Replacing FP electrical panel in Condo (with pics)

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I am helping my brother in law renovate his condo. He has an old FP electric panel that I want to replace due to the problems they are known to have. There is a 50A main in the meter room, and the feed to the existing panel is #6 wire. The panel supports 2- 220V a/c's (on top of pic), 2- 20A breakers, 2-15A breakers, and one open slot for a spare.
https://picasaweb.google.com/mikerock92/FPPanel?feat=directlink
Can someone tell me what panel I would need or maybe point me to a link of a panel that would work for this application? Maybe made by Murray, Cutler hammer, or GE?
By the way, one of the A/C's I am converting to 110V because one of the A/C units is actually 110V and its like new, but the previous owner never converted the plug to 110V, he just used an extension cord to an adjacent outlet.
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Mikepier wrote:

Someone (dpb?) wrote years ago that there were Eaton-Cutler Hammer guts that would fit in an existing FPE box. I don't know if they still exist or anything about them.
--
bud--

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Yeah, I read about those, but I figure the walls are wide open now, so why not just replace evreything new.
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* Unless you can relocate the cables or reframe the studs, you're gonna have a problem. That panel was made before minimum wire bending requirements were enacted, so any 8 circuit flush panel you'd get today will be wider. Bottom line, you need an 8 circuit "flush" mount panel. I think Square D, "QO" would be physically the smallest. After changing the one 240 volt circuit to 120 volt, you will need 1 double pole breaker and 7 single pole breakers, which will fill the panel, if you get full sized breakers. If you have need of future circuits you can use duplex breakers or get a larger panel
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*The panels that I usually see now can be top or bottom feed so you should have plenty of slack for your hot wires. Your neutral my be short, but you can splice onto that. Many panels are made to fit between two studs with 16" centers. It looks as though your spacing is less. My first thought is to notch the existing studs, but that may not be possible for you. I know years ago some manufacturers made narrow panels that had extra space at the top and bottom. Here is a link to Square D's catalog. Page 7 and 8 lists the load centers and page 19 has the dimensions. It looks as though they have a 100 amp 8/16 panel that's narrow (QO816L100F or S). They show a picture of the inside on page 7. You would probably have to go to a supply house that is a Square D distributor to get one. Be sure to get a separate ground bar.
http://static.schneider-electric.us/docs/Electrical%20Distribution/Load%20Centers/0110PL9401.pdf
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Thanks for the Square D link. Yeah, that panel would work. But I should mention the stud to the left can be moved/relocated and one of the studs is just a filler, so I can go a little wider. I just came back from HD, and they had Siemans and Eaton CH 8/16 boxes. The Eaton CH is a bit smaller than the Seimans, at 11"W X 13" high. Lowes has Square D, but I think the biggest they have is 6/12. I'll definately loook into the Square D though at a supply house. The existing FPE panel
In terms of seperate ground bar, the existing wiring in the condo is BX w/o ground, and the feed to the panel is BX and no ground. Do I still need it? I see "ground straps" that come with the new panels, should those be installed?
In terms of quality, any of them better or worse? I know Square D has been around for ages. What about the others?
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Sorry meant to say the existing FPE panel is 8"X11.5"
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wrote:

