My little electrical project.

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Brokedoc

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#2
Holy crud. Do you have a commercial service? 400 amps is much more than typical residential service. And that isn’t a main breaker setup so I’m REALLY curious.

Are you trying to revive Frankenstein?

Ooooo .....

Are you wiring Tesla batteries for home power?
 

Love

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#4
Oh man! FOLLLWING for sure. Can't wait to see how this all turns out. Definitely looking forward to reading about this adventure you're undertaking.



(Side note: I can't disconnect this image from him yelling SHUT UP at kindergartners enough to believe he's actually yelling for MOAR POWA)
(Side side note: Why brain.... why? Why do I remember useless info such as scenes from Kindergarten Cop, or the theme song to Silver Spoons, yet I can't remember my 10th wedding anniversary)
(Final side note: My wife and I both forgot our 10th wedding anniversary so I'm in the clear)
 

thredge

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#5
I thought that would be a fun teaser.

It's all probably a lot less exciting than one might think.

First, the image is of our new meter socket. It has 2 dedicated disconnects for a 400 amp service. Now lets see if I can outline this as simply as possible:
  1. Currently have overhead lines wanted a buried service.
  2. Main panel got water into it that entered through our old overhead mast feed.
  3. Garage Currently had 30 Amps to it with no disconnect.
  4. Utility will cover burying the service if we increase the service size.
  5. Currently had a 200A service & next size up was 400A.
Soooooo.... we could either pay for the cost of 200+ ft of burying the lines, or cover the cost of the new meter socket and get a larger service. So, we opted for the increased service size. I believe it is going to cost less than burying the service would have in the end. There has been a couple of times in the process so far that I've gone, what did we do? Then I revisit the options and what we are getting for it and I'm OK again.

So the meter socket was one my father-in-law (my licensed electrician), found that lets us keep the 200A for the house, and the other 200A will be dedicated for the garage. I realize I won't need it for the Model 3 charging, but I assume in the future, car charging will only get faster. I will probably set up the charger to have a full 100A breaker though so I can set it for 80A and maybe charge a friends P100D at full speed some time. o_O Yes, overkill for the garage, but we will see where the future goes.
 
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thredge

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#6
Holy crud. Do you have a commercial service? 400 amps is much more than typical residential service. And that isn’t a main breaker setup so I’m REALLY curious.

Are you trying to revive Frankenstein?

Ooooo .....

Are you wiring Tesla batteries for home power?
As for the home batteries and solar, I was a little concerned breaking the service runs apart may cause issues with that, but my electrician seems to think it's no big deal and could wire it all in if we do get to do solar in the future. Unfortunately our house is a 2 story with 45 deg roofs and large trees blocking the garage and a lower roof on the house, so the google sun roof thing didn't know that it would be worth us doing solar. Will have to look into more seriously in the future though on options.
 

Benjamin Reed

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#7
We had a similar issue. There was a nick in our line under the driveway, probably from construction when the house was built 5 years ago. We lost a phase about a month and a half ago and are waiting for the electrician and the power company to get their ducks in a row so we can upgrade to 350 service.
 

thredge

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#8
LOL, well, failed our first inspection. Apparently even though we did exterior grounding rods, they also want us to ground the disconnects at the meter socket to our copper plumbing service entrance, and provide a grounding block for data services outside. So I guess the grounding to copper plumbing is a code requirement, although it's funny if you have plastic plumbing you just ignore it. For the data services grounding block (again, code I guess), its actually hilarious, our utility brings everything in with a fiber optic line, so good luck grounding to that. So basically we are being required to install something that will never get used.
 

thredge

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#9
OK, new lines run, and reinspected today. All passed. Getting scary, next up the utility contractor bores in some lines.
 

SalisburySam

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#10
Interesting experiences to be sure. I had similar. We bought our 1906 home 5 years ago and it had 200-amp service to it, with a lovely telephone pole in the middle of the back yard bringing power to the home. I can’t imagine what code permitted that but nonetheless it was there, looking like a high clothesline. The utility power pole was at one corner of our property so I wanted to yank the back yard pole and bury the cable. Had to do at my own expense, but did so anyway. Turns out it cost nothing more to upgrade to 400 amps other than the addition of a 2nd 200-amp load center outside. So we have 400 coming into the house and we buried (same ditch, separate conduit) a 100-amp line to a load center in our detached garage, primarily for future-proofing and my Nissan LEAF charging station (40 amps). For the amperage upgrade, the utility company had to upgrade their transformer on the pole at their costs so we have a new transformer out of the deal. All in, everything works well and we’ll have sufficient amperage for the foreseeable future. Given that we’re doing what we can to REDUCE our power requirements (oh yeah, except for the Model 3 of course), 400 amps should last.

Looked at Tesla’s solar tile roof to be available sometime next year, but can’t get approval through the historic commission. Maybe a Powerwall (or 4) in our future. We can add that on any wall not visible from the street.
 

thredge

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#11
As mentioned above, I'll look more seriously into the solar int he future, but powerwall isn't really a benefit to me. We have a really good utility coop where I am, but they don't have off peak rates for power, so power is the same price all the time. My understanding is our current $0.07 rate isn't a terrible rate in general though. Additionally last report we got, about 30% of our power was from wind and solar (very minuscule on the solar though).
 

