I'm in the planning stages of finishing a room in my basement. The
main panel for the house is 200A and is located in the basement. What
I would like to do is add a second 200A panel just for the basement.
The reason why I want to do a separate panel for the bsement (not a
sub panel) is that at some point in the future we may want to move the
washing machine and clothes dryer into the basement, possibly put a
kitchen, and maybe a hottub. The house is 7 years old, and all
electric w/ a heatpump. Initially the basement will be used to host
LAN parties (parties where everyone brings their computers and has fun
gaming against each other) for up to 30 people (30 computers and
Am I right that a sub-panel off the 200A main panel would not be the
way to go?
Is it even possible to do something like this:
Instead of this:
Utility --->Meter ------200A ----- 100A
To accomplish that would I have to have 2 meters? (against zoning to
have 2 meters on a single fam residence where I live.)
Or would I have to do this?
Utility --->Meter ------400A ----- 200A
Of course whatever I do will be done by a licensed electrician.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
If you're breaker panel is already in the basement, then all you need to do
is add the circuits. You're not talking about that much additional current
needs. And since your "moving" the washer and dryer, there's no more draw
than you already have on those particular items.
Why? You're only talking [below] about another 30 or 40 amps of load (the
washer and dryer don't count -- that's not new load, just relocated load).
What do you need with a second 200A panel?
So? That doesn't preclude installing a subpanel.
A subpanel is definitely the easiest and lowest-cost method of expanding the
number of available circuits. I don't understand your reluctance to do this.
Why would you want to add another main panel?
And of course you may not even need to do that, depending on the space
available in your current panel.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I'll have to look and see how much room is in my existing panel (not
much if I remember right (4 or 6 slots at the bottom).
So it doesn't matter that 30 computers running at the same time will
be using 75-150A by themselves? (my computer is using 2.5A idle, and
3.4A when playing games (550watt Power supply) and some of the people
that will be gaming with me have beefier hardware (750-1000watt power
supplies and dual video cards so 4A idle, 6-7A while playing)). Thank
goodness for LCD monitors and their lower power requirements.
On Mar 27, 8:11 pm, email@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:
Turns out I have 3 blanks at the top:
photo - http://www.terry.uga.edu/~craigw/images/panel (large).jpg
Does this mean having 2 - 200A panels coming from the meter is still
only 200A of power available (the second panel NOT a sub-panel of the
I dont have a clamp on ammeter (wish I did). I basing it on this from
my battery backup:
I guestimated the amperage based on idle and what that screen reports
when I close a game (around 340watts, but i can't screen shot before
it starts dropping) and dividing by 10 (Turns out the formula is watts/
volts=amps, so 2.2A at idle and 3.0A when playing?). My monitor (lcd)
is plugged into the same battery backup, so that load is for CPU and
The amount of power you have available is limited by the size and number of
the service conductors coming from the power company's transformer to your
meter. You have 200A service right now. Unless you add another service
(increase the number of service conductors) or upgrade the existing service to
300A or 400A (increase the size of the service conductors), you're never going
to get more than 200 amps, no matter how many panels or what type of panels
Get one. That computer probably isn't drawing anywhere near as much power as
you think it is.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I'll bet if a guy actually measured the amps being used by a computer, it
would be a lot less. You have to remember that just because you have a
550watt PS, doesn't mean it using all that. Just like welders never use
anywhere near the power the plates say they do.
The rating on a computer power supply just tells you the maximum output,
and the input that would accompany that amount of output. Power
supplies are generally rated somewhat conservatively, so that even if
you're using all of the peripherals at once, the actual power
consumption will be lower than the power supply rating.
This is different from a TV or a refrigerator or other complete
appliance, where the nameplate tells you the maximum expected
consumption of that appliance as a whole. Custom-built computers (that
gamers normally use) generally don't have a nameplate giving actual
Worth asking, but most of the rules I've looked at don't start
with the special rules until you get to at least 50.
He's more likely to run into zoning problems than building code
30 doesn't even get you to the point where you need
additional/wider exits according to this document from NY.state.
On 27 Mar 2007 10:40:37 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
You can do the above. Just get a listed splicing device for the split
in the service entrance conductors. The real problem is you are still
limited by the service drop and SE conductors so if you don't "heavy
up" you will still be limited to 200a of main breaker total.
Your panel may have "feed through lug kit" that will allow you to feed
a second panel off of the rails on the load side of the main. That
will be a sub panel tho (4 wire feeder "tap")
On Mar 27, 5:07 pm, email@example.com wrote:
How can he do that and still meet code requirements that want all
electricity to a 'unit' cut off at one box? What would permit an
exception? Two mains boxes serving the same living unit would violate
You can have up to 6 "grouped" disconnects. If the panels are next to
each other that is "grouped". This is a very common installation in a
commercial setting. They also do this with 320 and 400a services in
large homes. They will often install two 200a panels with two
discconects but you still need the service drop, meter and SE cables
sized to the total load.
On Mar 27, 11:53 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I thought those 'groups' had to service separate sections of a
building. And I thought that grouping could only be in a same
residence when each box serviced a different residential unit.
Perchance, anyone remember the article number?
Nope. The easiest example is the "split bus" panel where there is one
disconnect for all the 120v breakers and separate disconnects for the
240v loads. The 240v loads are all service disconnects. As long as all
power is off with 6 throws or less you are legal.
The 200a panel deal on 400a services is very common with 2
disconnects. It saves the installer a lot of money over the cost of
400a equipment and gives you 84 possible breaker slots vs the max of
42 you can have in one panel
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