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Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Electrical Contractor
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I want to upgrade my current service from 125 amps to 200 amps.

Resolved Question:

I want to upgrade my current service from 125 amps to 200 amps. I live in Los Angeles, CA, and DWP already spotted the location for the new meter. The location for the new meter is basically next to the existing one. I want to use this time a outdoor flush type of meter/panel combo that will be supplied from the top,just like the old one. Currently the main panel is the flush type and is located on one of my garage outside corner next to the street. Part of the project is also rerouting probably 95% of of the ugly flex conduits that feed most of the house. These lines cut across the inside of the garage ceilings coming into the rest of the house. My garage is attached to the house. For this purpose I need to install a subpanel around the outside of the garage, also a outdoor panel. Can I use a meter/panel combo as a subpanel?(they are cheap)Is there a way to tap into the main panel buss with out using a breaker? I want the subpanel also to be 200 amps. Thank you.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
If you are installing a metermain combo on the outside of your home - then that is the main panel. Any other panel feeding off of that one will be a subpanel and must be set up as such.

Now - you can get a lug set from your local supply house that fits onto the main bus just like a breaker - but its a paralleled feedthrough so you can still have 200amps at the subpanel. The reason you can do this is because the protection for this cable is the 200amp main in the panel. So in essence that is the main breaker for the other panels wiring. The drawback is if you ever wanted to service that panel you would end up shutting down the entire home because the main breaker is the service disconnect for that subpanel.

My personal suggestion to you is that you install a 100amp breaker in the metermain and protect them with that secondary breaker. 100amps is still allot of available power.

Here is a diagram of how to do this:
graphic
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4772
Experience: Electrical Contractor
Inactive and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the answer.

Can I use a 200amp breaker panel for my subpanel instead of a lug panel?

Individual breakers (100amps) are more expensive when you buy them individually.

In this way I will have a shut off at the subpanel, and the line from the main to the sub will be protected by the main breaker. Service panels that come with a breaker installed are reasonable priced when compare with add on breakers.Can you please tell me what is the wire size and galvanized pipe size for the main supply entrance form DWP to the 200amp meter socket. I would like to use cooper.Thank you.

Ozzie

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Yes you can use a main breaker panel - but it still needs to be setup as a subpanel. Meaning the installation of a grounding bar kit - and pulling the bonding screw from the neutral bus. Also - you will want to install that lug kit I told you about in order to parallel the feeds. You can get one of those from your local electrical supply house.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The inspector came and he needs a couple things to be corrected. He wrote "no shouldered fittings allowed". I used a 2 inch chase bushing to transition between the inside of the panel to an LB box. His arguments are as followed: the bushing is not insulated and the bushing does not "grabs" to the metal wall to provide an ground. He told me to use a 2 inch close nipple with nuts and to use an plastic insulating bushing at the end. My problem is that nipples sold at electrical supplies are tapered. They go so far into the LB and I'm going to end up with a fitting protruding more than a inch inside my panel. I can buy a liner that is designed to fit the chase bushing and add a nut in between the shouder of the bushing and the panel wall. The nut will give the "bite" into the metal wall. Everybody a talked to said a chase bushing is the right choice and don't understand the inspector recomendation. The other item is "provide load calculation and line diagram" I have an idea but I'm not sure about the format to be used. I need help with these two items Thank you.

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


On on the first item can you take a few pictures of what he is talking about and post them here for me to see? You can upload them to tinypic.com - then just click on the picture and three links will appear next to the picture. Copy the [img] link next to the picture and paste it here in this forum and ill be able to see it.

Next - I need you to look over this sheet. Then tell me everything that you have in your home that is listed 1 thru 6. Then post what the kw ratings are of each thing. Ill do the load calc for you.

Next if he needs a line diagram, print out the picture above that I gave you - Honestly im not sure what else he would need.

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I can not see the sheet to itemized my electrical consumption.

Please try again.

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Im sorry - I got distracted and forgot to give it to you.....

Calculation Sheet

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

http://i43.tinypic.com/977beq.jpg


http://i42.tinypic.com/2q2ik5y.jpg


http://i39.tinypic.com/9krngj.jpg

 

Here are the pictures.

 

Picture of the subpanel.

Picture of the bushing connecting the panel to the LB box (this is what the inspector saw)

Picture of the same bushing to which I have added a nut and insulating liner just to see if you feel that may be a solution.

