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Photos of my Sub Panel and Outlets


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Here are some photos of my Power distribution. Last year I installed a 100amp subpanel and had 6 20amp circuits on it. This year I added 4 more to the subpanel and installed a Tandem Breaker in the Main Panel which is now totally full. Also last year I made a portable 50amp subpanel that plugs into a 50amp 220 plug in my garage.

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That is what I would like to do next year with my breaker box. I plan on having my service updgraded in the spring if all goes the way I plan. It will cost me $600 for the new line to the house then I must buy the meter base too. I figure I can get it all done under $1000 or pretty close to it.

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Joseph Ayo wrote:

What I dont see that I'd like to have seen is a set of main breakers installed at the top of each breaker box... I assume the full one on the left is the main?

Yes the one on the left is the main.

The "Main" 200amp breaker for the Main Box is located on the outside of the house. The 100amp Breaker for the subpanel is located in the main box. Does not make sense to have a Breaker there and then a Breaker in the subpanel.

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Ok subpanel question here.

If you have a 50 amp breaker feeding the subpanel (and subsequntlly a 50 amp rated plug) How can you run more than 2 20 amp breakers/outlets (what looks like5 inyour picture)at at time and not exceed the rating of the "main" subpanel breaker. Not to mention 10-12 outlets that may feed multiple LOR controllers. What am I missing in the calculations. Is it 50 amps per leg giving you the 100 amp breaker load?

I'm comfortable wiring the breakers and subpanels and understand guauges seperate neutrals/grounds etc. Just making sure my thoughts are right on loads.

I'm trying to figure out how to do this myself to avoid sinking money into a perminatally mounted subpanel that will stay with the house when I move.

Matt

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trumpetr wrote:

Ok subpanel question here.

If you have a 50 amp breaker feeding the subpanel (and subsequntlly a 50 amp rated plug) How can you run more than 2 20 amp breakers/outlets (what looks like5 inyour picture)at at time and not exceed the rating of the "main" subpanel breaker. Not to mention 10-12 outlets that may feed multiple LOR controllers. What am I missing in the calculations. Is it 50 amps per leg giving you the 100 amp breaker load?)

Matt

Typically, the 50A breaker is most likely a 240V breaker. Think of it in Watts, not amps and volts. 50A and 240V is 12,000W. I'm assuming is 20A breakers to power Christmas lights are at 120V. The current load you can support with 12,000W at 120V is going to be 100A, or five x 20A breakers as he has in his picture.

I'm in the process right now of pulling two 50A @ 240V lines off my main panel, through a pair of 50A / 240V breakers into a pair of range/dryer receptacles rated at 50A @ 240V, both of which will be connected in parallel to a 100A panel (no breaker because as Richard mentioned, having a breaker in the main panel and then another breaker in the sub is pointless) through a pair of comparable rated plug sets that are meant for an electric range (50A @ 240V). This will give me a max current of 100A @ 240V out of the subpanel, which would allow for 200A of Christmas lights which run at 120V..... and of course, you should always obey the 80% of maximum rule, so no more than 160A running at any given time. My subpanel is temporary, not permanent, because I don't want to leave it with the house.... the electric range plugs and receptacles take care of that apsect of the plan and they are cheap.

-Louie in Melbourne

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nutz4lights wrote:

My subpanel is temporary, not permanent, because I don't want to leave it with the house.... the electric range plugs and receptacles take care of that apsect of the plan and they are cheap.

-Louie in Melbourne

Louie,

Perfect, This is the exact answer and scenerio that I was looking for and exactly the same reasoning (future portability)I am wanting to create the detachable subpanel. Now on to getting the wife to open up the bank account again to accomplish this process.

Thanks for clarifying!

Matt

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Matt,

I got my "load center" (i.e. panel) here:

http://www.buy.com/prod/eaton-electical-cutler-hamm-br816l125rp-125a-lug-load-center/q/loc/63024/204608887.html

They had free shipping when I got it, which is gone now. That one is rainproof should I ever decide to move power out closer to the lights. 125A (again, @ 250V, so 250A for lights, which I will never hit!). It has eight slots/spaces, that is enough for my four LOR cards which use 2 circuits each. You could run a total of 16 circuits if you do the dual, slimline breakers (two breakers in a single space). I went with that Cutler Hammer unit because my main panel is a Cutler Hammer, and I have a ton of extra breakers around from when I combined most of my singles into dual slimlines...

