Replacement of old MAIN all-fuse panel with a circut breaker panel

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I had my main breaker crap out on me. I cut the seal, pulled the meter, replaced the main, and then plugged the meter back in. I called the poco aftewards and told them why I had to do it. They sent a guy out to put a new seal on. No prob. The type of neighborhood your old house is in may affect your results though.
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Hat wrote:

"Disconnecting the juice" is accomplished, as others have said, by simply unplugging the meter.
Whether you have to contact the power company, get a permit, have the work done by a licensed electriction, make sure the work is inspected, submit drawings and plans to the appropriate city office, or use only UL-approved devices is a matter determined by your local rules.
In my case, a call to the power company was all that was required. They came out within six hours (their standard), cut the seal, and read the meter. When my work was completed, another call and they returned to re-seal the meter (within twelve hours).
Hint: Label all the wires with numbered tags, noting the amperage of the existing fuse serving the wires. Take several digital pictures. Do not have the celebratory beer for a job well done until after the final "smoke test."
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I certinally hope your replacing not just the main panel but also the main service line and meter can. upgrade to 200 amps too this future proofs your install......
pick a manel panel thats locally popular, for easy access to replacement breakers. and dont forget proper grounding
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If you are asking this question, then I can only presume that you should not be doing the work. Hire a qualified electrician to "side job" it for you.
Some utility companies will do one free dis/reconnect without questions, or a permit.
If you must do the work yourself there are insulated, mechanical terminals that may be used to facilitate the easy dis/reconnection of the pre-meter conductors. They are manufactured by Polaris. If you have not done a live splice before, forget about it. Is your life worth a shortcut?
They make a cheaper product than this one, but this gives the general idea:
http://www.polarisconnectors.com/pdfs/Metering_Streetlighting_Connectors/SSWB.pdf
Again, if you don't know what you are doing and need someone to hold your hand, don't do this. After the work is complete you may leave them on or have the utility company come out and "properly" connect the service. That's your call.
As for removing the meter and working on the post meter wiring, some of the seals may be cut in a fashion that will allow repeated removal and installation of the seal, thus providing the same ability for the meter itself. Do the work and play dumb if questioned. Though, as someone else suggested, it would be a good idea to upgrade your meter main to a larger service, but this makes me ask, "does the meter not have a disconnect?"
I have not been doing a thorough read of this topic and might have missed some information that you have presented. So, forgive me if I am a bit presumptuous or seem to be speaking without all of the facts.
Number One: Be safe and do it right. It would suck to survive the install only to die in a fire.
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You clearly don't know what you are talking about. Home service meters do not have a disconnect. Seals are not "reusable". You are presumptuous to advice the OP he's not capable of handling this task and then go one to give misinformed information.
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MIB wrote:

http://www.cdc.gov/NCEH/publications/books/housing/Graphics/chapter_11/Figure11.15.jpg
I think the thing you're calling a "Meter Main" is actually an on-off switch for the winch used to deploy and retrieve shrimp nets on medium sized shrimp boats.
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On Wed, 12 May 2010 11:02:44 -0700 (PDT), Evan

No L.icenced electricians will NOT generally disconnect the LIVE power drop from the post to the meter. That makes less sense than replacing the panel live. They WILL pull the meter. And usually they WILL also put the meter back on and call the power utility to replace the seal - quite often done at the same time as the "inspection" which is required - often along with a "permit"

Except all that has to be done LIVE.
You are not an electricaian, obviously. I'm not a LICENCED electrician either, but my dad was, and I worked for him a lot as a kid.

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===================== I get the idea now. This is not for the faint of heart. I'll hire a professional to do the job. Thanks very much.
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-snip-

This might be the most intelligent post in this thread.<g> Chances are you can find something else to do while a pro pops this out.
You can also sleep better nights knowing your insurance company isn't going to give you a hard time if the worst case happens.
Jim
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Hat wrote:

Your choice, but the job's really not that hard.
It's like changing a tire: 1. Jack up the car (remove power) 2. Remove old tire (scrap existing distribution facility) 3. Install new tire (apply new distribution panel) 4. Lower jack (reapply power)
If you do things in the common sense order, the result will be as expected. If you scramble the sequence, such as removing the tire before you jack up the car, you can expect damage, death, and no free flashlight.
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Except a little different. With a minimum of common sense caution, a tire change in unlikely to cause you any damage. A slip of a screwdriver, or a sharp piece of metal could fry you in place, flash and blind you, or start your house on fire. And it could do it 3 years from now while you're sleeping.

