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  1. #1
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    Default 200 amp service conductors

    This is a 200 amp (main breaker rating) panel. There are 2 seperate service conductors from the meter. I pulled off the elbow cover on the exterior to make sure these wires ran to the meter. I am assuming this is wrong, (along with other things in this panel) and am looking for confirmation.

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  2. #2
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Do all wires to the main disconnect come fromthe meter or is it tapped and going somewhere else? If it is a tap, the single SEC is not rated for the current and is wrong.
    If they are "paired" sec's they are still wrong. I don't know why they didn't use a single conductor. The lug on the main is not designed for multiple conductors, plus I am not sure that the combination of those conductors would even be large enough to carry 200 amps.

    This setup has "homeowner installation" written all over it. Refer it to a licensed electrician.

    I see the ground attached to the neutral lug, which is much to large for that size of conductor, but I do not see a neutral present. Where is the neutral?????

    There are also doubled neutrals and ground conductors attached to the bus bars. With the availability of other lugs, I don't know why they would double them up.




    Can't wait to see what the others have to say about this!!!!!!

    Last edited by Jon Randolph; 03-29-2008 at 04:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    ...There are also doubled neutrals...With the availability of other lugs, I don't know why they would double them up.
    Around here, the answer to that is: because everyone else does. It is literally almost universal. It's a default comment in my reports because to not find it is extremely rare.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    I would write this up as a double tap on the main lugs. A 200 Amp service needs a 2/0 Copper or a 4/0 Aluminum.

    Mike Tracy


  5. #5
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Tracy View Post
    I would write this up as a double tap on the main lugs.
    That is exactly what is shown - "multiple tapped".

    A 200 Amp service needs a 2/0 Copper or a 4/0 Aluminum.
    Sort of ... you could use "conductors in parallel" ... you are allowed to use conductors 1/0 and larger in parallel provided the terminal is also rated for two conductors (I seriously doubt that terminal is).

    2 - 1/0 copper conductors in parallel would give 350 amps.

    HOWEVER ... those conductors are smaller than 1/0, and are therefore *NOT ALLOWED* to be used in parallel.

    Problem is now twofold:

    1) conductors are multiple tapped

    2) conductors are two small to be used in parallel and are being used in parallel

    Solution - replace service entrance conductors with properly sized service entrance conductors.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    My ultimate recommendation was to replace the service conductors, I wanted to make sure I made the right call.

    Thank you for the responses.


  7. #7
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Still have to question - where is the neutral?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    Still have to question - where is the neutral?

    Excellent question ...

    I was "assuming" the neutral was outside the area in the photo and went to the bottom of the neutral terminal bar.

    If that ground is being used as the neutral, that would be a no-no.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Here is a second photo of the panel. I knew there were other issues, and called out for a licensed electrician to make repairs. I had not seen parallel conductors before, and wanted to make sure for my own education if they were correct or not.

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  10. #10
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    I'd write something like:

    Poorly configured panelboard: There are a lot of issues with the service entrance panelboard. Whoever wired it, apparently didn't have the proper sized service entrance conductors (SEC) and used doubled-up cable of a smaller diameter, connecting two conductors to terminals designed to accommodate only one conductor. No competent professional electrician would so such a thing. Besides the issue with the doubled-up SEC, the rest of the wiring in the panel has multiple violations of the electrical code and all the earmarks of having been wired by a do-it-yourselfer. In short, the panel is a mess. Have a competent licensed electrician - not the person that installed this mess - correct it as necessary.

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike


  11. #11
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    I'd write something like:

    Service entrance conductors of the size installed are not allowed to be installed in parallel, causing the service entrance conductors to be too small, and causing two conductors in terminals designed for singles conductors. The neutral conductor is also too small. (List everything you see in the panel.) Correct all of the above items, anything and everything else found to be incorrect, and anything done incorrectly by a *qualified* electrical contractor.

    Sometimes I added something to this effect: Using the same electrical contractor who wired this originally is self-defeating as they did not know, or did not care, enough to not do this incorrect and unsafe work the first time, expecting them to now know how to correct it is only asking for more of the same incorrect and unsafe work.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Hi,

    Yeah that's one approach. Personally, I try to avoid phrases like "in parallel" and "neutral conductors" because it confuses buyers. I think it's enough to point out the one single major issue that jumps right out at the buyer, the doubled up cables, explain why that's wrong, tell them it's slipshod work that they should get a competent guy out to fix it - not the person that did the jackleg work.

    When I write it up, I do the same thing - avoid technical jargon and use terminology that the buyer will instinctively understand to mean that the issue is not good.

    A "mess", "do-it-yourselfer work", "jury-rigged," and "jackleg work," are all very effective at ensuring the customer knows that things are dicked up. Once the pro reads the report and opens the panel, he'll understant the do-it-yourselfer criticism and see the 'other issues' immediately.

