200 amp main cabinet with 100 amp main breaker?

A good friend has a FPE 100 amp cabinet. Obviously the breakers are JUNK! He lacks the $ for a new service right now. He wonders if he could replace the 100 FBE cabinet with a 200 amp new service but install for now a 100 amp main breaker till he has the bucks to replace the service completely.
Anything unsafe about this rather creative idea?
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What is the point of putting a new panel being fed from "junk" as you describe it? Where I live an "all in one" is what we use. Leaving the old panel there and spend all the time to move everything seems like a waste of time to me. I suggest that waiting to do the job right would be better.
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SQLit wrote:

Most of the country does not use the "all-in-one" outdoor service panels, they are almost exclusively found in the very southern parts of the country. Nobody in Maine for example will put up with having to go outside in -20 weather to reset a tripped breaker.
As for the original question, it is perfectly reasonable to use a 200A rated panel with a smaller main breaker. If you look at the ratings label on a 200A panel it lists 200A as the maximum main breaker sizes it is rated for, the minimum is the smallest they make that will fit the panel.
Check with the utility as the service drop and meter socket may be good for more than the existing 100A service. You may be able to use a 150A main breaker without changing the service up to the panel.
Pete C.
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As for the original question, it is perfectly reasonable to use a 200A rated panel with a smaller main breaker. If you look at the ratings label on a 200A panel it lists 200A as the maximum main breaker sizes it is rated for, the minimum is the smallest they make that will fit the panel.
Check with the utility as the service drop and meter socket may be good
for more than the existing 100A service. You may be able to use a 150A main breaker without changing the service up to the panel.
Pete C. -------------------------------------------------------
HEY THATS AWESOME THANKS!Will have him call the utility company.
Perhaps 15 years ago the service was upgraded from 60 amp fuse to 100 amp, about 5 years ago the 3 wire service drop was replaced with triplex.
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SQLit wrote:

He wants to replace the whole panel and get rid of the junk, but doesn't want to pay to upgrade the service conductors, service conduit, and meter base. A 200 amp panel will give him 40 slots instead of... a much smaller number that I don't remember.
Check to see what size service you have; it might be big enough for a 150A or 200A already. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with installing a 100A main breaker in a 200A panel if it's listed for it. Check the fine print on the sticker inside the door of the new panel and it should give alternate main breakers.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Why? You don't get the benefit until you get both parts so why pay for one now and not receive any benefit until you pay for the second. Put the money in the bank until you can do it all. It will be less labor and maybe you can save a couple of dollars as well.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Joe FPE panels have KNOWN BAD BREAKERS THAT OFTEN DONT TRIP:( They are a serious fire hazard!
So the benefit is not having his house burn down!
besides just swapping the panel is a DIY project for a couple neighbors. they will do it safe.
mess with the drop other than pulling the meter will cause all sorts of troubles.
besides many around here want a permanent standby generator that will require a new panel anyway.
this is a interim step to prevent a fire and add more breaker slots, his panel is jammed
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

With safer breakers and a generator interlock as the objective I would suggest that you use a 200 amp main breaker panel with a generator interlock kit installed.
You install a 100 ampere breaker as your generator breaker but use it as you main breaker until you can afford to upgrade the service entry conductors. If you already have a generator you can use the panels main breaker to connect it to the service until you can upgrade. Since the generator has built in over current protection the size of the breaker used to connect it through the interlock kit need only be larger than the generators built in breakers. Since the 100 ampere breaker will protect your existing service entry conductors from overload there is nothing dangerous about this technique.
If you connect the existing service entry conductors to the 200 ampere main breaker there will be a serious risk of overload and a burn down of your service entry conductors until the fault burns clear of ground, the supply transformer's cutout opens of the structure takes fire from the heat of the arcing service entry conductors. -- Tom Horne
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
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On Mon, 27 Mar 2006 21:48:17 GMT, Member, Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department

Tom, are there any UL approved interlock kits?
i

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Ignoramus5124 wrote:

