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Please look at this subpanel! Need help!

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Forum topic by Bertha posted 1190 days ago 2552 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


1190 days ago

LJ’s, I’m not trying to start yet another electrical argument but I have a new saw that I can’t power up and my normal sparky is out of town. The responsibility is my own but I’d appreciate some help with this (I hope) simple problem.

Overall power: I have two power supplies going to my shop: 1) the one that was in place when I bought it (40A serving outlet boxes and lights) and 2) a second 60A service I had installed by a professional (three 20A circuits, one to my dust collector and lathe (110V) and one each to my tablesaw and bandsaw (240V).

The issues: When I had the 60A subpanel installed, I asked the electrician not to install the second 240V receptacle (for the bandsaw) because I wasn’t sure what kind of plug it would have. Per my request, he just coiled the wires in the box and placed a solid cover over it.

The development: I bought the bandsaw (another forum here) and wired it up and connected it to the receptacle. Dead. Popped the loadcenter cover & I see that the outlet is not connected to the breakers BUT all breakers seem to be occupied (?). I have a Fluke meter, a general knowledge, and a generator to light the shop when the power’s out.

Can anyone tell from these pictures what he did and how I connect the locking 240V to the breaker? I realize that this is the internet. I just want to have an idea before I call the electrician. Many thanks, my friends.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog


37 replies so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2275 days


#1 posted 1190 days ago

Cant help ya there, I am only a carpenter. :)

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


#2 posted 1190 days ago

Oh I see it Cessna! There’s a whole bay empty. However, I know the panel is rated for only 60A, I’m only using 40A, and all three 20A breakers look occupied! If one of the 20A were empty, It’d be a no-brainer. Thanks for looking!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Jack_T's profile

Jack_T

621 posts in 1634 days


#3 posted 1190 days ago

I agree, half full. I don’t think he put the breaker in the box yet.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1154 posts in 1462 days


#4 posted 1190 days ago

It is not uncommon for a panel to contain breakers who’s total rated load exceeds the rating of the panel. You need a double pole breaker rated for 20A each side to connect the 220v recepticle. A qualified electrician will have no problem handling the job.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Luke's profile

Luke

536 posts in 1896 days


#5 posted 1190 days ago

First off any info I give you is coming from an amature and I make no claims to knowing loads about the way electrical works. I have connected and serviced my own electrical for years and years and use extreme safety when doing so.

Looks like you have an unconnected line up top that is yellow and another on the bottom. Also it looks like your breakers are all used. If your bandsaw is to be 220 then you need a double pole breaker of an amperage that will not pop it. Your manual should say what you need minimum. I would think you wouldn’t need anything larger than a 20 amp double pole but I’d have to know how much your bandsaw draws. This is actually pretty simple just make SURE that the power to this box is completely OFF before you touch anything. DOn’t try to do this with it on. And by this I mean the power that is supplying this box not the power that is in this box. If you’re unsure then go to your main panel and shut off the main Breaker which will shut off absolutely everything( unless your power is coming straight from a power line or something). Hopefully you know where this power is coming from. If not get and electrician out there.
If it is that black and red that are coming out of the bottom then you would connect one to one side of the double pole breaker and the other to the other side( it matters not which one to which one). It looks like he’s already connected the white/ ground to the grounding bar so you should be good to go once you do all that.

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View bubinga's profile

bubinga

861 posts in 1270 days


#6 posted 1190 days ago

It looks to me like you may have room for more breakers on the left side ,,the red and black wires hanging down, is a circuit that he left . Unhooked.
Electrician could fix you up in half an hour. I think !!!
Where have you been dude.?
Did you see my 1957 radial arm saw I picked up, and my blog ?

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Karson's profile

Karson

34861 posts in 3003 days


#7 posted 1190 days ago

It looks to me that whoever put in the circuit breakers didn’t do it right. They look like 110 Volt circuit breakers. One with the black wire and one with the red wire.

You need a circuit breaker the has a strap across the levers so that when it fails it will pop both sides of the line.

To me it looks like you have a sub panel that will only accept three breakers. 110 require one slot and 220 requires two slots, So you are full in my estimation.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


#8 posted 1190 days ago

You guys are stars. I’ve got to run but I will read everything in detail shortly. Thanks so much!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


#9 posted 1190 days ago

I have a 200A panel in my home and the total Amperage of the breakers adds up to 400 or something like that. I never really thought of it until you mentioned it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1688 days


#10 posted 1190 days ago

The reason the total amperage on your breakers exceeds the total amperage on the panel is that you
are never, unless you get overrun with kids, going to use all the electrical lines, breakers, or tools at once.
Just tell the electrician you are going to use the brand and type of your electrical panel and he can bring
the correct breaker and install it with no problem.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1154 posts in 1462 days


#11 posted 1190 days ago

Examining the panel photos closely:

1. Panel is an eight circuit panel. There is one more empty slot on the right bottom and four empty slots on the left.

2. The top two breakers appear to be connected to separate 110 v circuits. The red wire appears to be from the 12-2 cable in the front connector at the bottom and the black wire appears to be from the cable behind it.

3. The unconnected red/black wires on the bottom are for the 220v circuit I assume.

I would get a DIFFERENT qualified electrician to install the new 220v breaker. The reason I’d get a different electrician is that I see a white wire connected to red wire on the left hand side and I’m concerned about that circuit and would have the new electrician examine it and ensure it is safe and correctly wired. If it is he will use color coding tape to recode the white wire (white is for NEUTRAL) to an appropriate color for hot conductors.

Good Luck!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1525 days


#12 posted 1190 days ago

HerbC: I was looking at that red/white wire and wondering also.

-- Life is good.

View bubinga's profile

bubinga

861 posts in 1270 days


#13 posted 1190 days ago

HerbC I think you nailed it all on the head right there.
I did not see all that other stuff at first

Bertha
There shouldn’t be, just use any color wire anywhere, well I guess one can, but it’s not acceptable
Get a different guy this time

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Jack_T's profile

Jack_T

621 posts in 1634 days


#14 posted 1190 days ago

I agree with the above. In the third photo lower left do I also see a black and white splice? And is that black wire from the same source as the red and white splice or am I seeing things (been known to see things, especially after eating the worm).

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1296 days


#15 posted 1190 days ago

All above I had considered. It made no sense to me why I wasn’t seeing a double stacked breaker for the 240 with two hot wires coming from it. I expected to see either one (for the existing saw, expecting to add a second for my bandsaw) or two (expecting the second to await my bandsaw). It looks to me like he’s used two 110’s each with a hot to power a single 240 receptacle (the tablesaw). Thanks for all of this. This guy came recommended from work. I’ll get someone else out.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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