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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > 30 amp breaker help
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
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Default 30 amp breaker help

So I currently brew at my parents house because my condo is just too small to store everything in.

I'm going electric and decided to kill two birds with one stone. Get a 240 outlet to my dads garage for his air compressor and a few tools and also have a place for me to plug in for my brewing.

Its an old house so I started inspecting the wiring situation. The panel for the house is ancient! The 240 outlets are all 3 wire 2 hots and 1 neutral. He got his service upgraded a while back so he could put in central air.

Here's a pic of the main I took last night.

forumrunner_20130424_113535.png

Sssoooo we appear to be full. I know there's some serious electrical gurus on this forum so I'm wondering what my options might be here.

Thanks

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Old 04-24-2013, 06:49 PM   #2
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The 100 is the house, that slim 20 is a 120 outlet right below the panel for outdoor use and the 30 is for the AC.

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
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Warning - this is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, and I'm not an electrician, but I have done quite a bit of wiring. It looks like one solution would be to put a sub-panel next to the main panel. Then you could add some additional circuits. Keep in mind that you will quickly overload the capacity of the system if you are brewing, running the A/C and your dad is running his compressor and power saw. I attached a quick sketch of what I was thinking.

File Type: pdf Sub-panel.pdf (92.3 KB, 63 views)
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:04 AM   #4
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Theres only 3 circuits for the whole house?

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:12 AM   #5
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Surely there is a 100amp breaker panel somewhere in the house with multiple circuits.

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:26 AM   #6
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That panel is no where its current limit. It looks like the 100 amp breaker is feeding something substantial outside of it though.

It looks as though it is the main panel, maybe the situation is the main is on a detached garage with a few small circuits, then the 100 amp breaker feeds a larger sub panel at the actual house.

I think more information is required to answer propperly buddy. Sorry, I am an eleceician and would like to give you answer, but I am almost certain there is more this electrical puzzel

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:52 AM   #7
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I agree with prandlesc, adding a separate panel is quite easy, but yes dangerous if you don't know what your doing.

What I can tell you is the box in your pic has neutral ground. Notice the white wires and the ground wires attached to the same bar? This is good because two prong appliances can be used and are safely grounded through the neutral wire. You can get a 3 or 4 switch panel for around 50-60 bux. I won't have the 100 amp main, but you dont need it. It is simple, turn the 100 amp main OFF!!! Make sure it is OFF by looking around the house for the dead lights and appliances. Where ever you mount the auxiliary panel, buy enough "jumper wire" to reach from box to box and leave enough extra to work with in both boxes. Make sure you use the same gauge wire that is coming out of the 100 amp main. Just by looking at what you have, it looks likes two of the fat wires should fit in the same terminal. Run your jumpers from both 100 amp terminals to your new box, and run the neutral from box to box. Your new box will have large terminals for the input and then run your wiring from your appliances to your new box and hook them up. The jumper wire you find available may not be 2black/1white, it may be black/red/green/bare etc... it doesnt matter. Keep yourself color coordinated though, White should always be used as neutral, green or bare as ground, and red/black as L1 and L2. Seeing how your allready neutral ground, all you need to worry about is white, black/black, or white, black/red. If all you can find has black/red, it's ok... L1 and L2 are interchangeable. Be sure to give your wires a little tug to make sure they are in the terminals securely, especially where two wires go into 1 terminal. The screw may feel tight, but the wire may not be secure, check it! As long as it doesn't pull out with minimal force it'll be ok. As far as overloading the system, that's what the circuit breakers are for. The ac is running through the 30 which won't be effected by your addition. Any added load will only be running through the 100 amp switch.

MOST IMPORTANT NOTE!!! Even if you turn off all 3 switches...those large silver bars in the top of the box, and the 2 large allen head screws in the top left side of the box CAN KILL YOU (if the main power at the pole is not cut)!!!

White is safe, black kills. just knowing this simple rule can save lives and before you know it, after a little experience, you'll be wiring stuff up without turning anything off!

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Old 04-25-2013, 03:49 AM   #8
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I'm at work right now but later tonight or maybe tomorrow ill try to explain the situation better. Ill try and snap a few more pics...seems like a pic would do better at explaining than me anyways .

Thanks guys I appreciate the help

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Old 04-25-2013, 03:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_Baggins View Post
...What I can tell you is the box in your pic has neutral ground. Notice the white wires and the ground wires attached to the same bar? This is good because two prong appliances can be used and are safely grounded through the neutral wire.....
Neutral (grounded conductor) and Ground (grounding conductor)are connected at the main panel and NOT connected at any subpanels by code. The second statement is nonsense, IMO.

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... I won't have the 100 amp main, but you dont need it.....
?????? Isn't it obvious that 100amp breaker feeds a subpanel that services the rest of the house? Of course he needs it.

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...... Just by looking at what you have, it looks likes two of the fat wires should fit in the same terminal. Run your jumpers from both 100 amp terminals to your new box, and run the neutral from box to box......
That would not only be against NEC code but would be dangerous. Feeding two sub-panels with one breaker is a BAD idea.

IMO, the cleanest solution would be to add a sub-panel next to the one in the photo, like prandlesc recommended. Move the existing 20A/120V and 30A/240V circuits to the new sub-panel and install a new breaker in the main panel to feed that new sub-panel.
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:09 AM   #10
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I am in 100% agreement with raouliii

The only reason I asked for more information beyond that is I would like to see the sub panel that I assuming the 100 amp breaker feeds. Just so I can do some quick load calcs.

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