Load center replacement

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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Simple, you install a length of wire trough (4" sq x 18" or so) at the top so all those wires enter into the trough. You mount the new normal panel about six inches below the trough connected to it with a stub of 2" conduit. All your too short wires that enter the trough are connected (wire nuts) to new wire that continues down through the conduit to the new panel and connects normally. You can consolidate the grounds and carry them down on a single heavy conductor, in fact you can install a standard accessory ground bar in the trough for that purpose. All of the neutrals must come down individually same as the hots.
Your power feed can enter the back of the new panel at whatever knockout is convenient. The panel may be mounted with the main breaker at the top or bottom, whichever is most convenient, as long as the main breaker is not over 6' high. If the power feed wires are too short to reach the main breaker they can be extended with new wire and appropriate connectors (I like the tubular AL splice connectors with double setscrews on each side. Remember to apply NoALox compound to those connections.
I've done a number of load center replacements like this, all inspected and approved and generally with comments on the neat job.
Here is a similar example: http://wpnet.us/Power/pages/100_3029.htm This one uses a pull box, but I've used troughs in tighter installations, all inspected and approved. This particular installation is in a no code area though, no permits or inspections required. You can also see that the main breaker in this QO panel operates left/right. The upper right breaker below the main with the metal frame around it is the back feed breaker from the generator feed. The SquareD interlock kit installs on the cover and mechanically interlocks the main and that breaker for a code compliant generator installation.

No such code requirement in the US. Many main breakers operate left/right, not up/down.

I've never seen a panel installed sideways in the US. Main up or main down are both very common though.
I recommend using a SquareD QO series panel (not Homeline), they are about the best available and are all I use for my personal jobs.
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wrote:

upside-down) - which it APPEARS to be in Ontario, the only wires that are going to be an issue are the incoming neutral, and the ground. Both will be abouit 6 inches short. The double set-screw tubular splice or the split-bolt "BUG" are both solutions to those two. The old banel has a 3 connection "ground" buss to which both the ground and neutral are connected, as well as the neutral from the main switch to the fuse panel. ( the main switch and the fuse panel are like 2 totally separate boxes in one physical enclosure - with cables in between - so I have lots of salvageable cable to extend the neutrals)
The existing panel is WAY to big to leave as a junction box as another respondent recommended. It's about 23X26 inches and between a window and a wall, where mounting the new panel beside it would be ugly/difficult/nigh unto impossible and probably illegal.
Using a chunk of wiring trough above the panel WOULD be an option but would also involve transitioning virtually every wire from AL to CU. Sinse all the busses etc in the new panel are AL I'd prefer to keep the original AL wire intact all the way. No dis-similar metal connections instead of 2.

Horizontal ia apparently no problem, but if vertical operating (either main or branch) I've been told they must be up-on in the USA.

"up-on"
KNOW it is significantly more expensive - but the price is not really part of the decision process at this point.
Thanks for your good input.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I prefer the tubular splices for neatness in a panel since they don't make a huge inline lump. Bugs are good if it's just in a big junction box. If the panel is installed sideways, the door isn't going to work very well.

Something best done in a separate space like a trough, using approved connectors.

If the busses are AL, it's a crummy panel. The SquareD QO panels are solid copper busses (tin plated) and are mostly covered vs. exposed competition.

I've never run across such a requirement in the US, but I don't recall if I've seen an upside down vertical operating main.

Perhaps 50% more expensive, which for a residential panel and breakers means about $100 more for the project.

Good luck.
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wrote:

Ever see a door on an FPE panel??

ALL of the power busses on the FPE are covered - and the QO are tinned copper, but the Homeline and most other brands are AL.

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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Only the one on the POS Stab-Loc I threw out here and replaced with a proper QO panel.