    Using strong terms to describe a host of issues in one component and then emphasizing that only a competent electrician should do the corrections can save you a lot of needless writing and doesn't leave much room for doubt in the buyer's mind that those are serious issues.

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike


  13. #13
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael P. O'Handley View Post
    A "mess", "do-it-yourselfer work", "jury-rigged," and "jackleg work," are all very effective at ensuring the customer knows that things are dicked up. Once the pro reads the report and opens the panel, he'll understant the do-it-yourselfer criticism and see the 'other issues' immediately.

    Where I've been inspecting before I retired, that would never fly as it is too vague and meaningless.

    What is a "mess" to one is not to another, same with the other phrases. List what is found wrong, does not take much to educate the client as to what is being stated, and then the electrician cannot come back and say 'What "mess", there is no "mess" in there.'

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Uh huh,

    Must be a regional thing. The clients and the electricians seem to get it here just fine. I think it's pretty hard for anyone to misunderstand what the terms "mess," "slipshod," "jackleg," "sloppy," "lousy," "jury-rigged," and "completely inadequate" mean.

    The shopping list will be meaningless. All buyer's care about is whether it's safe or not - most of the time they don't even care if it's neat, as long as the home won't burn down around them. If an electrician has to open it up anyway, pointing out the major issue and referring to the rest of it as a mess works just fine. The electricians here seem to understand it easily.

    "Mess" is a good word; it can refer to neatness or it can mean that whatever is being looked at is completely f****d up. When folks hire an inspector and an inspector looks at their panelboard and tells them that, "Things in here are a mess," they key in on one thing - they want the screwed up stuff straightened out stat. Folks don't want anything in the home they're buying to be a f****d up and they instinctively insist on getting whatever it is fixed immediately. In my experience, it's hard for reel-tours to argue with "mess" - at least when referring to an electrical panel.

    Works for me. In nearly 12 years, I've only had two calls from electricians or clients after an electrician didn't get it. Both involved spanking new installs where the electricians were simply upset that someone other than an electrician had criticized their work.

    To each his own, I guess.

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike


  15. #15
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    [quote=Michael P. O'Handley;38002]Works for me. In nearly 12 years,/quote]

    Good, the other worked for me for 16-17 years before I retired from home inspections, and worked for all the other inspectors I knew too.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  16. #16
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    That panel "ain't got no neutral".

    Looks like they are using that un-insulated ground as the neutral, which also leaves the panel ungrounded.

    Unless......

    They are using the paired #12 neutrals and grounds taped together as the neutral. Hard to tell from the photo.


    Either way it is WAY WRONG!!!!!!!


  17. #17
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
    Brandon Chew Guest

    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Here's my shot at writing up that panel:

    The wiring in the electrical panel has HACK JOB written all over it (photo 1). Multiple wiring and installation errors are present which result in an electrical system with increased risks of electrocution, damage to equipment from unstable voltage, or fire. Have a qualified electrician make all necessary and proper repairs to the service conductors, service equipment and panel wiring, and the grounding electrode system before you occupy the home.

    Was that non-threatening and non-alarmist enough?

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    Looks like they are using that un-insulated ground as the neutral,
    That is allowed under certain exceptions, and that meets those exceptions (for using a bare, uninsulated, neutral) ... that does not, however, meet the requirements for 'size of the neutral'.

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

  19. #19
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    If it did meet the sizing requirements, is it allowed to go un-insulated through metallic conduit?


  20. #20
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    If it did meet the sizing requirements, is it allowed to go un-insulated through metallic conduit?
    Yes. But only because it is service entrance where the neutral and ground are one and the same.

    Not allowed for feeders or branch circuits.

    From the 2008 NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - 230.41 Insulation of Service-Entrance Conductors.
    - - Service-entrance conductors entering or on the exterior of buildings or other structures shall be insulated.
    - - - Exception: A grounded conductor shall be permitted to be uninsulated as follows:
    - - - - (1) Bare copper used in a raceway or part of a service cable assembly.
    - - - - (2) Bare copper for direct burial where bare copper is judged to be suitable for the soil conditions.
    - - - - (3) Bare copper for direct burial without regard to soil conditions where part of a cable assembly identified for underground use.
    - - - - (4) Aluminum or copper-clad aluminum without individual insulation or covering where part of a cable assembly or identified for underground use in a raceway, or for direct burial.
    - - - - (5) Bare conductors used in an auxiliary gutter.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  21. #21
    Inspector 3500's Avatar
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    Default Re: 200 amp service conductors

    Don't forget to write up the box bond/equipment grounding screw is missing, or that the white wires on the 220v circuits needs to be black/red or other color and depending on what the 220v circuits are for, may be wired incorrectly.


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