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  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Messy crowded panel

    Town home built in early 90's. What do you write up when you see a panel like this. I was accused of being to picky. Cables crowding panel, missing clamps, excessive number of cables entering one conduit, screws securing cover may puncture cables. I didn't this that was too bad. What do you write up. I know this has been kicked around before, just thought additional thoughts would be helpful.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Here's what I write:
    Improperly stripped sheathing and crowded, tangled conductors prevent full evaluation of the interior of the panel. Proper stripping, sorting and generally tidying of the panel by an electrician is recommended.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Thompson View Post
    Here's what I write:
    Improperly stripped sheathing and crowded, tangled conductors prevent full evaluation of the interior of the panel. Proper stripping, sorting and generally tidying of the panel by an electrician is recommended.

    Tidying of the panel by an electrician is recommended? You actually would say that?

    rick


  4. #4
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    Town home built in early 90's. What do you write up when you see a panel like this. I was accused of being to picky. Cables crowding panel, missing clamps, excessive number of cables entering one conduit, screws securing cover may puncture cables. I didn't this that was too bad. What do you write up. I know this has been kicked around before, just thought additional thoughts would be helpful.
    How long is that section of conduit?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    I don't use those Tomic connectors so I can't say if they will be good for 3 cables.

    The cables into the conduit does not work as the panel is not surface mounted.

    The wires could be dressed further back to avoid the screws.

    I don't see the improperly stripped cables that someone else saw.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    This panel has a 30 circuit capacity. You would be hard pressed to do a better job of making things more "tidy".


  7. #7
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    James,
    I don't know, the service was on the exterior maybe 30 to 50 feet from the panel but I was unable to access the area above the panel to determine length or condition of the conduit.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    I belive you will find that the panel has to many circuits on the left side, panels of that era were limited to 42 spaces thus only 21 on each side. If I counted correctly you have more than 21 on the left side. The label for the panel should show where the twin style breakers are allowed to be installed to reach the maximum number within the panel.


  9. #9
    Kevin Moses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    This is my first posting in this forum, hope we all can learn something. As a County Inspector I routinely get calls from homeowners regarding comments the "home inspector" has provided. While I understand that "home inspectors" serve an important role in the real estate transaction process, sometimes the comments do not reflect an understanding of the codes. Installations must meet the requirements of the code they were installed under, not the current code, unless it was just built.
    The panel in question has some minor code violations, under article 314 the sheathing must be through the clamp 1/4" minimum, some of the excess sheathing could be cut back. Tidyness that was mentioned, is not in the code. As for the potential screw penetration, move the wires, how often are the screws in question moved? Lastly, the listing of the devices used for the NM cable to enter the box will determine how many conductors it can support.
    Look forward to reading your responses!


  10. #10
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I don't use those Tomic connectors so I can't say if they will be good for 3 cables.

    The cables into the conduit does not work as the panel is not surface mounted.

    The wires could be dressed further back to avoid the screws.

    I don't see the improperly stripped cables that someone else saw.
    My point was it may be a 2" romex-type connector and not a conduit.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    My point was it may be a 2" romex-type connector and not a conduit.
    True, but it would still be wrong either way.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  12. #12
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    True, but it would still be wrong either way.
    I can't find find where that would be a problem. Can you point me to a code section?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Moses View Post
    just built.
    Tidyness that was mentioned, is not in the code.

    AH lets try 110.12
    Mechanical Execution of Work
    Electriccal equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.

    I know it's a pretty crappy rule to have in the code book and it's an even harder (and crappier) rule to try and enforce.
    One mans neat work is another's crappy work.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Moses View Post
    This is my first posting in this forum, hope we all can learn something. As a County Inspector I routinely get calls from homeowners regarding comments the "home inspector" has provided. While I understand that "home inspectors" serve an important role in the real estate transaction process, sometimes the comments do not reflect an understanding of the codes. Installations must meet the requirements of the code they were installed under, not the current code, unless it was just built.
    And the items in that panel existed in the code at the time of construction, remember, that it not an "old" panel, that is a modern-day early 1990s panel, and in regards to the violations they were the same then as today.

    The panel in question has some minor code violations,
    More importantly, there are some major issues there, also speaking as a code inspector for a municipality.

    White conductor used as a hot conductor to the 2nd breaker down on the right, as well as other white conductors on the right and left being used as hot conductor - these all need to be reidentified to red, black, or some other 'hot' conductor color, preferably red or black, though.

    Regarding 'workmanship' ... that is not as sloppy as many panels are, but yes, it could be neater.

    The NM cables are improperly connected to the enclosure as they should be in their own cable clamps (which are typically rated for one NM cable, or at most two NM cables in one clamp), but not the 4-5 NM cables shown in the front three NM clamps - wrong clamp for the use, NM cables not clamped to enclosure as required.

    Then there is that left clamp (conduit? ... if so, there there are other problems too) with probably 6-8 cables in it - wrong clamp for the use, NM cables not clamped to enclosure as required.

    Then that middle clamp (conduit? ... if so, there there are other problems too) with probably 6-8 cables in it - wrong clamp for the use, NM cables not clamped to enclosure as required.

    And all those nice unused knockouts just setting there waiting to be used ...

    Yep, an electrical contractor, a qualified and competent one, needs to correct the mess in that panel, and if any of those are conduits and not just clamps, then as Jim Port said, it's even worse.

