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Thread: What is a "rule of six" breaker box?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    Not surprising the inspector flagged it and the electrician wouldn't touch it. For some people, the fact that they are Pushmatics is wrong enough on its own, and needs no additional reason to require replacement. I might be one of those people
    I might be one too. Fortunately they are very rare around here.

  2. #17
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    This has been an interesting thread for me. Up here in the great white north there is no 'rule of six'. But houses used to have a 60A, 6 circuit panel with no main breaker. If the panel is full & you want to add circuits, you are out of luck because it is not permissible to feed a sub-panel from a service with no main breaker. You have to install a new service panel with a main breaker.

    Those panels probably haven't been installed here for about 60 years.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    This has been an interesting thread for me. Up here in the great white north there is no 'rule of six'. But houses used to have a 60A, 6 circuit panel with no main breaker. If the panel is full & you want to add circuits, you are out of luck because it is not permissible to feed a sub-panel from a service with no main breaker. You have to install a new service panel with a main breaker.

    Those panels probably haven't been installed here for about 60 years.
    I remember those old 60A six circuit boxes, with two sets of cartridge blocks and four plug fuses. I think there was some deal back in the day where they gave them out free with electric stoves, when electrics were starting to compete with gas. If you were lucky, they used one of the cartridge blocks as a main, but sometimes they got used for the pump instead. Equally frightening is the old SE cable feeding it and the type R wire with actual rubber and cloth insulation. Try and bend that without it crumbling.

    Interesting thread indeed. We covered Pushmatic, Federal Pacific, and 60A service panels. About all that is left to make the Sparkies shudder is knob and tube, 12ga AL wire, 2 prong duplex outlets, knife switches, and ungrounded romex

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    Equally frightening is the old SE cable feeding it and the type R wire with actual rubber and cloth insulation. Try and bend that without it crumbling.

    Interesting thread indeed. We covered Pushmatic, Federal Pacific, and 60A service panels. About all that is left to make the Sparkies shudder is knob and tube, 12ga AL wire, 2 prong duplex outlets, knife switches, and ungrounded romex
    Got the knob and tube covered here in New England.
    Hopefully it's all gone by now, but in the 80's, yep I'm that old, it was still alive and doing fine.
    Got the rest of it up here also.
    Basement can get pretty damn scary up here. Dirt floors, dry stacked stone wall foundations, standing water, and fuse boxes. Yeahhhhh Baby!!!!
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 01-24-2019 at 5:54 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  5. #20
    I just watched a show on TV where they found copper plated aluminum wire and it all had to be replaced. I had never heard of copper plated aluminum wire.

  6. #21
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    It was very limited in use. Like a lots of things on the “reality remodeling tv shows” a total rewire probably was not needed since there are much cheaper fixes.

    My favorite was good ole Chip Gaines “Fixer Upper” saying it would cost 1000 dollars to add GFCI outlets to a few outlets on a little house. They always have to have something unexpected on those shows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    I just watched a show on TV where they found copper plated aluminum wire and it all had to be replaced. I had never heard of copper plated aluminum wire.

  7. #22
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    ". . . saying it would cost 1000 dollars to add GFCI outlets to a few outlets on a little house. . . "

    I have had quotes of $250 per outlet to add GFCI, so maybe thats not out of line. Maybe it depends on how quickly you need to done.

  8. #23
    [QUOTE=Lee Schierer;2891258]I just watched a show on TV where they found copper plated aluminum wire and it all had to be replaced. I had never heard of copper plated aluminum wire.[/QUOTEt

    It's called copper clad aluminum, the ''economy'' of aluminum, with the ability to not have use CO/ALR rated devices, the stuff is not unsafe, I don't care for it, but it was a attempt to clear up some of the problems of aluminum branch circuit wiring, the other change was to go to aluminum alloys which all aluminum conductors used today are. The NEC still allows 10 & 12 AWG branch circuit wiring but nobody makes it anymore, even when copper Romex® prices were stupid expensive nobody dared make it, thank goodness. Wiring devices made for copper or aluminum under 30A are are marked "CO/ALR", 30A and above are marked "AL/CU".

    Somewhere I have a photo of a package containing a single pole switch, marked ''For copper or copper clad wire only" .

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  10. #25
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    If your breaker box does not have a master disconnect, I suggest you have an electrician rewire your service.

  11. #26
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    A question. In my basement there is a modern sub panel (that feeds another upstairs sub panel) that is fed from an old fuse panel outside by the meter. Naively, I wanted to eliminate my old outside box to improve appearances by using the sub panel as my main by properly connecting the ground/neutral. I found out there has to be an outside disconnect available for emergency personnel use. I'm guessing (thus the question) that even if this outside box is only a disconnect with no main breaker or other fuses that my sub panel in the basement must remain a sub panel with the ground/neutral separated?
    Never run with bagpipes. You might put your aye out. Or worse, get kilt.

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  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Weber View Post
    I found out there has to be an outside disconnect available for emergency personnel use. I'm guessing (thus the question) that even if this outside box is only a disconnect with no main breaker or other fuses that my sub panel in the basement must remain a sub panel with the ground/neutral separated?
    Most emergency services will simply pull the meter out of the panel, which will kill all power to the structure.
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  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    Most emergency services will simply pull the meter out of the panel, which will kill all power to the structure.
    If you have a wire cutter or something similar handy, it takes about 10 seconds to pull a meter. Don't ask why I know that

  14. #29
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    I don't understand the thinking in jurisdictions that require an exterior disconnect. If you have one that is accessible from the outside, then you need to be able to lock it on to prevent nuisance disconnection by bad people. Makes no sense & I don't think there are many that require that.

  15. #30
    Was just thinking about my main box just before reading the above, as mine is lockable...

    And this is interesting reading because I burn thru a crapload of electric power!

    Our house, which was built in '66 and my parents bought in '69, and is also home to the 19 various pieces of engraving machinery in my signature, a table saw, radial arm saw, 2 drill presses, 3 grinders, 2 air compressors, 4 dust collector blowers, 2 refrigerators, 2 freezers, 2 ovens, 2 microwaves, 2 coffee pots, electric washer/dryer, central air, refer garage AC, 'swamp' garage AC, 9 usually-on computers, 62 usually on 40w florescent light tubes and a 500 gallon hot tub, -- started out without an outdoor shutoff panel/box. My parents put in central air back in the late 80's (when we had MUCH less machinery) and the installer, noticing we had a business in the basement offered to install a 200 amp main/breaker box next to the meter and run a second feed into the house for a great price. The second feed was connected to what was the 'biz' sub panel, letting the original panel breathe easier.
    The hot tub and central air are connected to the outdoor box. I added a subpanel to the garage a few years ago when I needed the space for more machines. Quite a bit of business stuff is still connected to the original house panel, and I've been very careful to avoid overloading any circuits... I guess I'm doing an ok job because in all these years I can remember only 2 breaker trips- once when I overloaded one of my machine's circuits accidentally (big wet-dry vac did the trick), and about a month ago the wife tripped a kitchen breaker when brewing coffee, and microwaving, and heating water in an electric kettle from the same outlet.

    our last year's worth of power use--
    pwr.jpg
    but, as you can see I've been able to cut it back a bit.

    and for what it's worth in the using-breakers-as-light-switches department, every workday for 42 years I've switched off the original subpanel's breakers when shutting down and switched them back on again every morning. None of them have failed...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


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