QO is all I use for my personal projects. The cost difference is pretty small really.
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wrote:

StabLock, things are NOT going to line up - and I can buy the QO for $6 more than the StabLok - so it's really no issue price-wise. The "trough" makes good sense, because IF I put the panel onto the main feed , the top of the panel is 4 inches lower than the old panel. If I can have a trough 4 inches high and 3 1/3 inches deep, with knockout holes made to match the knockouts on the panel at the bottom, and to match the cable spacing at the top, I can enter my load cables into the trough with the existing cable clamps, and either pass the wires through the trough or splice them in the trough, then through to the panel. If I match drill the trough to fit the panel and use plastic bushings (made for the purpose - not hardware store grommets or any such crap) in the holes to pass the wires through, I don't need any other connectors between the trough and the panel, as long as the trough is firmly connected to the panel??? I'd "gasket" the trough to the panel or seal it on with Silicone, as well as bolting it. The trough face panel would be removeable, making it a legal junction box or pull box. Does this trough or box need to be a approved (CSA or UL) unit or can it be a custom fabricated box?? I can have one made up in stainless or mild steel by a friend quite easily and at reasonable cost. (we needed a 40-some foot long 8"X18" trough made to run cabling in a concrete floor last year and they made that one up for us)
As far as StabLock vs QO, copper buss bars ARE more durable than AL, which tilts in favour of the QO. No stupid home inspector is going to say (as a lot of others on this list have also (mistakenly in my mind) said) "that panel is junk and it needs to be replaced" - so I'll likely "blow the wad" and put in the QO.
The Stab-Lock is outselling the QO about 4:1 right now according to the clerk, just because the panel is about $6 less, and the breakers about $1 each less. Seimens and Eaton Cuttler Hammer are both cheaper ( significantly less - like 25% less) - with Eaton being the lowest cost - but the Stab-Lock is outselling them because of "brand recognition". All the German customers are buying Siemens for the same reason- - - -.

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On 10/30/2011 4:07 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I wouldn't seal the gutter to the panel.
Not sure what plastic bushings you are talking about. Might be perfectly good.
For the closest connection I would use "chase nipples" from the gutter into the panel through matching holes (as you plan to do).
Pete suggested a "stub of 2 inch conduit" to connect the gutter to the panel. (Could also one or more 2" chase nipples.) Usually running a lot of wires in conduit would be a problem because you have to derate the current rating of the wire up to up to 65%. When the conduit is shorter than 24" that does not apply. This may not be the code where you are. It could make the installation much easier (may or may not require gutter splices).
------------------------------ Do you actually have aluminum branch circuit wiring? It was only used in the US from about 1965 to the early 1970s. Much earlier there was rubber insulated tinned copper that can look like aluminum.
I does not matter if the panel busses are aluminum since you are not connecting the wire to the bus bars.
The best information, based on extensive research, on branch circuit aluminum connections I have seen is: http://www.kinginnovation.com/pdfs/ReducingFire070706.pdf A relatively new splice device that appears to make good aluminum connections is: http://www.kinginnovation.com/products/electrical-products/alumiconn /
But that is the US. More questions for an inspector.

Ask your inspector. A commercial gutter might be cheaper and raise fewer flags.
I would avoid stainless because it is, as I remember, much harder to work with than steel.

But it is a problem for half the branch circuit breakers on a horizontally mounted panel.
--
bud--


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wrote:

if the nipple is metal. Not required with plastic. Not enough room to use 2" nipple. Total difference in "height" between old and new panel is 4 inches. The "stub of 2 inch conduit" would have to be basically just the threads with a nut on either end.

The panel only has provision for 1 2 incher in the load center end, and one in the "Main" end.

connector that normally gets screwed onto the panel screwed into the end of the conduit instead - so I end up with 6 3/4" stubs and 2 1" stubs sticking out of the top of the panel with the "romex" connected to the top, the individual wires from the "romex" entering the panel via the conduit??? Then I just make a metal sheild panel to fit over top, hiding the "Rube Goldberg" setup from open view?????

