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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a homeowner who will be using a licensed electrician to do the followig work, co-ordinate with electric service provider, and get permits, when the time comes. Right now, I am trying to cost out alternatives.

I have an 26 year old 200A GE main breaker box (photo 1) with no main cut off switch (which is not up to code, but was when it was installed. Leaving that to my electrician). The meter is immediately to the right side of this box.
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Alternative (1) buy a new 200A cutoff, have it installed along with an interlock. Second alternative to be discussed later. Electronic engineering Electrical wiring Electricity Gas Electronic component


The knockout in the safety panel is vertical, and is for a screw on (not push-in) breaker switch. I believe the correct part # to be TQD22200X2 taken from the label in the box (photo 2). If I have taken the wrong part #, pls advise.

From the info given, does this switch appear to be the correct one?
https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-1-in-Main-Breaker-Kit/50253107

My concern is that the link doesn't mention the part #, but came up with part # as search term and looks to me approximately the right one. But as a layman, would like someone knowledgeable to confirm please. Advance thanks


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snap another picture with a wider view to show all of the electrical going on at that location.
they show the exact 200 amp breaker to use with this panel.
you will also need a set of ground stakes as well.
depending on your location and how damp the soil is.
we use a rule here of 50 amps per stake or 4 ground stakes driven in a row by this panel
and a min of 2 gauge copper from the ground stakes to a ground stake buss bar on the side of the house then
a 1/0 copper up to the breaker panel for the ground.

i would also add a whole house surge protection as well.
you will need some fancy breakers or just set a new 40 space panel
that will use the old breakers.
the heck of it is some times with the sales you can get the whole panel kit for the price
of a main breaker and a couple of other breakers.

that would leave you extra room to do a few things as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
snap another picture with a wider view to show all of the electrical going on at that location.
they show the exact 200 amp breaker to use with this panel.
you will also need a set of ground stakes as well.
depending on your location and how damp the soil is.
we use a rule here of 50 amps per stake or 4 ground stakes driven in a row by this panel
and a min of 2 gauge copper from the ground stakes to a ground stake buss bar on the side of the house then
a 1/0 copper up to the breaker panel for the ground.

i would also add a whole house surge protection as well.
you will need some fancy breakers or just set a new 40 space panel
that will use the old breakers.
the heck of it is some times with the sales you can get the whole panel kit for the price
of a main breaker and a couple of other breakers.

that would leave you extra room to do a few things as well.
Paul, thanks for yours. The 200A box is grounded now, so why new stakes? Not arguing, just want to learn.
 

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Honestly, the best move is a new 200amp ~40 space main breaker panel, With a factory listed interlock.

The link is a main breaker for a different line of panel. Power mark gold vs power mark plus. Does your panel cover have a knockout for a main breaker? Is it oriented the same way as the one in the link?

The label on you panel has optional mainbreaker part numbers listed, it’s difficult to see In the picture.

I don’t know if you have consulted an electrician yet, but I’m guarantee they suggest replacing the panel.
 

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Paul, thanks for yours. The 200A box is grounded now, so why new stakes? Not arguing, just want to learn.
ahh i did catch the ground wires in the pix.
i would update them with the 4 stakes as it works better.
think lightning as well as HDuty ground reference.

dryer earth need a better path.
and the 4 stake with heavy wire helps with the better path.

i like to build it once and over build it so it will last several life times.

so is there a main breaker up stream?
like on the meter panel?
no mains breaker is a BIG violation in any state.
kinda surprised the utility even set a meter!
most will not if it is visible from the outside of the house like this one.
 

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Agree with replacing with a 200A, 40 space panel and interlock. As with a lot of things when you start trying to add to existing, paying labor, it's almost always best to just bite the bullet, and do it right. If selling your home is remotely in your future, potential buyers are used to seeing the clean integrated panel, additional room for expansion is a plus. Also, as mentioned, if you're going to have a generator, the interlock kits are designed for a particular manufacturer's panel, not something cobbled together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here is a photo of the area of the main panel.

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You can see the existing circuits in this panel (bottom right "GFI..." is no longer used and will be removed, and upper left (irrigation)) are the only 120V. For info, unlabeled bottom left is cooktop. So we are talking about moving 8 circuits to the new panel, and adding one for the interlock.
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so replacing this with a new GE panel with single cutoff will run about $175 +/- for the box, plus cost of interlock ($75 +/-), and labor. Anyone hazard a guess as to the "direct" (i.e., not including getting permit) hours involved?

P.S. How do I just post a thumbnail only and not a full image?
 

