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Old 02-05-2013, 06:59 PM   #31
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First and foremost, electricity is dangerous. No need for me to reiterate it, though I just did. That said, I have seen licensed electricians - having an IQ that would rival a dolphin, or worse - quickly, efficiently, and safely install wiring, boxes, panels, etc. in residential and commercial buildings. In other words, it isn't rocket science, but you have to be properly trained and/or familiar with which you're working.

Unfortunately, forums such as these are not helpful when it comes to learning anything beyond the remedial basics of electricity. You get knee-jerk reactions from the "if you have to ask..." and the "OMG, electricity will kill you" crowds that don't care if you're an apprentice who is working towards getting licensed or a character from Idiocracy. Frankly, once you understand how electricity works, everything else is pretty much common sense, math, and the simple act of looking up tables/charts and local regulations.

That said, as it relates to the OP, my success story:

For my control panel, I utilized an existing, dedicated 240-30A circuit intended for an electric clothes dryer (I have gas appliances now, so the circuit wasn't used). Fortunately, everything in my house runs through conduit (Chicago, of course), so it was simply a matter of moving equipment around to give the proper clearance/access to the sub-panel, planning & calculating a few EMT bends, securing the conduit to the floor joists, torquing the j-box connections properly, inspecting the existing wire/connections, decommissioning the old receptacle, and re-routing that wire to the spa panel that feeds my control panel. So while I didn't have to play in the main panel, a seemingly mundane project did involve quite a bit of planning and leg work (no pun intended) to ensure it was done correctly, and more importantly, to code. I could have done a shoddy install myself in under 30 minutes, but the whole thing - including research - took me 5-6 hours, although an experienced electrician could have probably done it in an hour.



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Old 02-05-2013, 07:33 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by gtmaus View Post
As an electrician I do this everyday. It's not that big of a deal. Kill the main breaker, test to make sure it killed the power and don't touch the main feed coming in as it's still hot. Be careful and good luck with your project
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I am an electrician in the film industry. We tie in to breaker boxes all the time. Remember, amps kill not voltage. Plug in power in this order. Green(Ground), White(Neutral), Red, Blue, Black. Always end the sequence with your hot legs. Make sure you don't have a knee on the ground, make sure you are wearing rubber soled shoes, make sure your feet aren't wet. ETC, basically you don't want your body to complete the circuit. If you have any doubts, hire a professional, preferably an electrician who is in a union. Because if they aren't union, they are probably a hack.
All good advice.

Here's a pic of my succesfull panel job. I've been running it for over six months now without any issues (no popped breakers with 2 heaters sometimes running simultaniously). My furnace and hot water heater are gas fired. Make sure you know your whole house load.




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Old 02-05-2013, 07:44 PM   #33
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I am an electrician in the film industry. We tie in to breaker boxes all the time. Remember, amps kill not voltage. Plug in power in this order. Green(Ground), White(Neutral), Red, Blue, Black. Always end the sequence with your hot legs. Make sure you don't have a knee on the ground, make sure you are wearing rubber soled shoes, make sure your feet aren't wet. ETC, basically you don't want your body to complete the circuit. If you have any doubts, hire a professional, preferably an electrician who is in a union. Because if they aren't union, they are probably a hack.
Good advice about wearing rubber sole shoes. Not to mention not leaning up against anything metal.

Side story...saw an episode of This Old House where the electrician tied a new power line into the house, like 20ft up. The electrician connected the HOT 120v/240v line right to the outside of the house...while standing on a fiberglass ladder. Since he wasn't grounded he could do this safely.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:07 PM   #34
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I don't say don't do it yourself. Just wear the proper protective equipment. The basics being leather gloves, safety glasses and non conductive boot or shoes. It is important to buy rated shoes also just and rubber sole won't do.

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Old 02-05-2013, 10:20 PM   #35
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I don't say don't do it yourself. Just wear the proper protective equipment. The basics being leather gloves, safety glasses and non conductive boot or shoes. It is important to buy rated shoes also just and rubber sole won't do.
Red wing makes a nice pair of electrical hazard resistant, puncture resistant, steel toed boots. They're heavy as hell but keep the nails out of your feet and light stuff from crushing your toes. Worth the investment, especially if you're doing other renovations.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:53 PM   #36
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Remember, amps kill not voltage.
Well...yes, but it's not just that simple.

There must be sufficient voltage with respect to resistance in order for current to flow at dangerous levels.

A 1.5V D cell battery can generate lots of current in a short circuit situation, more than enough, technically, to be fatal except that 1.5V isn't enough to overcome your normal body/skin resistance as to facilitate meaningful current.

It is the mix of voltage and current that is really the issue. This is why touching the terminals of a 12V car battery is not fatal, even though a car battery can develop hunderds or thousands of amps in a short circuit, nor is a static electricity shock fatal even though it may be thousands or tens of thousands of volts.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:52 AM   #37
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I'm an electrician and even I dont like going in to live panels, unless I wired them from the beginning. Some guys just do crappy work and you never know what could come loose or where a wire is nicked.

Pertaining to this conversation, if youre careful enough and know what to touch and what not to, you should be fine. Take off your rings and watches and chains and keep a conscious mind as to what youre doing. You could always kill the main but do not pull the wires off the breaker, as suggested earlier. Those wires will still be live. No need to handle them.

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:43 PM   #38
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All good advice.

Here's a pic of my succesfull panel job. I've been running it for over six months now without any issues (no popped breakers with 2 heaters sometimes running simultaniously). My furnace and hot water heater are gas fired. Make sure you know your whole house load.
A word about this panel of yours.

I like that you have secondary surge suppression in there. Two installed, in fact. However, it's not installed properly and might not function when the time comes.

Those coiled white neutrals tied into the bus at the bottom need to be uncoiled and trimmed as short as possible while still connecting to that bus safely. Surges always take the path of least resistance to ground, and we want those neutrals to be that path. It would be a shame for a surge to go into the house searching and exit through electronics.

Or perhaps I'm just reading them wrong at 6 am with no glasses. But they sure look like secondary surges to me.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:09 PM   #39
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My neighbor is an electrician and he wired in the 30 amp 220 for my brew panel and a few other circuits as well. I decided I wanted a 30 amp GFCI breaker instead of the GFCI being on an inline cord or built into the control panel so, having had my neighbor showed me the ropes I wired it in hot. Pretty easy actually, but I would have never attempted it had I not had a professional electrician teach me how to do it in the first place.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:57 PM   #40
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... Pretty easy actually, but I would have never attempted it had I not had a professional electrician teach me how to do it in the first place.
Seems like thats how it is about a lot of things....seeing it done in person takes the mystery away and simplifies things. Your lucky you have a neighbor with this knowledge.


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