Yes, it is second generation aluminum wiring. The stuff that doesn't crack every time you look at it the wrong way - used from about about 1973/74 'till about 1978, when aluminum wiring basically dissapeared from the market. I believe it has more copper in it than the earlier aluminum, but I'm not sure. The old crap was 1350 alloy. The good stuff is 8000 series. HUGE difference. But to a home inspector or an insurance company "it's all aluminum".

regular part of his job.

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On 10/31/2011 12:06 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Chase nipple: <http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/14-47-metal-conduit-connectors/conduit-chase-nipple-601921.aspx
The gutter and panel can be in contact. Plastic bushing not required. I would run a ground wire to the gutter (IMHO chase nipples aren't a great ground).
But your plastic bushings might work great.

One can punch holes where desired.
And other size holes would be fine. Part of the point was that derating is not required (in the US). The number of wires is limited by the wire fill for that size conduit.

Don't think so.
There are romex connectors that can take 2 cables each (12/2 or 14/2).

gfretwell has written that the new wire is harder, and not likely to extrude, which was one of the problems with the old wire (connection got hot, wire expanded more than screw connection is in, wire compresses, connection looser next operating cycle and gets hotter....)
I would have switches/receptacles marked CO/ALR (in the US).
And it still has problems with surface oxidation when installed. I would use the connection method recommendations in the link provided. Like with connections for larger aluminum wire, the alumiconn connectors deform the wire and probably don't have oxide problems.

As long as he cuts all the holes. (And the inspector OKs it.)
--
bud--


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wrote:

Required if metal conduit or metal punch-outs up here.

it won't pass in Waterloo

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On Oct 31, 2:06pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Sounds like your ideas are about a thousand times worse anything I ever suggested...
It sounds way too much like you are being unreasonable about this and that a skilled electrician has the ability to create new knock outs in a panel in many sizes -- they are not stuck using the ones that the factory has provided...
Your "Rube Goldberg" set up would raise more flags than a couple of professionally installed conduits running underneath a window, but whatever your house man...
~~ Evan
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On Tue, 1 Nov 2011 14:59:40 -0700 (PDT), Evan

doing the job,( who my Dad worked for the last few years of his working life) given the latest information I'm getting re: Waterloo North Hydro - and the offset conduit nipples would have met his approval up until they were no longer allowed a few years ago. He said it would work, would be VERY neet, totally safe,but sadly no longer allowed, at least in Waterloo North.
As for the knockouts - yes, you can create new holes, but not where existing knockouts already exist but do not line up. That's what "greenley" punches are for.The problem is there is only about 4 square inches of available "real estate" left to add holes.
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On Nov 1, 9:40pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Here is a *shocking* idea for you then, buy a panel enclosure with no pre-punched knock outs in it and let the electrician make the right sized holes in it where he needs them... Those kind of panels are used in commercial applications all the time...
~~ Evan
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You can probably special order the version of the panel with the enclosure that does not include knockouts. I haven't had to do that for a panel, but I routinely do that for pull boxes and troughs and use step drills and hydraulic punches to put the exact hole config I want in.
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wrote:

unpunched. Special oder means BIG BUCKS and LONG WAIT TIMES.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That's one nice thing about the Square D QO series, it's routinely used in commercial applications as well as residential so there are more options available.
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Note Bud proclaims LOTS of stuff but when it comes down to it I stand by the overwhelming number of links stating its hard to impossible to get homeowners insurance with K&T and fuse boxes just to name a few. Perhaps some do find insurance thats much more costly:( just like bad drivers can buy insurance only at horendously high premiums. I linked and pasted that the NEC prohibits insulating around K&T
Wonder how many years ago bud sold moms house? if he tried selling it today his story may be different....
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On 11/14/2011 10:09 AM, bob haller wrote:

