Panel full, Now what?

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Old 04-01-18, 09:19 AM
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Panel full, Now what?

So, a little context; This project is on a residential property in rural Thailand, 240 Volt single phase if I am not mistaken. I am not an electrician but feel comfortable tackling the job with some guidance. Building code is irrelevant if it even exists and there is no inspection or enforcement. That's not to imply that i don't want to build something safe but no need to go over the top. Local electricians will not likely speak English and my Thai is piss poor.

This property has a breaker panel at the street supplying two residential structures, a main house and a small cabin. Each of these two structures have secondary (Secondary to the panel at the street) breaker panels made by Schneider with Schneider breakers, a 63 Amp main breaker and mostly 20 Amp individual circuit breakers. See photo attached.

I want to add two more small cabins with single 20 Amp circuit service each. I had planned to pull this power from the breaker panel in the main house as the initial panel at the street is too far away. As mentioned, the breaker panel in the main house is full.

Searching the internet for a solution, I discovered tandem breakers. I have a few existing circuits on the main house circuit breaker panel that are very lightly used. I thought I could shift these to two side by side tandem breakers and open up two vacancies for single pole breakers to service the two new cabins. I contacted Schneider who does manufacture tandem breakers but they do not makket them in Thailand. Unfortunately, it seems tandem breakers are not available in Thailand at all. I have considered that I could get them shipped from America but I don't know if they will be compatible and suspect they wouldn't.

So my next thought was to install a sub panel. I understand even for a sub panel, I will need a spare slot in the main house panel for a breaker to supply the sub panel. I assume I could move one of the existing circuits in the main house breaker panel to the sub panel and in doing so, create a vacancy but now we are getting more advanced. Having a look at the local equivalent of Home Depot, Global House, They don't seem to market sub panels either. They sell lots of breaker panels with a main and a series of individual circuit breakers but I am not sure if I can use these as a sub panel.

My next thought, I could simply upgrade to a larger main house breaker panel but mine has 14 individual circuits. The largest one sold at Global House has 14 individual circuits.

My latest thought, can I simply "T" off the main power leads supplying the main house and run a leg to a secondary breaker panel that would have a main breaker and at least two 20 Amp circuits to supply these independent cabins? Lets just assume there is adequate power available to begin with if we can.
 
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Old 04-01-18, 11:54 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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To add a sub panel you remove one or two existing circuits and move them to the sub panel. (In the US it would be 2 breakers, I'm not sure of the electrical system in Thailand) You then install a larger sized breaker in the openings you just created in the main panel to feed the sub panel. Wire size will depend on the size of the breaker you install to feed the sub panel, but of course it can't be larger then the main breaker.

Again, this is how it would be done in the US.
 
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Old 04-01-18, 11:17 PM
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In Thailand you have 220vac 50hz single phase power.

I'm not sure how that panel uses a 2P63A 415v rated breaker. That would seem to suggest you have two legs of 220v power. I also see two small gauge wires tapped off the main breaker. That is not a recommended practice as that smaller gauge wiring is not properly protected.

I would highly recommend seeking out the advice of a local electrician.
 
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