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  1. #1
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
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    Question New main breaker under old main breaker

    I came across something I haven't seen in 17 years and am curious if anyone has seen this before: A 33 year old Murray service panel (original to the home) has the 200 Amp main breaker at the top (where I normally see it) labeled as "bad". The feeder wires are not connected to this breaker. What appears to be new feeder wires enter the service panel from the top hub and are spliced and taped inside the service panel. The spliced feeders are connected to a new 200 Amp breaker installed at the bottom of the panel.
    I called the AHJ while on site (he's a friend) to describe what I saw. He said it sounded as though the new breaker installation is a modification of the original service equipment and wouldn't be allowed - of course he would need to see the installation to be sure.
    I stated my observations and concerns in my report. My question is - does anyone know if there's any way such an installation would be allowed by a manufacturer? I think not but would like to hear others opinions. Thanks for your responses! (Sorry no photo - I tried several times but the upload failed -?).

    Mitch

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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Mitch
    I don't know for a fact, but I think you made the right call.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch buchanan View Post
    I came across something I haven't seen in 17 years and am curious if anyone has seen this before: A 33 year old Murray service panel (original to the home) has the 200 Amp main breaker at the top (where I normally see it) labeled as "bad". The feeder wires are not connected to this breaker. What appears to be new feeder wires enter the service panel from the top hub and are spliced and taped inside the service panel. The spliced feeders are connected to a new 200 Amp breaker installed at the bottom of the panel.
    I called the AHJ while on site (he's a friend) to describe what I saw. He said it sounded as though the new breaker installation is a modification of the original service equipment and wouldn't be allowed - of course he would need to see the installation to be sure.
    I stated my observations and concerns in my report. My question is - does anyone know if there's any way such an installation would be allowed by a manufacturer? I think not but would like to hear others opinions. Thanks for your responses! (Sorry no photo - I tried several times but the upload failed -?).

    Mitch
    The one thing that I am unsure of... Is this replacement breaker attached/mounted to the buss bar? If yes, then it has been back-fed and would need to be secured with a screw or retaining clip. If it is just loose in the panel, then your friend is correct and it is likely an unapproved modification.

    If you are unable to upload your pic, it might be too large. Try shrinking it to 640x480 and try again.

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  4. #4
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    I'm trying to figure out why they didn't replace the bad breaker with the new one???

    Anyway sounds like someone got resourceful and rigged another main breaker different from what the panel calls for to feed the buses from the bottom. You might be able to 'rig' something up if the panel had feed thru lugs.

    None the less this is not allowed. I'd just site a violation of the panel listing using NEC 110.3(B)


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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Service panel/feeder wires = not computing here.

    Splice in service entrance cables? no good.

    Field modification of panel - requires Field evaluation and sticker from NTL rep or NG.

    Is this a Sub-Feeder Panel ("subpanel", remote panel) or a Service panel? Which "wires" are spliced?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by [B
    mitch buchanan[/b];124739]
    .
    What appears to be new feeder wires enter the service panel from the top hub and are spliced and taped inside the service panel.

    Mitch
    .
    .

    Quote Originally Posted by [B
    H.G. Watson, Sr[/b].;124797]

    Service panel/feeder wires = not computing here.
    .

    Is this a Sub-Feeder Panel ("subpanel", remote panel) or a Service panel? Which "wires" are spliced?
    .

    ...
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Service panel/feeder wires = not computing here.
    Billy,

    The reason, I presume, that H.G. said that does not compute is that "service panel" = "service entrance conductors", not "feeders" as to the conductors which supply it.

    "Feeders" go from the service panel to something else, such as another "panel".

    The fact that a new main was installed in the bottom of the service panel indicates that those are indeed "service entrance conductors" and not "feeders".

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Field modification of panel - requires Field evaluation and sticker from NTL rep or NG.
    That is correct, and it is much ... MUCH ... cheaper to replace the service panel than it is to have it field evaluated by a NRTL.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee
    I'm trying to figure out why they didn't replace the bad breaker with the new one???
    Probably could not find a new main breaker which would fit in there.

    None the less this is not allowed. I'd just site a violation of the panel listing using NEC 110.3(B)
    Yes, it is a violation of 110.3(B) to modify something.

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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Billy,

    The reason, I presume, that H.G. said that does not compute is that "
    .

    The fact that a new main was installed in the bottom of the service panel indicates that those are indeed "service entrance conductors" and not "feeders".
    .
    .
    .Yeah I See His Logic.
    .

