I'm sure it's been asked a million times and answered, but I'm not getting
any google hits on the specific point.
When replacing a fuse box with circuit breaker panel in a 50's house, how
does an electrician mange to transfer all the cables from one to the other.
They will not be long enough in most cases, even if the new box is put in
the exact space.
There's nothing wrong will the existing cables in the house, but they would
not be long enough to connect to anything else except the existing fuse box.
Can one install some sort of small terminal block box above existing fuse
box and use it as an interconnection box, then jumper all the cables to the
new CB panel?
Common practice is to install new meter base, weatherhead and run new
wiring to the breaker panel. Although old cables may look fine, they
could well be undersized and not adequately temperature rated vs.
current standards. The power company then installs a new service drop
from the pole.
Short of that, for whatever reason, it is easy and cheaper to unplug
the meter and simply run new cable to the new panel than to install a
junction box and splice in more wire. That would not be applauded by
your power company in any event. HTH
But how do you transfer all the existing 10-14 ga wires from the existing
fuse box, to the new panel. Even if located in exact same spot, the
geometry is different and many of these will not be long enough. Is there a
clever way to "extend" them :-) That is why I asked if a box with terminal
strip can be used for this purpose. Such box could be physically located
above present fuse box, to make sure existing cables would be long enough.
The norm for the installations I've been involved in is to install a
decent sized pull box up high where all the existing house feeds can
comfortably reach and connect from there to the new panel with conduit.
The various circuits in the pull box are then connected back to the new
panel with new individual conductors. To contain the wiring mess a
ground bar can be installed in the pull box with a larger single ground
conductor returning to the new panel. The neutrals all have to go back
to the new panel individually as do the hots.
I am curious about the requirement for the neutrals to all go back to
the main panel individually. It is not immediately obvious to me
why that would need to be. Do you know the rational and/or the
electrical code section?
I some how remember something to turn aluminum wire into copper.
You'd crimp the coupler onto the end of the AL wire, and the
other side of the crimp had some CU wire coming out.
I'd have to guess a lot of short lengths of CU wire, wire nutted
and taped to the existing wires.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
My memory isn't perfect since it was about 20 years ago, but in my grandparents'
house it was done like this:
New CB panel (w/new service wiring) installed next to existing fusebox. Fusebox
and CB panel connected together with 1 or
more large (2"?) pieces of EMT.
The guts (fuses, sockets, etc. but not wires) of the fusebox were removed,
effectively turning it into a junction box. Short
wires were run from the CB panel thru the EMT into the ex-fusebox and spliced to
the existing wiring going to the rest of the
Thanks Eric for a very sensible and to the point response. This is a v.
good solution, when there is space in the immediate vicinity of the old fuse
If the case, where I want to locate the new panel a few (say 6') from the
fuesbox, wondering if
this is still allowable. A bit more wire, but the same principle. Reason:
old fuse box is in a finished part of a basement and want to locate new CB
panel in an unfinished part.
I'm also considering a small junction box with TB's that would potentially
fit into existing space along with a new CB panel.
The distance between the pull box and the new panel isn't critical, if
you want to locate the new panel 6' away that's perfectly fine. Don't
use the old fuse panel as a pull box, spend the $20 for a new one, the
inspector will be much happier with it. As with any pull box or junction
box, it has to be accessible, so you can't bury it behind sheetrock in
your finished space. You can get oversized covers for the pull box that
will overlap the sheetrock for a flush / finished appearance.
I Don't have a code reference handy, but an obvious reason for separate
neutrals is that for GFCI circuit breakers if used and the AFCI circuit
breakers now required for circuits serving bedrooms, the circuit neutral
is required to run through the breaker so that the breaker circuitry can
make measurements of neutral current.
The obvious to me answer is that if you use just one
neutral all of the current from all of the circuits
winds up running through that one piece of wire. This
could easily lead to an overload condition.
unbalanced 120 V feeds to lighting, and small
appliances. Depending on the actual layout they might
wind up bing highly unbalanced. On the average they
will be balanced. But the average is only an average,
you have to design on the assumption that everything
will go the other way. It's called Murphy's Law.
addition and a upgrade to 150 amp, they gutted the old service panel and
used it as a giant junction box, with floating splices and terminal blocks,
and extended the runs ten feet sideways to the new service panel. I guess it
met code enough to get the inspection sticker, but I'm not really happy with
it. (Note that the work predates my ownership- no way would I have signed
off on that as owner, even if it cost another several hundred to pull fresh
wire on all or some of the runs, or put a longer pipe between meter base and
old location, or make old panel location a subpanel fed off a new main
they did several years ago when I had my fuse panel
replaced. They had to move the panel to the outside of
the wall the fuse box was on because the fuse box was in
a closet. The just extended the wiring using wire nuts
in the old fuse box, which became, as you said, a giant
junction box. Then they screwed the cover shut and
marked it as a hazardous area. The inspector seemed to
expect just that.
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