Breaker Panel -- Is this a problem?

Old 06-28-02, 04:05 AM
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Exclamation Breaker Panel -- Is this a problem?

After living in this house for 7 years, most of them with my wife and 5 kids doing everything from playing a pinball machine to running every appliance, ceiling fan and light in the house at once, I'm wondering -- now that I'm taking a closer look at our electrical panel -- how we've only managed to trip breakers maybe 3 times in that period.

Here's what I found: first of all somebody kindly reversed the cover plate on the breakers to conceal the specs on the box (100A with AL primaries, which I have, and 125A w/copper). The two mains are each 50A, but the branch circuits on one main total 100A, and the branches on the other main total 85A.

Oh, and somebody did stick a "Mr. Yuck" sticker on the panel to remind kids this is a dangerous place!

Just how yucky a picture is this?
Old 06-28-02, 04:48 AM
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This isn't abnormal. Wait a minute! This is abNORMal. I mean your panel isn't abnormal [size=1]or abNORMal either[/size].

As John Nelson once posted, "adding the amperage of all the breakers is about as useful as adding up all the doorknobs", or something like that.

What you need to do is a Load Calculation. This has little to do with the breakers, but considers what the draw is under normal conditions. If you're not tripping breakers, you're probably within the parameters for your service.

Try WGoodrich's site for a Load Calc guide.
Old 06-28-02, 11:18 AM
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You also must understand that going down one side of the panel does not feed from one of the main breaker and the other side dosent feed from the other main breaker.

They are staggered. So number 1 breaker is on leg A and number 2 is on leg A, number 3 and 4 are on leg B.

Sorry but the statement about the primarys being 100a al and then stating you have 125a with cu is very confusing, please rephrase this.

Do you have a 100amp main breaker then a 50amp breaker feeding a subpanel? Where does the 125a stuff come in?
Old 06-28-02, 11:36 AM
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The 125A "with copper main supply" and 100A "with aluminum" ratings are just what the rating sticker for the panel says --- this panel is circa 1965 if that helps clarify things.

The primaries feed two tandem 50A breakers that feed the branch circuits. Yup I read the schematic and understand that one main has "slots" 9,10,17,18,21 and 22, and the other main has 19,20,23,24,11 and 12. 1-4 and 13-16 are 240v and fed directly from what I'm calling the primary (power company line).
Old 06-28-02, 05:39 PM
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Gil, I think you're looking for a problem where none exists.
Old 06-28-02, 08:23 PM
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Thanks John

That's great news -- I wasn't sure and had read here about folks upgrading their service to 200A, and that 200A is the standard for new construction. Thanks again.

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