100 - 200 Amp service upgrade - Box in new circuit panel?

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Feb 1, 2010
9,129
Salem NH
Hello

Well, since I could not fit another wire in the old 100 Amp Challenger Circuit Panel (Not the best panel we had since the 100 Mains melted one summer! LOL) we decided upon the very needed upgrade! To eliminate the birds nest and add whole house surge protection with a Generator Interlock and outlet, it is a welcome addition. Now the shed has the 30 amp breaker like it should.

See shed electrical
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads...ld-i-use-10-3-uf-b-or-10-2-uf-b-and-is.76717/

I also wanted to throw in some current meters to see the draw, but that took an extra month to find some that were accurate enough to work!
See current meter finding!
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads...idential-circuit-panel-will-this-work.134234/

The old meter box and wires along the side of the house had to be changed as well as the circuit panel
The a new Eaton Cutler Hammer panel was installed with nipples to a panel meter box on the upper left side. The current transformers must be installed in the circuit panel box on the 2 mains. A 120v switched outlet with a 120vac to 12vac step down transformer to power the current monitor displays and circuitry on the lower left side.
The 30 Amp generator breaker must be installed in the top right next to the whole house surge protector breakers so the interlock slide works properly.

There is a new ground rod on the outside now so if lightning hits the wires it will not travel into the house! I know it is more needed in Florida where the lightning is more fierce but still good to have here and is also in the new electrical codes!

Pic 1-4 Old Challenger Panel
Pic 5 - Old service head
Pic 6-7 Old meter socket and house wires
Pic 8-9 New outside wires and meter socket with ground rod going into the ground!
 

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More Pics

The interlock allows the home owner to select what circuits may be run on a generator! A nice inexpensive alternative to a transfer switch!

Pic 1 - Meter in new meter socket
Pic 2 - Doing a little wiring! Luckily the new box is good for 50 Breakers!
Pic 3-7 New 200 Amp 50 circuit cutler hammer panel Only 3 slots left in the new panel! LOL
Pic 8-10 New Generator socket outside of house. Socket is under overhang on the right side of the garage.
 

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Hello

Today, I added some needed new paint, Ashbury Sand color.

In case you ask? Yes this was inspected and accepted by the town inspector! :)

What is the best way to box this in with access?

Pic 1 - New panel
Pic 2 - New paint but wires are still exposed.
Pic 3 - Custom Current Meters
 

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I don't see any no alox on the wires in the meter socket or the wires to the main breaker
 
I don't see any no alox on the wires in the meter socket or the wires to the main breaker

Hi, Good question. I will check with my lectric guy.
Is it used on Aluminum wires?
 
Required to be used on aluminum wires at any termination or splice
 
Your interlock label says a max of 10 single pole breakers. That's stupid enough but then says you can run a water heater which is obviously 240. That's a bad label written by somebody that doesn't understand electricity.

Enjoy the new panel.
 
Your interlock label says a max of 10 single pole breakers. That's stupid enough but then says you can run a water heater which is obviously 240. That's a bad label written by somebody that doesn't understand electricity.

Enjoy the new panel.
Thanks for pointing that out Highbeam.
If a good pure sine wave 30 amp generator like a Honda or Dewalt with a Honda engine is used then anything can be turned on as long as the total draw is less than 30 amps right?
 
Hi Don, I have mine set up the same way with the interlock and also the exact same inlet box.
It's the way to go because your entire panel has power. I can run everything except the oven and dryer.

Just don't exceed the capacity of your genny and you're all set. Also, pay attention to what leg your loads are on.... meaning you want to balance your higher 120v loads between the two legs. It's easy to fix that by moving the breaker to the other leg in the panel.
 
Hi Don, I have mine set up the same way with the interlock and also the exact same inlet box.
It's the way to go because your entire panel has power. I can run everything except the oven and dryer.

Just don't exceed the capacity of your genny and you're all set. Also, pay attention to what leg your loads are on.... meaning you want to balance your higher 120v loads between the two legs. It's easy to fix that by moving the breaker to the other leg in the panel.

Hi Dougsey
Good idea about balancing the load. I did that when wiring all this stuff to my old 100 Amp panel which worked fine but was a little crowded! ! ! LOL
 
Using a genset this way can take some thinking. You are certainly capable of it. Your 240 genset is rated for so many watts, let's just say 4000 for this example. Unless you have an inverter genset, each leg of the 240 output will be capable of 2000 watts when applied to 120 volt loads. You can dump all 4000 on a (or multiple) 240 load but if you throw in a 120 load at the same time you reduce the allowable 240 load by double the 120 load because that leg with the 120 load is the weak link of the 240 feed.

Another funny thing that almost all genset makers do is to only regulate voltage of the 240 so that the sum of the voltages on each leg adds up to 240. This is usually fine for 240 loads or for well balanced 120 loads but when you heavily load only one side of the panel you can get low voltage on one leg and high on the other.

The biggest trick I've run into is the fridges cycling. They are pretty quiet and automatic and once running they use low wattage but when they start up they can hammer the voltage on that leg of the panel.