Thanks for the Square D link. Yeah, that panel would work. But I should mention the stud to the left can be moved/relocated and one of the studs is just a filler, so I can go a little wider. I just came back from HD, and they had Siemans and Eaton CH 8/16 boxes. The Eaton CH is a bit smaller than the Seimans, at 11"W X 13" high. Lowes has Square D, but I think the biggest they have is 6/12. I'll definately loook into the Square D though at a supply house. The existing FPE panel
In terms of seperate ground bar, the existing wiring in the condo is BX w/o ground, and the feed to the panel is BX and no ground. Do I still need it? I see "ground straps" that come with the new panels, should those be installed?
In terms of quality, any of them better or worse? I know Square D has been around for ages. What about the others
** The steel cable is the ground for a BX cable. You do not use the ground strap, as the ground, in this case being the steel of the cables as well as the enclosure itself, must be isolated from the neutral bar. You don't need to install a ground bar unless you plan to install some Romex cables or other type of cable that used a ground wire. All of the mentioned panels are fine. Just try to find one that best suits your needs
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Ok, now heres another question. I am running some new BX. I see HD has MC lite, which is lite metal clad with a ground.I believe the outer metal clad is made out of aluminum. It does feel lighter. And they sell the regular steel clad BX w/o ground. Both seem to run about the same price for about 100ft roll. Can I use the MC lite? Seems like you get both a metal clad and a ground in one cable.
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*MC seems to be replacing BX and MC lite is very nice to carry and pull compared to steel. One of the local supply companies that I deal with only stocks MC. You can use MC cable, however the armor may not be an approved grounding conductor. So you would need to install the ground bar for that. Also you need to use connectors that are approved for MC cable. Regular BX connectors are not approved for MC although there are some that are approved for both. You will also need to install anti-short bushings at each end.
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Ok, so heres my next question. I saw ground buss bars at HD. How do you mount these inside the boxes? I don't see any holes in the panels that line up, it looks like I need to drill 2 holes and install nuts and bolts. Is there a method of doing this?
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Ok, so heres my next question. I saw ground buss bars at HD. How do you mount these inside the boxes? I don't see any holes in the panels that line up, it looks like I need to drill 2 holes and install nuts and bolts. Is there a method of doing this?
**You can drill and tap or use bolts. Scrape the paint off first
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Is a condo application with a seperate meter room........
Is the main really a main? or should the grounds be isolated from the neutral like a sub panel is
The new main panel should be mounted to wood, and if thats the case wood screws can attach the bus bar to the cabinet, screing thru to the wood
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Is a condo application with a seperate meter room........
Is the main really a main? or should the grounds be isolated from the neutral like a sub panel is
The new main panel should be mounted to wood, and if thats the case wood screws can attach the bus bar to the cabinet, screing thru to the wood
** The new panel is a sub panel. It will probably be mounted to 2x4's on each side. The grounding buss bar ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be mounted with wood screws, screwed through the box. You know Haller, even a broken clock is correct twice a day, I'm not so sure bout you
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.
Well I added a buss bar to a existing main, used wood screws to mount it thru the bar into the plywood mount board.Ran copper line to existing buss bar, so it was properly connected
It passed middle states inspection, in the process of a home sale/
the idiot home inspector wrote up the main because although it had the inspection sticker the signature was no longer legible, the ink had faded.you could still see it had been signed
Now how would anyone add a buss bar to a existing panel, unless you were willing to disconnect everything, remove the box and use machine screws and nuts...
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Well I added a buss bar to a existing main, used wood screws to mount it thru the bar into the plywood mount board.Ran copper line to existing buss bar, so it was properly connected
It passed middle states inspection, in the process of a home sale/
the idiot home inspector wrote up the main because although it had the inspection sticker the signature was no longer legible, the ink had faded.you could still see it had been signed
Now how would anyone add a buss bar to a existing panel, unless you were willing to disconnect everything, remove the box and use machine screws and nuts...
** First of all, this is a new sub panel, which has no existing grounding bar to connect to. There is only a neutral buss. You can install the bar by drilling and taping. We do it all the time
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Ok, so heres my next question. I saw ground buss bars at HD. How do you mount these inside the boxes? I don't see any holes in the panels that line up, it looks like I need to drill 2 holes and install nuts and bolts. Is there a method of doing this?
*Like RBM said, you may have to drill and tap some holes. Most panels come with predrilled holes that just need tapping with an 8/32 tap. However unless you get the ground bar specifically for your panel (There is usually a part number on the inside label) you will have to drill out the ground bar or drill a hole or two in the panel. You cannot use bolts with nuts without tapped holes. It is important for a good ground connection to have fine threads screwed into the box. Sheet metal screws and self drilling Tek screws are not acceptable and neither is wood screws.
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You cannot use bolts with nuts without tapped holes.
If you have less than 2 threads in the tapping, you must use nuts (250.8-5)
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*Thanks for the clarification Roy.
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