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Old 08-11-2013, 11:47 PM   #1
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


So I enjoy looking at posts such as these that depict bad wiring and trying to find all the code violations I can. In this particular case, this was a portable power panel that was built and setup by "someone's dad" at the high school this came out of. The outlet this used to plug into has since been professionally replaced by an electrician with a cam lock system for a more industrial power distro panel.

Check out the pictures as I disassembled the panel, see how many violations you can spot.
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel-imag0229.jpg  

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Old 08-11-2013, 11:51 PM   #2
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


Here's a couple more...
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:53 PM   #3
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


And the last couple...

At least they used conduit nipples rather than romex. Though the connector for the 4/4 cable looks to be a bit small...
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:05 AM   #4
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


That looks pretty good compared to most. I can't tell if N-G are separated or not. The bonding and general handling of the EGC's is obviously a problem. The whole metal assembly appears to be bonded only through the receptacles themselves. Not proper at all, but probably capable of clearing a fault just fine. Assuming the neutrals are isolated, this was probably not really that unsafe - just ugly and hacky. Much better than the typical "solution" guys come up with when they want to run theater lights from an old range receptacle. They're usually 3-wire and much scarier.

Just to poke at people and maybe start a war: I would say there are no code violations here, from a purely legal perspective.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:11 AM   #5
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


Neutral was not bonded to the chassis, and the ground was only bonded via the outlets, through the conduit nipples. The ground wires to the outlets appeared to be a green wire out of your standard extension cord. I can't imagine the split bolt for the grounds is the proper way to tie the grounds together.

Did you happen to notice the ampacity of the breakers for each of the outlets? I tried to take a good close up of the breaker handles.

The center outlets on each side had new holes drilled into the case of the panel.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:21 AM   #6
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
That looks pretty good compared to most. I can't tell if N-G are separated or not. The bonding and general handling of the EGC's is obviously a problem. The whole metal assembly appears to be bonded only through the receptacles themselves. Not proper at all, but probably capable of clearing a fault just fine. Assuming the neutrals are isolated, this was probably not really that unsafe - just ugly and hacky. Much better than the typical "solution" guys come up with when they want to run theater lights from an old range receptacle. They're usually 3-wire and much scarier.

Just to poke at people and maybe start a war: I would say there are no code violations here, from a purely legal perspective.

Haha, I will admit I have seen worse in hack-job panels. The major violations I caught when tearing this apart were the 30 amp breakers, the split bolt wiring for the ground-not bonded to the metal chassis, and the type of wire used for the receptical grounds. While the extra holes drilled in the panel for the center outlets may not be classified as "un-safe", it is a modification of the panel.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:19 AM   #7
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


I see we have some 30 amp breakers......
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


Actually....I think the spec for chassis wiring would apply since those wires are basically staying in a cabinet...hence, 30a would be ok for 12g wire.

Would I do it this way? No....especially that blue wire.

In my world, blue is used for DC.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:54 AM   #9
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


Looks better than most residential service panels I have seen.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


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Actually....I think the spec for chassis wiring would apply since those wires are basically staying in a cabinet...hence, 30a would be ok for 12g wire.

Would I do it this way? No....especially that blue wire.

In my world, blue is used for DC.
Blue wire is also used for AC.
The receptacles are basic, run of the mill 15 amp, and therefore can not be installed on a 30 amp breaker.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:39 PM   #11
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


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Blue wire is also used for AC.
The receptacles are basic, run of the mill 15 amp, and therefore can not be installed on a 30 amp breaker.
Blue wire on AC? In Europe maybe....I've never seen it used here.

So, why can you use a 15a recept on a 20a breaker but not a 30a?
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:40 PM   #12
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


read art 210.21(b)(3) table.hot can be any color but green,white,gray.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:43 PM   #13
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


I missed the 30A breakers. That's not OK. But arguably still not a code violation!
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:50 PM   #14
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


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I missed the 30A breakers. That's not OK. But arguably still not a code violation!
why do you say that?code say's the recp's are not for 30 amp.those are only rated for 15/20 amp.per code wires in cable or conduit #12 is 25 amp max.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:42 PM   #15
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Bad wiring of Portable Power Panel


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why do you say that?code say's the recp's are not for 30 amp.those are only rated for 15/20 amp.per code wires in cable or conduit #12 is 25 amp max.
90.2(A). This thing has a plug and isn't attached to anything.

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