Load capacity of 200-amp panel

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Assume you are using one leg at 200 amps, that is all the breaker will handle that is 120 volts X 200 amps or 24,000 watts. If you again max out the breaker with 200 amps flowing on both sides that is 240 volts x 200 amps or 48000 watts. Thats the same as 120 X 400 amps. I think the OP wanted to know if he could get a total of 400 amps at 120VAC. Lets rephrase that to could he power 400 individual 1 amp 120 VAC loads from this box under residential conditions. The answer is yes but that sounds a lot like a commercial installation to me where the answer would be NO. I think this is a case of getting the right answers to the wrong question.
Jimmie
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No they are NOT 'out of phase' the two 240 'ends' are the opposite ends of a single phase 240v winding of the distribution transformer! they are often incorrectly referred to as 'phases. but are actually Leg A and leg B. And when on of them is +ve the other leg is -ve with respect to it. The neutral is the centre tap of that distribution transformer winding.
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On Oct 23, 3:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Yes, you are right on that point and I was wrong.

The issue here is what defines the current at the service. In a 200 amp service there is only 200 amps of actual physical current running through the service conductors. The conductors are sized for 200 amps, not 400 amps.
Consider this simple circuit analogy which is exactly what you would have with a balanced load on a 240V service. It's a 240V voltage source powering two 120ohm resistors.
____________ 240V___________ I I I I I I ---------120ohm---------120ohm--------- a b c
There is only 1 amp of actual current flowing in the circuit. Across each resistor there is 120Volts and 1 amp of current flowing. So, yes you have 1 amp flowing in EACH load, it is supporting two 1 amp loads, but it's the same physical current flowing through each load. The "service" is only supplying 1 amp of actual current, not 2.
That's what I meant when I said a 200 amp service cannot supply 400 amps of current.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

What voltage do you measure between a and b? Between c and b? What current do you measure between a and b? Between c and b?

But it can. 200A at 120V on each leg is a total of 400A at 120V. The two legs of a residential electrical service are, in effect, two parallel circuits. 200A flowing in each of two parallel circuits is 400A total, not 200A.
Consider a house with only 120V loads, no 240V circuits anywhere, and 200A service. Suppose that one leg of the service is fully loaded, and the other leg is unloaded. I think we'd both agree that the power being drawn is 200A at 120V, right?
Now fully load the other leg too.
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I think the problem is that people aren't paying attention to what the other is saying. ;)
R
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He doesn't understand the implications of what he wrote, though, which is why I'm emphasizing it.

Rather, vice versa. A 200A residential service supplies up to 200A _at 240V_. This is _exactly_ equivalent to 400A at 120V -- which is precisely what you have if each leg of the service is fully loaded at 120V.

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There are a couple small differences between 400A worth of 120V loads balanced on the two legs of a 240/120V supply, and 400A of loads on a 120V supply. First, in the former case the biggest 120V load you can handle (without a transformer) is 200A, while in the latter case you can handle a 400A 120V load. Second, the voltage drop on the supply is different. V = I^2 * R, where I is 200A in the first case, and 400A in the second case.
Cheers, Wayne
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On Oct 24, 2:17 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

120 Volts 120 Volts

1 amp and it's THE SAME 1 AMP current. It just gets counted twice. Which once again is my point. There is only 1 amp flowing in the actual complete circuit, just like there is only a maximum of 200 physical amps flowing in a 200 amp service.
In a house, here's how the same thing happens. I hook a 120Volt light bulb that draws 1 amp on one hot leg and a 120volt fan that draws one amp on the other hot leg. The 1 amp current comes in one leg, goes through the bulb, through the fan and out the other hot leg. That's still an actual current of only 1 amp, though it runs through two 1 amp loads. If you want to get techical, since it's AC, the current direction switches each cycle.
Kapisch?

They are NOT parallel circuits. That would imply that each has it's own seperate return path. They do not. The return path is through the other hot conductor for the balanced part of the load and through the shared neutral for the unbalanced portion. Again, at any point in time there is only 200 amps moving through that service going into the home, which is why it's called a 200 amp service.

