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Fellow Inspectors,

Today's inspection was a town home with 2 apartments. 100 amp over head service entering home.

One panel had the neutral reduced at a splice to #10 before attaching to the neutral buss. I wrote that up as a concern. Comments welcome.

Photo is of reduced neutral.

Anatol

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Fellow Inspectors,

Today's inspection was a town home with 2 apartments. 100 amp over head service entering home.

One panel had the neutral reduced at a splice to #10 before attaching to the neutral buss. I wrote that up as a concern. Comments welcome.

Photo is of reduced neutral. . .

I'm not sure what comments you want. The skinny neutral is wrong.

Is the backfed breaker secured in place?

Is the equipment supposed to have those two tandems on the left?

Do the two sides of the multi-wire circuit originate on different poles?

Is this a service panel? If so, where does the GEC go? If not, the neutrals aren't isolated.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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There is more going on here. The panel is at most 20 - 25 years old. The feeders to it are much older. Why was it changed out, and what else did they do when it was changed out? Was there a fuse panel here and someone needed to add circuits, or "upgrade" to breakers to satisfy an insurance company requirement? Does it look like other equipment or circuits were added at the time this panel was installed?

Mark and James are of course correct, and we should ask why someone would wrap white tape around a bare conductor. The splice of the two very different conductors under a wire nut isn't just a case of choosing the wrong connector - it suggests that the person who did it lacked a truck full of parts from which to choose the correct conductor and splice block. In other words, it probably wasn't done by a trained or qualified electrician. What else did you see that has this person's signature level of workmanship?

Douglas Hansen

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I know the feeder cables should be approximately the same size (length). In the photo above one is looped around so it's about 8-10 inches longer.

Does 'the same length' mean exactly that or is the 8-10 inches OK?

I'm unaware of the same-length requirement and I can't think of any reason why it would be necessary. I'd expect the conductors to be just the right length without any excess curled up in the box.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thanks Anatol, this thread provides a teachable moment for me.

Subject: backfed breakers and the securing of such

Questions I have:

1. When must breakers be secured?

2. What methods are used to secure backfed breakers and are they readily visible?

3. Do breakers that feed the second bus in a split bus panel need to be secured?

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Thanks Anatol, this thread provides a teachable moment for me.

Subject: backfed breakers and the securing of such

Questions I have:

1. When must breakers be secured?

2. What methods are used to secure backfed breakers and are they readily visible?

3. Do breakers that feed the second bus in a split bus panel need to be secured?

What is this 'secured breaker' thing? How do you secure a breaker?

Marc

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Thanks Anatol, this thread provides a teachable moment for me.

Subject: backfed breakers and the securing of such

Questions I have:

1. When must breakers be secured?

2. What methods are used to secure backfed breakers and are they readily visible?

3. Do breakers that feed the second bus in a split bus panel need to be secured?

What is this 'secured breaker' thing? How do you secure a breaker?

Marc

I don't know. I ask because Jim K mentioned it in post #2 of this thread.

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Thanks Anatol, this thread provides a teachable moment for me.

Subject: backfed breakers and the securing of such

Questions I have:

1. When must breakers be secured?

Whenever they're backfed.

2. What methods are used to secure backfed breakers and are they readily visible?

It'll depend on the brand. Some use a screw or bolt and others use a plastic clip. See the attached pictures. The screws & bolts are very easy to see. The clips are easy to see if you have a flashlight and you know where to look.

3. Do breakers that feed the second bus in a split bus panel need to be secured?

No, they're not backfed.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Backfed Main.JPG

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Backfed_Broken.JPG

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Thanks for the feedback. I did write up the issues you have mentioned. Some where in the back of my mind, I had read that the neutral could be reduced under certain circumstances. I will erase that from memory...

Anatol

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Thanks for the feedback. I did write up the issues you have mentioned. Some where in the back of my mind, I had read that the neutral could be reduced under certain circumstances. I will erase that from memory...

Perhaps you're remembering that the neutral can be sized smaller than the hot conductors. It's supposed to be sized to carry the maximum unbalanced load between it and either of the hot conductors. That commonly works out being a size or two smaller than the hots.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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