Panel supply cable

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by The old college try, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    I'm getting ready to replace my panel in the near future and I have a few things I'm still trying to figure out. From the picture can anyone tell me if it's ok to have the supply cable sweep down like it currently does into the panel, or will it need to be protected in conduit or something? Same thing for the large cable (#6?) that runs down beside the panel and enters through the bottom. Any concerns?
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    26,614
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I am not sure about these days, but back in the "old days" if a wire could be damaged it had to be enclosed/protected somehow. That wiring job looks like "Topsy", it just grew and kept growing whenever a new wire was needed.
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    Land of Cheese
    I wouldn't feel real comfortable changing that water filter there either.
  4. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    Yeah, it's an 80 year old house, so it seems that every previous owner jacked things up more and more and time went on. I've had to fix alot of problems over the last 5 years.
  5. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    Well, I made a new discovery. I went out to look at the meter to see what size of conduit the cable is enclosed in. To my surprise, the cable down to the meter is in conduit, however the cable leading down from the meter along the exterior wall is not protected in conduit. It's exactly as seen in the picture, except one of the previous owners decided to paint over it. It just enters the house through a hole that's loaded with caulk. I guess I never really noticed since it's painted. Great.. there's another cost. Was this to code at some point?
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  6. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    WHY????
    Will the mean electricity jump out of the closed panel and sealed wiring, and grab you while you are all soaking wet from chaning a simple water filter?
  7. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Absolutely yes. In most areas this is perfectly FINE.

    If it is conduit on the top side is it a mast that goes through the roof?
  8. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    So, can I just leave it as is? Also if it's exposed on the outside where it can get hit by weed wackers and stuff, is it really that bad to have exposed in the house, or should I still try to enclose it?

    Yes. The conduit runs up through the soffit to a mast about 2 feet above the roof where it then goes to the pole.
  9. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Exposed SE cable is really common around here. On my house, it is exposed after the mast (mast to meter and meter to panel).
  10. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    If it is truly subject to physical damage it should be covered or sleeved. 90% of the time it is left exposed around here.



    This is a mast service. Then the metal conduit is not to protect the wire, it is for structural support of the overhead drop.
  11. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    Ok, well considering all that, do you suggest that I do anything with the cable, or just leave as is and run to the new panel?
  12. bsperr

    bsperr Member

    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Athens, GA
    You may want to check with your electrical inspector on how farthey'll allow you to run your service conductor into the home without over-current protection. You may have to install a disconnect outside if you don't already have one.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  13. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    ng
    Hmm. I suppose I'll have to make a list of questions for him. The panel is really only 3 feet from where it enters my house. Is that really a long distance compared to what would be 'typically' acceptable? If I end up running a new cable from the meter to go in through the top of the panel, would it be better to make the horizontal run along the inside or outside of the house. Secondly, is there an advantage to going with 2/0 copper over 4/0 aluminum? The price difference really isn't much for the 10 feet that I'll need... maybe $15 at most.
  14. bsperr

    bsperr Member

    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Athens, GA
    Hopefully your inspector will let you go three feet without overcurrent protection, but I think you should check just to be sure. My inspector interprets the "nearest the point of entry" language in the NEC to mean immediately, so we have to have a disconnect unless the meter pan and breaker panel are back-to-back, so that the service conductors are just in one stud bay. I used 4/0 AL SER for my service upgrade. I think that copper would be easier to work with, but the AL wasn't that bad
  15. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Not at all. Typically 5'-6' is the range of distance for this.
    Only about 10% of places require an outside disconnect, and this is typically in the southwest.
    It's worth asking I guess, but if there is not one now chances are you do not need to install one.
  16. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    So, Speedy, do you think that I can possibly just leave the supply cable as-is? Any suggestions to make it safer? I could add a clamp half way from the entrance to the panel just to provide more support for the cable. I removed that water filter today, so there's really no reason for anyone to be messing in that area on a regular basis. The only reason I could see myself even going near that cable would be to shut off a valve I just added for the outside faucet just above the cable on that stub (which is no longer a stub). I'm really starting to lean toward just leaving the supply cable as is and replacing only the panel since it's sized appropriately for 200 amp service and appears to be in good condition. Any thoughts or suggestions? I appreciate everyone's comments so far.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  17. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Putting a strap before the panel is a good idea. It will give it needed support and clean the area up a bit.

    If it is properly sized then why not just leave it? I see no reason not to.

    I am still curious as to why cacher_chick would be afraid to change the currently removed filter.
  18. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    I appreciate the advice.

    For some reason I was starting to think that aluminum would be more dangerous than copper for the supply, but it's been here this long without problems, and I'm sure there are thousands of houses served by aluminum that haven't had any problems.

    Yeah, I didn't remove that filter because of that. I actually have a second filter down the line and don't use the one I removed. I thought I'd just get the extra jewelery off of the water line and as you mentioned 'clean up the area'. I also avoided having to buy another 2 clamps and a foot of copper for bonding the water line at the filter. It's actually kind of funny. Someone went through the effort of running an extremely small gauge bonding wire across it, and bonded the water meter, but there's no ground wire from the panel to the water line. I don't get it.
  19. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,246
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I would not be afraid to change the old filter. I would prefer to have the filter in a location that would be really easy for someone to change given that not everyone has the same amount of common sense that you or I might have.
    I avoid working in a panel while standing in a puddle of water too. ;o)
  20. The old college try

    The old college try Engineering Technician

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    MO
    I called my inspector yesterday and he was great to talk to. He said that he generally goes by the '5 foot rule' so as long as i'm under 5 feet I'm good to go. I'm glad I talked to him, because he mentioned about water/drain pipes running over the panel, and I have a 2" drain from my kitchen sink that runs over the existing panel. Now I'm going to have to somehow re-route that pipe.
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