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    New 200 amp service

    Asked Oct 29, 2006, 08:58 AM 21 Answers
    Upgrading to new 200 amp service. I have installed new 200amp /main lug/30 spaces /40 circuit/ Square d in house. I have ran #4/o al. with ground in 2 inch conduit, 24 inch below ground, to outside where new 200 amp serv. Disc. Will be. Ground is rocky with clay. I am worn out, used old pick and shovel method. The old 60 amp service disc. Did not have ground rod, and was not ground to water pipes (Pvc). The telephone and cable company did not bond to any ground either. I was told, I need to install (2) 8ft. Ground rods 8 ft. apart to get good ground because soil conditions.
    I also have shop, I would like to install a 100 amp panel in. The service disc. Is in between the house and shop. The question is does anybody make a service disc. With an 200amp and a 100 amp disc together in one unit or do I have to have to separate panels, or is this even possible with out running it to the house panel first. I know how to run sub panel, I just don't want run the extra wire 120ft. From the house back past the service disc to the shop, when I could only run 60ft. To shop. Shop will have 50 amp welder, 30 amp heater, 20 amp air compressor, 20 amp air conditioner, 15 amp lighting, 20 amp various outlets for other tools. They will not be running all the time. Any help would be greatly appreiated. Thanks, Chris

    Last edited by Chris G; Oct 29, 2006 at 09:11 AM.
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #2

    Oct 29, 2006, 10:29 AM
    I suggest that you use a 320 amp meter, something along similar to the photo, that can be found on page 46 of the Milbank catalog:
    http://www.milbankmfg.com/Products/C...%2008%2097.pdf

    Best to check with your utility to see what kinds of meters they allow. I doubt any utility or local inspector will allow a 200 amp meter to feed directly from the meter with a 200 and a 100 at the meter. Possibly a 150 and a 50 or 60. But meters with two 2-pole breaker slots are available.

    As you know already, you can go to the house with 200 and then to the workshop with a 100, but I understand the extra wire and labor you will need.

    Doing it my way means that the entire incoing service has to handle 300 amps also, going from the house is only 200 amps load on the meter.

    NEC says to keep the rods at least 6 feet apart, 8 foot may be a local code, best to check. Ground all telephone,catv, metal house water line at least 5 foot in ground, any metal piping, and duct in house, check with local codes before grounding any fuel lines, and the neutral in the main disconnect to the rods with #4 copper wire. I never used or seen aluminum wire used for the grounding electrode conductor, too susceptible to corrosion.

    If the rods are hard to drive striaght you can go no more than 45 d angle, or you can lay them in a 2 foot deep trench, 6 feet apart, all connected together. Use acorn type ground rod connectors, they are rated direct bury.

    Was I seeing things? I thought I saw #2/0, now it's #4/0 use 4 wire URD cable #4/0, has a smaller neutral and ground.

    For such a short distance, keep with the #4/0 to the workshop to help with voltage drop from the motors starting,and if in the future if the shop is used more.

    Hope this helps.
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    Chris G's Avatar
    Chris G Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Oct 29, 2006, 01:54 PM
    Was I seeing things? I thought I saw #2/0, now it's #4/0 use 4 wire URD cable #4/0, has a smaller neutral and ground.
    By mistake I put down #2/0 , and then changed it # 4/0. I was think of the 100 amp service, I was going to run to the shop.

    Thanks for your help, it has point me in the right direction.

    I got one of the grounds in the ground about 5 ft. and hit solid rock and gave up for now. I know I can lay the ground rods in a trench 2 ft. deep. But don't they make some kind of tool for this kind of problem. Could I rent some type of hammer drill that would break through the rock? I finally know why there was no ground rod in the first place.
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #4

    Oct 29, 2006, 03:57 PM
    There are ground rod drivers, but they won't help drive the rod through solid rock.
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    Chris G's Avatar
    Chris G Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Oct 29, 2006, 04:09 PM
    Could I lay 1 of the ground rods in the bottom of the trench already dug for the service wire running to the house?
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #6

    Oct 30, 2006, 02:43 AM
    Sure, and if the trench is 22 feet long you can lay both. Keep the rod on one side of the trench and the wire on the other side, at least 12" apart.
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    bhayne's Avatar
    bhayne Posts: 339, Reputation: 4
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    #7

    Oct 30, 2006, 07:34 AM
    The connections to the ground rod must be accessible. Burying the ground rod in a trench without a means to inspect the connection is not acceptable.

    Perhaps you should look at ground plates and pour a concrete pad over the top.
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #8

    Oct 30, 2006, 10:57 AM
    Bhayne is incorrect, again, if this installation is in the US.

