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  1. #1
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    Default Service Equipment Question

    How many of you see the installation of numerous NM cable fed through (1) knockout in the top of the panel box? Known as "bundling".

    I do not understand why so many Electricians continue to do this and why the AHJ allow it. At the seminar I attended we were told it is a "southern" install. Meaning bass ackwards I assume or not installed by a "qualifed" Electrician.

    Also I was told at the Electrical seminar this past weekend that the pig tail wire we see on the AFCI breakers is improper installation. Wire is only coiled as such to place the breaker in the shipping box. Wire should not be left coiled when installed.

    Thoughts?

    Rick

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    How many of you see the installation of numerous NM cable fed through (1) knockout in the top of the panel box? Known as "bundling".
    Know more appropriately as "bundling and lack of maintaining spacing" ...

    Many years ago, a lot, then we got the head electrical guy to address it with all the chiefs and inspectors and that practice stopped (in South Florida).

    I do not understand why so many Electricians continue to do this and why the AHJ allow it. At the seminar I attended we were told it is a "southern" install. Meaning bass ackwards I assume or not installed by a "qualifed" Electrician.
    Not surprised, I've always said: 'They have masters and craftsman up north, in the mid-Atlantic states they have journeyman workers, and in the South the have apprentices, and in South Florida we have laborers'.

    Also I was told at the Electrical seminar this past weekend that the pig tail wire we see on the AFCI breakers is improper installation. Wire is only coiled as such to place the breaker in the shipping box. Wire should not be left coiled when installed.
    Never heard that last one. Same would, I would think, apply to GFCI breakers with their pigtails.

    There are many wiring products which do not have those curly pigtails and just the longer wire rolled up, so I suspect that instructor is repeating something THEY HEARD/WERE TOLD but is likely not correct. The manufacturer would not go to all the trouble to put that curly pig tail in there when they could just roll the wire up - at that least that is MY thinking on it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry,

    He mentioned that the coiled wire was just simply for packaging purposes. Wire is coiled to have the length if needed where ever the AFCI is placed in the panel.

    rick


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    They need the length on the pigtail coiled wired that is why it is coiled. As far as all wires thru one hole in the top of the panel. This is yesterdays inspection on an 18 month home

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Jerry,

    He mentioned that the coiled wire was just simply for packaging purposes. Wire is coiled to have the length if needed where ever the AFCI is placed in the panel.

    rick

    I understand that, but they could take that straightened wire (not coiled) and loop it into a smallish flat circle and it would fit into the breaker box too, just a slightly different size and shape box.

    The only reason to uncoil it would be if it were to have an very high amperage through it, and, like the black hot conductor, that is prohibited by the tripping of the breaker.

    The black and white wires are unlike a groundING conductor which could take a high amperage hit (from lightning) and, if coiled, that would create a choke coil which would dramatically increase the inductive reactance (inductive resistance) to the current, shutting the current down just at precisely the time when the current path needs to be of least resistance.

    Pulling 20-30-40 amp through that coil is not likely to create much of an inductive reactance (inductive resistance) to amount to much at all.

    That is why transformers have so many windings, each winding as only a small effect at the currents put through them, but all the windings together really add up. With lightning, there is a very high current surge and it does not take many windings to get the same effect.

    I understand what he is saying about the white wire being coiled for packing purposes, I just disagree with him saying it should not be left coiled. Tomorrow I will try to go by Lowe's (the closest Big Box store) and read what the instructions say in an AFCI breaker's box regarding the white wire and how it is to be treated according to the instructions.

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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    I found installation instructions for Siemens AFCI breakers on the internet: http://www2.sea.siemens.com/NR/rdonl...ion_Sheet_.pdf

    All it says under:
    Installation Instructions
    See Figure 1
    4. Connect the panelboard neutral (pig-tail) (B) wire to a load center or panel neutral bar (C) as shown in the Fig.1. Torque per specifications on wiring diagram or equipment label.

    It does not say anything about "straighten pig tail wire so it is straight, not curled into a pigtail", all it says is "Connect the panelboard neutral (pig-tail) ... " and even calls it a pigtail. Then says to properly torque the terminal.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry,

    I do notice on the diagram it does not show the pig tail though. The wire is not coiled. The direction state to install as shown in the diagram.

    Got an email off to this instructor on as to why he is stating this information.

    Will get back to you when I hear from him.

    rick


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    I do notice on the diagram it does not show the pig tail though. The wire is not coiled. The direction state to install as shown in the diagram.
    Rick,

    And it is not straight either.

    Does that mean it must be bent in two or three 90's as per the diagram?

