Electrical Upgrade, Pony Panel or Load Center

MustGro

Well-Known Member
So I posted a few pics and a description of my new upgrade in this thread https://www.rollitup.org/p/16068939/. I got a few questions so I thought I'd put it up here for all to see.
I've been at the limit of my electrical capacity for a long time now. I grow hydro so there are pumps and heat mats under reservoirs that all need a plug in. I had 3 power bars strung up (not piggybacked) and was still out of outlets and capacity. I was lucky too; my room has two 15 amp circuits, lots of folks only have one 15 amp or less than that in an apartment (13 amp sometimes).
I've been thinking about calling an electrician but never did it. Like a lot of things in my grow it just sorta happened.
I'm talking to a new stoner friend and they're telling me about their grow. I notice all the lights they're running and say something like, "you must know an electrician to have that many lights". They come back with, "my Dad rigged it up and he's an electrician". Really now.....
So my new friend and his dad show up to do the inspection and the old man is sucking on a vape pen and his kid is the "chauffeur". I'm feeling good about this, my kind of people. I stay at an older place, only a 100 amp service but I don't draw much power except for my grow. Heat is from a boiler and it heats my water so no electrical draw for those. I have a few spots on my panel that I could spare.
The electrician looks it over and we're talking about my options. He can take over the spots I'm not using no problem, BUT then I say, "in a few years I might be moving out". He thinks about it a few seconds and goes, "I could wire you up like my friends who grow big. I get the call and I can have them down and gone in an hour".
Sounds good to me......
I bought everything and wasn't too sure about what to get, but the staff at Home Depot helped a lot. The electrician brought a used heavy gauge wire to run to the new panel and his toolbox, so if the gear isn't to your liking it's on me not the electrician. I never asked him to make it to code; I realize it isn't. I just want more power without losing the house. There is some things missing like nuts to hold wires into the panel BUT it's geared to be removed eventually. I know my insurance is toast also.
I'm not putting this on here to say "do your own wiring" because you probably shouldn't, BUT this install was done by a licensed, practicing electrician. It was just wasn't done to be 100% up to code as it's removable. I know when it's time to take this out I'll be able to do it by myself. Hit the main breaker, take off the three leads, and drop the pony panel....
The first, second and third pics are my existing box.
Fourth and fifth are the bottom of my box and the new panel showing the white large wire running to the pony panel.
 

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MustGro

Well-Known Member
I can explain this a bit for you folks. In the third pic you can see how he hooked up the hot wires. They're the red and black ones clamped onto the original live wires (both black).
In the second pic he ran the white (neutral return) wire up to the top and joined it to a common point. It's the long thin white wire up top.
 
Oh nooo, you have an old fuse panel, lol. I know it is probably not possible at this point in time to replace your fuse panel with a more modern panel but that is definitely something you should think about doing at some point. Unless you're planning on selling the home in the near future it should definitely be on your renovation list as one of the top priorities.
 

MustGro

Well-Known Member
Oh nooo, you have an old fuse panel, lol. I know it is probably not possible at this point in time to replace your fuse panel with a more modern panel but that is definitely something you should think about doing at some point. Unless you're planning on selling the home in the near future it should definitely be on your renovation list as one of the top priorities.
I like old stuff; why would I have to replace my fuse panel? I grew up with fuses; they might not be as easy to find when they blow as a breaker, but I can handle it. Plus I'm pretty good at not blowing them up. It's easy to put too big a fuse in the wrong socket but my panel isn't over fused.
 

MustGro

Well-Known Member
I should probably show you what that gave me a little better.
In the first pic you can see the 4 wires running out from the bottom of the pony panel. They got zip tied to some clips I bought that we screwed into the wall studs. We ran them up to the ceiling then split them to cover both sides of the room. In the next pic you can see one of the four 20 amp boxes he put up. I took it off the wall and mounted it to a piece of 2x6 because the screws are inside the box and you have to remove the receptacles to access them if you want to move the box.
 

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MustGro

Well-Known Member
So I had two 15 amp circuits in my room already and this project gave me four 20 amp circuits. That's right folks; she's wired for 110 amps on a 100 amp service and if I had enough appliances I could pull all of my current into this room. It'll never happen BUT it is nice to have lots of plug-ins and not to have to count up amps so much anymore. This probably isn't for most people BUT after a certain point I realized I'm not ever going to quit growing so why spend the rest of my growing life scrimping on power capacity. If you plan on tackling this yourself be extra careful. I'm not condoning it BUT it isn't too complicated. I know I can remove this set-up myself and I plan on doing that someday.
I learned that you have to buy Square D breakers with a Square D box and breakers are rare at this point in time. I would buy different boxes if I was doing it again. The ones I bought have the screws go out the back of the box so they sit crooked on the wall. A flat backed box would be better.
 
I like old stuff; why would I have to replace my fuse panel? I grew up with fuses; they might not be as easy to find when they blow as a breaker, but I can handle it. Plus I'm pretty good at not blowing them up. It's easy to put too big a fuse in the wrong socket but my panel isn't over fused.
There are a lot of reasons but one of the main ones is you're not supposed to create smaller branch circuits off an old fuse panel. Those panels were only rated for 50 years and I am guessing that panel is way past that. If you get a chance read through this article...https://www.greenelectric-automation.ca/should-i-upgrade-a-old-fuse-electrical-panel/
 

Herb & Suds

Well-Known Member
The biggest reason to replace that panel is getting use out of the new one as it increases the marketability of your home
 

xox

Well-Known Member
upgrading the service might be the best option my house had a 100amp fuse panel maxed right out when i bought the place i got 200 amp service put in with a brandnew square d panel now i got room for my lights, central air, hottub whatever i want in the future its not a bad investment if you plan on living there a long time.
 

WrEkkED

Member
Only real reason to replace the panel is because fuses don't always blow, they sometimes melt. I wouldn't be worried at all about adding a pony panel. Other than getting a permit (I can't see the wire gauge he ran) it looks to code to me. Breakers always amount to more than the main breaker because the circuits are rated at 80%, 12A on a 15A circuit and who turns on everything in their house all at once anyways?

If anything, he made your apartment less of a fire hazard as power bars are not meant to run high currents, let alone continually. It also sucks when they die and fuck up the lighting schedule. you can run 16A continually on those 20A breakers.
 
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