Wire Gauge & Surge Speed

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Old 12-13-17, 02:06 PM
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Wire Gauge & Surge Speed

Deciding on whether to install a Surge Protection Device directly onto the power lugs at the exit from the meter vs attaching a breaker with the surge protection built into the breaker, like the Siemens QSA2020SPD.

If the Surge Protector is connected directly to the lugs at the meter, the wire is very small as compared to the wires leaving the meter to feed the breaker panel. If attached this way, would the surge even get to my Surge Protector 'before' it hits the breaker panel? I'm wondering if the thick wire would transmit the electricity 10X faster since it is at least 10X the diameter of the small wire? If so, then putting the Surge Protector on the breaker panel would be more effective. On the attached Pic, you can see my old Surge Protector attached to the meter at the bottom - it is the single black wire leading down to the surge protector on each side of the meter output.

The breaker panel is located in a box right next to this meter box and so the length of the large gauge wire is probably 2ft to the panel that would house the Siemens QSA2020SPD.

So, which Surge Protector would receive the surge first - thus protecting the system better.
 
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Old 12-13-17, 09:21 PM
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It almost looks like you have a surge protector behind the meter. Is it something the power company provided? Note that tapping the conductors like in the photo is not up to code. Those terminals are designed for one wire only. A surge protector like that on the bottom is designed to attach to a double pole breaker.

The thickness of a wire does not transmit electricity any faster. The length can make a little difference but your panel is on the right.

Note the Siemens surge you mentioned is only supposed to be placed in a Siemens panel. Other manufacturers have their own or use a device like you have but attached to a correct breaker.
 
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Old 12-13-17, 09:30 PM
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You should keep your posts all in one thread. We're sort of going around in circles.
 
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Old 12-14-17, 03:01 AM
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Astuff, thanks for the reply. The mfg indicates that this surge protector can be used as either type 1 or type 2. No, there is not a surge protector behind the meter - that is just how our meter bases look I guess Do you know where the correct location to Tap for type 1 surge would be? I could tap at the top of the 2nd Panel at the disconnect for the feed that goes to the panels inside the garage? And then use the Siemens integrated unit in a breaker at the bottom of the this panel - I have a Siemens panel. Thanks again!

Pjmax - sorry, I was asking specifically about the speed vs diameter of the wire and so I was assuming that would be a new post? sorry
 
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Old 12-14-17, 06:57 AM
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Normally you don't tap the line side as that is the poco's territory. I'm surprised that you were able to open meter side of panel - was there not a security seal from the power company? SPD that goes behind meter: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0019F6X3I
To tap the top main breaker you would need something like a Polaris connector.

If going to a quad 40/40 you might have problems if the opposite tandem breakers are 20amp or higher. Check panel label as some specify a maximum of 110 amps per stab.
 
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Old 12-14-17, 07:26 AM
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Thanks Astuff I had an electrician install it 3.5 years ago...there was a little tag, but he just pulled it apart or cut it...I looked at that Leviton unit, but it is 200Amp and my service is 400Amp, so they said that it would not work. I assume a 'stab' is a horizontal row across the panel...and yes, those opposite are higher than 20A - they each have at least a 40A and then either a double pole 20 or two single 20s...I don't see anything on the panel label indicating a maximum, but thanks for bringing that to my attention - I will look into it further, Its a Siemens 400A MC0816B1400RLTM Panel...I Looked at Polaris website - lots of connectors Do you think most electricians would have those handy and could it be put in place like in this pic ....that way, when the surge protector dies - I could simply flip that disconnect and then there would be no power there and I could carefully replace it
 
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Old 12-14-17, 09:27 AM
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Yeah. Missed that the socket is 200amp only.
Some places will fine you if the tag is missing but rules are different everywhere. Paranoid about electricity theft.
If nothing warning about stab ratings then not an issue - something that you verified so OK.
No one ever seems to have the exact connector needed but can always get them. Another trip to the supply house....
 
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Old 12-14-17, 10:01 AM
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For what it's worth, I would typically want to install the protector in the panel on a breaker. Surge protectors are sacrificial, and will die with a medium surge, or after a while of small surges. I wouldn't be replacing one myself under the main meter lugs... whereas turning off a breaker and replacing the protector in a few years is certainly a DIY project.

For the type of surge protection we're talking about ($50-300 devices), an extra few feet of wire won't make any difference. They will do a good job at suppressing small to medium surges, which is exactly what you need. Whether it's at the meter or at the main panel or a sub panel, it's all about the same.
 
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