    Got an email off to this instructor on as to why he is stating this information.

    Will get back to you when I hear from him.
    I've sent one off to Siemens.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    "Bundling" is all we see up here in NE. You mean they can use those other nockouts?


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Got an email off to this instructor on as to why he is stating this information.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I've sent one off to Siemens.
    The answer from Siemens: (bold and underlined the answer part)

    Hello Jerry,

    Thank you for your inquiry regarding Siemens products. Your inquiry has been received by the Service and Support Center in Johnson City, TN USA.

    This product line is supported through our distribution channel. In order to give this inquiry the proper attention, you will need to contact one of the Siemens distributors in your area for a direct response. You may use our distributor locator link by clicking the link below; input your zip code and select Residential (or Murray) as the product category.

    http://www2.sea.siemens.com/Sales/Distributor-Locator.htm

    The "pigtail" as the customer refers to can be left as is. It is not necessary to straighten it out.

    If for some reason you still cannot get the assistance you need, you may contact us via our National Customer Service center at 800 241 3138. When you responding to this email please ensure that the Subject starts with RE: UPDATE 1-802575774 to insure timely attention to your response.

    Thank you and regards,

    SE&A Service & Support
    800 241 4453
    EVANDW

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Know more appropriately as "bundling and lack of maintaining spacing" ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    "Bundling" is all we see up here in NE. You mean they can use those other nockouts?

    Brent,

    The reason I clarified it above is because that is the code language which is used and also the language which creates the least conflict with electricians as electricians can say "that's not *bundling*" and be correct, however, they will not be correct when they say "that's not *bundling and lack of maintaining spacing*" - they would be incorrect on that statement.

    Just a heads up as to what and how the code actually addresses it.

    In fact, in the photo, it is neither of the above, that is 'more than three current carrying conductors in a raceway': (underlining is mine)

    (a) More Than Three Current-Carrying Conductors in a Raceway or Cable. Where the number of current-carrying conductors in a raceway or cable exceeds three, or where single conductors or multiconductor cables are installed without maintaining spacing for a continuous length longer than 600 mm (24 in.) and are not installed in raceways, the allowable ampacity of each conductor shall be reduced as shown in Table 310.15(B)(2)(a). Each current-carrying conductor of a paralleled set of conductors shall be counted as a current-carrying conductor.

    The photo shows a complex condition where there is an application of BOTH parts of the above: 1) the more than three in a raceway and 2) without maintaining spacing.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    So I guess you are calling any hole that wires pass thru even if only a couple inches long a raceway? I often wondered but did not inquire as to ...is there a certain length whether it be 2 inches , 6 inches, a foot that constitute a raceway? And once the wire goes thru the hole and spreads out on the other side did or does that make a difference since the wires are only together fo inches at best?????

    Also I was told, so never called or emailed, by a distributors rep from Siemens, some years back about the pigtail being not left as such once installed in the panel. I forget the reason given but since he represented the company I figured what ever reason he gave me at the time was right. The only reason I asked him is because several electricians and a couple builders said they inquired and was told to not leave the pigtail as it was and to be straightened.

    Oh well, so much for not following every item one comes across to the end.


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    So I guess you are calling any hole that wires pass thru even if only a couple inches long a raceway?


    "any hole ... a couple of inches long"

    I thought a "hole" was just a "hole" in something, you are referring to a nipple a couple of inches long, which is a short raceway.

    I often wondered but did not inquire as to ...is there a certain length whether it be 2 inches , 6 inches, a foot that constitute a raceway?
    From the 2008 NEC.
    Raceway. An enclosed channel of metal or nonmetallic materials designed expressly for holding wires, cables, or busbars, with additional functions as permitted in this Code. Raceways include, but are not limited to, rigid metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, intermediate metal conduit, liquidtight flexible conduit, flexible metallic tubing, flexible metal conduit, electrical nonmetallic tubing, electrical metallic tubing, underfloor raceways, cellular concrete floor raceways, cellular metal floor raceways, surface raceways, wireways, and busways.

    And once the wire goes thru the hole and spreads out on the other side did or does that make a difference since the wires are only together fo inches at best?????
    The derating applies when the length of the raceway, bundling, lack of maintaining spacing, etc., is for more than 24".

    If that was a "chase nipple", the shortest nipple there is, no derating is necessary.

    If that is a 20" nipple, a 20" long raceway, no derating is necessary.

    HOWEVER, in either above case you have the additional fact that the NM cables are not properly secured to the enclosure as required, thus, regardless *how short* the nipple is, that is still not allowed.

