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Old 01-28-2010, 07:14 AM   #16
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
At the time I was doing this, I didn't know what codes were for a sub-panel. I was simply winging it based on a degree in electrical engineering, my wits, and the tools available from Lowe's.

....... and my "creativity" keeps getting me in trouble with that "uniformity".
Ahhh...the recipe for many a house fire.

I have seen much of this "creativity" from engineers. They are some of the most dangerous people out there. Lots of smarts but applied all wrong.
Sorry, where codes and safety are concerned you do not get to be as creative as you want. 99% of codes are in place for safety and for a reason. PERIOD.

An EE degree is about as helpful to building wiring as an economics degree is to baking.

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Old 01-28-2010, 07:37 AM   #17
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When I do electric, I ALWAYS pull a permit, and ALWAYS get the inspection sticker for my records.
Same for plumbing, same for building, same for mechanical..(HVAC)....etc.
What happens when you go to sell your home and they find ....????
I ask the inspector questions too, they're usually happy to help keep you and your loved ones alive!!
(My elec. inspector is actually a great guy! Very funny!)

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Old 01-28-2010, 07:46 AM   #18
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


Here's another problem
You are not doing you wiring according to what an Inspector expects to find
You did not wire the sub-panel the way a normal sub would be wired
In the other thread you are using JBWeld to attach to a steel post
Then another thread you may or may not extend a ground all the way to the box because of box fill issues
You are giving the Inspector cause to be concerned about your methods

Here the Inspector has the right to order a homeowner to stop work & hire an electrician if he keeps finding flaws with the work
They don't want creativity
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:14 AM   #19
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


I've admitted (either here or elsewhere) that my EE degree didn't do a thing to teach me about code. It DID give me the appreciate for what a danger electricity can be. I've also indirectly experienced what can go wrong. A co-worker experienced the total loss of their home to fire because of the way a drop ceiling was allowed to rub an NM cable.

I have no fear of the work I did on this sub-panel. It is currently NOT a danger. Even when I explained to the inspector what I had done, he only cited what someone else coming in behind me might do to improperly modify it.

So in this case, doing it to code is more of an issue of creating uniformity. As an example, would I be putting my house at risk of fire if I had wired my workshop from this sub-panel using black for neutral and white of hot? No. But of course such a reversal of standards would at best confuse anyone who had to work on this circuit, and at worst create a serious hazzard to anyone who tried to make a modification assuming the circuit was wired correctly.

Given all the sweat equity I've put into this house, we have no plans to sell. That's only going to happen if something goes wrong with life plans such as loss of a job, etc. And I've alwasy done these type of jobs with the understanding that it's something I might need to rip out if we ever had to sell the house.


As another example, a few years ago, I added a hose bibb on my deck. To get water to that hose bibb, I had to tie into the water line in the basement, run it out the basement wall, under the bottom side of the deck an up railing to the bibb. Since I did that, I've found that I've violated plumbing codes because I have a water pipe that is not protected from potential freezing weather. Have I created a hazzard? No. I've got an exposed water line, and I know it's an exposed water line, and I know that a part of my winterization proceedure for my irrigation system is to turn the water off to this pipe and drain the line. Now of course if we were to try to sell the house, a house inspector (should) point out how this doesn't met building codes. So I know that if we have to sell this house, one of the things I have to do is simply cap this water line while it's still in the basement and rip the plumbing from off the deck. But in the mean time, I get to enjoy the benefit of having water safely delievered to my deck.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:29 AM   #20
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Here's another problem
You are not doing you wiring according to what an Inspector expects to find
You did not wire the sub-panel the way a normal sub would be wired
In the other thread you are using JBWeld to attach to a steel post
Then another thread you may or may not extend a ground all the way to the box because of box fill issues
You are giving the Inspector cause to be concerned about your methods

Here the Inspector has the right to order a homeowner to stop work & hire an electrician if he keeps finding flaws with the work
They don't want creativity
Now lets keep in mind that HERE is an issue where I've done work in the past, and I made mistakes (as far as electrical codes are concerned). Since this circuit is in my basement, and I'm pulling a permit to finish my basement, a part of my work is to go back and correct some of the things I've done in the past that I've since learned were not up to code.

The whole purpose for this thread was to try to get input on what might be the best way for me to correct this past mistake.

I have no arguments to make that begin to suggest that what I've done meets code. My only claim is the work I've done is safe. Others that I've explained the circuit to have agreed with that claim. Even when I explained it with pictures to the inspector when I was asking questions before pulling a permit, his complaints were along the lines of problems it would cause if someone came in behind me and tried to change anything.

So while the J-B Weld was something new, and my opinion is different than the opinion of others (and I'll admit that I might be "spitting in the wind" on that one, but I'm doing it with open eyes because of the advice I've recieved here), this is a totally different situation.

And based on the responses I've had so far, this is one where I apparently have no choise, this sub-panel will be comming out as a part of this renovation.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:27 AM   #21
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
Yea, we're talking about typical residential.

Now I might not be using the right words here... but again, I'm not finding GE "Twin" breakers. In my view, a "twin" is like two "mini"s that are physically connected together, but otherwise two independant breakers (i.e. two seperate circuits, and if one trips, the other will not).

I stopped by Home Depot today and looked inside a GE 200 Amp panel, and it looked like it would accept either 1" "full" breakers or 1/2" "mini" breakers. If so, I'm suprized given that the panel seemed to have only full size knockouts. That ment, while surely not legal, someone chould knock out one of the knockouts, but only put a single "mini" leaving have the space exposed. But as best as I could tell, the power bar was set up to take either the vertical tabs or the horizontal tabs that diferentiate the full size GE breakers from the mini breakers.