Being careful not to cause a short in the process-- and by bypassing a seal that the power company put there to keep you from touching things. By breaking the seal you likely lose your fire insurance coverage if your bean-counting insurance company can blame the electric lines for the fire.

That part is similar-- but be sure to inspect, with your non-professional eye, every wire that you remove.-- and don't pull any insulation off under a staple or though a cable connector with your clumsy, inexperienced fingers.

Here's where it gets fun-- rerouting all those wires so they fit isn't likely. You will probably have to make some junction boxes. In the time you spend scratching your head and trying to decide how best to do this-- the pro who has been here 100 times before has the job done and is picking up his tools. [and if he screwed something up-- he gets a call and comes back to fix it]

I'm all for DIY- and have done stuff that everyone said to leave to the pros. But the risk/reward on replacing an entrance panel doesn't make it sound like a good idea to me.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Yeah, but things can go terribly, terribly wrong in replacing a tire, too (like not tightening the lug nuts).
Two years ago we got a bid to replace a 200-Amp distribution panel. $1250.00!
After buying all the parts (retail, at Home Depot), my son and I spent a leisurely Saturday afternoon on the case. Admittedly, we had to make two additional trips to HD for overlooked gizmos to finish the task, but the out-of-pocket expense came to $320.
We saved $900 (not counting the beer).
Aside from the smoke, the thing's been working swell ever since.
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Exactly what clause in your fire insurance policy permits them to do that? I can't find any such in mine and I've looked very carefully (Texas HO-1B). The only thing that is close would be if they decided I did it deliberately with the intent to burn the building down. Stupidity doesn't count. -- Doug
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Hat wrote:

If you are installing the same amperage panel, the old wires may not be long enough. Replacing the wires from a meter socket with a hot supply side is hazardous, particularly in the old sockets that did not shield the meter jaws. The hazard is not only electrocution, but the high currents that you can get if there is an inadvertent short - somewhere like 5,000-10,000 amps with not a lot of protection from the utility. Tools can vaporize.
If doing the same amp rating and the wires are long enough, pulling the meter should be OK. Else, an electrician might cut the service wires at the utility connection and reconnect them, or have the utility cut and reconnect. The way it is done varies with location.
There are a number of requirements for service panels that you do not have with subpanels.
--
bud--

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Is it your old house ? If yes then if you can safely do the work (which isn't recommended because you would have to kill the power by undoing or cutting the feeder cables near the service entry head to make even the meter socket enclosure totally safe to work in) go nuts... If you are NOT the homeowner and you are doing work on this "old house" for its owner, then you can't do that type of project for them without an electrical license...
Replacing an electrical panel is not "handyman work"...
Upgrading an old fuse panel to a new circuit breaker panel is not as easy as it seems and might require replacement of the main feeder wiring all the way up to the service drop from the utility pole where you make the connections to the wires for the meter socket at the service head... This could include installation of a new metering socket if the old service was not 200 amps as well as having the power company having to install larger gauge drop wires to feed your property...
But if you think its simple, go nuts... Its only someone's home that will burn down if you don't do every aspect of the project correctly...
~~ Evan
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On Tue, 11 May 2010 09:16:22 -0700 (PDT), Evan

drop or any cabling. IF he is capable of removing the main fuse holder and taping up the ends of the wire, it IS possible to change the panel with it live. I've done it severalt times - but you DO need to bw carefull, and you DO need to know how to work safely with live circuits. You DO need to have a lot of respect for electrons!.
When the cables are disconnected and taped, remove the old panel - then feen the taped cables into the new panel and connect to the main breaker - and securely fasten the panel to the service board. Then re-enter all the branch circuits.
It IS safer to have the meter pulled and work on it "dead" if at all possible. I have seen meter seals popped off and re-installed ( if they are the plastic type they often break on their own from weathering) and some utilities use a "generic" seal, while others use "personalized" seals with their name on them so they can easily identify tampering.
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On May 11, 12:27�pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I have pulled meters its no biggie and far safer than working live!!!
Duquesne light didnt care as long as I informed them the next day.
A fuse broke off in its holder the glass seperated from the base.
around here they no longer look at meters to read them just drive up the street
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