    Also I was told, so never called or emailed, by a distributors rep from Siemens, some years back about the pigtail being not left as such once installed in the panel. I forget the reason given but since he represented the company I figured what ever reason he gave me at the time was right. The only reason I asked him is because several electricians and a couple builders said they inquired and was told to not leave the pigtail as it was and to be straightened.
    May have been the person's opinion you talked to?

    The above is their response from their service and support division.

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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry-
    I would suggest that you read Article 312.5 (C) - the exceptions.


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Jerry-
    I would suggest that you read Article 312.5 (C) - the exceptions.
    Ken,

    I have, and ALL CONDITIONS are required to be met.

    That panel DOES NOT MET *ALL CONDITIONS*, and, in fact, I have never seen one which has.

    There are some conditions which are not visible in that photo, some conditions which are "unknown" unless we were the person at the inspection, and one or more conditions WHICH DO NOT meet those stated requirements, and all it takes is ONE condition which does not meet those requirements.

    Ken, look at the photo, based on what you see, discounting all the unknowns which are not visible, what is it that you see which makes the exception not applicable. There are at least two conditions which makes the exceptions NOT APPLICABLE to the discussion - do you see them?

    You are, of course, referring to the statement about all cables needing to be secured to the enclosure.

    Thus, in the end, I say to you "I would suggest that you read Article 312.5 (C) - the exceptions" and understand that there are very few installations where the exceptions would apply, and that this IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry

    Still the same question. You referanced or referred to that "nipple" or plastic lined hole or possibly even a raceway but we really do not know what is is at this point, a raceway

    My question stands....even with this

    From the 2008 NEC.
    Raceway. An enclosed channel of metal or nonmetallic materials designed expressly for holding wires, cables, or busbars, with additional functions as permitted in this Code. Raceways include, but are not limited to, rigid metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, intermediate metal conduit, liquidtight flexible conduit, flexible metallic tubing, flexible metal conduit, electrical nonmetallic tubing, electrical metallic tubing, underfloor raceways, cellular concrete floor raceways, cellular metal floor raceways, surface raceways, wireways, and busways.


    Which part in bold is telling me that a short nipple, whether it be metal, plastic, what ever is telling me that it is a raceway. From what I make it you or it is saying that no matter what the length of nipple or whatever is a raceway. You know and I know that a nipple by itself is not a raceway but when you funnel wire thru it it becomes one? Yeah, I know, a silly technicality.


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Still the same question. You referanced or referred to that "nipple" or plastic lined hole or possibly even a raceway but we really do not know what is is at this point, a raceway
    We do know it is a raceway, looks to be the end of a male fitting for PVC conduit, but it could just be the fitting, either way, it is a raceway, we just do not know how long it is.

    My question stands....even with this

    From the 2008 NEC.
    Raceway. An enclosed channel of metal or nonmetallic materials designed expressly for holding wires, cables, or busbars, with additional functions as permitted in this Code. Raceways include, but are not limited to, rigid metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, intermediate metal conduit, liquidtight flexible conduit, flexible metallic tubing, flexible metal conduit, electrical nonmetallic tubing, electrical metallic tubing, underfloor raceways, cellular concrete floor raceways, cellular metal floor raceways, surface raceways, wireways, and busways.


    Which part in bold is telling me that a short nipple, whether it be metal, plastic, what ever is telling me that it is a raceway.
    The part in bold red. That is a raceway ... of unknown length.

    From what I make it you or it is saying that no matter what the length of nipple or whatever is a raceway.
    You are correct.

    You know and I know that a nipple by itself is not a raceway
    It is a raceway, it is "part of" a raceway, just like a 10 foot section of PVC is "part of" the raceway. The raceway consists of everything it takes to get from point A to point B and all fittings, adapters, locking nuts to hold it in place, etc., a raceway is required to be installed complete from point A to point B prior to installing the wires in it (with an exception which allows for a partial raceway to be used for physical protection, in which case it requires the appropriate fittings at the ends, proper strapping, etc., just as though it were a complete raceway, only it is a short piece - not to exceed 10 feet - this is also what Ken was pointing out when he suggested I read that section, which I then suggested HE read it, I mean READ it).

    but when you funnel wire thru it it becomes one? Yeah, I know, a silly technicality.
    No, it is one BEFORE you put the wires in it.

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  18. #18
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Not a question to you about securing but lets say I just turned it into one........


    If the wires are secured properly with a means of securing them and the wires funnel thru it but spread back out after going thru it and then they are secured properly within a code specified distance (not a question of the distance. lets just say it is) is it OK to run all the wires in the panel thru a single nipple, short raceway etc.....is it all right....or do they have to go thru seperate nipples with no more than the max wires for the size of the wires.