I'll have to look at my own panel to see if it looks like it will accept the "mini". If so, I problems are solved and can totally ditch a subpanel. I'll have to look later (don't want to have to take the cover off the box again right now), but like I said, the panel is about a 12yo GE.
But if your panel can take "Thin" (1/2") breakers (and it should.) they can be Two separate breakers. Not necessarily a "Twin". (You could even have a 240v. or MWBC circuit with 2-pole or common trip. But that takes some juggling and is not relevant.) As far as covering a knockout for a "Thin" breaker. The electrical supply stores (not necessarily the Home centers) carry a "Ko" seal for that size, too!!
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #22
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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But if your panel can take "Thin" (1/2") breakers (and it should.) they can be Two separate breakers. Not necessarily a "Twin". (You could even have a 240v. or MWBC circuit with 2-pole or common trip. But that takes some juggling and is not relevant.) As far as covering a knockout for a "Thin" breaker. The electrical supply stores (not necessarily the Home centers) carry a "Ko" seal for that size, too!!
Thanks to Marc, I believe this is all now irrelevant.

All the "thin" type GE breakers I've found so far have a Type code of something like XXXP, but the label on the breaker box says to only use a list of breakers that all have a Type code of something like XXXL.

So even if there is a physical way to install a "thin" breaker in the box, it should be seen as a code violation for not following manufacture's installation instructions.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #23
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Ahhh...the recipe for many a house fire.

I have seen much of this "creativity" from engineers. They are some of the most dangerous people out there. Lots of smarts but applied all wrong.
Sorry, where codes and safety are concerned you do not get to be as creative as you want. 99% of codes are in place for safety and for a reason. PERIOD.

An EE degree is about as helpful to building wiring as an economics degree is to baking.
Pete, You meant BAKING or BANKING. The point is well taken, either way. Electrical engineering is Theoretical. Code application is Practical!!
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:37 PM   #24
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Here's another problem
You are not doing you wiring according to what an Inspector expects to find
You did not wire the sub-panel the way a normal sub would be wired
In the other thread you are using JBWeld to attach to a steel post
Then another thread you may or may not extend a ground all the way to the box because of box fill issues
You are giving the Inspector cause to be concerned about your methods

Here the Inspector has the right to order a homeowner to stop work & hire an electrician if he keeps finding flaws with the work
They don't want creativity
1. The sub-panal was previous work that I've already discussed with the inspector and I'm taking steps to correct. Hopefully I've earned some brownie points from the inspector for not attempting to hide mistakes.

2. The use of JBWeld is not a violation of any electrical code. It's just the opinion (of many) that the inspector's interpretation of the code will likely red-tag it.

3. Again, I've made a mistake and looked for advice on ways to keep the installation up to code. From what I've been told, using coduit for ground meets code!!! Now for my piece of mind, I plan to run that ground wire to improve the safety of my work. That will put me in "technical" violation of code by exceeding the fill limit by 1 cubic inch. It is my opinion that this violation will not be a safety issue, and I don't think the inspector will red tag this small violation (especially since the remdy is to remove a ground wire). But should the inspector be a stikler for rules... I have a fall-back plan.

(BTW, same thing with the JBWeld, the forum has given me a backup plan if the inspector doesn't like it).

I also expect that by the time I'm actually wiring this whole basement up, I will have learned even more than I know now about codes that the inspector will see an over-all level of good "workmanship". After all, this is MY home, it's a home I don't plan to ever sell, and as such I want things done right. In this case, my definision of "right" means "safe", "build to last", and will pass muster with the inspector. So if I don't think it is safe or if I don't think it is going to last, or if I think an inspector wouldn't allow it, I'm not going to let it stand.

Plus, lets not forget, the only things getting discussed here are the things I might be doing wrong. We're not talking too much about the things I'm doing right (or at least when I point them out, I feel like I'm getting ignored).
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:21 PM   #25
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


Quote:
I feel like I'm getting ignored
Heck your getting more attention here than your wife probably gives you...

Hey I don't fault you for wanting discussion and really that is all this is but boy your sure imaginative.

One thing about the sub-panel you installed at 120 volts only. One of the big dangers I see with that is it was not a single bus panel but a 120/240 2 buss panel and would allow a MWBC to be installed on the same phase by someone not understanding what you did. This could easily overload the neutral especially if someone had a space heater running that wasn't cycling a lot. Has burned more than one house down.

Other than that you are just a curious individual but I worry that you do things then find out if your creativity is correct. As for plumbing violations they don't result in people getting hurt or worse. Electricity is not plumbing...btw I appreciate good plumbers the stuff leaks every time I mess with it....

So if you want to discuss.. this is a good place for it. I'm enjoying this discussion of yours and don't take it so personal we are all here as volunteers anyway so stuff like this is a break to the normal.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:51 PM   #26
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One thing about the sub-panel you installed at 120 volts only. One of the big dangers I see with that is it was not a single bus panel but a 120/240 2 buss panel and would allow a MWBC to be installed on the same phase by someone not understanding what you did.
It was something along these lines why the inspector said he didn't like it, hence the reason I'll be changing it... even though it's "safe" for my use. But then again, building codes don't take my intensions into account.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:17 PM   #27
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Unorthodox Sub-Panel


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Given all the sweat equity I've put into this house, we have no plans to sell. That's only going to happen if something goes wrong with life plans such as loss of a job, etc. And I've alwasy done these type of jobs with the understanding that it's something I might need to rip out if we ever had to sell the house.
Hey, just leave a detailed explanation in your will on how to undo all your creative work so your heirs can sell/insure/live safely in your investment.

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