Running the Electric, 100amp service, unusual needs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MikeJoel, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    I have to run electric line from the pole to the trailers.
    It is 100amp service going to 4 trailers but eventually the plan is to put a second trailer next to 3 of them to provide more room. The second trailers would really be nothing more than bedrooms. Only one kitchen per family so the second kitchen would not be used as a kitchen.

    So far my idea has been this,
    [​IMG]

    For now I am only wiring the 3 trailers that are there (so the picture shows the maximum that will be there).

    My plan explained:

    1) Put a breaker on a post (where the well house eventually will be). The breaker would contain 3 100amp breakers (4th will be added later). 1 Breaker for each trailer.

    2) The line coming to each trailer would be hooked to that trailer's breaker box.

    3) When the second trailer is added to that trailer it will not have a breaker box. I would treat it as more rooms to the box and just put more breakers on that trailer's box and attach the second trailer's wiring using junction boxes.

    Does this sound right?
    Mike
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    For what I can see - it looks ok but you will need to check with your local building nspector to see if they require anything special. Remember there must be a ground rod for each trailer.
     

  3. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I planned one rod for each trailer and one for the main breaker box.

    There is no inspection, especially for 100amp service. That is why I wanted to see what people thought. I have done wiring but it was inside and I wanted to make sure I wasn't planning something that wouldn't work for some reason I didn't see.




    One note I forgot. The electric company is putting a transformer on the pole that I will be running the lines from so we shouldn't have a problem with voltage drop.

    Mike
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    What is the size of the main breaker at the meter?
     
  5. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    Should be 100amp since that is the service.

    Mike
     
  6. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    Actually, these trailers are for my sisters' families. Two sisters with their family.
    Then our family. :p

    Mike
     
  7. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering if 100 amps will be enough for all those trailers.... Will there be electric stoves, dryers, a/c or other heavy electric loads? If all 4 decide to cook dinner at the same time, it could trip the main.
     
  8. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Im sure you mean 100amp per trailer and the main breaker is 400 amps.
     
  9. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    fordy, I took it as a joke...


    There is only 100 or 200 amp service anywhere (residential), that I know of.

    100amp is the service off the pole, that is all there is for now. So that means after the electric company's meter is a 100amp breaker.

    There aren't any electric stoves or dryers.

    Basically I just have to make sure my plan won't cause a fire.....
    The important point is the main breaker box I will run each line from. I am pretty sure hooking a second trailer to the first should work since that is basically how you hook up extra rooms in a house.

    I also want to put a meter at each trailer so everyone will know how much they pay in their share.

    I was also thinking of buy a 200amp box (though it would act on a 100amp service) so in the future if we want to go to 200amp we can keep the box.


    Mike
     
  10. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Here in Oregon a 400amp service is not uncommon on large houses.
     
  11. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    If you had 200 amp service at the main pole and then 100 amps dropped to each trailer you would probably be ok with no stoves or dryers. But I really have my doubts about 100 amp at the pole being enough for the load.
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I think you may have to watch some reruns of Green Acres and assign numbers to the occupants so that they will know what they can and cannot connect simoultaneously. Seriously, you need to ascertain the wire sizes to the meter, the meter base current capability, and the feed to the main breaker. It would be nice to up the main breaker size. The probability is that the existing setup will let you go up some in amperage. You need to run the wire size from the main breaker to the 4 breaker box large enough to handle 200 amps even if you leave the system at 100 amps.
     
  13. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would suggest larger service than 100 amps, at least a 200 amp transformer and main breaker, then break it down to smaller ones to the trailers, 70 to 100 amp to each trailer,

    but if you run into having to meet electrical codes my guess is you will not meet them as you will have more square footage than you have amps,

    we ran into that with my son, he did much the same as your are thinking we put two trailer together and added a new roof over both,
    and put the new box in the one we pulled in, and then added an extra breaker and ran a feeder wire over to the original trailers box,

    the 50 amp was ok for the original trailer and they were living the same and running the same items, but when adding the new space, we had to up the service, to a hard wire 100 amp to meet code, even if the electrical use was not increased,
     
  14. Cindy in KY

    Cindy in KY Well-Known Member

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    I'm suprised the elect company even deals with 100 amp anymore. Here, 200 amp is the norm for any house or trailer. We had 100 amp rolled up when we found this place abandoned, and we put in the 200 amp, and all new wiring, by deciding where everything was going to go, and then running dedicated wires to certain items. We have never in all the years popped a breaker. Our one neighbor still has 100 amp, and he can't even run a computer. I'm pretty sure our elect company won't even let you put in 100 amp to a residence anymore. Are you going to have elect fridges & freezers? Do you have a 220 pumping water out of a well?

