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A new "old" service entrance and meter connection


Scottpat
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At an inspection this week I found an unusual service entrance and meter connection. I can't ever recall seeing one set up this way before. As for the panel it was unique as well.

The owner was retired from the TVA, his wife said he was a hydroelectric engineer.

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At an inspection this week I found an unusual service entrance and meter connection. I can't ever recall seeing one set up this way before. As for the panel it was unique as well.

The owner was retired from the TVA, his wife said he was a hydroelectric engineer.

Hey Scott!

Up at the weatherhead, the two knobby cylindrical things are current transformers -- basically donuts of wire wrapped around each of the hot service entrance conductors. When current flows through the SEC, it induces current in the donut and that's what the meter is reading. This set up is used a lot for services that are bigger than 200 amps.

The meter wires look like THHW or something. I don't believe that's correct.

That service panel look pretty bitchin'. I like the bolted connections, but shouldn't it have a deadfront or something to stop people from accidentally touching the bus?

What brand of panel was it?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I don't get it.

Why would the service be configured this way? Is there some sort of advantage to, or reason for, not using an appropriately sized meter?

And what does the reader do when he looks at the 60-amp meter, perform some sort of calculation to determine the power flow pre-transformers?

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This home was built in 1965, I was told that this was the original panel. The panel was not marked, but it kind of looked like an ITE brand design. It did not have a deadfront cover but the panel cover did have a locking mechanism. When you twisted the handle it released the top and bottom lock. It had a 300 amp main breaker at the very bottom of the panel.

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I don't get it.

Why would the service be configured this way? Is there some sort of advantage to, or reason for, not using an appropriately sized meter?

But it *is* an appropriately sized meter for the way they're using it. Back in the bad old days, if you wanted a service over 200-amps, this is how they generally did it. The alternative was to take those big-ass wires down to a big-ass meter. The problem with that was the big-ass meter might not spin while you only used a small amount of electricity because it had to develop enough torque to overcome a certain amount of inertia first. More modern class 320 meters had less friction than the old jewel bearing meters and were a good solution for a time. Nowadays, I think most of the new meters are electronic so it isn't much of an issue anymore.

And what does the reader do when he looks at the 60-amp meter, perform some sort of calculation to determine the power flow pre-transformers?

He doesn't have to. I believe that the meter still shows actual use.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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