Love

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#12
As mentioned above, I'll look more seriously into the solar int he future, but powerwall isn't really a benefit to me. We have a really good utility coop where I am, but they don't have off peak rates for power, so power is the same price all the time. My understanding is our current $0.07 rate isn't a terrible rate in general though. Additionally last report we got, about 30% of our power was from wind and solar (very minuscule on the solar though).
I thought I’d seen that we’re above 50% now in Iowa somewhere. Maybe that was all renewables ...or a projection for 2020? I’ll keep trying to find it. I did find as of 2017 we were at 37% wind.
https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=IA

Edit: I believe my figure of over 50% is from my specific energy supplier (MidAmerican Energy) which plans to provide 100% renewable energy from wind by late 2020! Exciting!
https://www.midamericanenergy.com/news-article.aspx?story=858
 

thredge

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#13
Well, small update. Got the cable for the Meter to the main panel in the house and got it all pulled in and terminated. Also have the new panel back fed from the existing panel so we can start moving circuits over and have a minimal amount of downtime on the circuits.

So the utility said the order for the work will probably take about 2 weeks for them to get out on site and start working, and sounded like the boring will take about a day, and then the cable installation will take about a day too.

So as soon as the utility gets the new feed in, we should be able to change everything over for the house.

This is kind of a fun experience as I'm getting to help with all this electrical work I've never done before.

I'll try to get some pictures up in the next week to make this more interesting for everyone. Just enjoying sharing the process though.

Garage work is going to be a little more difficult, it's detached so we have to run a conduit back outside and the pull is going to be pretty far. I think we were estimating about 100 ft as well as several bends to add more friction. Pushing wire into the house was 6 ft with 1 sweep, but it was getting snug in a 2 in, with 2x 3/0 and 1x 2/0, as well as a couple grounding wires to run from our plumbing to the meter, and back to the panel. Little nervous about that, but not the important part for getting the new service installed.
 

eprosenx

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#14
Well, small update. Got the cable for the Meter to the main panel in the house and got it all pulled in and terminated. Also have the new panel back fed from the existing panel so we can start moving circuits over and have a minimal amount of downtime on the circuits.

So the utility said the order for the work will probably take about 2 weeks for them to get out on site and start working, and sounded like the boring will take about a day, and then the cable installation will take about a day too.

So as soon as the utility gets the new feed in, we should be able to change everything over for the house.

This is kind of a fun experience as I'm getting to help with all this electrical work I've never done before.

I'll try to get some pictures up in the next week to make this more interesting for everyone. Just enjoying sharing the process though.

Garage work is going to be a little more difficult, it's detached so we have to run a conduit back outside and the pull is going to be pretty far. I think we were estimating about 100 ft as well as several bends to add more friction. Pushing wire into the house was 6 ft with 1 sweep, but it was getting snug in a 2 in, with 2x 3/0 and 1x 2/0, as well as a couple grounding wires to run from our plumbing to the meter, and back to the panel. Little nervous about that, but not the important part for getting the new service installed.
Hrm, how do you get away with running only 3/0 from the meter base into your old inside panel? Generally here we require 4/0 aluminum for a 200a service (and that is taking into account a code exception that lets you undersize the main feed if that single feed is for all loads within a residence - which your installation no longer complies with).

I guess to answer my own question, you must be using copper, and in that case 3/0 is legit since at the 75c rating it is good for 200a exactly.

Make sure that you disconnect the ground and neutral bus from each other in what used to be your main electrical panel once you have the new feed in place. Ground and neutral should only be tied together in *one* location and in your new setup that is the new panel with dual 200a feeds.

Sounds like an exciting upgrade though!
 

thredge

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#15
Hrm, how do you get away with running only 3/0 from the meter base into your old inside panel? Generally here we require 4/0 aluminum for a 200a service (and that is taking into account a code exception that lets you undersize the main feed if that single feed is for all loads within a residence - which your installation no longer complies with).

I guess to answer my own question, you must be using copper, and in that case 3/0 is legit since at the 75c rating it is good for 200a exactly.

Make sure that you disconnect the ground and neutral bus from each other in what used to be your main electrical panel once you have the new feed in place. Ground and neutral should only be tied together in *one* location and in your new setup that is the new panel with dual 200a feeds.

Sounds like an exciting upgrade though!
Yep, the electrical inspector let us know about that right away, that we have to have separate ground and neutral buses. Little more work, but got it done. I still think it's funny, because you do all that work to keep them disconnected, and then just connect them at the disconnect anyway.

For the wire size, yes it's copper. At least for that feed. Still not decided on what will probably be 100ft to the garage panel yet. My electrician is telling me to consider the aluminum for that. Will have to run a bigger conduit, but says it's more flexible for corners (even being larger), and much cheaper. The 4 conductor was like $4.xx per foot vs. the $3.xx per foot for a single 3/0 copper line. So for the 13 ft to the house, it was like $80 for the 2 live and 1 neutral. We also have to stuff the plumbing ground in there as it goes out that conduit and then comes back in the same way, just so those can all get connected at the meter socket.