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  9. #9
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    To all respondents,

    Sorry for the confusing term - feeder wires. I should have called them service entrance conductors that were spliced inside the panel enclosure. All your comments are helpful. The picture sure would help - Gunnar, I can't figure out how to shrink the "dang" picture. Just shows how little I know about this AL Gore internet invention .
    Mitch


  10. #10
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Mitch

    If you open a free membership with an online photo /sharing/hosting site. You can 'upload' the photo to that site.
    Then "copy image location" on a right click function. Come back to this site and click on the insert image icon (second from right). Paste the location. Then click 'ok'.

    I like DropShots™ - Free Video Hosting & Photo Sharing; No Advertising. Upload Now!


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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Or simply go here: Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP

    Scroll down on the right to:
    Image Resizer
    ImageResizer.exe

    And then download it.

    Works great, and it is also free.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Mitch,

    This Free Image Re-sizer Works Easiest ( for me anyway. )
    .
    Download Bome's Image Resizer 1.2.0.49 Beta 1 - This application helps you in editing a large number of image files - Softpedia
    .
    If you get the too large to upload error just lower the size and percentage.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  13. #13
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Jerry,

    I uploaded the program from your suggested site - thanks and here's the picture!

    Mitch

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  14. #14
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Oops, I didn't flip the picture - it's on it's side - FYI.

    Mitch


  15. #15
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch buchanan View Post
    Jerry,

    I uploaded the program from your suggested site - thanks and here's the picture!

    Mitch
    So did I ...

    Sheesh I never thought of an old red MD200V Murray and that older panel. Here's what you probably would have found on the bottom side....see attached. BTW those babies go for 350 to 400 bucks used.

    IMO are the worst main breaker for failures ever made. And they are attached to the panel with a short and long screw that threads to the backside of the panel. It's probably welded to the bus stabs. But they are a bitch to change out regardless. Which explains why they didn't replace it.

    I'm not sure what the breaker is they replaced it with at the bottom of the panel . Looks like a Siemens QN2200 series main breaker.

    I wiggled one of these years ago and saw Jesus.... I always thought he had long hair.....


    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 03-18-2010 at 11:02 PM.

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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Splice in service entrance cables? no good.
    Service entrance cables are not allowed to be spliced?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker



    E3505.3 Spliced conductors.
    Service-entrance conductors
    shall be permitted to be spliced or tapped. Splices shall be made
    in enclosures or, if directly buried, with listed underground
    splice kits. Conductor splices shall be made in accordance with

    Chapters 33, 36, 37 and 38.


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Roger,

    Question for you on that panel (you are much more familiar with it than I am): How would that new main breaker be connected to the bus bars, and would the connections be rated for the 200 amps of the protection?

    The entire panel is now suspect as it has been modified and needs to either be: removed and replaced with a new panel; be field evaluated by a NRTL and given the Okie Dokie by them - of course, though, you could replace 10 panels for less that one field evaluation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    Service entrance cables are not allowed to be spliced?
    Neal Lewis,

    First, your question appeared after the OP finally posted a pic. However, even with the pic you chose to ask this question (quoting a comment I made out of context which directly referred to the OP's original posted information).

    An Old Murray panel has like many older panels almost no wiring space in the troughs (wiring space provided at the sides) and room at the top with SE and all circuit wiring at top its tight. If you read the original post describing what was later pictured, or reviewed the photos you'd see.

    Old Murray panel installed, back in the times with older editions of the NEC covering. Prior to...err was it 99 or 96, yes I'm quite sure it was the 1999 edition when that CMP decided to make a host of editorial revisions making articles "positive instruction" instead of prohibitive, so before 99 in article 230.46 there was an outright prohibition to splicing service conductors, followed by a few exceptions. In 1999 IIRC things changed, allowing, but with provisions clamped or bolt, maintaining clearance, contained in enclosure or (if service lateral) underground using listed underground splice kits. Keep in mind service panels by 1999 had much more (required) room for wiring by then too.

    The splicing that as discussed in the Original Post, the rerouting/modification of the panel, and of course the "feeder" misnomer (bringing a host of other possibilities to mind from the "word picture"), make a LEGAL splicing within the limited space of even an unmodified old Murray Panel panel NO GOOD as not possible due to space/fill limitations.

    Despite the more current allowances for such a splice adequate room within the enclosed panel and maintaining the cables and the splice itself within the dedicated space and clear of the main and breakers just isn't possible in an old murray panel.

    Now with the benefit of the subsequent post by the original poster which includes the photo, that the "splice" and "space" issues make even by later editions, for this panel, NG; even if there were no other "issues' with the panel configuration (alteration) - there is just not sufficient room for a splice, and keeping the cables/wiring where they belong.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-19-2010 at 10:10 PM.

