Is this a 100 or 125Amp Service Entrance Cable???

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  #1  
Old 02-20-15, 10:40 PM
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Exclamation Is this a 100 or 125Amp Service Entrance Cable???

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Hi, The image attached is of my Mom's house Main Lug Panel which was installed more than 30 years ago. I need to know if those Service Entrance Wires at the top are rated for 100Amp or 125Amp? Also, I wonder why this panel appears to have not ground wires coming form the house circuits at all, and why I can't see that the Service Entrance Cable have any ground wire entering the panel either???

Please feel free to mention any code violations you may see and make any critics about it; I did not install this main lug, but I am planning to re do all this in the proper way.

Thanks a lot!

Jos
 
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  #2  
Old 02-20-15, 11:03 PM
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Does not look like ether.
What's your total plans?
Real sparky's hopefully will be right behind me.
Looks like a really old 60 amp. up grade panel from older fuses with still no ground.
 
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Old 02-20-15, 11:34 PM
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My plan is to match the Service Entrance Cable rated amp with a New Main Breaker Load Center of the same amp rating in the case if it was at least 100 or 125amp respectively, in order to avoid to upgrade the entire Service Entrance all the way to the Meter.

However, in the case this old Main Lug is receiving less than 100Amp; then I will upgrade the entire Service and Main Breaker Load Center to 125Amps.

I guess my biggest nightmare is that part about "with still no ground"...


Thank you.
 
  #4  
Old 02-20-15, 11:46 PM
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Since that panel has no main breaker it is a sub panel. Your main grounds would go to the disconnect panel. Find that service disconnect panel..... it should be near the meter and the size of that breaker will tell you what size the service cable is. That looks like 100A max.

Looking at the right hand hot leg.... I see printing.
If the circuits are all in pipe.... that is your ground.

When you redo the panel... the neutral block will need to be isolated and you'll need to look into a ground wire from the service disconnect.

What is that yellow wire doing in the neutral block ?

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  #5  
Old 02-21-15, 07:00 AM
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Looking at the right hand hot leg.... I see printing.
This is the best clue from what you have presented so far, what wire size is printed on the wire? #4 copper or #2 aluminum is good for a 100 amp residential service. #3 copper or #1 aluminum is good for 110 amp residential service. #2 copper or #1/0 aluminum is good for 125 amp residential service. In addition, the size of the wire between the meter and disconnect and the riser wire must also be this same size or larger. What is the condition of the meter socket and all outside service entrance wiring? If this main lug panel was installed more than 30 years ago, how old is the socket and original service entrance wiring. My guess is that it all needs to be replaced. Can you post a picture of everything outside?
 
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Old 02-21-15, 11:23 AM
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Hi PJMax and Casual Joe, What you both stated makes sense to me. I have noticed the printing in the cables before and read them, unfortunately the part that was left out to the sight have not printing about the Amp rating, just that can be used for up to 600Volts, but all wires including 14/2 and 12/2 wih less amp ratings read the same about 600Volts. That's why I was unable to determine the cables Amp rating by the printings on them.

Of course this Main Lug have not Main Breaker and therefore is a subpanel; however the problem with this kind of very old setups is that they used the subpanel like if was the main breaker panel but without the main breaker, yeah that's crazy, and even crazier is that I think there is not any Main Disconnect at any point except for the Meter Fuses. It's crazy how they did it and that's why I will then upgrade it all, especially because I'm afraid that the house Service Entrance from, to and beyond the meter is always hot not matter what, except if the meter fuses are removed.

Nevertheless, I don't know why there is a Yellow wire connected to the Neutrals, but I think maybe they just ran out of white and use yellow for that circuit.

My biggest concern was about the abscence of a main ground wire from the Service Entrance... so now I decided I will upgrade everything to 125Amps using a New Service Entrance Cable Size of 2AWG (Cu) or 1/0 (Al), the one that comes with 2 Conductors, 1 Neutral and 1 Ground. I think those cables are known as SER, but not sure about that yet.

Tomorrow I will inspect the Meter and will post some pictures about it.


Thanks a lot for your replies.

Jos.
 

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  #7  
Old 02-21-15, 11:29 AM
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except for the Meter Fuses
Meters don't have fuses. Are you saying there is a fuse panel below the meter box. If so that is your main disconnect. Please post a picture.
 
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Old 02-21-15, 11:33 AM
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That is actually quite normal. If the breaker panel is more than five feet from the meter then a disconnecting means needs to be at the meter. It sounds like you have a disconnecting device at the meter. The size of that will tell you what they have the service cable protected at.

The size of the service drop cable and the cable size between the meter and the main disconnect determines the maximum size your new panel can be.
 
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Old 02-21-15, 12:02 PM
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ray2047, Excellent. Thanks for the correction. I will definitely inspect the Meter tomorrow and will take a few pictures of it to upload them to this post.

PJmax, The Meter is located at around 30feet away from the Main Lug, so now I am crossing my fingers to tomorrow find a Main Disconnect of at least 100Amps inside or below the meter panel. Tomorrow I will upload pictures of all of it.

Thank you a lot.

Jos
 

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  #10  
Old 02-21-15, 12:30 PM
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Are those 20 amp breakers with 14 gauge wire?
 