    The reason I ask is I am confronted with it all the time buy builders, electricians other inspectors, that say it is alright run thru that single nipple when secured.

    I guess what I am asking is for you (and not just a copy and paste code referrance) exactly how you would counter or answer in simple verbal english, the come back from all these folks that say it is alright.

    Yeah, yeah, I am trying to figure out how to word the question in the way I am asked all the time but do not take notes on exactly how it is asked in 20 different ways. So forget the stumbling and bumbling. It is how I get asked, stumbling and bumbling.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    is it OK to run all the wires in the panel thru a single nipple, short raceway etc.....is it all right....or do they have to go thru seperate nipples with no more than the max wires for the size of the wires.

    Ted,

    The best way to answer that is to post the conditions that type of installation much met, and it *must* meet each and every one of these conditions"

    From the 2008 NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - 312.5 Cabinets, Cutout Boxes, and Meter Socket Enclosures.
    - - Conductors entering enclosures within the scope of this article shall be protected from abrasion and shall comply with 312.5(A) through (C).
    - - (A) Openings to Be Closed. Openings through which conductors enter shall be adequately closed.
    - - (B) Metal Cabinets, Cutout Boxes, and Meter Socket Enclosures. Where metal enclosures within the scope of this article are installed with messenger-supported wiring, open wiring on insulators, or concealed knob-and-tube wiring, conductors shall enter through insulating bushings or, in dry locations, through flexible tubing extending from the last insulating support and firmly secured to the enclosure.
    - - (C) Cables. Where cable is used, each cable shall be secured to the cabinet, cutout box, or meter socket enclosure.
    - - - Exception: Cables with entirely nonmetallic sheaths shall be permitted to enter the top of a surface-mounted enclosure through one or more nonflexible raceways not less than 450 mm (18 in.) and not more than 3.0 m (10 ft) in length, provided all of the following conditions are met: (Jerry's Note: Enclosure must first and foremost be *surface mounted*, raceway must be non-flexible and be between 18 inches and 10 feet long, but if longer than 24 inches, derating must be done.)
    - - - - (a) Each cable is fastened within 300 mm (12 in.), measured along the sheath, of the outer end of the raceway.
    - - - - (b) The raceway extends directly above the enclosure and does not penetrate a structural ceiling.
    - - - - (c) A fitting is provided on each end of the raceway to protect the cable(s) from abrasion and the fittings remain accessible after installation.
    - - - - (d) The raceway is sealed or plugged at the outer end using approved means so as to prevent access to the enclosure through the raceway.
    - - - - (e) The cable sheath is continuous through the raceway and extends into the enclosure beyond the fitting not less than 6 mm (¼ in.).
    - - - - (f) The raceway is fastened at its outer end and at other points in accordance with the applicable article.
    (g) Where installed as conduit or tubing, the allowable cable fill does not exceed that permitted for complete conduit or tubing systems by Table 1 of Chapter 9 of this Code and all applicable notes thereto.
    - - - - - FPN: See Table 1 in Chapter 9, including Note 9, for allowable cable fill in circular raceways. See 310.15(B)(2)(a) for required ampacity reductions for multiple cables installed in a common raceway. (Jerry's note: The FPN specifically points out the requirement for derating, if the raceway is longer than 24 inches, derating is required.)

    The conditions (a) through (f) are self-explanatory with the underlining so I did not make any notes at them.

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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry,

    Here is the email below I received back. Yeah, the manufacture says nothing wrong with coiled wiring is true.

    But here is what I got back from this instructor.

    Good Morning Rick,

    Siemens is right there is "nothing wrong" with leaving it coiled.
    The coil has nothing to do with electrical ratings.

    My comment was aimed toward Article 110, Section 110.12.

    NFPA-70, National Electrical Code, 2008, 2005, 2002, ect. >>>>> years back.
    110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work.
    Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.


    The coiled wire should be cut back and formed in the panelboard to present a neat wiring job.
    The area in a panelboard for wiring is somewhat limited in space. Any extra space, not filled with wires,
    allows better cooling in the panel.

    The "electrician" is lazy. A little extra work is necessary to do a professional job soooooo......
    A messy panelboard installation = A BAD UNPROFESSIONAL ELECTRICIAN!

    First "Clue"! A messy panelboard installation, most of the time, means a bad wiring job in total.


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    I disagree with him on the neat and workman like comment part: I have seen some VERY NEAT and VERY PROFESSIONAL looking panels and *not once* have I seen that coiled wire straightened out and cut off.