Yes
And now you have 200 amps flowing from one hot and back on the other hot. Zero flows through the neutral. Hence, again, it's only a 200 amp total current moving through the service.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
[...]

Umm, no, actually, that's *my* point: it's counted twice. *Two* amps at 120V.

OK, so there's 120V @ 1A flowing between a and b = 120W. And there's 120V @ 1A flowing between b and c = 120W. Total = 240W.
240W / 120V = 2A

Wrong. Two 1 amp loads = *two* amps, not one.

I "kapisch" that you don't understand this.

Suppose that each one had its own separate return. Does that change your answer?

So, according to your reasoning, since it's "only a 200 amp total current", then 200A at 120V on only one leg of the service is the same as 200A at 120V on *each* leg of the service.
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I understand Ohm's law much better than the folks who apparently believe that 200A at 240V is the same thing as 200A at 120V.
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Perhaps you should read more carefully, then. Several posters in this thread have insisted that the maximum capacity is 200A, period -- while ignoring the voltage. It's 200A on *each*leg* of the service. That's 200A @ 240V, or 400A @ 120V.

And *two* wires capable of carrying 200 amps *each* are capable of carrying *400* amps. What's so hard to understand?

No, I've never claimed that. Rather, I've said several times that the two legs of a residential electrical service are, in effect, two parallel circuits. Yes, it can also be considered as a single series circuit -- IF the loads are exactly balanced. Any unbalanced loads are parallel.
Let's try going at this from the opposite direction. Consider a single-pole 20A circuit breaker supplying a branch circuit. I believe we'd both agree that circuit can supply a maximum of 20A at 120V.
Now consider a double-pole 20A breaker supplying a 240V circuit. I believe we'd both agree that circuit can supply a maximum of 20A at 240V.
Re-wire that double-pole 20A breaker with two separate 12-2 cables, so that it's supplying two 120V circuits. How many amps can that supply at 120V? 20, or 40?
Now re-wire it with 3-wire cable, making it instead a multiwire ("Edison") circuit supplying 120V loads instead of 240V. How many amps can that supply at 120V? 20, or 40?
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On Oct 25, 7:51 am, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

The maximum capacity of the service is 200Amps period. As Smitty pointed out, the current is determined by the amount of electrons passing through a wire each second and is independent of voltage.
You are of the belief that the second hot leg carries an additional CURRENT, which it does not. In the case of a balanced load, it only carries the exact SAME current which is flowing in the other hot. As I said before, the current comes in on one hot while simultaneously exiting on the other hot. Let's say it's 150 amps. That 150 amps is coming in on one hot and going out on the other. It reverses each cycle. That is just like current flowing through a resistor. You wouldn't count the current in a resistor twice would you?
Now let's add an additional 50amp unbalanced 120Volt load. Now 200 amps comes in on one hot, 150 goes back out as before on the other hot, and 50 amps goes back via the neutral. Add that up and you have 200 amps coming into the house and 200 amps leaving the house. For it to work any other way, current would be piling up or disappearing somewhere, which is a violation of Kirchoff's law.

Again, this is like saying a resistor that has 1 amp flowing in it is carrying 2 amps because 1 amp is coming in and 1 amp is leaving. Would you say that 14 gauge wire running to an outlet is capable of carrying 30 amps? These two examples are the same as what is happening with the service coming into the house.

They are not simply parallel circuits which would require they have seperate return paths.


It's still physically supplying 20 amps because as Smitty pointed out, that is determined by the number of electrons passing each second. That hasn't changed. More current doesn't come out of thin air. But what you have now is that same 20 amps passing through two circuits. Let's hook up a 6 ohm resistor to each of the new circuits. You now have 120V across each load, so as far as each load is concerned, they have 120Volts and 20 amps each. Count that twice and you have 40 amps of load at 120V driven by the same 20 amps flowing in the circuit. Look at it at the breaker which is analogous to the sevice point discussion and you still have 20A flowing, not 40.

