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Discussion Starter #1
I spent some time correcting a problem with my ATS, utility panel and sub panel.
I had installed the panels side by side and used the correct size pipes to connect the panels.
ATS right, Utility middle and sub left.
Well, I was pondering the install and wanted to change the wiring to up the amperage to 100 amps from 60 on the ATS.
The ATS is rated for 100 amps.
Going from #6 to #2 requires larger conduit.
The reason for the change was I wanted to use the 16 circuits in the ATS to make the system cleaner and get away from doubled up wires on the sub panel breakers.
OK, so I removed all of the smaller conduits and installed a 4x4x48 wire trough to accommodate the larger wires.
Everything went well.
I put 100 amps on the ATS, dropped the feed to the sub panel to 60 amps, and added the 30 amp AC to the 16 circuit ATS panel along with four circuits. No more doubled up wires on the sub.
So, now I have the sub panel that provides lighting, receptacles and the garage fed from a 60 amp breaker in the ATS. The AC is now on the ATS and I left the circuits that I did not wish to power up in the utility panel.
I estimate the full load to be no more than 30 amps with the exception of the AC start up.
There is no range, no dryer, no water heater, no washer and no microwave tied to the ATS.
I really wanted to put the electric hot water heater on the ATS panel, but I am hesitant to do so.
Now to the part that is bugging me.
Most all panels seem to locate the larger breakers at the top of the panel.
Well, I have the 100 amp breaker at the bottom of my utility panel.
I am concerned that any heat created by the 100 amp cannot be dissipated properly.
Moving the 100 amp to the top will require a new run of #2 THHN to only add 20 inches or so to move the breaker up.
I want advice on moving it from you guys.
 

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With only a few exceptions, in every electrical panel I have ever seen, the larger capacity breakers are always located at the top of the panel (nearest the main breaker or feed ends of the busses). I could not find anything in the NEC that dictated that the larger 240 loads should be located nearest to the feed ends of the busses. It would definitely be, "good practice" though, for the reason you stated.

If there is sufficient room inside your breaker box, you could just splice a couple of pieces of #2 THHN to the ends of your existing wires to get the extra length you need. Splicing wire that size is acceptable if it's properly done inside an approved enclosure. That's commonly done with split bolts and electrical tape.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
@ Motormonkey: I am sure heat is how panels are rated and having the bigger breakers closer to the main would possibly reduce the heat on the buss.
You are right on as to the split bolts. I dealt with 550 vac motor change out and we used three layers of varnish cambric due to the high voltage and insulating properties.
#2 THHN replacement does not cost that much and will give the job a cleaner look.
I wanted not only to clean up the install, but I am thinking ahead to replace the 16 KW with a 24 KW which will require only a new wire pull from the ATS to the generator. I have 1 1/2" conduit in place already.
Thanks for the (y) I will make the necessary changes.
Here is the system:
8309
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks exmar. I put that on my desktop.
 

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hey TL
one thing you can add to your tool box is a flir adapter for your phone.
click here for the test tools page the flir units are on the bottom of the page
the pro model is the best and has the most features.
there are also the stand alone units.
cool to look at the heat in an electrical panel when it is running!
and is a must have tool for finding overloads in a gen system!

we use them in the industrial setting for bad motors, electrical issues, and even on large switch gear.
there are larger way more expensive units for long distance work..
way out of the normal shop tools price range.
we also have one of those for working on the high kva switch gear.

electric box overloads cause fires in the home stuff as well..
so watch how much electrical you cram in a box..
it needs room to breath.
same on the metal boxes for inlets as well as outlets etc.

bigger is always better on the boxes too.

the flir is also a cool tool for engine exhaust temp...
nice for when you are doing work on building an stack extension for the gen exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
@iowagold: Checking the temps of electrical equipment is a good thought. I am glad you thought of it.
I probably would never need an expensive Flir unit, but that brings to mind something else: I have one of those hand held laser thermometers. You have my gears turning now. I am going to have to give that thermometer a try. I just found it. The thing of it is, the AC is off for the winter and there will be reduced usage of that item now, but I will surely take a look at it. Thanks!
OK, so my curiosity led me to take the thermometer and check the temperature.
Check 1: outside temp of the electrical boxes= 73.8 degrees F.
Check 2: The 100 amp breaker = 74 degrees F.
Check 3: The 60 amp breaker = 74 degrees F.
So, until I find an increase in the breaker temps, I will leave the breakers in their present positions.
 
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sounds like a plan!
yea if you get a chance to borrow an ir cam they are a cool tool!!

I always re torque the bolts and screws on the breakers every year or two.
and it is a good idea to inspect them as well if you are in a stormy area like we are here for lightning damage.
most of the time things settle down after a couple of years in the box if you are not changing or adding on.

mine is still a work in progress. so i am in and out of the box every few months.
I hope to be back in the box this next week with the water heater wiring.
doing 2 more 125 vac drops for the new NG water heater control.
one for the heater and the other for the recirc water pump.

the new breaker panel is on the main level of the house now with the new location.
so easy access for when to switch over to gen set!

yup glad you are watching close the update parts.
just think worst case scenario...
and pick the parts from there.
the over kill is a good thing!!
then you always have room for expansion.

so did you find a good gen set yet??
look at cat and cummins they both have real good gen sets in the mid range for NG, LP or diesel.
the city here went with CAT.
we have a large service center place that services them 80 miles away.
pretty cool.
the new units sure are quiet!

heck of it is the new gens now have wifi on them so if the internet is working the gen sets them selves can call the service center if they are in trouble! (grin)
it is cool as the run data is all there in the run logs for next service.
so if they get a large outage and run for days on end like this last aug 10 2020 Iowa storm event.
the service guys can put it in the rotation for service soon.

I wish cat or Honda would make a 25k inverter gen!!
I would buy one!
not that I need it for my location..
but to have one on a trailer for job sites would be cool!

post more pix when you get closer on your project!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You are right on the Honda. I would buy one just for the service and longevity I see them present.
 
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I’m pretty sure that that high amp breakers can be placed on any buss location. If you want to move the 60 to the top I’d just extend the #2 wires with some high quality splice connectors.

Morris Products Black Insulated 2 Conductor Splice Connector – 2-14 Wire Range, Slotted Allen Hex – 1.15”L x 1.5”W x 1.42”H – Dual Entry – Pre-Filled, Easy Entry, Rubber Vinyl Coating, 2 Set Screws Morris Products Black Insulated 2 Conductor Splice Connector – 2-14 Wire Range, Slotted Allen Hex – 1.15”L x 1.5”W x 1.42”H – Dual Entry – Pre-Filled, Easy Entry, Rubber Vinyl Coating, 2 Set Screws: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info dremerdp. I had looked at those prior, but the new wire is only 80 cents per foot. I only need 7' of new THHN per leg. $12.00 at most.
After Iowagold's suggestion to check temps, I plan to let it alone for a while.
 
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