New Sub Panel Install - Critique?

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  #1  
Old 04-03-16, 09:58 PM
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New Sub Panel Install - Critique?

I installed a sub panel this weekend to prepare for finishing the basement. The entire basement (lights and outlets) was on one 15A circuit.

Just looking for any feedback on things I might have done wrong, or should consider doing different before I button it all up and begin framing.

I flipped the new panel so I could feed it from the bottom easier.

I pulled two of the 15A circuits (basement and heater) and moved them to the new box using a small junction box to splice in longer wires for reach.

I installed a 60A breaker in their place to feed the new box, and ran aluminum 2-2-2-4 SER cable through a small piece of PVC connecting the boxes. Just BARELY fit inside the 60A breaker. (100A Type CH was $70 locally). NOALOX'd all the aluminum wire connections.

Before:



After:







Thanks!
 
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Old 04-03-16, 10:05 PM
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Also for future reference. What is the correct way to remove these from a panel, and also remove them from the NM wire? I had to tear it up with channel locks to get it off!

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Last edited by PJmax; 04-03-16 at 10:11 PM. Reason: corrected pic link
  #3  
Old 04-03-16, 10:17 PM
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Panel wiring looks neat. Normally you'd use separate conductors...... not a piece of service cable..... between panels. I like using copper for jobs like that. You could have use #6 THHN wire.

Those connectors can be removed from the panel by pushing in on the catch where it locks onto the panel. Getting the cable out is a little trickier. I don't use those connectors and I have never reused them. I usually just cut them off with dykes.
 
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Old 04-03-16, 10:41 PM
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Thanks!

There was so much conjecture and opinion on what kind of wire to use between panels. I finally went with what was available locally, and the average wire / cable others were using. It seemed like overkill to me. As a plus, it was pretty easy to bend.

I won't try to reuse them, just trying to get them out of there the easiest way possible when I need to move a circuit. I had a hell of a time getting that piece pushed in. It was in the back of the panel. Good to know my "tear it to shreds" method wasn't far off the mark.
 
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Old 04-04-16, 02:52 AM
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The only thing I question is about the new breakers and the wiring. If those breakers are 20 amp and the white wire from the jbox is 14 gauge, you have a problem. I know older NM in 12 gauge was white, and that is why I raise the concern. You can't over protect the 14 gauge wire with 20 amp breakers.
 
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Old 04-04-16, 06:22 AM
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Just looking for any feedback on things I might have done wrong, or should consider doing different before I button it all up and begin framing.
My only input has to do with your main panel, the CH series panel with the tan colored breaker handles. It looks like you have a neutral bus on each side of the panel, both are mounted on insulating feet. I think I see where they are linked together and I do see where the right hand neutral bus is bonded to the panel can. I also see that for the 120 volt branch circuits that the neutral and ground wires are terminated together in the same holes on the neutral bus. Although many years ago this was a common practice, it is no longer allowed. I don't think it's enough of an issue to worry about, but for future reference just remember that on a main panel where the neutrals and grounds are both terminated on the neutral bus, these cannot share the same holes. Typically you can have 1 neutral per hole and 2 ground wires of the same size per hole. I believe the Cutler-Hammer panel instructions allow 3 grounds of the same size per hole.

In your subpanel this should never be an issue because the neutrals and grounds are all separate, but you seem to know that. I do agree with PJ, I would have used separate #6 THHN copper conductors, but that is just personal preference. The sub looks fine to me.
 
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Old 04-04-16, 10:49 AM
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I missed two things and Joe touched on the one. The multiple wires in the same hole. It may have been allowed when that panel was installed but I would make the corrections. Grounds and neutrals should not share the same hole.

The other thing I didn't notice was that technically your left bar is ground and the right bar is neutral. I see you do have the bonding jumpers in place but the neutral to your sub panel should be on the same side as the neutral comes in on. That would mean the neutral to the sub panel should be moved to the right bar. The ground is fine where it is.