    Rods are allowed to be buried in a trench. Correction on my part thou, the trench needs to be 30 inch deep, not 24" deep, unless waived by local code due to local soil conditions. I am located in an area that has a great deal of bedrock close to the surface, and local and state inspectors allow 24 " trench, sometimes even 18" if bedrock is that close to surface, and soil is moist. May need to add supplemental rods to achieve the 25 ohm max resistance.

    Bhayne, please read Section 250.53 of the NEC, Grounding Electrode System Installation, or the appropriate Canadian code.

    The rods need to be inspected before burying, same as the conduit does, and if this location falls under NEC then the connection does not need to be accessible AFTER inspection.

    NEC actual states it the rod be driven AT LEAST eight feet deep. How is the rod driven 8ft and not bury the connection? If the connection is not buried then protect it from physical damage.

    This is the reason that certain ground clamps are rated for direct bury.

    Why would concrete encased ground plates be different than a driven rod? Still need to be inspected before BURYING and encasing the connections with concrete.

    Best advice anyone can get is to check with local codes.
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    bhayne's Avatar
    bhayne Posts: 339, Reputation: 4
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    #9

    Oct 30, 2006, 11:10 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by tkrussell
    Bhayne is incorrect, again, if this installation is in the US.

    The problem with electricians is they use the wrong tool for the job and when they are told the proper method, they use the code to think instead of their brain.

    Perhaps the NEC doesn't specify a need to inspect the ground rod connection but the CEC does. Have you ever wondered why people build ground rod inspection wells? No one's going to fail an inspection for using ground plates in rocky soil. However an inspector may look down at some DIY'er using ground rods (improperly) when the norm is to use a ground plate! I personally would fail an installation no matter who was involved and use the inability to inspect the ground connection as the reason.

    I won't even go there to explain euphur grounding techniques if you don't know already!
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #10

    Oct 30, 2006, 11:57 AM
    See, there is a difference between the CEC and the NEC, you only said CEC is the same as the NEC but in a different order, not I. I always did know the CEC is a bit more stringent in several aspects, but recently had your opinion to go by.

    And notice, I stated "if this installation is in the US."

    The norm is regional, plates are not used on the east coast of US, for residential. Large industrial installations use plates due to the size services, high voltages, and soil conditions. Maybe in other areas they are more prevalent.

    The NEC addresses several methods of grounding electrodes to cover the wide differences in soil conditions. Chris G has learned that rods are indigninous to his area, has asked about them, and he learned what he needed.

    By the way, never mentioned this, but I happen to be a State Certified Licensed Electrical Inspector issued to me by one of the most stringent states in the union, Connecticut.

    And what did they test me on for 8 hours? The National Electric Code. They did not just give this to me because of my charisma. Oh, and the two state licenses I was given, just do't understand it,I had to use the NEC.

    The "tool" you refer to is the "bible" in the industry in this area of New England. I hear it is used often elsewhere in the world also.

    So instead of noting that burying the connection is approved, which they
    Are, and simply offer the plates as an alternative, you skirt around that fact and attack the fact that I refer to a legal valid document, and that your way is the only way.

    I stand by my advice, that it is correct, is a practical method, is approved by all local inspectors here, that only use the NEC to "think".

    Your opinion of DIY'ers is already known, and that even if it something is done correctly, you will fail them, and not without payoff. DIY is here to stay, better to help them with the proper, published information, and not just opinion.
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    bhayne's Avatar
    bhayne Posts: 339, Reputation: 4
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    #11

    Oct 30, 2006, 12:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris G
    The question is does anybody make a service disc. with an 200amp and a 100 amp disc together in one unit or do I have to have to separate panels, or is this even possible with out running it to the house panel first.
    No, it is a violation to have 2 services from one utility connection. You must have a 1 main panel and a subpanel. The main panel must be as close as possible to the incoming service meter. Definitely not further away then the original installation.
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #12

    Oct 30, 2006, 12:50 PM
    Wrong...

    Quote Originally Posted by bhayne
    No, it is a violation to have 2 services from one utility connection.
    Multi-dwelling apartment buildings, for example have more than one service from one utility connection. Large retail strip buildings have multiple services off one utility connection.

    One Main Disconnect=one service. Once the power goes through a utility meter, and a Main Disconnect, this is called a Service, and you can utilize and distribute the power as needed, providing the wiring is all done safely.

    Large homes, offices, farms, etc have multiple buildings off one utility meter.


    This is why the meter/disconnect I provided is made, and used. Many times a home that needs a 400 amp service, a meter that has two-200 amp disconnects built-in, each one is used to feed two 200 amp panels, anywhere they are needed in the home.


    Quote Originally Posted by bhayne
    You must have a 1 main panel and a subpanel.
    Never heard of this. I just gave a popular solution above when two large panels are needed.