    Now, with panels beginning to be filled with AFCI breakers, the wiring space he is referring to may ... may ... become a factor, but not in the past.

    We will have to wait and see what the new panels full of AFCI breakers look like and act like with regard to heating from the AFCI breakers themselves.

    As I said before, it would be very easy (probably easier than using the coiled pigtail) to just use a straight wire looped up into a circle and which would readily 'flop out straight' when untied and then that would be run to where it needs to go, and, most likely, the excess cut off. The mere fact that the pigtails at able to be stretched out indicates there is no need to cut them off, and regarding a neat and workmanlike manner there is no need to cut it off, just tuck it in place.

    I would prefer ... as though that really matters what I would prefer ... the manufacturer's simply roll the straight wire up into a circle (looped up into a circle) and the electrician can simply untie it, flop the wire out straight (it is no longer all kinked and curly), then trim it to length easier than trying to trim a curled and kinked wires to length after trying to straighten it out - that straightened curled and kinked wire would look 'not in a neat and workmanlike manner' to me.

    The other information he gave you and you presented here is good and excellent, that is ... well ... suspect 'a neat and workmanlike manner' with curled, kinked, semi-straightened wires??? Not in my book.

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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry,

    Here's a service equipment panel replacement I had to go back and take a look at for my client.

    Dont' think this one was done in a " neat workman" like order.

    Notice all those pigtails. They will be cluttering up a box somewhat don't you think?

    AFCI's not labeled. Neutrals to 220's not identified as hot, Neutrals on buss touching grounding wire, ground rod not fully buried......

    rick

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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Dont' think this one was done in a " neat workman" like order.

    Notice all those pigtails. They will be cluttering up a box somewhat don't you think?

    Notice HOW BAD those mostly straightened out pigtail look - just what I was talking about when trying to straighten a curled/curly wire.

    See what I am saying that the manufacturer should just use straight wire looped up into a circle?

    See, it is not 'leaving the pigtails' which creates the un-workmanlike condition, it is the fact that 'they are pigtails' and the electrician tried to straighten them out, but forget the pigtails and the replacement panel and look at that mess in the bottom!



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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Neutrals touching touching grounding wire - not an issue with this panel as it is a main panel. The neutral is bonded down so the neutral conductors are in contact with the grounding conductor via the neutral/ground bar.

    Neutrals to 220 not identified as hots - If they are "hots" as you state they are not neutrals.
    They are white conductors not identified as current carrying conductors.


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Jerry-
    I was just throwing that out there so the fine folks here understand that there are times when cables need not be secured to the panel.

    We can not call the panel in the picture as having bundling with out having ALL the facts. How long is that nipple or is it a conduit. Under 24" or under 24" is the question.


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    Default Re: Service Equipment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Jerry-
    I was just throwing that out there so the fine folks here understand that there are times when cables need not be secured to the panel.
    Ken,

    My reason for pointing out the extreme limitations is that it will rarely, very rarely, be seen in residential work, and not even very often in non-residential work, so making the connection that all cables are to be secured to the enclosure will work in 99.99% of the cases, INCLUDING the two shown above.

    We can not call the panel in the picture as having bundling with out having ALL the facts. How long is that nipple or is it a conduit. Under 24" or under 24" is the question.
    Actually, it *IS* "bundling and lack of maintaining spacing", it may or may not be for long enough to require application of derating, however, if that is done anywhere near like the other 99.99% of the ones which are done like that, then the length WILL exceed 24" and derating will be required.

    Thus, my point is that derating is to be addressed at all times when bundling and lack of maintaining spacing are present when you can see the length is greater than 24" and needs to be raised when you cannot see the length where the electrician will need to sort it out, i.e., the opposite of the past where home inspectors never knew it and never addressed it, far better to be off on that 0.01% of the time and call it out the other 99.99% of the time than to not know and not call it out that 99.99% of the time.

    If my accuracy was at 99.99% I would be totally pleased, as it is, though, I am only around 90%-95% correct, which means I am wrong a lot more than I want to be or desire to be, and everyone here keeps me on my toes. I've had major construction project managers say I was right 98% of the time and when they find that 2% where I was wrong they made a big deal out of it because they finally had the chance to do so ... but ... I know I am wrong more often than that, they just didn't catch me being wrong as often as I was.

    I'm trying to improve my percentage of being right, but realize that the more progress I make in that direction the more I know I don't know, and that 5%-10% seems to grow and never get smaller. But I am trying. (I know, some say I am VERY TRYING .)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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