel" in this case would be nothing more then a 1x2 frame with a hinged piece of plywood as a door fastened over the opening in the wall.

You may need to place a 2x4 flat inside the wall horizontally across the bottom of the opening To staple the cables to.
 
  #93  
Old 01-25-15, 02:19 PM
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Got it, thanks ray.

I have started a separate thread to focus on my new circuits (thread here), as I think it is best to deal with that first and separately while I continue to plan and prepare for the larger project. I will post here when I reach milestones or blockers or questions with the meter/main over the next few weeks/months.

Thanks as always!
 
  #94  
Old 02-03-15, 08:09 AM
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Spent some time up in the attic this weekend, clearing out old stuff and planning new stuff. Also got all that crap off the side of the house to make way for the new meter/main. I will likely be moving that white cable over a bit as well, as that is about where I intend to put my mast.

Coming along slowly but surely, and so far so good. Going on a little vacation this weekend, but will update soon. Thanks as always!

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  #95  
Old 02-03-15, 09:05 AM
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The after picture is looking good.
 
  #96  
Old 03-04-15, 07:18 AM
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Howdy guys, been a while. I have been working on the new circuits (in a separate thread) for the time being, since that obviously needs to be done first. However, I wanted to go ahead and acquire my meter/main, so last night I bought this guy online: 200 Amp 12-Space 12-Circuit Ringless Overhead/Underground Main Lug CSED

But on second thought, I am wondering if I need something more like this? : 200 Amp 8-Space 16-Circuit Outdoor Main Breaker CSED

I am not exactly sure what the 'X Space, X Circuit' spec means... but I think it has something to do with using breakers that take up more than one space? If that is the case, I will only need one 30A circuit in this house, and the rest will be 15A or 20A.

Can anyone give me some pointers on what I need to be looking for / considering when finding the right outdoor meter/main combo to meet my needs? Thanks, All!
 
  #97  
Old 03-04-15, 07:30 AM
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You should cancel the first one you ordered and get the second one with the Main breaker. The first one is designed for up to six main subfeeds on one service (e.g. apartments, multiple outbuildings), and you really don't need/want that on a single family house.

The X space tells you how many full size breakers the panel holds. The Y circuit tells you if half size breakers can be used in some of those slots. For example a 20 space / 20 circuit can only use 20 full size circuit breakers. A 20 space / 30 circuit can use half size breakers in 10 of the slots (10 full size + 20 half size = 30 total circuits).

The biggest concern with selecting the meter cabinet is making sure it's allowed by the power company. I think we covered that earlier in this thread, but there is usually an "approved" list published in their distribution standards. In my area it's a short list so a lot of the selection has been done for you. I don't remember what your power company does/n't allow.
 
  #98  
Old 03-04-15, 08:46 AM
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Damn, you are correct ibpooks, I forgot all about the allowed equipment list. I just canceled the order for that meter/main I purchased last night, as it won't work for me either way. Now to track down one of these allowed units...

Thanks!


EDIT: Tracking down one of these seems harder than I thought. Googling the mfg/part# from the ESG list doesn't turn up many (in most cases, any) results. I did find some matches, but they are meter-only and I need a meter/main... hmph.

I just put in a call to Oncor and requested they have someone call me about this. Thanks again!
 

Last edited by the_damn; 03-04-15 at 09:11 AM.
  #99  
Old 03-04-15, 11:30 AM
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Local supply houses should have a supply of the approved metering equipment.
 
  #100  
Old 03-04-15, 12:04 PM
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Still waiting on Oncor to call. I called a local contractor service, and they basically said that it is not as strict as I might be thinking.

The guy I talked to said I need to get a meter/main whose mfg. is listed on this list (don't worry so much about part numbers, he basically said?); I need a 200A main breaker on my panel, and everything needs to be rain-tight; and, on a side note, I need to tell them I am upgrading my service capacity and that they need to upgrade the aluminum drop (no exceptions).

Thoughts? I believe the three bottom rows fit my situation. Thanks guys.