Your post is totally unrelated to Pete's.
But yes - thank you for bringing back my all time favorite: "the wires in knob-and-tube are aluminum" which is a problem because copper and aluminum "carry current at slightly different speeds" and "copper into aluminum is where things get tricky - if the water (current) flows faster thru copper than thru aluminum, you are going to get a backup at that junction."
(By the way, you never answered Bub's questions about electrons backing up. I want to know too.)
And another favorite: "no ground wire, [makes] the use of GFCI style electrical outlets (receptacles) and GFCI and AFCI breakers useless".
They really sum up your quality arguments.
By the way - you never said - does your house meet current NEC codes for new construction? Are most of the breakers AFCI? Is all your romex 90 degree rated NM-B? Is there a neutral at all your switches? Are most of the inside receptacles child proof? Are the exterior receptacles weather proof? Do you have an exterior receptacle in the front and back? Does every 6 feet of wall have a receptacle? (I didn't even know that was in the NEC!) Are receptacles kept off circuits with lights? (Didn't know that was in the code either!) Do you have a Ufer earthing electrode? Do boxes have light fixture or fan rating?
I am really concerned whether your house is "truly safe".
And all you a.h.r landlords - I know you won't sleep at night if your rental units have the gross defects above. hallerb and I want everyone to be "truly safe".
In this thread hallerb got wrong: - Clare needed to convert to breakers because of homeowners insurance. - you can't get insurance for fuses - you can never get insurance for K&T - you can never get insurance for K&T from State Farm - there is a "great chance of a loss" (K&T is intrinsically unsafe) - there are no boxes with K&T - if you open a wall with K&T it is "mandatory to upgrade" - homes with K&T can't be insulated - "posts here from insurance workers statements about K&T being uninsurable" - everyone's house should comply with current NEC requirements for new construction - you can't add major appliances to a 100A service      But when you have a fetish who cares about a few mistakes.
--
bud--

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wrote:

and he said no problem in Ontario with side mounted panels, and if people think StabLok breakers are the only ones that fail, he could tell me about more Square "D" QO horror stories than Stab-Lok - and he used Stab-Loc (FPE) almost exclusively, with virtually no problems. He could remember several Square "D" QO breakers that popped the 100 amp main without tripping the 15 - and a few where wires were badly overheated before the 100 tripped. He never had a Stab-Lok fail that badly.
Will likely go with the Stab-Lok unless I can find a QO that will fit as well. Do need to investigate the LB connection to the panel from the feed conduit yet too.
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On 10/29/2011 8:32 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The US-NEC has required bending distances which could be violated if not careful. Coming in what would be the side of a vertical panel shouldn't be a problem. Don't know if you have the same restrictions.
Highly recommended that you talk to the inspector before you start.

I sometimes watch "Holmes on homes"(sp?), a TV program from Canada. Can't remember which province (and I don't always trust what he says).
One of the really odd features is that most service panels are mounted horizontally. That means that half the branch circuit breakers are off-up. (As you said, this is a definite no-no in the US). The explanation seems to be that the hot service connection area has to remain isolated when the panel cover is taken off. As part of that, the branch circuit wires can't go though the top of the panel (if it is mounted vertically). When the panel is mounted horizontally, the branch wires come in the top (side) in the area of the branch circuit breakers. If the panel is mounted vertically the branch wires have to come in the lower sides.
I have no idea if this applies where you are, but it is something to check.

The bad name was rightly deserved. FPE submitted fraudulent test results to UL. The US Comsumer Protection Safety Council did some preliminary tests that didn't look good.
FPE Canada is presumably a good panel. One of the FPE problems was that the breakers didn't always want to stay plugged in. Hopefully that has been improved.
I wouldn't splice the service wires. I think you can do it now in the US, but it is tacky. One end of new service wires would come from the meter can. To safely work there the utility should disconnect the supply wires.
For a horizontally mounted panel Pete's idea of a gutter may work.

Fuses are certainly less convenient. IMHO they are as good or better protection. Might ask a real estate agent if fuses are a problem when selling.
--
bud--

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