  #11  
Old 02-21-15, 12:42 PM
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Astuff, Yes they are 20amp breakers, not sure about if the wires are 14awg or 12awg, but most probably they are 14awg meaning that is out of code and that the circuits should have 15amp breakers. There is also a 30amp breaker for the Water Heater, however, I'm afraid that circuit is using 14awg too.

This electrical wiring project of my Mom's house was made over 30 years ago by an unknown person, and it seems that obviously a lot of things were made incorrectly back then. That's why I want to upgrade the most I can about this installation... However, my Mom's house is not made with wood, but it is entirely made with Concrete Blocks and Cement, so to be honest I don't have much interest in redoing all the circuits running in the walls but at least I will use the proper amp breakers size in the New Main Breaker Load Center for the circuits if the wires result to be 14awg.

Thanks for your observation.


Jos
 

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  #12  
Old 02-22-15, 10:44 AM
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Post The Promised Pictures:

Hi guys, I have very good News. Today I went to the Meter, opened the under box panel and there was a beautiful 100Amps Main Disconnect Breaker, yeah!!!

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Also, the information on the box panel lid reads that it is rated for 125amp but for 100amp continuous; so I guess that from this point to Wires that go inside the Main Lug Panel the wire sizes are suitable for 100amp.

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These are the wires below the Meter and Main Breaker Disconnect.

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Hopefully, it seems like the Ground and Neutral Wires are grounded together as must be done only at the Main Breaker. However, like you saw in the Main Lug inside the House there was missing the Ground Wire that comes fron the Meter, is that acceptable? If so, then I guess I don't have to change the Service Entrance Cable, just install a New Main Breaker Load Center and install the proper breakers size according to the respectively circuits and that's all, right???

By the way, I inspected my Grandparent's Meter too, but there is something more mysterious in their Meter... the "Main Disconnect" in their Meter doesn't look like a breaker at all, but like somekind of mechanism that can be entirely pulled off and be removed.

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Please feel free to post any comments about all this.


Thank you.


Jos
 

Last edited by JosiQDIY2015; 02-22-15 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Spelling
  #13  
Old 02-22-15, 10:59 AM
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Exclamation

My Grandparent's Main Disconnect under the Meter looks like this:

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I never saw that Electrical Mechanism in a Main Disconnect before, in this case why was that used instead of a common Main Breaker Disconnect???


Thanks.
 
  #14  
Old 02-22-15, 11:24 AM
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The disconnect is actually rated for 125 amps. Can you see any writing on the wires that tell you the size?

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Old 02-22-15, 12:29 PM
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Your grandparents main disconnect is called a fusible disconnect. That black handle pulls out and there should be two fuses snapped in on the backside of the pullout handle.

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Old 02-22-15, 03:10 PM
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ray2047, Unfortunately there is not any visible printings or writings on the wires at the Main Disconnect. However, even if they are rated for 125amps if the Main Breaker is of 100amps then I will have to keep everything up to 100amps... unless if I just can change that Main Breaker to a 125amps, but I am not sure if I can do that as that Main Disconnect looks like an old design; but of course I can always change the entire Main Disconnect box panel for a newer one and run it with a 125amps Main Breaker Disconnect, I guess that sounds more ideal to do in this case.

PJmax, Yes you are right. Thanks for telling me the correct term about the Fusible Disconnect. That's why I previously thought that maybe the Main Disconnect at the Meter in my Mom's house had fusibles, because I previously saw my Grandparent's Main Disconnect a few years ago when the Electrical Company changed them due that the fusibles became faulty, and that day I saw those two fusibles behind there been removed.

Fortunately, as I discovered today my Mom's house resulted to have a Main Breaker Disconnect, which I prefer to work with.

Either way I guess ray2047 is still right with his argument that Meters don't have fuses; but now it's clear that the Main Disconnect under the Meter can have a Fusible Disconnect.

Thanks a lot.


Jos
 

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  #17  
Old 02-22-15, 03:28 PM
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Rare here in single family residence but common elsewhere is a combined meter socket and main breaker panel. Yours is an older version of that.
I can always change the entire Main Disconnect box panel for a newer one and run it with a 125amps Main Breaker Disconnect,
You'd only need to change the fuses to 125 assuming they are 100s at this time. How ever given the cost of the fuses ($100+) it wouldn't be worth it.
 
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Old 02-22-15, 04:26 PM
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ray2047, The one with the fuses is at my Grandparent's house and there is not the house I will make the changes.

My Mom's house is the one with the 100amp breaker at the Main Disconnect below the Meter as we discovered it today. That's the house I will make the changes at; so I will have to deal with breakers only, not fuses.

I just posted the pictures of the Fusible Disconnect from my Grandparent's house to clarify some terms about how that specific mechanism is called, known, etc. for which I did not know the name until PJmax replied with the Fusible Disconnect term.

Thanks.

Jos
 
  #19  
Old 02-23-15, 08:44 AM
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like you saw in the Main Lug inside the House there was missing the Ground Wire that comes fron the Meter, is that acceptable?
It appears the service entrance wiring from disconnect to the main lug panel is in metal conduit and not cable. If this is true, the metal conduit is your ground from disconnect to the panel. In the new panel you install you'll also need to install an auxilliary ground bar kit.
 
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