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Thread: Spacers matter?

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    Default Spacers matter?

    Do you all count the spacers along with circuit breakers to determine whether or not a main breaker is needed? For example is it required to have a main breaker in a service entrance equipment with 5 breakers and 2 spacers?

    Thanks,

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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    No and no.

    Jerry McCarthy
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Yes and yes.

    Equipment designed and intended for use as service equipment will have up to 6 mains ONLY, including split bus panels.

    It's not how many breakers it has 'right now' that only counts, but how many breakers can be installed total that counts, such as 'there are only 4 now, but as soon as you walk away, someone comes along and sticks in 8 more, because it was a 12 circuit box' - NOT GOOD.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes and yes.

    Equipment designed and intended for use as service equipment will have up to 6 mains ONLY, including split bus panels.

    It's not how many breakers it has 'right now' that only counts, but how many breakers can be installed total that counts, such as 'there are only 4 now, but as soon as you walk away, someone comes along and sticks in 8 more, because it was a 12 circuit box' - NOT GOOD.
    Jerry

    Is this your opinion or code?


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    From the NEC: (underlining is mine)
    - 230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
    - - (A) General. The service disconnecting means for each service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception Nos. 1, 3, 4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switchboard. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects per service grouped in any one location. For the purpose of this section, disconnecting means used solely for power monitoring equipment, transient voltage surge suppressors, or the control circuit of the ground-fault protection system or power-operable service disconnecting means, installed as part of the listed equipment, shall not be considered a service disconnecting means.
    - - (B) Single-Pole Units. Two or three single-pole switches or breakers, capable of individual operation, shall be permitted on multiwire circuits, one pole for each ungrounded conductor, as one multipole disconnect, provided they are equipped with handle ties or a master handle to disconnect all conductors of the service with no more than six operations of the hand.
    - - - FPN: See 408.36(A) for service equipment in panelboards, and see 430.95 for service equipment in motor control centers.

    Not my opinion, 6 is the maximum *ALLOWED*, and if there are more than 6 spaces, you are *ALLOWING FOR* more than 6.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    jerry the code you posted only says that 6 is the maximum number it says nothing about open spaces i could install 1 double pole breaker in the panel stated above and still have just 6. the person that puts 2 single pole breakers in that panel makes the violation not the person that leaves 5 breakers with two blanks.


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    jerry the code you posted only says that 6 is the maximum number it says nothing about open spaces i could install 1 double pole breaker in the panel stated above and still have just 6. the person that puts 2 single pole breakers in that panel makes the violation not the person that leaves 5 breakers with two blanks.
    Actually, it does address just what you are saying.

    Let's first assume that you have your maximum of 6 disconnects ... and then 6 spaces (it's a 12 circuit panel).

    ANY space you put ANYTHING into will exceed that maximum number of 6.

    If you only have 5 and put in a double pole, you are adding one more, making it 6.

    The MAXIMUM allowed is 6. Allowing for any more (I.e., there are spaces there) is allowing for more than the MAXIMUM allowed - meaning it is wrong, and it is addressed by that code section.

    The code is addressing the maximum ALLOWED, not the maximum INSTALLED, and ALLOWING more than 6 is against the code. That panel ALLOWS for more than 6.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    ok jerry lets use your example a 12 space panel is installed with six two pole breakers this is legal per code you stated. someone changes 1 of the double pole breakers at a later date to 2 single pole breakers the original installation was legal the person that made the changes makes it illegal in this case and my previous post.


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Paul,

    First, check to see if the panel is rated for "use as service equipment", if it is (they will state that right on the labeling), then it will tell you what is allowed to be used in it when "used as service equipment".

    6 two pole breakers would be okay when used as service equipment.

    5 two pole breakers and 2 single pole breakers would not be, and would also violate the listing.

