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Between a ROCK (NEC) and a hard place (City Inspec


sepefrio
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OK, I found the below panel and recommended it be replaced because it takes more than six throws to shut off all power. The owner called the chief city inspector here and he said I'm full of , well not goodness.

Client won't buy unless it's fixed.

Seller won't fix

Agent is begging me to do something.

Quote from Electrical Inspection by Doug Hansen, p 2.21

The main disconnect is not always a single switch or breaker; thre can be a total of up to 6 main disconnects [230-71a]. The NEC has never allowed more than 6 hand movements to disconnect power at the service.

Any advice?

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The AHJ is always right, even when he isn't. Perhaps you could ask him nicely (pay him) to inspect and sign off on the panel. He probably won't, but you could try.

I see only one breaker, the 60 amp middle right-back fed from the upper busses, that will shut off the lower busses. Where is the main disconnect for the upper busses? If it ain't in that panel then the whole mess is wrong, because then it's a subpanel and the EGC's and GC's are bonded, not to mention all the multiples on the neutral bus.

Tell your client that a service upgrade isn't that expensive, and will be well worth it for the convenience alone. If they still won't budge, suggest another concession they could ask for that will have a similar cost. That way the seller pays, and they get to choose the contractor. Might get further this way than with the AHJ.

Tom

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Many curse words later, I found my own problem. It's a friggen split bus, thus only three throws needed. City inspector is still wrong but this panel meets NEC in this case.

Typed the above as you guys were responding.

BTW Neal. the top left breaker is not wired, thus only three breakers top half.

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"City inspector is still wrong."

Hmmm...I have to wonder about that John. Looking at your first post... "The owner called the chief city inspector here and he said I'm full of , well not goodness." ...perhaps the city inspector was able to determine over the phone (as you should have been able to on site) that it was a very common split-bus panel. Not all AHJ inspectors are "experts" but I have a hard time imagining any that wouldn't know about the 6 throw rule.

The only thing I see that needs fixing is that half-size double breaker on the left. I realize there are no conductors to it, which is a good thing. Its position, "jammed" between two two full size mounting tabs is just wrong and I would recommend that it be removed and the gaps in the cover filled with appropriate plates.

I see only one breaker, the 60 amp middle right-back fed from the upper busses, that will shut off the lower busses. Where is the main disconnect for the upper busses? If it ain't in that panel then the whole mess is wrong, because then it's a subpanel and the EGC's and GC's are bonded, not to mention all the multiples on the neutral bus.

Tom...once again, it's a split-bus panel. In a typical split-bus panel, the upper section has room for 4 or 6 double-pole breakers, one of which feeds (not back-fed) the lower bus-bars. All 4 or 6 of those upper breakers ARE the main or service disconnect and no other is needed. Problems with excessive throws in a split-bus panel are often the result of changing from electric to gas (heat and water heater) and then re-using the top half for a variety of single-pole breakers and 120-volt circuits.

FYI...here's a variety of split-bus panels. I've marked the brands and the lower half feed in each (except the Square-D...unlabeled, top right breaker). Note that these are for recognition only as there may be other issues with some (FPE, Zinnsco, etc).

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

The only thing I see that needs fixing is that half-size double breaker on the left. I realize there are no conductors to it, which is a good thing. Its position, "jammed" between two two full size mounting tabs is just wrong and I would recommend that it be removed and the gaps in the cover filled with appropriate plates.

Actually that's where it's supposed to be. It's a GE panel and their half-size 220v breakers go right between two normal stabs (one of each leg). You can only install 1/2 size 110's on each side of a 1/2 size 220v. Challenger also made a similar 1/2 size line, but they attached to the bus bars differently.

Brian G.

Bus Bars - Where People Without a Car Go to Drink [:-drunk]

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I can't think of anyone other than GE and Challenger who made them that way, so they're sort of unique in that respect. The advantages are being able to use any combination of two singles and one double, and not having to replace all three if one went bad. Challenger's singles were kind of goofy though; they made them in a right hand and a left hand, depending on which side of the double you were putting it on. GE's singles fit either side.

With the GE you have no hope of putting a half-size in a place they didn't mean for you to. Look closely at the stabs in the first photo; you'll see little stabs coming off the sides at a 90° angle. Those are what the GE half-size breaker grab, not the big stabs. Where there are no little stabs, fugget about it.

Brian G.

Mobster Brothers; Little Stab & Big Stab [:-slaphap

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Originally posted by Tom Raymond

I see only one breaker, the 60 amp middle right-back fed from the upper busses, that will shut off the lower busses. Where is the main disconnect for the upper busses? If it ain't in that panel then the whole mess is wrong, because then it's a subpanel and the EGC's and GC's are bonded, not to mention all the multiples on the neutral bus.

Richard, thanks for taking the time for posting the pics. I think you got them all except maybe for an old Wadsworth! Obviously, some inspectors aren't familiar with the older split bus design. The cables running from the main-for-lighting breaker to the busbar can be a What the F- moment when first looking at it.

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Richard,

Thanks for the panel pics, I'm sure they will prove useful to many of us here, myself included. I still don't quite get where the main disconnect is on the panel originally in question though. There are four double breakers in the upper bus; one empty, the lower left and upper right that are branch circuits, and the lower right that runs the split. Isn't the upper bus required to have a disconnect?

I sort of cut my teeth on split bus panels, I grew up in a house with a CH split. This panel had three splits and a factory installed main. The main protected everything, the top split housed disconnects for the two lower splits and and two doubles for appliance loads. My experience with this panel may have me thinking that all splits have or require a single main.

Tom

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