Yes there are UL listed interlock kits. The one I've used is SquareD but now Cutler Hammer also makes one for there larger main breaker panels. The SquareD model interlocks the main breaker handle with the handle of the breaker in the 2-4 slot. The breaker in the 2-4 slot is fastened in place by the kit so that it is suitable to serve as a supply to the buss bars. Only one of the two interlocked handles can be moved to the on position at a time. The best aspect of these kits is the simplicity of the resultant operation. You open the main breaker, move the guard plate, and close the generator breaker. To return to public power you reverse the process. The generator breaker can be supplied from a permanent generator or a weatherproof cord inlet that allows the connection of a portable generator to the service equipment panel's buss bars. You can then run any load in the home that is within the ampacity that the generator will provide.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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wrote:

I'm *STILL* waiting.........
For the ONE time to occur where you would actually fucking THINK before blurting out some pathetic excuse for a response.......
You dont know fucking shit-all about electricity and your naive answers here border upon being extremely dangerous....you dont even understand what the OP's proposal was, for Christ's sakes
Lay down the frickin bottle, ( if applicable )...and above all, STFU already.
--
SVL



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wrote:

The main breaker is a significant part of the cost of the panel. You don't want to buy 2 of them. Replacing the service entrance cable from the weather head to the panel is insignificant in comparison. I bet the aerial drop from the utility is OK for 200a if it was swapped out to a triplex from the 3 separate strands. Most places did that long ago. A 200a service drop on the PoCo side will be #2, compared to the 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum you have to use on your side. They have different rules.
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The mains breaker only protects the buss that it's being tasked with feeding....and so it follows that it's utility as to providing overcurrent protection has absolutely nothing to do with the ampacity of the circuit that it's being fed from.
IOW, your overcurrent protection likely resides at the primary transformer connection.....
Kapish ???
--
SVL



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PrecisionMechanical wrote:

Partly true. The main breaker in the panel not only protects the panel bus, it also provides a level of protection for the service drop by disconnecting large faults from that service drop. The protection for the drop itself is basically the fuse on the primary side of the utility transformer which only has a chance of protecting the service drop in the event of a dead short which might blow the fuse before the drop melts.
Since the utility transformer is normally supplying multiple homes and indeed the utility transformers are rated to handle a 100% overload for 24 hours without damage, it is entirely possible to overload and incinerate the service drop without any harm to the utility transformer or it's primary fuse.
Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

The main breaker also protects the service entrance wires from the drop to the breaker.
I am assuming you are replacing the FPE panel with the new panel.
You need to verify you can get a 100A breaker that fits and keeps the new panel rated a service disconnect. The breaker is back fed and must be secured so it can't be unplugged.
Assuming you are using the original service wires, they may not be long enough to hit the new main breaker and neutral bar. You may be able to shorten the pipe. Consider the space you will need, like for bends, when you upgrade to 200A.
FPE can also have problems with panel busses that are screwed together and may come loose and arc.
bud--
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Very good.
Now, suggest read NEC 230.9....because nobody here can give out the correct answer until the service entrance conductor size has been determined.
--
SVL





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PrecisionMechanical wrote:

The Over Load Protection for your service entry conductors is your main breaker or fuses. The only fault protection for your service drop/lateral and service entry conductors is the supply fuse for the transformer. Given that it is sized to the entire ampacity of the transformer a lot of damage will occur before it opens. That is why it is so important that the load calculation be carefully done and the main Over Current Protective Device be properly sized. If the Service conductors are properly sized the likelihood of an overload, that will lead to insulation breakdown, and a fault condition developing, is very small.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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Absolutely nothing at all wrong here--he'll just need to have the utility shut down power to the mains for long enough to make the panel replacement.
Though, ( IMO ) even more "creative" would be to try and finish the job in a single shot--Bring out a new mast in order to allow the utility transfer power to.......in essence, you've now replaced everything, but you are temporaraliy sub-feeding the new panel until the actual utility feeder transfer takes place...regardless, the new mast isnt ever energized from either direction unless the 200 amp mains breaker has actually been thrown.
--
SVL





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It isn't un-safe, it may be un-needed. If you replace the main panel, you can put in a sub-panel right next to it, which is fed off the main breaker. This allows more breakers than a standard 100 amp panel can support. (or do the same with a 200 amp).
This was the suggested way of supporting more breakers than the panel could handle, by the village inspector, who was inspecting my panel upgrade, when I asked about it, 100 amp in a 200 amp panel.
As other have pointed out, and I have also done, is to upgrade to 125amps, which in the case I did, only required a size bigger on the ground wire.
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