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old fuse box
Residential Wiring - The Right Way!

Wiring Information for the Do It Yourself Homeowner

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Thread: old fuse box

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
    Posts
    23

    Default old fuse box

    I am wanting to replace the old wiring in my shed (The Hut). The wiring in the hut has a black wire and white wire, but has no ground wire. I want to run a black, white and ground wire. The power will be from an old fuse box on the pole that has a lever on the right outside of the box that connects these prongs inside the box to two 30 amp fuses. The fuse on the left side is for a hot water heater and light over the sink inside a trailer. The fuse on the right is for the hut. I want to run two switches that will operate a light and a ceiling fan/light. Also two outlets. About the only thing i know is that i want to run a sub panel at the hut from the main panel and start with a GFCI outlet. I have some 12-2 wire I'd like to use. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    Hmmm, lots of questions need to be answered to give you a good answer:
    • What is feeding that fuse box "on the pole"? Is it connected directly to the Utility (and meter), or is it from some larger panel upstream at another building?
    • Is it mounted to a pole near the shed, on the shed, or what? How do wires get from the fuse box to the shed (overhead or buried)?
    • Where is the "main panel" you mention and would it be used instead fuse box feeding the shed? Do you want to replace the wires to the fuse box?
    • Do you want to replace the wires to the shed, or use the existing ones? To feed a panel, you should really have 4 wires (e.g. 10-3w/ground cable with red, black, white, and bare conductors). But you could do it with a 120V only feed.


    Assuming the shed and trailer are two separate entities, it sounds like the shed is getting 120V at 30A, and the trailer is getting 120V at 30A.

    With what you want to run, you don't really need a panel (and having a panel requires a ground electrode system be installed). But if you really want a panel to handle some future loads, then you need to think about how much you want to run in there (how many amps will be needed in total).

    Once you have a panel in the shed, or a maximum 20A circuit to the shed, your 12-2 wire is what you'd use to the GFCI receptacles. You can put the lights and fan on that same circuit or run them from a second one (if you have a panel). Lighting and fans are easier on 15A circuits with #14 wire, but you are allowed to put them on 20A circuits using 12-2.

    I'd recommend replacing the fuse panel. Usually, they are old and have some usage restrictions compared to circuit breakers unless you have a 2-fuse pull out type of fuse box. But answering the questions at the top will help give a better answer as each little detail can require a different implementation. Your 30A fuse to the shed is not code legal if you have any "regular" 120V receptacles on it.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Ok, I'm having someone come by today that supposedly knows what they're doing because I obviously do not. The fuse box lever broke, so now we have no hot water. Can you help me out with questions I need to ask this guy so i don't sound like an idiot? The fuse box is wired to a panel and both are connected to the same pole. The wires were running above ground to the shed, but I've taken those down because there was no ground wire. I believe that "main" box is 220 that leads to another box in the trailer that is 110. The fuse box that is broken has the two 30 amp fuses (one wired to the other). The first fuse was for hot water heater and light above sink. The other fuse was for the shed. I don't know what to do, but id like to ask the right questions so i can come back here and find out if this guy really knows what he's doing. He is supposed to give us an estimate. I realize i may have acted too late, but its a shot in the dark (literally)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    I'd replace any fuse box with a breaker box. If the source breaker box feeding the fuse box is close, you may be able to just feed the circuits from that breaker box or have a larger breaker box installed. If you don't understand this stuff, you don't need to ask too many questions. Just ask for an estimate to redo what is broken. But, also tell him what you'd like to do for expansion (feed to the hut, any more circuits anywhere, and what you want to run from those circuits). There ant many rules, and one little thing can make you have to do things totally differently. So tell him everything you'd like to accomplish, and what will it cost to get that done. If the price is too high, see if it can be done in stages or what is driving the price. If you know the code book, you can do the cost trade offs easily. But since you don't, you may not realize that adding one extra circuit could cause a whole bunch of things to be required and make it 4 times as expensive.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    I'd replace any fuse box with a breaker box.
    There is also a fuse box in the trailer. I'm afraid that if i replace that box as well, i will end up having to run new wire throughout the entire trailer and there's no way i can afford that. This guy is just an all around handyman according to his card, but i think he might be trying to rip me off. If i post pictures of the entire setup, do you think i could do this by myself with help from this board?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Central Minnesota
    Posts
    1

    Default

    It is my honest opinion, I would never hire anyone that isn't licensed to to electrical work. Those handyman type people know enough to be dangerous and most don't have any knowledge of the NEC. If you are moderately handy and have the willingness to learn, you can probably do electrical work. Otherwise, you can hire a licensed electrical contractor to do the work. It may be expensive but worth it. Panels are changed or upgraded all the time, and as long as the wiring was installed properly to start with, you shouldn't need to rewire.

    I would post some pics.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
    Posts
    23

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Pic 01 shows the meter on the pole with power running to the box with the pull out fuses underneath. From there, power runs down the pole underground, up the trailer and into the fuse box in the bedroom closet. Power also runs from pull out fuse box to the fuse box with the round fuses right next to it.
    Pic 02 shows the grounding rod
    Pics 03 and 04 show close-ups of the meter and box.
    Pics 05 and 06 show closeups of one the pull out fuses.
    Pic 07 shows the fuse box that im getting rid of. The lever is broke, but it still works.
    Pic 08 shows the fuse box in bedroom closet.
    Pic 09 shows the water heater.
    Pic 10 shows the power going up the pole from fuse box in pic 07.
    Pic 11 shows power coming from high on the pole to the top of the hut, then to the front of the trailer.
    Pic 12 shows the power going in the front of the trailer, where it feeds the hot water heater and light above sink.
    Last edited by jbird; 01-03-2014 at 01:26 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    Hard to see much from some of the pictures (too dark and not enough detail). But I can see this is a mess and what looks like a lot of improper materials and hack workmanship. Maybe its just real old...

    If it works as I think, I would pull down all those boxes except for the meter and put a new weatherproof 100A main breaker panel on that pole. This panel should have at least 12 breaker slots, and perhaps more depending on what all is hanging on that pole. I'd then use breakers in that panel to feed all the things around -- the hut, trailer, and whatever else is being fed.

    I can see the one fuse box in picture 7 is 120V only. Is that box on the pole? Is that what is feeding your hut and trailer?
    What is picture 4 -- this is an old fused pullout with a 50A range receptacle. A good starting point if the wires are properly sized and this is near your trailer or hut.
    Where is the fuse box in picture 8, and where does that black/red/white cable come from? This one looks to be in decent shape, but its still a fuse box and nothing is grounded. This looks like newer wire -- are there bare grounding wires in those cables?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
    Posts
    23

    Default

    So far, the handyman took me to supply store, picked out a box with three 20 amp breakers and 60 foot of cable that came to $210. He nailed up the box, gave me two fuses he had at home, broke 2 pieces of my good trim "showing me how a pro does it" lol. After he bent my hangers up saying they wouldn't work to pull wire. Last night i bent them straight again and pulled my wire through, lol. I havent seen him in 2 days. I hope I'm not out $210 because nobody wants to finish his plan. Here's the plan: Got 220 coming into the hut if i need it someday (doubtful), have 1 breaker running hot water heater and light in trailer and the other two are for the hut. The box is mounted inside the hut, by the door. I still don't know where he is connecting it at the pole, but i know he said hes running it above ground and getting rid of fuse box with broken lever (pic 07)
    Last edited by jbird; 01-03-2014 at 01:23 AM.

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