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I am in the process of finishing a load center installation upgraded to 200amps. From the weather head above is a straight shot through a conduit with 200 amps SE cable (there is no meter as of now though) which then enters the meter socket box and connect to its lug. The short 200 amps SE cable (to which the neutral is the outer jacket of the cable) can not follow the contour of the exterior wall due to its rigidity, as shown below:

enter image description here

It seems that NEC 338.10 (B)(4) requires that when SE cable is installed as interior wiring it has to comply with the requirements of Part II of NEC Articles 334, except for Section 334.80. But mine is not an interior wire situation.

It was fairly easy mold the contour of a 100amps cable to the path alongside the wall, but for a 200amps it is close to impossible to do so, and parts of the cable are sort of hanging in the air. I was wondering that the setup is acceptable or ok as far as code is concerned

Pictured added to showcase other side where cable enters the interior right in the back of the load center.

enter image description here

  • I presume it goes into the main service panel behind that wall. Any chance you can move the service panel or the entry point over six inches so the cable can be flush to the wall? – Harper May 19 '17 at 20:23
  • @Harper: moving the load center on the other side (interior) of the wall would be impossible since there is no room to move anywhere there. And the se cable enters the interior right on the back of the load center panel where there is hole bored to accommodate the cable. thks! – tk3000 May 19 '17 at 21:45
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Handsome marine plywood cabinet

built to keep the telephone splicebox out of the weather. It is on the same wall as the meter, and its bottom is just above the point where the SE cable enters the building. The diagonal run of SE cable is fastened to its bottom. Good thing that cabinet was there, otherwise the SE cable would be dangling in space!
enter image description here

The conduit method

You come through the wall with the minimum size conduit able to handle your wires. Then you have an upsize fitting up to 3" conduit at least, so pulling is easier. Picture a clock projected on the slat wall where the hole is. You can't go out toward 9:00 because a 3" conduit body won't fit. So you go out at 11:00. Where are you aiming for? Note the unused knockout on the left side bottom of the meter housing. There's one on the other side. Imagine a conduit going straight out from that toward the wall. You can try a 90 bend, or just use another conduit body where they meet.

enter image description here

Don't wrestle that SE cable, now that you're in conduit, go back to the store and get some THWN-2. Stay with Al if you can, but if you feel you just can't bend it, then go Cu. Install one wire at a time, so the workload is easier. That's why the conduit is oversize!

You'll need to either lower the phone PNI, or add some spacers for it to sit on, as the conduit will go right through its space.

  • thanks for the info and the updated pics. I did consider using conduit and copper conductors instead, but had invested so much time and effort putting this setup together (boring hole at the back of the load center, etc). I prefer the conduit option instead of the plywood box one – tk3000 May 20 '17 at 3:03
  • @tk3000 That's why I hate loadcenters made to fit between joists, they force you into one position. Yeah stay with Al wire if you can... not least, the lugs are Al so your connections will be Al-Al instead of dissimilar Al-Cu. – Harper May 20 '17 at 4:36
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Well, you got not one, but two jurisdictions to comply with...

  1. The Power Co.
  2. The City Inspector.

The Power co. blue book will tell you what is and what is not allowable. They update this and you might get an outdated version if you're not careful. Certain things they will work with and others not. You should call beforehand and get their blessing, but from the looks of the photos you've not did that.

The inspector will also want certain things if they check thoroughly. Just to name a few: anti-oxidant on all aluminum conductors, bushings on all connectors ( I believe it is anything over 1" ). Two ground rods and a conduit to protect the grounding electrode ( though not required is helpful to keep protected from weed wackers).

  • Having to comply with both of them is something to keep in mind. But the only issue is with the rigidity of this SE aluminum wire and making it travel along side the wall throughout its path. It has everything else in place: two ground rods were driven, etc. Also, the ground rods+electrodes are covered with landscape fabric and small pebbles right below the socket meter near the foundation of the house. – tk3000 May 20 '17 at 4:45
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I would suggest that you put the entrance cable in conduit, utilizing 2 45's, and it will be in accordance with code as well as being safer.

  • If you're going to use conduit, you might as well use individual XHHW-2 insulated conductors instead of a SE cable – ThreePhaseEel Nov 3 '18 at 18:42

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