Breaker breaker ...

OK , it's getting closer to time to start wiring on the new room and I'm shopping main panels . Right now we have a 6x6 post with a 100 amp meter base and a temp type breaker box that holds 1 single and 1double pole breaker that feed the camper and shop . I want to move the service over to the new house , with the box on the outside . I'm going to upgrade to a minimum 200 amp service , and feed the shop with a 100 amp breaker . Must have a line disconnect so I can back feed the main panel from my genset thru the shop panel when <not if ...> the power goes out . I've been looking at panels at the bigbox places , and find a couple of different types of breakers - and I thought they'd all been standardized now . I also wonder if the newer aluminum bus bars are better than the old ones - we had an older panel fry the aluminum bars and a couple of breakers . I'm leaning towards an all-in-one panel with integral meter base and copper bars , and wondered if anyone here had a recommendation . I want at least 30 circuits , probably have 4 double <220V> breakers and the other 22 as 110V circuits . One other question , the wood stove will be installed in the same corner of the room as where I plan to mount the panel . Is there a problem with the incoming service being just a couple or 3 feet from the <triple wall> stove pipe ? I'll be running a rigid conduit thru the roof , attaching the wire from the service pole to it . Entergy has already said to call when I'm ready and they'll install a bigger transformer , the one up there now will only feed a 100 amp panel .
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Yes, the is the best way to do it if by "line-disconnect" you mean disconnecting the main supply line from the meter or utility.
It's my understanding that is required by all utilities and/or local codes.
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CRNG wrote:

Yes , the main infeed <200 amp> breaker will be used to isolate the house and shop wiring from the grid . Don't want to backfeed the system and kill a lineman . I have a breaker set up on a cord that plugs in to the genset and my load center out in the shop . This generator powered my whole house <except central air> down in Memphis , this camper will barely load it . Speaking of generators , mine's ready for the incoming "winter weather event" , just gassed and tested it .
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On Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:50:28 PM UTC-5, Snag wrote:

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If you want to try to comply with code there are mechanical lockouts for so me brands of main panels. The lockout prevents you from having both the ma in and the first pair of breakers on at the same time. Then you run your g enerator connection to that first set. Code requires some sort of device t o prevent you from powering up the incoming lines accidentally. Like this.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) 04Q01YUK
I get you're not getting this inspected at the moment though.
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jamesgang wrote:

Future plans include a mechanical interlock for those times when we're on generator . And out in the county where we live there are no inspections except a basic plumbing check by the local water company .
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On Thursday, December 5, 2013 3:21:30 PM UTC-5, Snag wrote:

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Then I suggest you check to see that whatever brand main panel you get has a mechanical lock out available for it. They don't make them for ALL panel s, just some. Myself, I'd go ahead and buy the lockout as well so I have i t when I need it.
And I don't always comply with code myself. I know how it is out in the ru ral areas. But you never know what the future will bring so I try to be cl ose enough so I can make it comply if I need to. Not to mention practicall y everyone wants a "home inspection" when you sell. I got flagged for a co uple breakers I had two wires on last time I sold a house.
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On Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:50:28 PM UTC-5, Snag wrote:

That alone is not code compliant. You need either a double pole double throw switch or one of the panel interlocks that physically prevent the generator and the service from being connected at the same time.
Don't want to backfeed the system and kill a

That breaker should be installed permanently and connected to an interlock with the main breaker. Or else a double pole switch. As you've described it, unless I'm missing something, you intend to rely on someone making sure to open the main breaker before connecting the generator. That isn't code compliant, nor safe.
I'd do it by installing the breaker and using one of the interlock kits, together with an inlet. In a power failure you open the main breaker, close the generator breaker, and connect the generator to the inlet with an extension cord. Could be permanently connected too, but that the non-permanent solution.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

For temporary connection of emergency generators Entergy says I just have to have a visible break verifiable by company personnel located on the outside and accessible at all hours . A main disconnect in the off position qualifies as an open break .
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On 12/5/2013 8:47 AM, Snag wrote:

You may want to check your local inspector on that one. Regardless of code, some get rather finicky with panels and stoves. Usually, 3' is enough. Take a look at where the feed is coming in and the stove pipe exits to be sure there will be no complaints there.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Out here in the county , we don't have inspectors ... but I'm still not going to cut corners because no one's watching . I had a sheet from Entergy that had most of the info on it , gotta see if I can find it now . Might also find it on their website ...
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Snag wrote:

Found some info on their website , but no info on how close I can go to the wood stove stack . Oh well , I have an alternate location , which also increases my design flexibility when we add the kitchen .
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Note: I am not an electrician and this is not electrical code advice.
The utility may want a transfer switch or some kind of interlock (as already mentioned). I realize you don't have a city inspector to deal with, but the utility can refuse to hook you up if they don't like what they see.

They are standardized by the miracle of capitalism, so there is no standard. :) In practice I think several of the manufacturers' breakers will fit each others' panels, but the packages are festooned with dire legal warnings about mixing them like this.

I know of panels with copper bus bars that have lasted 48 and 44 years so far. Aluminum I don't know about. Unless the copper panel is hundreds of dollars more, I'd get the copper one - compared to an entire house, it's probably not that much more money.

Make sure the meter base is what the power company wants - the store *should* know but it's good to check. Around here, most of the area is served by one utility, but one city owns its own utility, and what the two utilities want for meter bases is different; one of the big-box stores actually labels their meter bases by which utility they are for.
Depending on the electrical code and local critters, you may want one that can be locked, either with a key lock in the door, or with a padlock hasp.
I can walk into any hardware or big-box store around here and buy breakers made by GE and Square D for nearly 50-year-old GE and Square D panels, and they fit and work just fine. Cutler-Hammer is almost as available. So I would look for a GE or Square D panel. The leading alternative is to fully populate the box with everything you think you might want when you first install it.
I have seen panels (mostly in the big-box stores) sold as a kit with the main and some number of branch breakers included at a slight discount; if the breakers match what you need, then this might save a little money.
Note: I am not an electrician and this is not electrical code advice.
Matt Roberds
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On 12/5/2013 7:47 AM, Snag wrote:

To be code (and safety) compliant, there has to be a way to prevent both the genset disconnect and service disconnect from being on at the same time. You can't do that.
You could put a mechanical interlock on the shop panel so the feeder and generator could not be on at the same time. But only the shop would be powered.
Or you could connect the generator to the service panel at the house with a mechanical interlock so the generator breaker and service breaker can't be on at the same time.
If you back-feed a breaker, which you will do with the generator, the NEC wants the breaker secured so it can't unplug. The panel manufacturer should have an accessory that does that.
(In metal cased distribution voltage switchgear with an external operating handle, something like what you want could be done. The handles both have built in locks where the key can only be removed with the disconnect open, and there is only one key (Kirk key interlock).)
Standard breakers? It isn't even code compliant (in general) to use a breaker from another manufacturer if it fits in the panel.
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On 12/5/2013 7:47 AM, Snag wrote:

I really don't know what you are asking. If you seek a brand recommendation, our head electrician won't allow anything other than Square D.
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DanG wrote:

That was part of my question , that and the advisability of using an all-in-one meter base/load center . Another part was reliability of the "plated aluminum bus bars" they are now selling . We had a bad experience with Al bus bars in an older box . I couldn't find any info on how far a stove pipe needs to be from the service , but already had an alternate location in mind just in case . We/ll be moving the stove to the opposite corner .
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