Electrical Wiring in the Home/Panel Identification


QUESTION: I have an inspector asking me to prove my main panel is at least 125A before we can have any work done on the subpanel for my garage.

I am fairly certain it is 125A because all the other houses in the neighborhood are - but we have a wide variety of panels (no idea how that happened. The tract went up pretty much at the same time). I can find only one other panel like mine in the neighborhood (largest model in the development), but it is missing the rating label too.

The rating label was missing when I bouht the house, but the manufacturer's label says the panel is a Sylvania 390-205-02. House was bulit in late 1970s.

I have searched google (etc.) and find nothing. Any idea how to identify the panel? I would hate to replace a panel if not needed (or just because I show a label).


What is his reason for wanting to know this ?

What size is the main breaker for this panel ?

Is the main breaker an integral part of the panel ? In other words does it occupy its own special location apart from the other breakers in the panel ? Or is the main breaker in its own completely separate enclosure ?

Can you send me a picture of the panel ?


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QUESTION: I am trying to add solar to my home and the inspectors won't even talk to me until I prove this panel is at least 125 amps (or replace the panel). I don't actually have to make any changes in this panel for solar. I will add it to one of the subpanels - but

The panel I am trying to identify is the main load panel next to the meter. It only has two slots in it which feed two subpanels. One slot has a 100A breaker and feeds the breaker panel for the house (which I replaced 12 years ago with a nice square D panel). The other slot has a 60A breaker that feeds a subpanel that handles our air conditioners and my garage (also a square D panel I added about 18 years ago).

One thing driving me crazy is that I had permits when I changed/added the subpanels, and those permits say the main is 125A, but apparently this inspector won't accept that as evidence that the panel is actually 125A.

I would be happy to post a picture, but I am not sure how to do that.


Unfortunately its all about liability today. If it doesn't say it and you can't prove it in a court of law then your stuck. The insurance companys run our lives. Its an old panel, no sticker , no proof , we can't accept it. On the plus side it shouldn't cost that much to change out and its a shame you ultimately will have to do that if you want to go forward.

I had a similar situation with a whole house generator. You can locate a generator up to 18 inches away from a house IF the house has one hour fire rated siding. Generally speaking Aluminum siding has a one hour fire rating. But try to find that documentation on 30+ year old aluminum siding when the inspector asks to see it. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and open your wallet.

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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured


Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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