$35 + $5 shipping is pretty good! with free shipping it was even better!

Now, the rest of it, might get pricey.... I will be addressing that this upcoming weekend.... need eight outlets coming out of that panel to connect my four LOR cards (actually, need nine outlets.... my icicle lights are going to switch on using a single channel of LOR through a 25A SSR, but I want the SSR to switch a non-LOR 20A circuit)....

The 50A receptacles and cordsets were bought at Lowes.... I think the receptacles are $7 each and the cordsets (6' of 6/3 cord with a plug attached) were $15 each.

-Louie in Melbourne

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trumpetr wrote:

Not to mention 10-12 outlets that may feed multiple LOR controllers. What am I missing in the calculations. Is it 50 amps per leg giving you the 100 amp breaker load?

[ nutz4lights did a good job explaining of it all so I don't need to go into a lot of details but yes it is 50 amps per leg.

The thing though is that I have 2 outlets on one leg and 3 outlets on the other. So if I was running each one at 20 amps that would put one leg at 40 and the other one at 60 which really does not work and would trip the breaker because one leg went over 50 amps.

I plan on adding another outlet though and having two 15 amp breakers and one 20 amp breaker on each leg making the total 100amp. My shows are configured though to never have "all lights on" so it will not hit the 100% max of the subpanel.

e 100% max of the subpanel.

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nutz4lights wrote:

Richard, where did you get your GFCI outlets from? Are they 15A or 20A?

Thanks,

-Louie in Melbourne

All of them are 20 amps but I will be putting in four 15amp and two 20amp GFIs in the sub panel.

You can always tell if you are looking at 15 or 20amp GFI because the 20amp GFIs have the horizontal slit on the left hole which I believe is the neutral. A "to code" male plug will have the sideways blade instead of the vertical one.

I bought them from Harbor Freight and Home Depot. Harbor Freight had a killer deal during the summer when they were only $8 each. At home depot they run closer to $16 each. I bought two new ones from Home Depot last week and one thing that I love about them is there is a little LED in the top right that shows if the outlet has power or not. I wish all my outlets had this because if a GFI tripped, it would be easy to see which one it was at a glance.

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One thing that I love about doing Christmas Displays is that it has made be understand more about electrical work. A Year and Half ago I did not know details about Phases, Breakers, Amps, 15amp vs 20amp plugs, and other things. Since then I have installed a subpanel and made a portable subpanel. Many people here have helped me and I thank you all for that!

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RichardH wrote:

nutz4lights wrote:

That is correct. It is a whole house surge suppressor.

I have one too... the only problem is, do you ever get what appears to be momentary power failures from time to time... well these things tend to just open up the hot onto your grounds when there is a surge, causing it to appear to be a momentary loss of power when a big power surge is coming in. If you notice increased "blank outs", well you know your surge protector is working as it should but it can be a pain in the neck with clock settings in the house.

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Entropy wrote:

Oh my, that is so not to code.

I hope that you have plans to hide it if an inspector ever comes over to look at permit work.

Not an issue unless his electrical violations burn the house down... then you might have problems getting insurance to pay.

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Entropy wrote:

Oh my, that is so not to code.

I hope that you have plans to hide it if an inspector ever comes over to look at permit work.

Please let me know what you are talking about.

Also let me know if you talking to me or nutz4lights

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nutz4lights wrote:

Typically, the 50A breaker is most likely a 240V breaker. Think of it in Watts, not amps and volts. 50A and 240V is 12,000W. I'm assuming is 20A breakers to power Christmas lights are at 120V. The current load you can support with 12,000W at 120V is going to be 100A, or five x 20A breakers as he has in his picture.

I'm in the process right now of pulling two 50A @ 240V lines off my main panel, through a pair of 50A / 240V breakers into a pair of range/dryer receptacles rated at 50A @ 240V, both of which will be connected in parallel to a 100A panel (no breaker because as Richard mentioned, having a breaker in the main panel and then another breaker in the sub is pointless) through a pair of comparable rated plug sets that are meant for an electric range (50A @ 240V). This will give me a max current of 100A @ 240V out of the subpanel, which would allow for 200A of Christmas lights which run at 120V..... and of course, you should always obey the 80% of maximum rule, so no more than 160A running at any given time. My subpanel is temporary, not permanent, because I don't want to leave it with the house.... the electric range plugs and receptacles take care of that apsect of the plan and they are cheap.