    Quote Originally Posted by bhayne
    The main panel must be as close as possible to the incoming service meter.
    The Main Service Disconnecting Means, not the main panel, needs to be outdoors, OR as close to the meter as possible if the disconnect is inside.

    Not the main panel.

    With an exterior meter that contains the Main Disconnects builtin, two requirements are met, when only one is necessary.
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    bhayne's Avatar
    bhayne Posts: 339, Reputation: 4
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    #13

    Oct 30, 2006, 01:13 PM
    One utility connection = one service. I am responding to your question not TK's answer. Of course you can go from a 60A customer service to a 400A customer service with much $$$ but that is not your question.

    If you put a 400A customer service for a 200A supply service, no one will connect you up! You must first check with the utility to determine if a 400A supply service is available (400A services are rare for residential).
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #14

    Oct 30, 2006, 01:40 PM
    The personal attack is not necessary nor welcomed.

    But not surprising, since I offer facts, and receive no valid rebuttal other than additional bad advice, false facts, no referral to real data.

    I use facts, and years of suscessful experience, not opinion.

    Since brains has come into the discussion, where did Chris mention, or I for that matter, anything about:

    If you put a 400A disconnect for a 200A service, no one will connect you up!!


    I stated:

    a 400 amp service, a meter that has two-200 amp disconnects built-in, each one is used to feed two 200 amp panels,

    Perhaps a little more reading and better understanding of the topic will prevent the poor or inaccurate advice from being given.
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    Chris G's Avatar
    Chris G Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Oct 31, 2006, 12:40 AM
    I checked with an electrician, That was at one of my job sites today. He said it was fine to lay them in the open ditch, and add the second rod in parallel more than six feet from the first and connect to panel. He said I could put some grounding cement in, but that probably would be over kill. He said I should be able to get below 25 ohms easy with 2 ground rods. He Also said, I did not have to have an inspection, because I live in the county, not the city. He said when the electric company comes out to change the drop, if it was not done right they would not hook up the new line. I was going to encase the pvc conduit in concrete anyway so nobody could cut the line later. Next summer I am planning to do some landscaping with dozer and backhoe.
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    andrewcocke's Avatar
    andrewcocke Posts: 439, Reputation: 22
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    #16

    Oct 31, 2006, 04:30 PM
    He Also said, I did not have to have an inspection, because I live in the county, not the city
    The depends on where you live. It is always better to check with the county inspectors office.

    I know what your electriction is getting at, Ive been told the same thing, and all in all, its cool with me, it just saves money on a permit fee. Ive had various electrical work done over the years by a professional, county and town ordinance states that ANY work performed on electrical requirs a permit and an inspection. Its actually a state law, but the county enforces it.

    Of course Im talking about Virginia, your state may vary. And of course, I would have no idea how to obtain a permit, I never have gotten one. Use your own descression. I would almost bet you that your state/county requires the same, if nothing else because it gives them revenue.
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    Chris G's Avatar
    Chris G Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #17

    Oct 31, 2006, 07:10 PM
    To get everybody up date, I did find a panel made by Square D Homeline 200amp Combination Service Entrance Device - Outdoors 8 spaces/ 16 Circuits. Of course it is not going to give me more than 200 amps, but it allow me to run the ac/ heat pump, Transfer switch for generator, lights and outlets for outside, etc. with out having to run them all the way back to the inside of house. I have decide , I'm probably am going to just set another meter and have it billed to my business, then I can write it off on may taxes.

    An interesting thing happen today, one of my customers kitchen caught on fire and he is an electrician. He gave me the name of the person that works for the power company that will do the inspection, before they send somebody out to change over service. The electrician said he would come over and make sure everything is done right so I would pass. He gave me his business card and told me to show it to the inspector and tell him he did the work for me. He said he has many dealing with the inspector and everything should be fine.
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    Chris G's Avatar
    Chris G Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #18

    Nov 1, 2006, 01:25 AM
    Thanks for everybody's input, it helped push me in the right direction and gave me a lot to think about to make sure my service is up to code.
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    Chris G's Avatar
    Chris G Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #19

    Nov 1, 2006, 01:57 AM
    One other thing the electrician told me, was the fee for just the hook up is $300.00 plus the footage from the utility pole to the Service disconect. He said it might be cheaper since I am doing most of everything myself.
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    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,638, Reputation: 722
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    #20

    Nov 1, 2006, 02:34 AM
    Most utilities charge fees or installation costs, due to deregulation, to connect services. They also have their requirements published showing what meter sockets are approved for their system, how trenches need to be done, size of conduits and cable, and inspection procedures.

    In rural areas, or those that don't have local inspectors, utilities are allowed by the higher authority , usually the state, to inspect services before they connect.

    Anyone considering installing a new or replacement electric service should always check with the local utility and loacl inspection agency to learn what is allowed.
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