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i bet if they were a pro at least 4 hours for a panel swap.

pretty funky box setup.
mix of styles of breakers on the left to right side.

and wow on the no main!
care full open up the box and show the wiring please.

unless there is a hidden breaker in the meter socket panel behind the cover..
wow for sure...
how did that pass inspection???
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Original box was within the rule of 6 which was the rule here in 1994. As stated in the OP, we are not compliant at this moment, but the electricain will bring us in. Photo of the interior also in the OP
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MAYBE found the main cutoff switch! The part # on the label inside the breaker box cover is TQD22200X2, which I gave to the electrical parts supply house. They said they have it, so I bought it, but upon closer examination the part # on the switch is TQD22200. Is the X2 important, and the switch I got
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different from the one I need?

Reason for asking is that it looks like it will fit in the space, but also looks like maybe the location of the (single) mounting screw will put it slightly off center so that the breaker toggle might not fit into the knockout opening. There is no way for me to find out other than having the electricity turned off and the existing two main black wires removed from their lugs, the lugs removed and the switch mounted with the existing screw, removing out the knockout plate from the safety cover, and seeing if the safety cover will go on with the cutoff in the right place.

I am attaching closeup photos of the area in question and the cutoff for your convenience.

Any thoughts you have will be most welcome.
 

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If you want to check that you’re ordering the right parts give ABB a call for their technical support. They own the GE brand for load centers. I had a question on a specific breaker a while back and their tech support was pretty helpful.
Personally. Id change the panel. Seeing as you’re getting an electrician in anyway the incremental might be worth it.
 

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As long as the panel has divots in the right spots for the screws that will fasten the breaker down in the right spot… seems fine. This is assuming you found a interlock designed for that panel in main breaker configuration.

How much was that 200amp breaker?
 

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macdenewf The quotes for a new panel vs using the existing run $1500-2000 higher. Surprised me. Thanks for the tip on ABB

iowagold Switch was $180 + tax. Haven't found an interlock yet. Know any specialists?
Generatorinterlock.com. send them a pic and some measurements and they’ll tell
You which one you need. And of course they sell them there too. Also reasonably Priced.
 

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macdenewf The quotes for a new panel vs using the existing run $1500-2000 higher. Surprised me. Thanks for the tip on ABB

iowagold Switch was $180 + tax. Haven't found an interlock yet. Know any specialists?
Do you live in an area that allows you to pull a home owners permit for any electrical work?
I would never suggest anyone do any work they are not comfortable with for safety or quality…but that’s about an easy a change of a main panel as you’re going to find.

A decent 200 amp outdoor rated panel – with the main breaker is 150 bucks as an example.
GE 200 Amp 32-Space 64-Circuit Main Breaker Outdoor Load Center Contractor Kit-TM3220R64K - The Home Depot

This kit has the panel, with the main breaker installed and 4 additional breakers that come with it…for 150 bucks. ( 3 x 20 Amp singe pole, 1 30 amp double pole)
The rest of the breakers you need for this are cheap. 20 amp single pole breakers sell for 5 bucks, double pole 50s sell fro 12 bucks….all in..you’re looking at 250 for the panel, another 100 for the extra breakers, and maybe 70 bucks for the interlock.

If you’re legally able to do the work yourself, for 350 you have a newer safer panel installed with the interlock.

The utility company would have to come out and remove the meter…..that way you’re working safely..and some times they charge a re install fee. But you’re likely going to be paying that anyway for your electrician to connect up the main breaker for you if you go that route.

Now before everyone goes off and says you cant do this…..just contact your city planning department and see what is permissible for a home owner and what is not. Every city is different. I’ve lived in areas where NO electrical work was permissible by the home owner ( all work had to be done by either licensed electricians or electrical apprentices under supervision of a master electrician ) to full wiring of a house under a home owners permit – subject to city planning department inspection..... to here in Houston where they honestly don’t have ANY rules. I kid you not. I contacted the Harris country planning department and asked a ton of specific questions about connecting portable generators up to and including installing a sub panel. No permit needed – no inspection needed. I honestly wish there were more regulations in Houston…but alas,,no

So this is not advice, and not advocating you attempt this yourself ( legal disclaimer) but if you did – have a look at the videos you can find on line to see how much skill / time is needed for such a job.



Cheers

 

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yup some areas of the country if the home owner lives at the location.

and have real good skills and knowledge, yes you can do it your self!

these days with diversion as a big issue the good old boy rules of snipping the tag and then calling the utility when you are done with repairs are not going to happen.....
unless you know a guy!
lol!

they will snip the triplex at the pole...
then you are on your own for power till the work is done.
but if you have a gen set you are covered for power if you have the basic connections on the gen set until you get the full interlock panel set.
then you can have them come back out and reconnect.
they have special testing gear to check for shorts before they set the meter to guard against flash over on meter reset.
they ask you have the main as tripped out or the new required disconnect tripped out.

local here if you have the skills and are "the guy" most utility guys know you already!
grin!

a bit of advice.....
if you are young...
take a few classes, and get in with a shop to work under them...
there is good money made in wiring and repair!
 
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