I'm working on the load calculation sheet. I'll send the information as soon as I finish.

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Item 1

 

 

 

2200 square feet

 

 

Item 2

 

 

 

4 small apliances

 

 

Item 3

 

 

 

1 washer and dryer (gas) on the same branch

Item 4

 

 

 

Appliance

Volts

amps

volt x amps

Oven

220

25

5500

Microwave

110

15

1650

Dishwasher

110

9.8

1078

Refrigerator

110

6.5

715

Compactor

110

6.5

715

Item 5

 

Item 6

 

Volts

amps

 

AC

220

50

 

Pool motor

220

7.4

 

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Youve done some very nice work. Better then some Journeymans I know. Let me ask you a question. Is the last picture the one where you inserted the locknut? Or is the way its setup now the way he flagged you? In the meantime - ill go ahead and start working up the load calcs.

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Ok this may not be completely right and ill tell you why. I never entered any information for a garbage disposal, so if you have one you need to let me know. If you dont then no biggie.

Next you never mentioned anything about a hot water heater. So I put what a 30amp electric HW heater would normally pull. If you have a gas heater, I need to know this. If you dont have either - let me know.

Here is the calc sheet

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sorry, I do have a garbage disposal. I can't see the UL tag but I can tell you that is 120V and 3/4 HP. The water heater is gas.

The bushing without the locknut and liner is how the inspector red flagged it.

I installed those after he was here. Still I'm not sure if he will consider that as a corrective action.

Thank you for the complement on my work.

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Ok here is the updated calculation sheet:

Updated Calc Sheet

Now im not sure that new setup is going to fly either. So here is my suggestion. Go and get yourself a 2" diamater by 2" long threaded nipple. Then get a 2" grounding bushing. Then all you need to do is thread the threaded nipple into the LB as far as it can go. Then you will have about 1/2 to 3/4 sticking out into the panel. Put your threaded locknut on it and tighten it all the way down. Lastly put your grounded bushing on the end of the threads and tighten it as far as it can go. Now on this bushing you will see a grounding lug, just run a grounding wire from this grounding lug over to your grounding bar on the panel and your good to go. In this way you have 2 secure grounds, the lock nut and the grounded bushing.

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

What is the wire size for the ground conductor?

Is it ok to use bare wire?. No all supply houses carry heavy gage green wire.

The inspector will be back tomorrow. I'll let you know how it went.

Thanks again for your help.

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


You will want to get a new piece of green grounding wire and run it from one grounding bar, down to the grounded busing, then up to the other grounding bar. It needs to be one continuous piece.

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What gauge of wire should I use?

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Ok give me a few minutes and im going to make up a diagram for you for this setup

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Here is your edited picture. Now given the current lenght of your present grounding wire, it is possible you can get it to fit without getting new wire. But on the off chance it wont, then just get the same ga wire you currently have now.

Look over the picture and if you have any questions be sure to let me know.

graphic

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph (AKA: Electric Doctor)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

The inspector aproved my project. He nedded a couple extra days to verify if it was ok to have a 200 amp breaker in the main panel feeding a 200 amp subpanel. The specs in the panel label allows for this configuration but still he was not sure. He called a couple days later and said everything looks good.

I think that using a somewhat unconventional design was the cause for things moving a bit slower comparing to an standard residential panel upgrade where most installers will use a meter/main combo.

At the begining, my plan was to feed the mail panel from the right bottom knockout in the meter socket to a left top knockout in the panel. I had problems with this approach because I was not getting the minimun bending radius inside the meter socket. It was impossible to bend a 2/0 wire in the limited room that I had. The main panel is also designed to be fed from the top or bottom only. You can not side feed this panel and expect to have the wire radius required when you reach the top lugs.

The next step to the final aproval the inspector said that I need to run all the connections from the old panel to the new one using the old panel as a splice box. I would like to have your help to find the best way to do it. I am including 3 pictures to help you to come out with some ideas. There is drywall on the interior side of the wall.Thanks again.



[IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/2zi1vf9.jpg[/IMG

 

 

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Ok my first question to you is this..... Are you eliminating the interior panel? And now your using it as a splice box? Or are you feeding the main lugs on this panel and using it as a sub panel?