-Louie in Melbourne

You are going to run 2 50 amp 220v lines, each with a 50 smp 220v breaker into two 50 amp dryer sockets. You are then going to connect the cords from these sockets to the main lugs of your subpanel giving you 200 amps total 110v. Have you run this by an electrician? You may numerically have 200 amps, but I believe you will trip at a load that exceeds 50 amps. You would have to have a subpanel seperated into 4 sections for your plan to work. When you combine the 2 hots, you effectively create 1 50 amp line.....not 2. The load will pull equally over both wires. I have never seen anything wired like this in any of the manuals I have seen. I could be wrong here.....but one of those things I would get verified.

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nutz4lights wrote:

trumpetr wrote:

Typically, the 50A breaker is most likely a 240V breaker. Think of it in Watts, not amps and volts. 50A and 240V is 12,000W. I'm assuming is 20A breakers to power Christmas lights are at 120V. The current load you can support with 12,000W at 120V is going to be 100A, or five x 20A breakers as he has in his picture.

I'm in the process right now of pulling two 50A @ 240V lines off my main panel, through a pair of 50A / 240V breakers into a pair of range/dryer receptacles rated at 50A @ 240V, both of which will be connected in parallel to a 100A panel (no breaker because as Richard mentioned, having a breaker in the main panel and then another breaker in the sub is pointless) through a pair of comparable rated plug sets that are meant for an electric range (50A @ 240V). This will give me a max current of 100A @ 240V out of the subpanel, which would allow for 200A of Christmas lights which run at 120V..... and of course, you should always obey the 80% of maximum rule, so no more than 160A running at any given time. My subpanel is temporary, not permanent, because I don't want to leave it with the house.... the electric range plugs and receptacles take care of that apsect of the plan and they are cheap.

-Louie in Melbourne

I just read your reply again and I think I know what you are trying to do. If I understand you right, you are going to have two 50 Amp Plugs that drive a single subpanel?

If this is what you are thinking, this is VERY dangerous and is way against code. What this means is if you only have one plug that is plugged in, the other one is a "dead mans plug" meaning that it is live and anybody grabbed it, they would get the shock of their life.

Just think what would happen if you had them both plugged in, and somebody comes along and unplugs one, and they have no idea that it is "LIVE" they could touch it and get electrocuted. You should never have the possiblity of having a male plug that is HOT.

Also if one of your 50amp breakers did trip, you would have the other breaker taking the full load.

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schristi69 wrote:

You are going to run 2 50 amp 220v lines, each with a 50 smp 220v breaker into two 50 amp dryer sockets. You are then going to connect the cords from these sockets to the main lugs of your subpanel giving you 200 amps total 110v. Have you run this by an electrician? You may numerically have 200 amps, but I believe you will trip at a load that exceeds 50 amps. You would have to have a subpanel seperated into 4 sections for your plan to work. When you combine the 2 hots, you effectively create 1 50 amp line.....not 2. The load will pull equally over both wires. I have never seen anything wired like this in any of the manuals I have seen. I could be wrong here.....but one of those things I would get verified.

<---- Scratches his head and thinks about this..... and realizes, I'm glad I didn't do this yet.... You know, I drew this up in diagram form and ran it by another guy at work, because it made sense to me what I was trying to do, even when I had it on paper. I was thinking, parallel paths increase current carrying capability, so this should work. That was clearly a wrong train of thought. The reason I went this route is, as I mentioned, I want it temporary and removable during the off-season. That means I have to have a disconnect, only problem with a disconnect is that, I'm not going to be able to afford a Hubble-style 100A type connector.... so I thought "why not use two range receptacles in parallel.

I've got an easy solution for myself.... just get another panel.... or limit myself to the one dryer plug.... I mean, 50A at 240V = 100A at 120V, 80% of that is 80A.... I don't think I ever actually hit 80A of current draw.... My spreadsheet is showing (for four LOR cards, two 30A and two 40A cards) that my max current is around 12A each leg on the 30A cards and 13-14A max current each leg on the 40A card.... and that is with all the lights on, which never happens.

Anyways, thanks for the catch on that one, good sanity check....

And RichardH, I like your catch as well.... I didn't even think about what would happen if one of the plugs was unplugged... Live is an understatement.... Now, in all reality, I would never have run this with only one plugged in to present that scenario, but you're right, you never know............

-Louie

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