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What the heck?

Chad Fabry

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I once lived in a 2-Flat in Chicago. The landlord didn't care what anybody did there as long as he got the rent. When I moved in I wanted to install a 220V stack Washer & Dryer. I piped in new conduit and pulled wires, but when I went to wire it up I noticed that I had only 1 leg coming in from the meter, and both sides of the panel were energized from that leg. Somebody had jumped two breakers similar to the photo. The other service leg was going to the panel which served the upstairs unit, and was wired in the same fashion.

By the way the electric was in their name.

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Jim K is correct. (Isn't he always)


"I was there and it still took a return trip for me to figure it out. It isn't the kind of thing that makes one shine while attempting to illustrate the nuances of panel wiring to others who are depending on your expertise".

Yeah, but it shows that you have more devotion to this profession than most, who would simply disclaim and defer. I've never seen HI report boilerplate that states: "I don't know, but I'll find out for you".

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Unlike Kurt, I saw the whole picture and wondered why folks paste labels on the breakers and never noticed the third leg.

Bill, I often write that I don't know, but will find out. And I often write "I don't know" and don't offer to find out. IE: Is this house worth $xxx,xxx? Would you let your son buy this house? and then my all time favorite "why is the roof leaking?"

PS: My favorite time of the day is when another inspector calls me with a question that I can answer and while I got him/her on the phone get a chance to ask my question. They often leave the conversation thinking I'm smart and never realize they answered my question.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

My guess: This is a three-phase panel and this is how they're energizing the third bus.

- Jim Katen, Oregon


I'm not sure I follow what their trying to accomplish.

If it were true 3-phase you would have 3 wires coming into the top lugs and no need to double back through a breaker.

If there are only two wires coming into the top then it's a 220 single phase service however, if their energizing the third bus with one of the legs of the 220 single phase, by doubling back through the breaker, it wouldn't make it 3 phase. It would be a convoluted 220v single phase panel.

Plus the main breaker appears to be a single phase 100AMP.

What am I not seeing here?

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Hi Terry,

I don't think Jim means it's a 3-phase service. Only a 3-phase panel being used in lieu of a conventional panel and, in order to energize the third bus, they had to create that backfeed through a breaker, which is, as you say, pretty convoluted.



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What Jim and Mike said: It's a 3 phase panel being used in a residence.

The bottom of the panel was about 5-6 feet high... I had to hold my camera at almost arm's length to get the photo. I was probvably too busy cussing the height to notice the third bus on my first trip...well that and I never expected a 3 phase panel in a residence.

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