Here's another example. Take a cardboard box that will be our "house". Take an extension cord, put a 120Watt bulb on the end of it, plug it in to a 120V outlet and put the bulb in the box. You now have a 120volt, 1amp service to the box. 1 amp is flowing in the circuit.
Now replace the bulb with two 60Watt bulbs in series. Across each bulb you will have 60 volts and 1 amp will be flowing in each of them. So, you are supporting two 1 amp loads at 60volts, But what is flowing in that extension cord? It's still 1 amp, not 2. The exact same scenario plays out in the 200 amp service coming into the house, which is why only 200 amps of actual current is ever flowing.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You are wrong. It does -- in the case of 120V loads.

IF it's supplying a 240V load, yes. If it's supplying a 120V load, then it exits on the neutral.

So is it your position that a 200A 240V service is incapable of supplying more than 200A at 120V = 24kVA?

At 240V.

How much power can be supplied by a 200A, 240V service? 24kVa, or 48kVA?

No, it's not. It's like saying that *two* resistors IN PARALLEL with 1 amp flowing through each have a total current of two amps. Do you disagree?

No, they are not. Keep thinking about it until you realize why those two examples are not the same, and then you'll understand where you've made your mistake.

Wrong again.

ON EACH CIRCUIT

You've just made current *disappear* into thin air: supplying a single 240V circuit, it's supplying 4800W of power -- but now you claim it's supplying only 2400W when connected to two 120V circuits. Where did that other 2400W go to?

20 amps through each of two circuits = 40 amps.

THANK YOU. Discussion over. That's what I've been trying to tell you for three days now.

20A in each of two parallel legs = 40 amps total. Note that these do have separate returns...

Measured at 120V, yes. But this isn't the same situation, quite, as a residential service. Keep the two ends of that circuit at a potential difference of 120V, and *ground* the point in between the two light bulbs. Then you have 60V flowing through each 60W light bulb = 1 amp *each* = 2 amps *total* in the parallel circuits.

So you still contend that a 200A 240V service cannot supply more than 24kVA at 120V?
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On Oct 25, 2:45 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Here we go again.....

False. I clearly stated here that it's a balanced load. With a balanced 120V load, the exact same current comes in on one hot and exists on the other. In the case of a 200 amp service, that current is a max of 200 amps.

No and I and everyone else have tried to explain that to you. Go back many posts to the simple circuit diagram I drew:
.
____________ 240V___________ I I I I I I ---------120ohm---------120ohm--------- a b c
You have a 240 volt voltage source as our "service" connected to two 120 ohm resistors in SERIES.
How much current is flowing in that circuit? 1 amp
How much current is flowing in the first resistor? 1 amp
How much current is flowing in the second resistor? 1 amp
What is the voltage across each resistor? 120V
What is the power in each resistor? 120W
So, you have 1 amp flowing in SERIES through each load, so you do have two loads of 1 amp at 120V, but only 1 amp of current is actually flowing in the circuit which comprises the "service"
Capishe?

Now we're back to what Smitty tried to explain to you. Current has nothing to do with voltage. It's based on the amount of charge, ie electrons, passing a point per second. 200 amps is still exactly 200 amps whether it's at a potential of 240V, 120V or a million volts.
And btw, the voltage is not entirely 240V in the above example I gave either. 150amps is flowing at 240V and 50 is flowing at 120V. If it were simply all at 240V, you'd have 48KW of power here. Actually it's 150X240+50*120=42KW

That's been asked an answered many times in this thread. It's 48,
Now answer my question. What is the maximum current that is actually flowing in the 3 wire cable of a 200 amp service? If you say it's more than 200 amps, outline an example and using Kirchoff's law, trace for us the current flowing in all 3 conductors.

Absolutely disagree. I gave you an example before. Take a 120W, 120V light bulb and place it between one hot leg and neutral. Take a 120V fan drawing 1 amp and place it between the other hot leg and neutral. You now have a balanced load drawing 1 amp. There is 1 amp flowing in one hot and out the other. The neutral is carrying 0 amps. You are supporting two 1 amp, 120V loads. Total amps flowing in the service: 1 amp. Those two loads appear in SERIES across the two hots.

Several people in this thread say I'm right. No one is saying you are right. So, maybe it's time that you did some more thinking.

Sigh
Again, you are somehow trying to mix current, which is measured in amps with power and voltage.