    Our elect company didn't charge us for the 200amp transformer. Also when we put in a new trailer for my son on our old farm, it was 200 amp, and they didn't charge us for that, since they owned it. If it were me, I'd run 200 amp to each home and pay a little more now for materials, than to not have enough later on. Our elect company guys are really good here. I would think you could ask them what transformer to put in, as they deal with them all the time and see problems more than anyone. We were talking with them about a big woodworking shop, and adding another transformer, and it wouldn't have been a problem, 400 amp total, for my residence. After all, the more juice we use, the more $ they get, so they don't charge for them.

    "Basically I just have to make sure my plan won't cause a fire....." Here, you have to know the correct size of breakers for each plug/room. If you put an appliance on too big a breaker, if something happens, it'll catch fire before it pops the breaker. Gotta make sure they are small enough to pop off. Your kitchen overhead lights should not be on the same breaker as the kitchen, so you have a light in case the whole kitchen breaker goes off. Our kitchen light is hooked into the bathroom breaker, on purpose. Our fridge, freezer, bathroom heater, well pump, and many other plugs that I know, have dedicated wires, with no sharing. We have allot of room still in our breaker box, which we put outside our house, on the wall right by the service coming in.
     
  15. Stillponds

    Stillponds Active Member

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    Once you wire past the main breaker on the pole to another breaker box, that box is a sub panel. Sub panels require a separate ground to prevent the entire trailer from becoming "hot" in case of a neutral failure from the pole to trailer. You will need to run four wires from the pole breaker to each trailer; two hots, a neutral and a ground. The panel in the trailers can not have the neutral bonded; only the ground is bonded, do not tie neutrals and grounds together or you will be living with a safety hazard.

    Why not have the power company set a pole at each trailer so each trailer has its own service? What you are wanting to do is hazardous and way more expensive than doing it correctly. I wouldn't worry about fire but about electrocuting someone. Buying electric meters alone will be costly, let the power company provide them for free.
     
  16. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    SillPond,
    Electric company can only run one hookup to our land because law will only allow that. I understand (looked it up) about preventing the ground and neutral from being connected. That would be the boxes at the trailers, they would need to make sure their neutral and ground are not bonded since my breaker box would be considered the main breaker box.







    As far as I have ever heard there is no such thing as a 100amp transformer (at least in the U.S. maybe Im wrong). Everything on the poles will be high voltage because that is how they move the electricity. The only thing that makes it 100amp service when it gets to you is a 100amp breaker.

    After they run the cable down the pole and to the meter they install a breaker box with a 100amp breaker on it, you then feed your system from that box. That is how they provide 100amp service, that breaker makes sure you never pull more amps than the service you are paying for. To convert to full 200amps they simply remove the breaker box and you have to connect to the pole directly.

    Now, in Maine there is no state code for these things. The electric company in this area is not even really the electric company. This company is a middle man that buys electricity from the electric company and resells it to the residents. You rent the poles and everything. In northern Maine electricity service is $0.14 kwh where as the electric company charges $0.07 kwh.

    The only reason I need any inspection if I go with 200amp service is because the provider wants to make sure when you hook in you don't blow every line from you back to them :)

    With 100amp service they do not ask for an inspection because of the low voltage and because the breaker protects their system.

    Now I could get the 200amp service it is like $150 more plus any $$ for the inspection. But that means more $$ in equipment. All the trailers (except one that is missing a box and need it installed) have 100amp boxes.

    I don't know what the code is in areas of the country but usually you go by outlets and lights when figuring what a circuit amps will be. I have never heard of going by footage - but then I haven't heard a lot of stuff (as my teachers used to say).

    My original plan as I mentioned above was to use cable and a box rated 200amp service out of the pole and then keep it at 100amp from that box out by using 100amp breakers. That way we can upgrade in the future without changing the system.

    If God wills in five years all this will be ripped up and re-routed to a house instead of trailers :)


    ** ASKING ANY ELECTRICIANS **
    We are getting a few hundred back from what we paid the company to run the lines to the clearing so maybe we should just take some of that and tell them to upgrade it. If so can I go ahead and use my breaker box to feed 100amp boxes at the trailers as I described? I am pretty sure I can but as usual I want someone else to blame if it goes bad... joking.

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  17. Cindy in KY

    Cindy in KY Well-Known Member

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    We had an electrician good friend help us with all our wiring, we ran it and he actually hooked up each end. We were not allowed to use any junction boxes, as he said these will no longer pass inspection. We had to measure very carefully from the box, all the way to wherever the outlet was, for 110's, 220's etc. Had to be one wire. I don't know about Maine of course, just sharing what we had to do to make it up to code.


    "After they run the cable down the pole and to the meter they install a breaker box with a 100amp breaker on it, you then feed your system from that box."


    We bought and installed our own breaker box, 200 amp, and all the breakers. After our inspection, the elect company came back and hooked it up live. Before that, we had a temporary pole set for electricity to work, and for the fridge. We pluged in the 220 to the temp pole just to pump enought water into buckets and then unpluged it. Our elect company dosen't even deal with breaker boxes at all, the owners do that, and have to show it's all in order before they come hook it up. Must be really different up there.
     