My little 3500 watt/240 genset runs computers, tvs, lights, fridges, and even the range cooktop just fine. Clean power needs are way overblown. You might notice a hum from your ceiling fan.
 
Thanks for sharing Don. I plan to install a similar interlock on my panel when I connect my generator.
I believe the smaller gauge cables strung along the bottom of the floor joists require additional support per code?

Edit: I thought there were also code requirements for securing cables exiting the panel at a point outside the breaker panel but I'm not sure. I'd like to know as some of mine are not secured now.
 
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I don't see any no alox on the wires in the meter socket or the wires to the main breaker

I don't think that's required by code unless it's specified by either the wire or equipment manufacturer. I always use inhibitor, but working for a utility I see a lot of guys not using any on new services and service changes.
 
Hello

Today, I added some needed new paint, Ashbury Sand color.

In case you ask? Yes this was inspected and accepted by the town inspector! :)

What is the best way to box this in with access?

Pic 1 - New panel
Pic 2 - New paint but wires are still exposed.
Pic 3 - Custom Current Meters

The only way to legally do it would be to pull the cover off the panel....
cut a plywood panel (fire resistant, min 3/4") to fill the open space..
you'll have to do some titrivation with the outlet and phone...
mount the plywood flush with the face of the pan...(screws would be a good idea for incidental access)...
buy a flushmount cover for the panel (you've got a surface mount cover)

you cannot per the NEC put the electrical panel in a cabinet. it must be clear for 36" in front of it.
 
Thanks for sharing Don. I plan to install a similar interlock on my panel when I connect my generator.
I believe the smaller gauge cables strung along the bottom of the floor joists require additional support per code?

Edit: I thought there were also code requirements for securing cables exiting the panel at a point outside the breaker panel but I'm not sure. I'd like to know as some of mine are not secured now.
No they do not. This job was inspected and signed off!
 
The only way to legally do it would be to pull the cover off the panel....
cut a plywood panel (fire resistant, min 3/4") to fill the open space..
you'll have to do some titrivation with the outlet and phone...
mount the plywood flush with the face of the pan...(screws would be a good idea for incidental access)...
buy a flushmount cover for the panel (you've got a surface mount cover)

you cannot per the NEC put the electrical panel in a cabinet. it must be clear for 36" in front of it.
Thanks for the info. Can a flush mount cover be found easily?
 
Thanks for the info. Can a flush mount cover be found easily?

yeah, you should be able to get one from Northeast Electrical Supply or Rockingham Electric with little problem.

wires *should* be secured within 6" of any box. that part really comes down to the inspector. The ME state inspector for my area is a *real* stickler for it.

There was a NH req't for a dedicated light above the panel.... I got out of the project superintendent part of the game (HAAAAAAATED it.. just leave me alone and let me weld) just as NEC2011 compliant projects were coming into "the pipe" It may have been dropped.. I dunno...

Hell... I should probably go out and buy a NEC2014 edition of the Ugly's book. My 2008 edition seems a bit out of date..
 
wires *should* be secured within 6" of any box. that part really comes down to the inspector. The ME state inspector for my area is a *real* stickler for it.
Well, this made me curious to see exactly what the code says. I found this clear reference. I'm not sure the discrepancy between 6" and 12", probably code source or year.

"334.30 Securing and Supporting. Nonmetallic-sheathed
cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties,
straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so
as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m
(41#8260;2 ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every outlet box,
junction box, cabinet, or fitting."
 
within 12 inches from a metal box and 4 inches from a plastic box. 12 inches from a panel. then every 4.5 feet if romex
 
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Hello

Please tell me if the calculations look right for this Sunday morning?

Using the current meters to monitor the draw. :)
Power in watts = I (current) x V (volts)

Since we only have the TV and a Ceiling Fan and 1 desktop and 3 lap top computers on this morning:
Current draw this morning is
2.7 + 0.6 = 3.1 amps
P = 3.1 x 117 = 352.7 watts

Since the units used per month are based on time on the electric bill 1 unit is 1 Kilowatt Hour (KWH).
Example:
A 100 watt light bulb left on for 10 hours is 1,000 WH or 1 KWH = 1 unit on the electric bill

Our Electric Rate is 0.15487 dollars per KWH.
Divide by 100 to get approx 15 cents per Kilowatt Hour!

So if we only used 352.7 watts all day for 12 hours
352.7 x 12 = 4,232.4 watt hours or 4.2324 KWH

That would cost
4.2324 x 0.15487 = 0.65547 dollars or multiply 100 to get 65 cents!

This does not count all the other charges and surcharges though!
 

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The math looks good to me Don!

Are you happy with your install? I need a transfer switch for my panel the next time I build a house...

Andrew
 
The math looks good to me Don!

Are you happy with your install? I need a transfer switch for my panel the next time I build a house...

Andrew
Thanks
Yes, I like the slide interlock panel so no need for a transfer switch. Then I can turn on anything I need!
 
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