Strange panel configuration

Need a little help on this, as I have never seen this done before. Overview:
There is one meter on exterior wall and 3 separate GE panels each with 200 amp mains inside

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SEC conductors enter the panel on the right and the two hots are spliced and the spliced conductors ‘daisy-chain’ to the middle panel. The neutral lands on the neutral buss. A braided bare copper conductor leaves the right ground buss and travels to the middle panel neutral buss. The two hots on the middle panel are spliced and the spliced conductors ‘daisy-chain’ to the left panel. Another braided bare copper conductor leaves the middle panel ground buss and travels to the left panel ground buss. There is a ton of other stuff going on, but it is the service conductors that have me unsure.
Any explanation would be appreciated!


The meter feeds the panel at the right. The service entrance conductors (SEC’s) are spliced and feed the panels to the left as you’ve stated in a “daisy chain”. The paralleled twisted bare conductors are a violation. A load calculation would be needed to determine if the SEC’s from the meter are the correct size.

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Short answer its a no-go.

Imagine the main service coming from the meter with 597 amps on it before any of the 200 amp breakers trip (199 each). definitely overloaded, incorrect multi taps on main lugs…, I cant imagine the main bieng rated to handle that.

What does this mean?

well with the daisy chain configuration (looks like that), the main 200 amp breaker will not interrupt service until it reached 200 amp capacity. Each panel has a 200 amp breaker present.

in that case, if each panel drew 199 amps the 200 amp breakers would allow it, the main coming in looks too small gauge to handle the load of all three prior to tripping. Fire hazard.

The other poster is right, have a licensed electrician doing a load calculation to be 100% sure but I believe its wrong here.

Since the panels are all connected together and fed from the first panel, wouldn’t a combined amperage of the last two panels of over 200amps trip the first 200amp breaker or the 200 amp main disconnect if there is one.?

I don’t think so. The daisy chains are all junctioned before (on top of ) each breaker. So the far right panel main feed could be exposed to over 200 amps.

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OK. I initially thought that you were implying that the breakers would not go over 199A. :+1:

Thank you all! I was thinking along those lines, and knew it wasn’t right. I guess since I had never seen that configuration that maybe it could be right.
Just an FYI, this was on a 4500 sf home, outside of any permitting or inspections. It sure is a crap load of circuits…they must have each receptacle on a separate breaker ;).

David, don’t forget the bolded below.

Yes Mike has it correct, those splices are ahead of the 200 amp circuit breakers so there is no OCPD protecting the combined load of all three panels coming from the meter. While the combined rating of the three service disconnects (3*200= 600 amps) is permitted to exceed the size of the service entrance conductors (SEC’s) the calculated load cannot exceed the ampacity of the service entrance conductors.

Hey David - I don’t want to throw more soup on the pie (<grandpa used to say that. ), and I may be seeing things wrong - but it looks like you have a portable generator inlet w/backfeed running to bottom right of the left panel (30A breaker?). Can’t do it. Gen breaker has to be at top and closest to main breaker with a mechanical interlock (lockout device). Just sayin. :flushed:

Hard to tell from the photo but isn’t that just a 50 amp receptacle?

Looks like it may just be a welder’s receptacle.

There was a welder in the garage.

My electrical knowledge isn’t quite like you guru’s here so I have (probably a really basic question) a question.

  1. How is it that the main panel (far right) has more than 200 amps and each panel thereafter has 200?
  2. I’m assuming that each panel after the main service is considered a distribution panel, shouldn’t they be wired as such?
  3. aren’t panel clearances required for each of these, or is there like a “tandem” exemption for how this is wired?

Right on. I couldn’t get a good focus on the receptacle. And I’m pretty sure you would’ve been all over it, anyhows.
I often wake up screaming and in a cold sweat from some of the nightmarish back-feed configurations I’ve seen.

The other two panels are not downstream of the main disconnect in the rightmost panel. All three panels are “service equipment” a more technically correct term than “main panel” Each panel is configured to be able to draw 200A, individually. The SEC is not sized for the potential aggregate load.

As wired, they are all service equipment as none are downstream (i.e., on the load side) of a disconnect.

The required working space is measured from the front of the equipment, so the working spaces can overlap, provided all covers can be opened a full 90° (NEC 110.26)


Good questions. Shows you’re thinking. :+1:

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Thanks for the compliment. I have more questions.

  1. In this case (or all cases) if the man service has a splice on the SEC and the splice is wired to a second panel, is this a determining factor to identify that there is more than one panel making up the main service?
  2. how many times can this be done (how many wired panels) can there be 1, for safety 2, and 3 before you start to mess with load ampacity?
  3. why is this regulated (or an accepted method) like this and not considered (or made to be) like sub panels?

Thanks for your guys’ input!

I’m also having a hard time to figure out why an electrician would install 3 panels like that if they are not protected with a service disconnect at the meter.
Was it verified that there wasn’t any?
Any pictures of the exterior or origin?