    HOWEVER, when I stated "Let's first assume that you have your maximum of 6 disconnects ... and then 6 spaces (it's a 12 circuit panel).", I was assuming 6 two pole breakers and 6 more spaces ... with my addition being off (that would be 18 circuits). I realize I specifically stated "12 circuit panel", which implied that I specially meant a "12 circuit panel", but I was intending it to mean 6 two pole breakers (which I did not specify as being two pole breakers) and 6 spaces.

    With that additional information, re-formulate your question and I will answer it too.

    The answer to your first question is that, in that case, it would make the service equipment being used 'not in accordance with it listing and labeling', which is a violation of 110-3(B). But that was my error in my post for your question leading to that answer.

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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    lets say we have a panel rated for use as service equipment it is 12 circuit with 6 two pole breakers legal? yes. lets assume someone changes 1 of the two pole breakers to 2 one pole breakers legal? no. once again the person that made the changes makes it a violation the original post said 5 breakers with 2 spaces i could install 1 two pole breaker and be legal but i could not install 2 one pole breakers the person that adds or changes the number of breakers over 6 makes it a violation not the person that leaves 5 breakers with 2 spaces.


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    lets say we have a panel rated for use as service equipment it is 12 circuit with 6 two pole breakers legal? yes.
    Correct.

    lets assume someone changes 1 of the two pole breakers to 2 one pole breakers legal? no.
    Correct.

    once again the person that made the changes makes it a violation
    Correct.

    the original post said 5 breakers with 2 spaces i could install 1 two pole breaker and be legal but i could not install 2 one pole breakers
    Correct.

    the person that adds or changes the number of breakers over 6 makes it a violation not the person that leaves 5 breakers with 2 spaces.
    Correct again.

    To continue where you left off.

    ~~~~~~~~
    The original post stated: "Do you all count the spacers along with circuit breakers to determine whether or not a main breaker is needed? [/quote]

    My answer was, and remains, 'Yes.'

    Are spaces counted. Yes.

    Why. Because you could have a panelboard with 42 spaces, only have 6 breakers in it, and that would not be allowed to be used as "service equipment" unless a main breaker was installed. You agree?

    ~~~~~~~~~
    Then continued with "For example is it required to have a main breaker in a service entrance equipment with 5 breakers and 2 spacers?"

    My answer was 'Yes." and should have been "Yes, but it also depends on ... " Such is the penalty for giving one word answers.

    *IF* that is rated for use as service equipment, and there are only those 12 spaces, then no main would be required.

    *IF* that is not rated for use as service equipment, then it is not suitable for use as service equipment anyway, meaning, yest, it needs a main breaker (not in that enclosure, of course, though, if there were means in there to install a main breaker, it may be rated for use as service equipment).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    jerry the original post said 5 breakers with 2 spaces this in my opinion is not a violation the post indicates a small panel with limited spaces that could be legal or illegal depending on the breakers installed so by counting the blank spaces as i showed in my posts you cannot say it is a violation now as you stated in your post a 42 space panel with 6 breakers and a very large number of additional spaces would in my opinion be a violation. I guess I am trying to say just counting the spaces should not determine if a main is needed.


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    jerry the original post said 5 breakers with 2 spaces this in my opinion is not a violation
    As I said above, that isn't.

    BUT ... the original post ALSO asked: "Do you all count the spacers along with circuit breakers to determine whether or not a main breaker is needed?" and "No." is not a correct answer there, thus, the opposite one word answer was "Yes.", because you do count the spaces.

    The problem is, this is not a question which should have been given a "one word answer". Thus, in my last post to you above, I said: "Such is the penalty for giving one word answers."

    as you stated in your post a 42 space panel with 6 breakers and a very large number of additional spaces would in my opinion be a violation.
    Which is saying the same thing I am and did, 'the spaces are counted', and a "one word answer" was not a good answer - but I already said that, about 3-4 times.

    As I've already stated: the answer "should have been "Yes, but it also depends on ... " "

    I guess I am trying to say just counting the spaces should not determine if a main is needed.
    The key word there is "just". But counting the spaces *IS* needed, with the answer being (again I say it) "Yes, but it also depends on ... ", which is the same meaning (I think) you are giving with your " ... just counting the spaces should not ... ", meaning ... "it depends".