I am getting kind of excited now, as putting in those feeders and getting them hooked up really felt like a major milestone.

Additionally I was doing a little eBay watching over the weekend and bought some guys Signature Wall Connector off of him. Paid a little more than I probably had too, but made him an offer and didn't have to wait a week for an auction to close to see if I could get one for $20 less or something. I thought I might vinyl wrap a standard wall connector a little down the road, as I had planned on putting in a 14-50 plug that would have been fine, and waited to spend the money on an actual wall connector. But there I go getting impatient. I had seen a video of the black one where you can't see the light bar unless it is on, and just looked really clean, so I caved.
 

thredge

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#16
Small delay on the electrical project. Just learned from the Utility that the City never contacted them to tell them the inspection for the socket passed, so the utility didn't put it on the schedule. So I patiently waited almost the 2 weeks they said it would probably be to start the work, and find out they are all just sitting around waiting. No one bothered to call to ask what was going on. My last conversation with the Utility was that the inspector told us the installation passed with the new grounding done, so he was going to get the installation scheduled. Never heard back from him that he didn't get approval from the inspector.

So still waiting to hear back from the inspector. The office staff said the last update was our first inspection where it failed due to the lack of plumbing ground. So once I get this cleared up, probably resetting another 2 week time period for the work.

In similar news though, I did get the wall connector mounted, as well as the garage electrical panel. Also have most of our original house panel circuits moved over to the new panel. Just left the AC, Stove, and Dryer on the main panel as we only have a 50A back-feed right now. Once we get the underground in back to the garage though, we will really be able to get going on the exciting stuff.
 

eprosenx

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#17
Small delay on the electrical project. Just learned from the Utility that the City never contacted them to tell them the inspection for the socket passed, so the utility didn't put it on the schedule. So I patiently waited almost the 2 weeks they said it would probably be to start the work, and find out they are all just sitting around waiting. No one bothered to call to ask what was going on. My last conversation with the Utility was that the inspector told us the installation passed with the new grounding done, so he was going to get the installation scheduled. Never heard back from him that he didn't get approval from the inspector.

So still waiting to hear back from the inspector. The office staff said the last update was our first inspection where it failed due to the lack of plumbing ground. So once I get this cleared up, probably resetting another 2 week time period for the work.

In similar news though, I did get the wall connector mounted, as well as the garage electrical panel. Also have most of our original house panel circuits moved over to the new panel. Just left the AC, Stove, and Dryer on the main panel as we only have a 50A back-feed right now. Once we get the underground in back to the garage though, we will really be able to get going on the exciting stuff.
Cool! Would love to see pictures when it is all said and done!
 

thredge

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#18
Cool! Would love to see pictures when it is all said and done!
Yeah, sorry I promised pictures, I need to get some of those up. Progress pictures are always fun too. Need to sort through all the ones I've taken and pair down though, so that is the main holdup on those.
 

thredge

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#19
OK, fair warning, will be going into a little detail on the project with progress photos, so hope some of you enjoy this. Don't mind the old house & garage in the background, yes they need some work, maybe this project will help me get motivated to keep working on the house. House was built over 100 years ago 1914, and garage was 1973 I believe.

[ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER]
I PRESENT SOME OF THIS IN AN INSTRUCTIONAL NATURE, BUT I'M NOT AN ELECTRICIAN, & DON'T KNOW THE CODES IN YOUR AREA, SO TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING. IF YOU DON'T KNOW, GO GET YOURSELF AN ELECTRICIAN!

OK, on with the fun...
 
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thredge

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#20
Original 200A electrical panel. A SquareD QO panel with 30 slots.
Little white box on the right is the fiber optic, with the larger white box that is kind of like a modem that converts the fiber optic to Ethernet for internet & Coax for TV.
Doorbell transformer on the left side.
Main feeder comes through the wall on the left above the dryer vent, from an overhead mast outside. Directly behind the panel is a 6 ft wide crawlspace that we are moving the new meter socket to on the outside (closer to the property line side of the house).


Closeup with the panel open, if you look close you can see the sheathing on the old aluminum feeder wire is getting pretty worn. On the outside of the house, it was warn enough to let water in, which actually made it through the meter socket and right into our electrical pane. Nothing blew, but it was pretty disconcerting to have water dripping out of your main panel. My electrician, also my father in law, who will be henceforth referred to as my electrician for simplicity sake, taped up the mast as best he could and added a drain line under the neutral terminal. That is the black tubing you can see just to the right of the main disconnect the runs around to the right side and out a hole in the bottom of the enclosure.


Closeup of our drain line. I was pretty proud of this to tell the truth. :D


Closeup of the drain line at the bottom exiting the enclosure, and rust from the water.
You can see my electrician labeling the connections in preparation for moving circuits and keeping track of them.


The Utility company was nice enough to come out and help move our fiber optic to a new temporary backup panel our electrician set up to the left our of the way. The new panel will go in to the right of the existing one.