Power Upgrade #5: The Main Panel Setup

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Blog entry by Nate Meadows posted 03-31-2013 10:14 PM 1876 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Hand Trenching Part 5 of Power Upgrade series Part 6: Digging and more Digging »

I let the post cure of a few days before working on them. I needed to add the the cross members and supports before I could add the backboard. I used the Rockwell Sonicrafter Multi-tool to cut the mortises. I really love the Multi-tooll! The Sonicraft vibrates a bit more than I like but it has plenty of power. I don’t recommend the Rockwell blades as they go dull super fast. I find the blades from Imperial Blades ( to be the best.

Rockwell Sonicrafter 3

Rockwell Sonicrafter 2

Rockwell Sonicrafter 1


Mortise Cut 1

Mortise Cut 2

However, nothing beats good old fashioned tools and hard work. I used my coping saw to shape the pole side of the beams.



Despite the snow coming in, I was able to get the two back supports in and start working on the back board.

Vertical Support

I used Trex Composite Decking so that I would never have to come back and fix it in my life time; baring an act of God of course. Do things once, Do things right!


It is nice to have three drills. Once set up with the lags diameter bit, one set up with the counter sink diameter bit, and then the hammer driver drives home the lags!

First Board

Just Two


The snow shut me down for awhile. I was able to return after a few days.

Almost There

Once I got all the Trex up. I was able to mount the 400 Amp Main Panel and Meter.

400 Amp Panel with Meter

The Bird

Then I mounted the secondary 200 Amp Panel.

Secondary 200 Amp Panel

I should have been more patient though, as I had to move it once I started getting the conduit up.

200 Amp Move

More to follow…

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

9 comments so far

View lew's profile


12378 posts in 3926 days

#1 posted 03-31-2013 11:06 PM

I thought Pennsylvania weather was changeable!

Neat idea using the multi-tool for the mortises.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3276 days

#2 posted 03-31-2013 11:26 PM

You are reminding me why I still have inadequate power to my shop. That is a lot of time and money!! Enjoy the power!

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3891 days

#3 posted 04-01-2013 12:33 AM

You won’t run low on power with 400amps! Good luck.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Bob817's profile


673 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 04-01-2013 01:05 AM

Nice peice of land you got there Nate, Beautiful veiw of the mountains.

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3474 days

#5 posted 04-01-2013 02:05 AM

gee nate, what a lazy bum…only 100 feet to do and then set a whimpy little panel…man …some folks got it made in the shade…lol…i sure am glad your getting this done and over with, when i did my shop i put in 200 amps…so im set…and here is one last thing im grateful for…NO DIGGING…i did none….these folks here at alabama power ran the power to the shop…no problem…well i hope to start seeing some pictures from inside the shop…like that BEAUTIFUL FLOOR ….. YEA..THE FLOOR…............and i know you will be happy to be back on it also…great job here nate…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3958 days

#6 posted 04-01-2013 11:41 AM

Nice job! Looks 1st rate.

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2378 days

#7 posted 04-01-2013 01:39 PM

Thank you everyone for you kind support and encouragement! It has been a huge project and there is still so much to do, so I will not be bored for the next few weeks:). I will keep you all posted. Yes, the boys will be helping and have good stories to tell and yes, I am itching to get back to the floor for sure!

You guys are great!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View stefang's profile


16058 posts in 3505 days

#8 posted 04-01-2013 07:44 PM

The multitool did a great job and your installation looks really good. I am wondering why it is not inside a building for weather protection. I’m sure you know what you are doing and that it has been done the right way. I’m just curious.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2378 days

#9 posted 04-03-2013 12:24 AM

Thanks Stefang, The panel often go outside around here; either on the pole or against the building. The house panel itself is inside the house, same with the shop panel. These are just the mains. They are weather proof and built just for this purpose.


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

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