This wire change keeps the sub panel from obtaining neutral thru the two bonding jumpers.

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Old 04-04-16, 11:59 AM
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My eyes are bad but it looks like the old panel is fed by SER with a copper stranded ground?
 
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Old 04-04-16, 12:35 PM
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The stranded copper is probably the GEC to the rods and/or water main.
 
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Old 04-04-16, 12:59 PM
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No... that stranded ground is from a three wire #4 copper service cable with ground. The actual ground looks like #6 or #8 solid copper.

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That brings up an interesting point..... is this the main panel connected directly to the meter or is it a sub panel and there is a disconnect outside at the meter ?
 
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Old 04-04-16, 08:02 PM
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The neutral and ground in the same hole was against the listing and labeling of its usage instructions which few people read. It was added to the NEC so it was easier to reference.
 
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Old 04-04-16, 08:55 PM
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The solid #6 copper does run to my water main.

I did notice the grounds and neutrals were in a shared terminal as well. I had to look it up to confirm it used to be standard practice in some areas.

I did notice the orientation of the ground and neutral feeds for the main, before routing the feeds for the sub to the bars they are installed in. But because they were tied I didn't think it made a difference, so I chose that route for a cleaner install.

Is it really an issue? I'll have to replace all the cable to correct it.

EDIT: Just re-read your reply. So since only the neutral would need to move, I could use the existing cable. There is enough left on the neutral wire to move it to the opposite bar.
 
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Old 04-04-16, 08:59 PM
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Yes.... move the neutral wire only to the right bar. This is the bar that has the solid neutral connection from your service.

How about the sub panel question ?
 
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Old 04-10-16, 11:05 PM
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The box on the left (Pic #2, first post) is the main panel coming from the meter. The panel on the right is the new sub panel, feeding off the 60A breaker in the main.
 
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Old 04-11-16, 07:48 AM
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The box on the left (Pic #2, first post) is the main panel coming from the meter. The panel on the right is the new sub panel, feeding off the 60A breaker in the main.
The question is.... is there a disconnect at the meter base or before the main panel? Is the 100A in the main panel the only main disconnect?
 
  #16  
Old 04-11-16, 12:58 PM
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Neutral bar location,I would say a matter of personal preference,i doubt it is a requirement of the mg.but it does make good sense.
 
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Old 04-11-16, 01:50 PM
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The neutral bar location is set by the manufacturer. The ground bar sometimes has several mounting locations.
 
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Old 04-11-16, 10:32 PM
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The question is.... is there a disconnect at the meter base or before the main panel? Is the 100A in the main panel the only main disconnect?
No other disconnect that I am aware of. The SER cable from outside appears to run directly to the 100A breaker and neutral bar.
 
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Old 04-11-16, 10:35 PM
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The neutral bar location is set by the manufacturer. The ground bar sometimes has several mounting locations.
I noticed when deciding to flip the new box, the holes for the N and G bars were the same. I could have swapped the neutral bar location to the other side if I had decided to do so. But the new ground bar I bought was full of green screws so I decided it didn't make any difference (to me). And this location seemed easier to route to at the time.
 
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Old 04-12-16, 06:39 AM
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No other disconnect that I am aware of. The SER cable from outside appears to run directly to the 100A breaker and neutral bar.
The SER cable coming from outside is a red flag. Where is the ground in the SER cable terminated at the meter? The typical meter socket would only have provisions to terminate 3 wires. Typically 3 conductors would be used (SEU cable) and seeing that SER cable was used normally would indicate the presence of a disconnect either at the meter or incorporated into the meter socket. Any chance of providing us a picture of the outside part of the service?
 
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Old 04-14-16, 09:53 PM
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I guess I wasn't too worried about the existing installation. I was really only concerned with my expansion.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 02:15 PM
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I haven't lost any sleep over it either, but it would be interesting to know exactly what you have there because it's obvious you have several code violations.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 09:34 AM
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Codes seem to change so much over time that I didn't even look into it. That main panel was installed when the house was built in 1998.
 
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