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  #101  
Old 03-04-15, 12:08 PM
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Ugh, trying to get a better resolution image but this site keeps resizing my stuff! Lets try this:

 
  #102  
Old 03-04-15, 04:41 PM
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I am going to roll with the Square D that I mentioned earlier (the 200A with the Main Breaker). I am pretty confident that it will suffice and meet my necessary requirements. I am also going to have one of my electrician friends come have a beer with me after it gets here, to take a look at it and also hear out my plans. I am saving my favors with those gents -- at you all's expense! Haha... ha.

Thanks for the help guys!

(By the way, I've talked with both Oncor and my local Inspectors office. I think I am making a valid call in buying this meter/main, but hopefully it doesn't come back and bite me in the ass!)
 
  #103  
Old 03-12-15, 12:12 PM
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All of my new circuits are now run... and the Square D meter/main unit has arrived! My research efforts (calling the City and Oncor a few times) lead me to believe that this unit will work just fine, so it is time to start planning and executing that phase of the project -- hooray for progress!

I want to run my breakers selection past you guys, to make sure I am doing this right. I bought this 200A Homeline Square D meter/main from Home Depot, and I plan to use mostly tandem breakers on it. Below are my breaker choices:

20A/30A tandem breaker
20A/20A tandem breaker
15A/15A tandem breaker

Question -- the 30A/20A combo breaker I was planning to use for the two 240V circuits in this home (clothes dryer; window AC unit). This should work fine yes? The rest of the tandem circuits would then be 15A or 20A at 120V.

THANKS!
 
  #104  
Old 03-12-15, 12:18 PM
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Tandems are really last resort. With as few spaces as that panel has I suggest installing a 32 space subpanel next to it or below it but wait for the pros.

Edit: See my follow up post below.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-12-15 at 12:38 PM.
  #105  
Old 03-12-15, 12:28 PM
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Do you need AFCI protection for the new circuits? If so, the tandems are definitely out. AFCI breakers are all full size. I much prefer full size breakers.
 
  #106  
Old 03-12-15, 12:37 PM
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Early on I suggested a meter socket and panel which is what is commonly used here in Texas for single family residences not a meter/main. The small number of spaces in a meter/main is why I suggested it but not being a pro I went with the flow of the thread. It has been so long I'm not sure how or why you got locked into a meter/main as a solution.
 
  #107  
Old 03-12-15, 12:45 PM
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Ray -- thanks for your continued input. I probably steamrolled or misunderstood somewhere and put this thread on a meter/main tone, but I think it will work fine. This house is pretty small.

AFCI protection is new to me. Looking into it makes me think that I should use AFCI breakers for the five old circuits that will be spliced to the new panel, because they are on 50+ year old wiring. The four new circuits are pretty simple 12-2 runs (one 10-3) and have all new wiring, so I don't think I need AFCI there (what do you all think?).

That would be 5 AFCI breakers, with 3 slots left over for 4 circuits. Sounds manageable.

Are tandems inherently risky in any way? The unit is marketed as an 8-space 16-circuit panel, so it pretty much implies using all tandems is ok it seems. (shrug)
 
  #108  
Old 03-12-15, 01:15 PM
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They are not risky but they have limitations such as no AFCIs. Most areas of Texas, with local exceptions, are on 2014 NEC so most circuits that are not GFCI will be AFCI which can't be done with Tandems. IMHO a 8/16 panel just isn't enough spaces.
 
  #109  
Old 03-12-15, 01:30 PM
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Many places the old circuits would not need AFCI unless modified. New circuits require AFCI protection.
 
  #110  
Old 03-12-15, 01:49 PM
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My local code office just today told me that we are still on 2008 NEC code, for now anyway. I know that some of the old circuits in this house have been 'tapped into'... hell all of them could have been at some point or another, as far as I know, so I think they need AFCI protection.