Yes, 20 amps through two loads in series. Yes it's supporting two 20 amp loads. But what current is passing through the breaker? 20 amps

No, for 3 days you've been telling everyone here that in the case of a service, you get more amps because there is a second hot conductor. That is flat out wrong. Refer again to the box example later in the thread, where there is no second hot.

Oh no, there you go again. Counting current twice. If that breaker had 20 amps flowing through it at 240V, then it had a 12 ohm load on it. So, now to make it into a 120V circuit, we just remove the 12 ohm load, put two 6 ohm loads in series on it. Now across each 6 ohm resistor you have 120V, with the same 20 amps flowing sequentially through both and suddenly the breaker is now magically carrying 40 amps?

Again, per Smitty and the rest of the world, measuring current has nothing to do with measuring voltage.

It is EXACTLY analogous to a residential service with a balanced 120V load. You have a 120V, 1 amp "service" supplying two 60W, 60volt loads. You have 1 amp flowing in series through the two loads, but ONLY 1 AMP IS FLOWING IN THE SERVICE. If it is not the same as a residential service, tell us exactly what the difference is and why the exact same principles do not apply.

Good grief. If you did provide an alternative "neutral" return path at the point between the bulbs, it would matter not a wit. Just as in the actual residential service, the load is balanced and zero current would flow in the neutral. That is why I left it out as I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. If you like, I can draw you the circuit diagram that represents a center tap 240V service, but it doesn't change how current is counted.

Again, please stop misquoting me. Neither I nor anyone else here ever said any such thing.
Let me restate what I've said all along:
In a 200 amp service entering a house, there is a max of 200 amps of actual current flowing. You don't count current twice on a service cable anymore than you would on an extension cord.
Here's a simple series of questions:
1 I have a big 240V water heater that draws 200 amps and is connected to a 200amp service via the two hot legs.
How much current is flowing in
a - Hot leg 1 b - hot leg 2 c - neutral d - the service cable entering the house
2 Now instead of the single 240V water heater, I have two 120V water heaters that draw 200 amps each. One is connected between hot leg 1 and neutral, the other between hot leg 2 and neutral.
How much current is flowing in:
a - Hot leg 1 b - hot leg 2 c - neutral d - the service cable entering the house
3 Is the situation in #2 above an example of a parallel circuit or a series circuit?
4 I now disconnect the water heater that was connected to leg 2 in the previous example. You now have one 120V, 200 amp water heater connected to leg 1 and neutral.
How much current is flowing in:
a - Hot leg 1 b - hot leg 2 c - neutral d - the service cable entering the house
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

> <....>

>>>

This is the only error I picked up. The supply voltage, as stated, is 120V in both cases. In the second case the 2 60W bulbs would have to be in parallel to give a load of 120W and 1A. Assuming the light bulbs are linear resistances, with 60V across a 120V bulb you would get 1/2 the rated current, or 1/4A which gives an effective wattage in the 2nd case of 30W.
That isn't what you intended.
><....>

The arguments have gotten so twisted let me start here.

Everyone, I believe, has the same the answers (though I'm not sure what "d" is).
The question from the OP, as I understand it, is with a panel feed at 200A 240V can you supply 200A of 120V load or 400A of 120V load.
It is case #2 above. You can supply 400A of 120V load. You can't supply a 400A 120V load, but with the load split between the legs you can supply a total of 400A of 120V load, half of it from each leg. In that case the hot legs run at 200A and the neutral is zero. You don't have 400A on any wire. I assume that is not a problem for you. That is all I read Doug as saying. I agree.
Its gotta be a point-of-view problem.
--
bud--

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Yes, I agree. good catch.
120W bulb -> 120 ohms 60 W bulb -> 240 ohms 240W bulb -> 60 ohms
So, in my example I should have used two 240 watt bulbs in series which would be the same resistance as the 120watt bulb. Actuallly, I should have used a simple resistor or similar, because the resistance of light bulbs is not a constant, temp dependent, etc.
But the example, corrected, still holds. You would have 60 volts and 1 amp flowing across each bulb.

I'm not so sure there is agreement as to the answers. And if there is agreement, then I don't see how there can be disagreement on how many amps are flowing on the service cable. If you have X amps coming in and X amps going out in a circuit, then that means X amps, no?

