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Old 06-03-2011, 09:32 PM   #1
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cutting plugs off would violate...


From another post I just saw this: "Cutting the plugs off would violate the UL listing."

Is this absolute?

I need to wire up a septic system. Everything is connected to the septic controller which has its own breakers for two circuits. Devices connected to the controller include one 120 VAC pump and three floats. Four cables for these devices exit from the underground tanks. Two cables have plugs on them. The 120 VAC pump comes pre-wired with a grounded plug. Floats are essentially on-off switches signaling sewage levels in the tanks. Two floats have wire leads. But one float ends in a "switching/pass-through grounded plug".

With a simpler septic system there would be no controller and the pump would plug into the switching/pass-through plug which would plug directly into one receptacle.

In my situation the plugs are not helpful. I was planning to cut off excess cable length coming out of the ground (including the plugs) and connect all four cables directly to the controller terminals through PVC conduit.

While it would be possible to retain the two plugs, it would be very inconvenient because I would have to provide for storing the extra cable length and the conduit would have to be huge to pass the plugs through to covered outdoor outlets wired specially to connect them to controller terminals.

So, can I just cut off the plugs and be done with them?

Thanks,
Daneel

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Old 06-03-2011, 10:29 PM   #2
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cutting plugs off would violate...


Along with the listing issue, keeping the cords makes it easier to change out should a part fail and it will also serve as a means of disconnect if a part needs servicing. Without the cord cap you would need to install a means of disconnect.

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Old 06-04-2011, 07:48 AM   #3
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cutting plugs off would violate...


Thanks, Jim. But I do not understand.

I have two dedicated circuits going to the septic. These can be switched off at the main panel. Also the septic controller has breakers for each circuit, so they can be switched off there. The controller is designed to monitor sewage levels (via three float switches in the tanks) and in response to switch on the pump. The pump pumps the "wine" into the drainfield at certain fixed times and for a set number of minutes as long as the sewage level is above the lowest float. Otherwise the pump does not come on.

If a float goes bad it has to be replaced. If the pump goes bad it has to be replaced. If any device goes bad the whole "pedestal" (supporting all floats and the pump) will have to be pulled out of the tank and all devices disconnected. Disconnecting a device will require unscrewing appropriate terminals in the controller for that device and pulling out cable.

Extra cable length is not helpful. Plugs are counter-productive. I would have to have a 2" conduit to pull the plugs through instead of a 3/4" conduit.

How serious is cutting off plugs? Is it a code violation or just a UL listing violation?

Thanks,
Daneel
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:52 AM   #4
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cutting plugs off would violate...


Thanks, Jim. But I do not understand.

I have two dedicated circuits going to the septic. These can be switched off at the main panel. Also the septic controller has breakers for each circuit, so they can be switched off there. The controller is designed to monitor sewage levels (via three float switches in the tanks) and in response to switch on the pump. The pump pumps the "wine" into the drainfield at certain fixed times and for a set number of minutes as long as the sewage level is above the lowest float. Otherwise the pump does not come on.

If a float goes bad it has to be replaced. If the pump goes bad it has to be replaced. If any device goes bad the whole "pedestal" (supporting all floats and the pump) will have to be pulled out of the tank and all devices disconnected. Disconnecting a device will require unscrewing appropriate terminals in the controller for that device and pulling out cable.

Extra cable length is not helpful. Plugs are counter-productive. I would have to have a 2" conduit to pull the plugs through instead of a 3/4" conduit.

How serious is cutting off plugs? Is it a code violation or just a UL listing violation?

Thanks,
Daneel
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:56 AM   #5
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cutting plugs off would violate...


It's been a while since I worked on one of these, but I believe the circuit breakers you mentioned would serve as the disconnects if they're located at the controller station.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:17 AM   #6
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The lift stations I’ve worked on had the 4 cables enter a weatherproof box near the top of the pit, just under the pit cover, with all the circuit wiring running back to the controller via conduit. Sounds like yours is setup a little different. On the ones I did, none of the replacement cables ever had plugs on them, so I didn’t have this issue.

In response to your question of a code or UL violation, the code says “Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling”.

I can’t purposely tell you to cut them off, but I will suggest that you check the instructions and see if they mention anything.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:20 AM   #7
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In my experience with hospital beds, cords and plugs are significant to the UL listing. And code generally wants UL listed devices.

You could look in your manual to find out if you can hardwire it, in which case you could do that without violating the listing. Otherwise you can see if it's possible to disconnect the cord at the equipment, feed it through then reinstall it.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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Read the instructions that came with the equipment and see if the manufacture says it is OK to remove. My lift station manual says I can remove the plugs if I will be connecting inside a weather proof box.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:14 AM   #9
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Read your instructions carefully.

Some instructions for floats and/or lift pumps specifically mention that cutting off the plug end of the cord does NOT void the product's listing.

They write this because their product has been listed for both ways and they know it is likely that the installer would want to have a choice of using the plug end or not.

Here is an example, from a Goulds Single Phase, Sump, Effulent, and Sewage installation manual (models EP04 and EP05):

All 1/3 and HP, 115 or 230 volt pumps, and some and 1 HP pumps, are supplied with plug style power cords. They may be plugged into piggyback float switches for simple installations. It is allowable to remove the plugs in order to hardwire or connect to a Simplex or Duplex controller. Removing the plug neither voids the warranty nor violates the agency Listings. See Figure 5.



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Last edited by williswires; 06-05-2011 at 01:21 AM. Reason: added an example
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:21 AM   #10
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cutting plugs off would violate...


Thanks,Willis.

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