Electrical subpanel- wire directly to meter?

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I'd like to add a subpanel for a workshop and am wondering if it absolutely has to be wired off of a breaker in the main box or if it can be wired from the meter (i.e., can I have two main panels). I realize this is atypical, but I have the following to deal with: 1) My meter is on the wall of my workshop, whereas my breaker box is in the basement on an interior wall on the other side of the house. Not only would it be very difficult to fish but it seems inefficient to run feeder all the way back to the workshop. 2) My house has 150 amp service and I need 100 in my workshop.
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You wouldn't be doing this yourself, would you ?
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Not and meet Code.

There's already a feeder going from the meter to the main panel. You could install a new main panel in the workshop, and convert the existing main panel to a subpanel fed from the new main panel, using the existing feeder.

Why 100A in the workshop? What are you running in there, that you require such heavy service to the shop?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

Thanks for your response Doug and thanks for helping me to think outside of the box. This sounds like the most viable alternative.

My compressor draws 20 amps, my welder 30, and I'd like to install a wall-unit AC/heater, which I'm guessing will be 20-30 amps. It is conceivable that they might all run at once on occasion. Or maybe 100 amps is overkill--I'd just rather have too much than too little.
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The welder will never pull anywhere near 30. Probably will never reach 20. They are severely overrated. Just FYI
--
Steve Barker


"Joe" < snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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wrote:

absolutely
from
Really?
There can't be TWO main panels? Used to be there could be up to SIX main panels.

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You can have as many main panels as you like, just no more than six service disconnects, but the question Joe appears to be asking is if it meets code to tap a second panel directly off the meter
wrote:

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service
OK, we seem to be singing off the same sheet of music.
Seems to me that answer is YES.

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John Gilmer wrote:

I agree that a sub panel is just that: a sub panel, from the main panel. Concerning the power disconnect, this is for fire safety. When the fireman goes to the house, if he wants to disconnect the electricity, in most cases he opens the meter box on the outside of the house, and pulls the meter out of the socket. This cuts of the power to the house.
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I agree with Doug Miller, but it would seem to me, that you should already have a disconnect at the meter. Just replace it with a small 150 amp panel, then feed the existing panel from it

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this)@optonline.net> wrote:

Depends on how old the installation is -- the NEC didn't always require the disconnect to be at the point where the service entered the building. If the OP's house is old enough, the installation could well have met Code at the time.

Yep.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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a 200 amp main panel is better besides if the original install is old grounding upgrade is probably necessary...........
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wrote:

There is a disconnect at the meter (1993 construction).
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Joe wrote:

It is possible in at least some situations to feed more than one service panel directly off the meter. In this case it's not a main and sub panel, but two main panels. I've not looked for the particular code sections covering this, but I've seen it frequently with 400A services feeding two 200A main panels in large houses or small commercial settings.
In you case since your current setup seems to be somewhat out of code with the long seemingly unprotected feeder from the meter to your main panel (is there a separate disconnect near the meter?), I'd simply install a new 200A main panel for the shop by the meter which would become your main panel and reconnect your current main as a sub panel off the mew main.
You have a slight issue with the fact that 125A is the maximum sub panel feed allowed, but depending on what's in the existing 150A main panel it may not be an issue. Worst case you can relocate a few circuits to the new panel.
Pete C.
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wrote:

You can do this but the disconects must be "grouped" (next to each other) and there has to be 6 or less disconnect devices. All equipment connected to the service conductors needs to be suitable as service equipment.
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Thanks for your reply.
If anyone is interested, this appears to be covered under NEC 230.71 (though I don't have a copy and am basing that off of citations on the web).
The total capacity of all paralleled panels cannot exceed the capacity of the meter base, which in my case is 200A. This would allow a maximum of 50A for a parallel box (i.e., looks like I'd need a new meter base to go this route).
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Joe wrote:

The only thing that cannot exceed the ampacity of the service entry conductors, and there associated metering, is the calculated load for the entire service. The sum of the disconnecting means does not have to be less than the ampacity of the service conductors in the same way that the sum of the breakers in a panel does not have to be less then the Over Current Protective Device protecting that panel. To be more clear there is no such rule in the US NEC. Although it would be rather unusual you could have two, two hundred ampere, panels supplied from the same set of service conductors rated at only 200 amperes as long as the calculated load is less then the ampacity of the service conductors.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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Thanks for your reply Pete.
There is a disconnect at the meter (1993 construction).
The 125A limit is a bit of a concern...this is a 3000 sq ft house and 150A service seemed to me to be kind of lean to start with (though I don't pretend to know anything about load calculations). I suspect we would have to move some circuits.
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Joe wrote:

Remember that 125A limit would only apply to the sub panel (former main panel), if necessary you could reroute a few circuits off that panel to the new 200A main panel. Your net result is still more capacity since you go from a 150A panel to a 200A panel. This is also likely the easiest thing to do.
Pete C.
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Joe wrote:

Unless your situation is very unusual there is some sort of disconnecting means much closer to the meter. You need to locate that disconnect and describe it to us in order for us to provide competent advise. The US NEC allows up to six separate switches, breakers, or fused pull outs to be used to disconnect power to a single building. If there is a disconnect in the meter pan that is commonly called a meter mains assembly. Unless the meter mains assembly has provision for adding an additional breaker; and many do; you will need a new metering arrangement. If there is a separate service disconnecting means then you will have to mount the additional disconnect right next to it to satisfy any electrical inspector who is worthy of that title. I imagine if the disconnect were inside the shop you would have noticed it and mentioned it. To find out what your situation actually is open any separate section cover on the meter enclosure, that is not holding the meter itself in place, you can open without tools, and without breaking a power company seal, to look for the main breaker. Let me be clear that if the meter enclosure has only one cover there is no disconnecting means inside of the enclosure and it is extremely dangerous to open the cover. If you locate a separate service disconnecting means then describe it as completely as you can.
--
Tom Horne

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