  20. #20
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Question for you on that panel (you are much more familiar with it than I am): How would that new main breaker be connected to the bus bars, and would the connections be rated for the 200 amps of the protection?
    The main breakers install on the bus just like any other breaker and the two screws are the hold down requirement. Only difference is the main breakers use two entire bus stabs and have threaded holes in the panel at the "main" location to hold the breaker down with the mounting screws.

    I don't have a picture of the bottom of Murray from my photograph files of these things but I found one on ebay. I think you can see what is going on. There are 3 photos one is of the bottom. The Siemens QN2200 at the bottom of the panel that Mitch showed us is the same configuration as the bad murray main breaker. But I don't know if Siemens lists it as a replacement.

    MURRAY 150 AMP MD150V MAIN CIRCUIT BREAKER RED NEW - eBay (item 310176388009 end time Mar-20-10 12:13:58 PDT)

    As for that Siemens they used for replacement. It would install just fine but I don't think there is any way to hold it down in that location. I would imagine the stabs are rated for the 200 amps as the bad red main breaker is installed on the same buses as the other breakers. Its pretty much just a backfed main breaker type installation.

    I've seen these things actually burn themselves up and melt down the bus. The one I mentioned earlier was turned off when I wiggled it. It started arcing like a dang welder. I had to go outside and jerk the meter but the panel was basically ruined in the time it took to get the meter out. I don't even consider working on these anymore you either replace the panel or I walk on down the road. IMO these are in the same catagory as the federal pacific panels of old maybe worse.

    The entire panel is now suspect as it has been modified and needs to either be: removed and replaced with a new panel; be field evaluated by a NRTL and given the Okie Dokie by them - of course, though, you could replace 10 panels for less that one field evaluation. [
    I agree but IMO I wouldn't care cause I'd walk a mile out of my way to get a replacement panel installed. These can really fry themselves ... here's a 150 amp that is black in color instead of red.



    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 03-20-2010 at 10:03 AM.

  21. #21
    dana1028's Avatar
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Neal Lewis,

    First, your question appeared after the OP finally posted a pic. However, even with the pic you chose to ask this question (quoting a comment I made out of context which directly referred to the OP's original posted information).

    An Old Murray panel has like many older panels almost no wiring space in the troughs (wiring space provided at the sides) and room at the top with SE and all circuit wiring at top its tight. If you read the original post describing what was later pictured, or reviewed the photos you'd see.

    Old Murray panel installed, back in the times with older editions of the NEC covering. Prior to...err was it 99 or 96, yes I'm quite sure it was the 1999 edition when that CMP decided to make a host of editorial revisions making articles "positive instruction" instead of prohibitive, so before 99 in article 230.46 there was an outright prohibition to splicing service conductors, followed by a few exceptions. In 1999 IIRC things changed, allowing, but with provisions clamped or bolt, maintaining clearance, contained in enclosure or (if service lateral) underground using listed underground splice kits. Keep in mind service panels by 1999 had much more (required) room for wiring by then too.

    The splicing that as discussed in the Original Post, the rerouting/modification of the panel, and of course the "feeder" misnomer (bringing a host of other possibilities to mind from the "word picture"), make a LEGAL splicing within the limited space of even an unmodified old Murray Panel panel NO GOOD as not possible due to space/fill limitations.

    Despite the more current allowances for such a splice adequate room within the enclosed panel and maintaining the cables and the splice itself within the dedicated space and clear of the main and breakers just isn't possible in an old murray panel.

    Now with the benefit of the subsequent post by the original poster which includes the photo, that the "splice" and "space" issues make even by later editions, for this panel, NG; even if there were no other "issues' with the panel configuration (alteration) - there is just not sufficient room for a splice, and keeping the cables/wiring where they belong.
    Everyone is permitted their opinion and you talk a good argument. However, per NEC 312.8 - 'conductors, splices, and taps shall not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than 75% of the area of that space.'

    I don't believe this splice takes up more than 75% of the space in that area [it's almost impossible to install conductors taking up 75% of the area]. I wouldn't fail this for the splice, but for all the other reasons previously given.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: New main breaker under old main breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by dana1028 View Post
    Everyone is permitted their opinion and you talk a good argument. However, per NEC 312.8 - 'conductors, splices, and taps shall not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than 75% of the area of that space.'

    I don't believe this splice takes up more than 75% of the space in that area [it's almost impossible to install conductors taking up 75% of the area]. I wouldn't fail this for the splice, but for all the other reasons previously given.
    Not sure what part of H.G.'s post you are referring to, but I'm just checking to make sure you do not take the part you posted out of context. You are referring to the SECOND PART of a TWO PART paragraph, and the FIRST PART of that paragraph puts extreme limits "on what" is allowed to be included in the second part. The second sentence does not stand alone, it stands as clarification and limitation for the first sentence's limitations.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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