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Old 01-28-2014, 01:17 PM   #1
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


I am trying to build a monitoring device for the circuit breaker. Does anyone know if this is against codes or what codes I would need to follow?
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Breakers are a listed device. You are going to need to have your modified assembly test in order to be listed and this will not be cheap. What or why are you trying to monitor the breaker?
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:40 PM   #3
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


How would you put such a device "in" a circuit breaker without altering it? That would be a violation. Investigate using a current transformer attached to the conductor coming from the circuit breaker.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:57 PM   #4
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


ABB, Siemens, GE and Eaton all make monitored circuit breakers. Are you re-inventing the wheel?
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:48 PM   #5
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Apparently there are. But. . .since this is a DIY site. . .

You could put a Microswitch that actuates when the breaker handle flips and then lights a bulb
or
wire a 10mA LED and diode and dropping resistor from one side of the breaker to the other. If the breaker opens the 120v causes DC current through the LED light.

Wear level 2 arc-flash gear and other PPE if you're going to remove the panel cover.

A photocell system would be even less intrusive, or small magnets on the breaker handles that operate reed switches with battery current.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 01-28-2014 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:51 PM   #6
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Jim Port what do you mean by a list devise? Or modified assembly test? What codes should I be looking at for this?
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:48 PM   #7
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Most electrical parts are tested by a lab like UL to make sure they perform as designed. When you open a sealed unit or modify it it is no longer a listed part and cannot be used. It would again need to be tested. UL has a book called the White Book.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:11 PM   #8
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit
Apparently there are. But. . .since this is a DIY site. . . You could put a Microswitch that actuates when the breaker handle flips and then lights a bulb or wire a 10mA LED and diode and dropping resistor from one side of the breaker to the other. If the breaker opens the 120v causes DC current through the LED light. Wear level 2 arc-flash gear and other PPE if you're going to remove the panel cover. A photocell system would be even less intrusive, or small magnets on the breaker handles that operate reed switches with battery current.
I wouldn't encourage this DIY site or not. Many requirements when you commingle low voltage and household power circuits. 600V insulation, UL approval, and isolation barriers. This is on top of tampering with a UL listed breaker rendering it "unlisted". There are safer ways to learn about electricity than experimenting like this.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:57 PM   #9
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Student42 View Post
I am trying to build a monitoring device for the circuit breaker. Does anyone know if this is against codes or what codes I would need to follow?
First off what is a monitoring device, or more clearly, what is the device you are inventing?
Second, which is "the" circuit breaker you are referring to?
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:06 PM   #10
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


You can have the electrical inspector inspect an unlisted device or fixture on the spot and approve it to be installed.
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:12 AM   #11
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


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You can have the electrical inspector inspect an unlisted device or fixture on the spot and approve it to be installed.
Really, what would they look for for approval. Are there any up standards or code or is it just rule of thumb kinda thing
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:44 AM   #12
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


This really depends on "what you are doing" to the breaker.

If you are putting a surface mount item on it (maybe something that measures the EMF around the unit) or connecting a unit after the breaker before heading to the load, I really don't see any issues (just make sure the "unit" and wiring is able to withhold the full load rating of the breaker feeding it) You really aren't modifying anything, you're just adding onto it...but it won't affect its operation because it trips internally...

But, If you are looking at disassembling a breaker, modifying it, or the panel, then yes, it automatically voids the UL listing...which can be dangerous especially because of the fire risk due to it's a safety device...and honestly, the breakers are designed so compact, you can't really modify it without breaking open the mold...

It's almost like trying to modify the airbag in your car...dangerous, and you want it to deploy reliably if you need it...same with a breaker, you need that to trip reliably. Buy something that does what you are looking for, that has been through 1,000's of tests for defects/faults, and you'll never have to look back at it again...
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:14 PM   #13
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


A simpler way to do this might be to put some device on that circuit that would alarm at the loss of power. A cheap emergency lighting device, or the cheapest UPS you can find might be an easier way than messing with the breaker. A UPS will still set off its alarm when power is lost, and in your application you would not plug anything into its output.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:18 AM   #14
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Any rule against putting monitoring devices in a circuit breaker?


Anything you install has to be listed for the purpose. Again, what are you installing, and what do you mean by "monitoring device?" There are people here attempting to help you, but you are being vague.
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