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Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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I have a main panel that I believe is 200 A but need to

Customer Question

I have a main panel that I believe is 200
A
but need to confirm. I believe it is bryant because the sub that was installed at the same time is a 125A Bryant. The main panel does not have a feeder breaker from PGE (it is direct lug), and has a 100A breaker going to the sub and a 50A going to an AC unit. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi thanks
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

I'm sure you have already looked for labels on the panel, which probably don't exist.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
have gone to 4 neighbors houses as well
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

There are a couple of other clues you may be able to use to identify the amperage rating of the panel.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

You may be able to find an amperage rating on the outdoor meter base. It's possible this could require opening the cover, if you are comfortable doing so. Keep in mind some Utility providers don't really like that, as it involves cutting their seal. Honestly, I don't usually take that into consideration if I have a good reason to open the meter base.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Perhaps a better clue is the size and type of wire running between the meter and the main panel. Have you looked for any markings on those main wires?

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

How many circuits or spaces does the panel have, capacity wise? In other words, how many total breaker spaces are available to you in the main panel?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the inspector I spoke to said that if I got the wire gauge from that area and confirmed it matched the spec sheet for a 200A Bryant panel then they would accept it as 200A. But I can't get a spec sheet from bryant as far as I can tell they don't exist.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it only has space for two breakers. One 100A is going to sub. One 50A is going to AC
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

I agree with you... I believe they were bought out some time ago.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

OK, so this is outdoors, adjacent to the meter?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

It sounds like it is being used as a main disconnect, which would make sense. I thought it was odd that your main panel didn't have a main overcurrent protective device.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Right.
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Are you able to remove the cover from the box next to the meter, and post a photo of the interior?

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Also, it's sometimes pretty easy to identify the amperage rating of a meter base just by looking at it from the outside. If you can post a photo of the meter base as well, that may help.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sure. But what I really need to know is even if we see that the wire gauge is typical of a 200A panel, is there any literature etc. that i could use to prove it? Otherwise the city says they are not going to accept it. Thanks
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

I'm a little surprised they are being that difficult about it. If the lugs are large enough to accept wire that is rated for 200 amps, that's pretty much a dead giveaway that the box is rated for 200 amps or more.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I agree. so at a loss...
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I could also go get a pic of the inside below the meter but it would take me a few minutes...
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for posting the photos. I'll look them over now.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

If you don't mind doing so, that would be good. It may be a long shot, but I'm wondering about the possibility of a label inside, that may have a number that turns up on an Internet search. Or, have you already tried that?

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

At first glance, the box around the meter itself doesn't look like it would be rated for 200 amps.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok I will go get it now
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The lugs are approximately 3/4" wide. The feeder wires are aluminum, approx. 1/2", maybe 17/32 wide, NOT including the sheath
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

In photo number 1167, the wire appears to be 4/0 aluminum, which WOULD be rated for 200 amps.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

The next shot, from closer, looks even better.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

It looks like the seal on the meter is already missing. Have you pulled the meter out of the socket at all?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thats great news. If only I could get an old catgalog or spec sheet that could compare as proof.No, I did not remove the meter from the socket. I also noticed the seal was broken...
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

It's possible you could find a label in the meter socket. But based on what you've told me about the local inspector, he may not accept that when determining a rating for the main disconnect next to it. I'm looking up the OD of 4/0 aluminum wire now.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Not surprisingly, I'm finding many various sizes for the OD of aluminum wire sized at 4/0. Unfortunately, at this point, it doesn't seem that I've helped you very much.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

I would have expected the local building department to know the size of the service to the property (in amperage rating), unless someone upgraded it without a permit.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was a long shot. I agree re. knowing the service size, esp. since many of the houses have gone solar already so this would have come up multiple times recently.
Thanks for your help. I am off to an appt. Happy holidays.
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

And you have a blessed Christmas Season as well. Sorry we weren't able to nail it down.

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