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph - aka Electric Doctor: ((CLICK HERE)) To view my profile
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am eliminating the interior panel. It a Zinsco, they have a bad record and I had already a problem with arcing at the main breaker. The enclosure will become a splice box. I need also to find out if closure plate is available to cover the hole once I remove the meter.

These are more or less the existing wiring that I need to extent to the new panel:

22 hot 12 gage

12 neutral 12 gage

2 hot 10 gage

2 hot 8 gage

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


I need to ask a couple more questions because im still unclear about a few things.

  1. What is your 200amp feed through wiring powering up? Did you install another subpanel somewhere else in the home?
  2. The old zinco panel - that is located directly behind or on the adjacent wall to the old meter correct?
  3. Why did the inspector allow you to have the grounding wire run up the conduit with the main feeders from the conduit? Is that code out there?
  4. Why did the inspector not require you to bond the grounding wire on the pipe as it enters your home as well.... Meaning having it bonded in two places?

On a side note - did he accept the calc sheet that I made up for you?

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph - aka Electric Doctor: ((CLICK HERE)) To view my profile
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The 200 amp feed is for the subpanel that I have sent pictures of previously when I had the issue of the bushing and you responded to me composing a picture where you added a nipple and a grounding bushing. The main and subpanel are identical design except that one is a main breaker and the other is MLO, and they are situated about 25 feet apart.

The sub is for future use.

The Zinsco panel is the one that you see next to the right of the new main panel in the later pictures. It is still the only panel connected to the power company.

The lid for the breakers is down in the picture, the breaker compartment is just below the meter.The meter and breakers are one unit.

I can send you a picture with the lid up if you need it.

I am also not too sure about the grounding wire running up to the meter socket.The inspector did not say anything about it. That wire terminates in a grounding bushing installed a the other end of the conduit. It does not continue into the meter socket area.

I do not undestand the part that you said "to bond the grounding wire on the pipe as it enters you home", I need more information on this part.

The inspector accepted your load calc, he had no questions about it, thanks.

 

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


I thought you said the panel was on the inside of your home, my bad. So in this case the best thing for you to do is come out of the side of your panel with an LL.... its similar to an LB, but the access panel when you put it on the pane, will be facing out insead of to the side. Then run a 2" conduit up to the zinco panel and splice em up.

My next suggestion is that you remove the meter/panel you have and install an outdoor rated cable tray or splice box. Then you dont have to worry about trying to seal holes or plug openings. But if you dont want to do that - you can always get a plastic insert from the utility to put in the blank space.

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph - aka Electric Doctor: ((CLICK HERE)) To view my profile
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If I understand correctly, I will need a short piece of 2 inch EMT with a slight "S" bent to connect from the bottom of the old panel down and out through the stucco and down again to the LL box. I do not have a 2 inch pipe bender. Also, I have only 15 inches distance from the bottom of the old panel down to the bottom of the new one. I am not sure if that is enough for the "S" piece plus the LL box. I can start from the bottom of the new panel with a LL box instead of from the side. This may give me a few extra inches. I wonder if a muffler shop will do the bent on the pipe for me?
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Your other option is to use a piece of 2" Flex. You can pick this up from any electrical supply house. The only thing is - you may have to pull your wiring thorugh the pipe first if you have allot of bends. But with only have 15" - I dont think this will be a problem at all.


Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph - aka Electric Doctor: ((CLICK HERE)) To view my profile
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Is that the kind of flex called liquid tight? It is a metal flex with a plastic sleeve on the outside. Do I need insulating grounding bushings on both ends at the old and new panel? If I need them, will they be connected by one green wire that also connects to the grounding bar in the new panel?

Early in the dialogue I forgot to mention that the inspector made me bond the hot and the cold water pipe to the gas line at the water heater enclosure. He said is required by code.

Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You are corresponding with Electric Doctor! A graphic Expert!!


Yes its called flex - If you get the PVC flex you dont have to put grounding busings on it because its not metallic. But you will need to run a #6 grounding wire through the flex to the old panel now splice box to bond it to the new electrical services grounding system.

As for bonding the water lines to the gas lines - that is a jurisdictional thing, so if he told you to do it - then that is what you do. :)

Again, thank you for asking your question on graphic

Joseph - aka Electric Doctor: ((CLICK HERE)) To view my profile
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4772
Experience: Electrical Contractor
Inactive and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

My project was approved on the final inspection.

Thanks again for your help.

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