    Right?

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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    yes the number is a factor but just because it exeeds 6 does not make it a violation that was all i was trying to point out


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    yes the number is a factor but just because it exeeds 6
    Please clarify what "the number" is referring to, thanks.

    does not make it a violation that was all i was trying to point out
    Very well might, depending on what "it" "the number" is referring to.

    More than 6 breakers and it is a violation.

    More than 12 spaces with 6 full-size double pole breakers, yes.

    More than 6 spaces with 6 half-size double pole breakers, yes.

    More than 12 spaces, regardless, yes.

    Let's assume there are 12 spaces, 5 have full-size double pole breakers, two spaces are still closed off - *it depends*, no, not unless someone inserts a double half-size double pole breaker (2 double pole breakers in one with handle ties going around each other).

    Let's assume there are 24 spaces with 6 full-size breakers, yes.

    Do you count the spaces? Yes. Do you *just* count the spaces? No.

    Do you count the breakers? Yes. Do you *just* count the breakers? No.

    Do you count the breakers and the spaces? Yes. Do you *just* count the spaces and the breakers? No. That is what "it depends" on - the combination of breakers and spaces and what is installed.

    If it is "obvious" that more than 6 "can be installed" (using full-size breakers), then yes.

    We cannot make the assumption that they will install half-size breakers, so treat it like full-size breakers for the empty spaces. There may, or may not, be half-size breakers already in there, and, if they are, that 'will likely' lead to the end result of 'more than 6' can be installed in it.

    But look in it and verify that it says "Suitable for use as Service Equipment". Also look for it to not say "Suitable for use as Service Equipment ONLY", some will say that, and if it does, *it is only* "suitable for use as Service Equipment".

    What is the difference between them? The main thing, and maybe the only thing, is that the grounds and neutrals as both permanently bonded to the enclosure on those which state "Suitable for use as Service Equipment ONLY". The others ('Suitable for use as Service Equipment') will have the neutral terminal bar isolated from ground, a ground bond is required when used as 'service equipment'.

    Is that any clearer?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    that is exacly what i was trying to get to


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    that is exacly what i was trying to get to
    I said that many posts ago: "My answer was 'Yes." and should have been "Yes, but it also depends on ... " Such is the penalty for giving one word answers."

    But you wanted more.

    Any need to go on?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    If it is "obvious" that more than 6 "can be installed" (using full-size breakers), then yes.

    Quote:
    the original post said 5 breakers with 2 spaces i could install 1 two pole breaker and be legal but i could not install 2 one pole breakers
    Correct.


    Quote:
    the person that adds or changes the number of breakers over 6 makes it a violation not the person that leaves 5 breakers with 2 spaces.
    Correct again.

    jerry this is what im talking about the original post said 5 breakers with 2 spaces its "obvious" that more than 6 could be installed but not a violation until that is done


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes and yes.

    Equipment designed and intended for use as service equipment will have up to 6 mains ONLY, including split bus panels.

    It's not how many breakers it has 'right now' that only counts, but how many breakers can be installed total that counts, such as 'there are only 4 now, but as soon as you walk away, someone comes along and sticks in 8 more, because it was a 12 circuit box' - NOT GOOD.
    I tend to disagree with what I've bolded.
    "Right now" the box has 4 breakers - it is not a violation no matter how many spaces it has. Someone who sticks 8 more in without a main disconect makes it wrong.

    As a HI can we predict what someone might do?

    Now, common sense would dictate that a box with 42 spaces (and the potential for more than 6) should have a main disconect due to the possibility of additional circuits, however the person putting in the additional breakers should - I repeat - should - know this and add the required main.


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Bacco View Post
    As a HI can we predict what someone might do?