I don;t see it as a point of view problem at all. How many amps are actually flowing in a 200 amp service to a house? You draw an imaginary plane and answer the question of how many amps are flowing in and how many are flowing out. If it is indeed 200 in, 200 out, then that is 200 amps period. You can have 200 amps flowing between the two hots. You can have 200 amps flowing between hot 1 and the neutral. You can have 200 amps flowing between hot 2 hot and the neutral, Any way you slice and dice it, it's still 200 amps.
If you can really have 400 amps of real current flow in the service, then maybe Doug can answer this. Suppose I have a 120 volt load that takes 400 amps. I connect it as a single 120V load to a 200 amp service. What happens?
A - Eveything works peechy keen, because 120V* 400amps = 48KVA, at the service limit, so 400 amps flows just fine.
B - The service cable burns up, because the only way you can supply that 400amps is by the load being balanced, in which case it appears as a series load and the service is actually pulling 200amps through one hot and back the other. Which means that it would ONLY work if you had two 200 amp, 120V loads connected to OPPOSIITE legs, and hence acting as a SERIES circuit.

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On Oct 26, 1:44 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

QUESTION...
In a service rated as a "200 Amp service"..
What are the numbers printed on the TWO main breakers?
Are they
A) 200/200?
or
B)100/100?
That is really the only question that needs to be answered .....
The rest should be obvious.
Mark
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in other words, is this:
http://homerepair.about.com/od/electricalrepair/ss/anat_elec_pnl_4.htm
considered to be a "100 amp service" or a "200 amp service?
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

>>

>>>

>>

I don't understand Doug is saying there is 400A running in any wire. And I am not saying there is.

In example #2 there is there 200A supplied to the 120V water heater on leg 1. And there is 200A supplied to the 120V water heater on leg 2. Are you not supplying 400A of 120V load (split between leg 1 and leg 2)?

I do not understand Doug ever said there was 400A in any wire. Rather that there was 400A of total 120V load supplied - 1/2 on each leg.

You don't connect it to one leg. You split the load in half and connect one half leg 1 to neutral. You connect the other half from leg 2 to neutral. (In this case you reconnect the single 400A 120V load as a 200A 240V load.)
If you have 40 - 10A 120V loads (400A total at 120V) you connect 20 of them to leg 1 (200A). You connect the other 20 to leg 2 (200A). The neutral current is zero. You have supplied 400A of 120V loads by splitting it and connecting half to each leg.

Which is how you connect it. I don't want to go back and reread the thread - Doug's use of parallel may have not been the best. But I always understood he was saying that half of a 400A load (200A) was connected to leg 1 and the other half (200A) was connected to leg 2.
In answer to the OP's question - with a panel feed at 200A 240V can you supply 400A of 120V load - the answer is yes.
I still think it is a point-of-view problem. You and Doug (and Smitty and others?) all understand the underlying electrical.
--
bud--

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That was precisely my point. That to support a 400 amp 120V load, the load must be perfectly balanced. And that is because only a max of 200 amps is flowing in the service cable and the 400 amp, 120V load must appear as two 200 amp, 120V loads in SERIES.
It's a very basic and simple electrical question as to how many amps are flowing in that 200 amp service cable and it's 200 amps. You could support all kinds of loads of varying voltages off it, including 400 amps at 120V, provided the load is perfectly balanced. I could further break it down to support a total load of 800 amps at 60volts, etc. That doesn't change the physical current in the service cable from being limited to 200 amps? If you put a current meter on it you would measure 200 amps flowing into the house, 200 amps flowing out.
Do we agree?
And none of that has anything to do with claims that were made here that you get 400 amps because there is a second conductor. Or that the service is a parallel circuit. I showed in the box with light bulbs how the exact same thing can be done running various loads/ voltages off just a 2 wire 120V outlet.

I'm not so sure, as I have yet to hear Doug acknowledge that there is actually only a 200 amp current flowing in that service cable. When asked that by others he has replied with answers that try to link it to voltage, ie 200 amps at 240V or 400 amps at 120V. And that is simply wrong. Amps and voltage are two different things. There is never more than 200 amps flowing in that service cable circuit.
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