Ray, homie, I can fit 200A into this thing!!! This would be my current installation, which totals 165A:

(5x) 15A AFCI Breakers - Old Circuits
(1x) 20A/30A Tandem Breaker - 240V AC Unit (20A) & 240V Clothes Dryer (30A)
(1x) 20A/20A Tandem Breaker - My other two new 120V circuits

Which leaves one space, or two circuits, and 35A for future expansion. Honestly I think this will meet my needs, and the needs of this house, for many years to come. Worst case scenario, I could return this unit and get the 20/40 unit, heh, but I really only want to return this thing if it isn't going to work for some reason.
 

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  #111  
Old 03-12-15, 04:04 PM
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I would suggest the setup you PMed me about:

Socket: Eaton 200 Amp Single Meter Socket-UTRS212BCH - The Home Depot

Panel: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...RBVP/204836368

What I like about the panel since we are talking about AFCI is:
Includes a fully distributed neutral bar, allowing for the installation of Homeline Plug-on Neutral combination arc fault breakers on any space
That makes installation easier and a bit more foolproof then traditional panels.
 
  #112  
Old 03-12-15, 05:23 PM
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Yes, I like that panel too Ray. Plenty of spaces and circuits, all can hold tandem (I think.. not that I would need them with this unit) or arc fault breakers on any space. Also, that socket is mentioned specifically on the Oncor guidelines as an 'approved' unit, so I feel like together they eliminate all of my concerns. It is a bit more expensive than my current setup, but I am ok with that.

Anyone see anything wrong with this setup? I can still return the other and get this, and I think I just might. Thanks everyone.
 
  #113  
Old 03-12-15, 06:17 PM
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Adding the breaker handle ratings is useless as far as determining actual loads. A demand load calculation is the correct method.
 
  #114  
Old 03-12-15, 07:15 PM
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Given he is replacing the old 100 amp service with a new 200 amp service I doubt a load calculation is needed since no significant loads are being added.
 
  #115  
Old 03-13-15, 08:24 PM
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(1x) 20A/30A Tandem Breaker - 240V AC Unit (20A) & 240V Clothes Dryer (30A)
Go with Ray's suggestion. Your earlier plan using a 20A/30A tandem breaker WILL NOT give you 240 volts, but will just give you two 120 volt circuits; one 20A and one 30A. Both are fed from the same leg of the service.
 
  #116  
Old 03-14-15, 02:55 PM
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Alright, thanks guys. I will go with the separate meter and panel setup. I am wondering though if the two are compatible: this meter and this panel? I don't know if there is something I need to check for as far as compatibility.

I am also wondering if the parts highlighted in red on this table (attached) have any impact on me here / yet? (This is from the Electric Service Guidelines. The far right column column is for "MAX # CONDUCTORS, MIN/MAX CONDUCTOR SIZES, and TYPICAL DIMENSIONS", which is what I am wondering about.)

Thanks!

 
  #117  
Old 03-14-15, 03:12 PM
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No reason any standard meter socket wouldn't be compatible. They connect together with a short conduit nipple and three wires are run between the meter socket and the panel. If the panel doe not include a hub then you may need to buy one to fit your panel. The hub bolts over the hole in the top of your panel and has threads for the conduit nipple.

Attachment 44914.
 
  #118  
Old 03-14-15, 03:36 PM
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What's throwing me off is that the cell (in red) that applies to my meter seems to call for two wires (Source = 1, Load = 1), whereas the other 200A cells below that seem to call for three wires (Source = 1, Load = 2). Perhaps I am reading that wrong?



I am assuming my setup is going to end up looking something like the example below.

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  #119  
Old 03-14-15, 04:11 PM
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With larger size services they sometimes install multiple panels. I have never seen a chart like that but I read it as a meter socket that can be double lugged on the load side. That is you can put two wires in the lug on the output side so as to connect two panels. Of course you cam also just use one wire.
 
  #120  
Old 03-14-15, 08:30 PM
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I believe Ray is right, the other cells show sockets capable of feeding more than one panel. The bottom cell is also for a 320 amp socket.
 
 

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