    Now, common sense would dictate that ...
    While HIs cannot predict with 100% accuracy what someone MIGHT do, HIs CAN READ the instructions on the label, that's one of the reasons they are there - for people to read, and, in a box which is in question (and, in fact, EVERY enclosure being used as service equipment) the HI should be able to read one of the following: 'Suitable For Use As Service Equipment' or 'Suitable For Use ONLY As Service Equipment'.

    *IF* it does not say one of those, even if there are only two disconnects in there currently, it is not allowed to be used as service equipment.

    And, if it does say it is suitable for use as service equipment, there will be a schematic showing where the mains are allowed to be installed.
    Thus, regardless what the HI can predict ... they should be able to read.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ...in a box which is in question (and, in fact, EVERY enclosure being used as service equipment) the HI should be able to read one of the following: 'Suitable For Use As Service Equipment' or 'Suitable For Use ONLY As Service Equipment'.

    *IF* it does not say one of those, even if there are only two disconnects in there currently, it is not allowed to be used as service equipment.

    And, if it does say it is suitable for use as service equipment, there will be a schematic showing where the mains are allowed to be installed.
    Thus, regardless what the HI can predict ... they should be able to read.
    So, let me see if I understand...

    If there is no label the box is "wrong"

    If it says 'Suitable For Use As Service Equipment' or 'Suitable For Use ONLY As Service Equipment' and there are 5 breakers and 5 spaces (no main) then it is wrong.

    Am I close?


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    BOLD is mine
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    From the NEC: (underlining is mine)
    - 230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
    - - (A) General. The service disconnecting means for each service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception Nos. 1, 3, 4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switchboard. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects per service grouped in any one location. For the purpose of this section, disconnecting means used solely for power monitoring equipment, transient voltage surge suppressors, or the control circuit of the ground-fault protection system or power-operable service disconnecting means, installed as part of the listed equipment, shall not be considered a service disconnecting means.
    - - (B) Single-Pole Units. Two or three single-pole switches or breakers, capable of individual operation, shall be permitted on multiwire circuits, one pole for each ungrounded conductor, as one multipole disconnect, provided they are equipped with handle ties or a master handle to disconnect all conductors of the service with no more than six operations of the hand.
    - - - FPN: See 408.36(A) for service equipment in panelboards, and see 430.95 for service equipment in motor control centers.

    Not my opinion, 6 is the maximum *ALLOWED*, and if there are more than 6 spaces, you are *ALLOWING FOR* more than 6.
    Herein lies my confusion....
    I do not see the word "Allowed" anywhere in the code reference. I also do not see the word(s) nor any reference to spaces or blanks.
    I do see the word "mounted" and reference to "sets of disconects"
    Now from READING what is there (and NOT READING what is not) I believe this passage refferes to what is installed (mounted) and not what is possible to be installed (allowed).

    Jerry, Thank you for the emphasis on READING in your previous post, it reminded me to read exactly what is written.


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    Default Re: Spacers matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Bacco View Post
    So, let me see if I understand...
    Looks like you are "reading" now.

    If there is no label the box is "wrong"
    You are close on this one. If there is no label stating that it is suitable for use as service equipment (which, I am sure, is what you meant by the above), then, yes, it is "wrong" *IF* it is being used as service equipment (which, I am sure, is also what you meant by the above).

    If it says 'Suitable For Use As Service Equipment' or 'Suitable For Use ONLY As Service Equipment' and there are 5 breakers and 5 spaces (no main) then it is wrong.
    To clarify what is being asked and answered (you can clarify what was being asked if different):

    *IF* "there are 5 breakers" (presuming you are referring to double pole breakers here) "and 5 spaces (no main) then it is wrong", yes, because those "5 breakers" will be taking up 10 of the 12 spaces allotted for "the mains" (refer to the schematic on the label and you will see that),
    or,
    the schematic may say "with up to a xxx amp main", in which case it is suitable for service equipment only when a main is installed, up to that maximum size main (I have seen some that way).

    Am I close?
    Close, but no ceegar.

    Thus, the answer becomes: read the label and look at the schematic if there is any question.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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