    It it "horrible"? Of course not ... but then code is a minimum standard, the crappiest one is legally allowed to do things, and that does not even meet code, so ... yeah, it just might be "horrible" after all ... it does not even meet the standard of the crappiest one is legally allowed to do things.

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

  15. #15
    Guy W Opie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    The sheathing I se, is being used at circuit id. This was done probably when it was rough in . I see quite often.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    So Kevin, would this panel be OK with you as long as everything was hooked up OK? How would you tell?
    ratsnest.jpg
    (This is where the "tidying" comment came from, sorry Rick)


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I can't find find where that would be a problem. Can you point me to a code section?
    The connector is not listed for use with that many cables. This would go back to 110.3(B). Also as Jerry explained above the cable need to be secured to the enclosure. If that is a conduit they would not b secured to the enclosure.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  18. #18
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Must be a regional thing. It's not a problem in the areas I work in. The nearest thing I can is in 312.5(C) and that does not prohibit what we are talking about.


  19. #19
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    When that screw is screwed into the panel to secure the cover and punctures the NM cable and shocks the hell out of you, it that code


  20. #20
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    That's what the "home inspector" told me.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    The nearest thing I can is in 312.5(C) and that does not prohibit what we are talking about.
    James,

    Huh?

    312.5(C) PRECISELY PROHIBITS what is shown and what is being discussed.

    (bold, underlining and red are 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).
    - - - (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:
    - - - - - (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 ( 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.

    Not one or some of the following (a) through (g), ALL of them SHALL be met for the exception to apply, and this is a listing of what may be, may not be, is not, meeting those items, and remember ALL of then SHALL be met:
    Exception: IS NOT met, we can see this one
    (a) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (b) IS NOT met, we can see this one too
    (c) IS NOT met, we can see this one too
    (d) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (e) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (f) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (g) IS NOT met, we can see this one too

    The main exception itself is not met, and at least 3 of the other items are not met, and ALL of them SHALL be met - end result is that the practice shown in the photo IS NOT ALLOWED BY THE CODE.

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

  22. #22
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    James,

    Huh?

    312.5(C) PRECISELY PROHIBITS what is shown and what is being discussed.

    (bold, underlining and red are 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).
    - - - (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:
    - - - - - (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 ( 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.

    Not one or some of the following (a) through (g), ALL of them SHALL be met for the exception to apply, and this is a listing of what may be, may not be, is not, meeting those items, and remember ALL of then SHALL be met:
    Exception: IS NOT met, we can see this one
    (a) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (b) IS NOT met, we can see this one too
    (c) IS NOT met, we can see this one too
    (d) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (e) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (f) may be met, we don't know from the photo
    (g) IS NOT met, we can see this one too

    The main exception itself is not met, and at least 3 of the other items are not met, and ALL of them SHALL be met - end result is that the practice shown in the photo IS NOT ALLOWED BY THE CODE.
    Like Jim pointed out this panel is not surface mounted so the only thing that applies is this section is "Where cable is used, each cable shall be secured to the cabinet, cutout box, or meter socket enclosure". It really doesn't say how to accomplish that so I really don't see a code violation since the cables can be secured with a 2" romex-type connector.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    It really doesn't say how to accomplish that so I really don't see a code violation since the cables can be secured with a 2" romex-type connector.
    IME a standard 3/8" NM connector is only listed for use with 1-2 NM cables depending on their sizes. Multiple cables into a 2" connector will not be one of the listed combinations.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  24. #24
    dana1028's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Like Jim pointed out this panel is not surface mounted so the only thing that applies is this section is "Where cable is used, each cable shall be secured to the cabinet, cutout box, or meter socket enclosure". It really doesn't say how to accomplish that so I really don't see a code violation since the cables can be secured with a 2" romex-type connector.
    James - as others have said, this is a 110.3(B) thing...equipment shall be installed per listing; 3/8" 'Romex' clamps are listed for one single cable, unless the mfr. indicates otherwise [some mfr's do permit as many as 3 NM cables, depending on size for a connector] - NO mfr. lists a 2" clamp for 15 #12 NM cables....this information is from the UL 'White Book', category PXJV 'Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable Connectors'.

    An even though this is 'permitted' in your area, in truth it is not permitted at all - all jurisdictions must comply with state law...so when a state adopts the NEC all municipalities must comply with the NEC [and UL] requirements....what you do have in your area is electrical inspectors who don't know the code requirements - thus, they are making a mistake ....giving 'permission' through ignorance and [per language in the building code] this action voids the permit approval.


  25. #25
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    I am happy to say that I work in an a area that the inspectors use common sense in applying the code. We have good inspectors for the most part that know that if you can run your romex in a 18" section of 2" conduit then you can run it through a 2" connector without the conduit. No problem..just passing along what I see and deal with daily. End of this one for me!


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Messy crowded panel

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I am happy to say that I work in an a area that the inspectors use common sense in applying the code. We have good inspectors for the most part that know that if you can run your romex in a 18" section of 2" conduit then you can run it through a 2" connector without the conduit. No problem..just passing along what I see and deal with daily. End of this one for me!

    "Good inspectors" do not just make things up that they think is okay, they try to learn the code and WHY things are in there, and there are good reasons WHY that is not allowed, therefore I would be inclined to disagree with your "we have good inspectors" comment.

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

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