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  1. #1

    Default Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Is this installation a code violation (see pic). Even if it is, I don't see it as an issue after reading this article: Electrical Contractor: Panelboard Orientation

    Anyone that is in a hurry to cut power off only has one choice-- turn the breaker the opposite direction.

    The panels are both 200 amp panels, and are service equipment (not sub- panels Jerry )

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    That most certainly IS a violation in today's world.

    This is a really hard call unless you know the installation date and code cycle in place at the time.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    That panel does not look to pre-date the requirement for up being "on".

    What probably happened is the enclosure can be installed with either end up, and the interior can usually be installed with either end up (so they did), however, when the main is in that configuration, then the interior is only allowed to be installed as configured for the listing - with up being "on".

    Even with real old panels installed before that requirement, they should be written up for safety reasons. Just because a code did not required electricians to use common sense and install "on" as up, does not make it safe when it is installed with "on" being down.

    And before Peter jumps on me, I stated the electrician this time as it was the electrician who installed it that way. Way back when, FPE (YIKES!) made panel with horizontal rows of breakers where one row had "on" down - that was not an electrician problem (other than their use of FPE), that was a manufacturer goofy action (and we all know that FPE panels are certainly goofy, so that is not news to anyone).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    And before Peter jumps on me, ....
    No way Jerry. I know exactly what you mean.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Wow, now I know how Speedy Petey got his name--- he beats Jerry to the punch.

    The home was built in 2005, so it is a code violation. I just thought there may be some allowance for the "main" breakers to be either way since it was signed off by the electrical inspector, installed by an electrician, etc. The odd thing is that electrical codes are typically followed just about to the letter in this area-- there are some picky electrical inspectors.

    As always, THANKS


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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    See NEC article 240.81 here is a copy & paste from the 2008 NEC which is unchanged from 2002,2005.


    240.81 Indicating. Circuit breakers shall clearly indicate
    whether they are in the open “off” or closed “on” position.
    Where circuit breaker handles are operated vertically
    rather than rotationally or horizontally, the “up” position of
    the handle shall be the “on” position.

    Most manufacturers have gone to a horz. operating handle so a loadcenter can be inverted w/o any issues w/ section 240.81.


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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    This Commander panel from this AM, installed in '94, can be mounted upside down and even horizontally, although that wouldn't necessarily make it right. Or would it?

    Can we have 2 neutrals under one screw here? There's provision for a wire under either side of the screw, and to be honest, I think the pressure from the screw head bears more evenly on 2 wires in this panel.

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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    can be mounted upside down and even horizontally,
    Many things "can be" done which are not allowed.

    In fact, it CAN BE mounted horizontally on a ceiling, but that is not allowed either.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    That panel does not look to pre-date the requirement for up being "on".
    JP: Preface required: I am not questioning the correctness of your call. What is the citation for the installation and the date when it was enacted?


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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Many things "can be" done which are not allowed.

    In fact, it CAN BE mounted horizontally on a ceiling, but that is not allowed either.

    In Canada it is quite common to have horz. mounted panels, the reason I was given is because of the Canadian rule of a separate compartment for the main breaker & that branch circuit cables cannot be run through the compartment. Canada = OK for horz. panels , USA = not allowed = hack work.


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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    This rule dates back to at least the 1987 edition of the NEC.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: Preface required: I am not questioning the correctness of your call. What is the citation for the installation and the date when it was enacted?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    This rule dates back to at least the 1987 edition of the NEC.
    Aaron,

    That was new to the NEC with the 1975 edition. The 1975 edition added a lot at the end of 240, basically from 240.80 on was new, which included 204.81 Indicating.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    That was new to the NEC with the 1975 edition. The 1975 edition added a lot at the end of 240, basically from 240.80 on was new, which included 204.81 Indicating.
    JP: Thanks!


  14. #14

    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Aaron,

    You may find the link I posted along with the original question informative.


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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    In Canada it is quite common to have horz. mounted panels, the reason I was given is because of the Canadian rule of a separate compartment for the main breaker & that branch circuit cables cannot be run through the compartment. Canada = OK for horz. panels , USA = not allowed = hack work.
    Thank you , Rollie. In my area, I wouldn't say it is common in new construction, but I have seen it. I suspect it is frowned upon locally. In the basements of older houses, yeah, that's the world of the sideways panel and the suicide cabinet door.

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  16. #16
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main breakers off in UP position-- violation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Aaron,

    You may find the link I posted along with the original question informative.
    BW: Yep, I did.


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