  18. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    agreed there is not a "100" amp transformer the 100 amp is the rating on the service,

    but if the transformer is undersized it will brown down, the power if you are pulling more than it is designed for, and if there going to come out and hang the transformer and put in a service, you have better get the stuff you need installed up front,

    have it put in pull in one trailer and get it hooked up and get it inspected and then get the power turned on and go from there, (having it inspected is for your protection as much as any thing),

    If your trying to keep the number of people that is going to be living there quite then give them some story on how you may want to put a big shop in the future and some other stuff or may want to go to electrical heat in the future, or possibly you want to build that future dream home.
    to justify the over sized service on the pole,
    usually once you have the power turned on you can do just about any thing you want to,
     
  19. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm glad to see you have an understanding of the 4 wire run needed back to the main breaker, and that neutral & ground wires are to remain seperate at all other times. That is the big battle for people trying to understand electrical wiring.....

    Now, you have one _odd_ utility there. It is nothing like what is offered in the rest of the USA, so I donno that any of us have good advise for you.

    One thing, you cannot have a 100 amp main breaker, and run (4) 100 amp sub-panels off of it. That does not work, is not legal, and will just be bad all around.

    You could probably make a 200 amp service work, running (4) 100 amp subpanels, but that is even pushing it. Any sub-panel must be less than the main panel. I'm not sure of the exact ration, and yes the sub-panels can total more than the main panel, but still & all it does not work to have a subpanel equal to the main panel. Period.

    You _are_ subject to the national NEC code. Local inspection & enforcement might be lax, but you still need to follow it. As well, any insurance company will require it. Or, you could pay insurance for decades, and find you are declined a claim because you are not to code. My friend could not get a new well installed until he upgraded the electrical pannel in the basement - the well drillers' insurance would not allow the work.... Check such things out carefully. You will get hit by someone somewhere wanting you inspected......

    Mobil homes can often be operated off of 40, 50, 60 amp service, if you are totally & absolutely stuck with 100 amp main panel. I'd be worried about 4 60 amp subs coming off of a 100 amp main, but might - maybe - work. You would have dimming & flickering light issues.

    Transformers come in different sizes, matched to what the main breaker is. The transformer regulates the voltage, the main breaker is matched to the size of the wires coming from the transformer/ away from the breaker. Breakers/ fuses are always matched to the wire - they only protect your wires from melting. That is the limiting factor, not the appliances, not your safety. Fuse size = wire size. That is how it is done.

    100 amp is considered a weak service around here, anything new is 200 amps for a single farmsite, with 400 common & the livestock operations getting bigger stuff. Can not believe you are limited to 100 amps, but you might be into zoning & such issues that we don't need to know about & you don't want to broadcast.

    Anyhow, I would not try this with less than a 200 amp main service, and you cannot tap 100 amp subs off of a 100 amp main, so you have to try something different somehow.

    I'm the fellow who talked about the water system with you a while back. I live on a farm with a 60 amp main service, run the house, deep well, electric water heater, shop welder, and the 40 head of cattle. All with that 60 amp service. A person has to think smart, but things get done...... I'm hoping to get the funds to put in a 200 amp service this sumer, but I'm worried the electric coop will insist on a 400 for a working farm....

    Currently the 60 amp main is branched to 40 in the house & 40 in the shop, plus 5 seperate outbuildings each at 20 amps. However, 2 people here, we only draw from 2 of those 7 branches at one time. I get flickering lights, have to be careful on when I use the welder or fuses pop....

    You are going to have 12 or so people hammering those subpanels quite hard all at the same time. I don't see 100 amps providing enough service to all, you understand they can only be using an average of 20 amps each (line losses will take the other 5 - breakers should only be used to 80% of capacity you know.....). While 60 or 40 is doable, don't think a family can limit themselves to 20 amps unless it is a lifestyle choice where they _try_ to from deep within....

    You are also going to have a sub panel at the well house right? And any outbuildings? Each needs a slice of the pie, you just don't have enough pie at 100 amps to make this all work as I see it. 200 amps and you could pull it off - 60 amps to each house, 20 for the well, a couple of 20's to outbuildings, and the 200 could make it work. That would be 300 amps of sub panels being fed by a 200 amp main - acceptable overage as not every panel is run at 100% all the time.

    You are planning 460 amps of sub panels fed by a 100 amp main - no way that will work. The subs would need to be averaging less than 25% usage and that is _not_ likely - you will be popping breakers left & right.

    Good luck, keep us updated, or new ideas on how to deal with this.

    --->Paul
     
  20. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Mike, in reference to your original question about avoiding a fire, if your wiring is all the proper gauge for your breakers and the breakers are new and working properly, you should not have any overheating problems. You may have breakers tripping often, but it shouldn't be dangerous. And I think that if you aren't using any electricity for large consumptions (water heater, stove, a/c, welders, etc) you may be able to get by okay with the 100 amp service total. Lights and televisions don't use much power compared to a stove. After using it for a while you'll learn if there are certian things you can't do.