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Old 03-06-2019, 11:16 PM   #1
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Random Electrical Questions


Just curious........how often do people install the whole house surge suppressors when they install a new panel? I don't have one in mine, but it will be there in the next house. They only cost 100-150 bucks, but they protect thousands of dollars of electronics in the house.


What about the new circuit breakers that have the extra grounding in them. The ones that replaced the breakers with the pigtails. Are they popular to use?



One more question....I saw this online. 12/4 wire. I know what 12/2 and 12/3 are......but what is 12/4? What is the extra wire used for ? Is it used specifically for industrial use? Is the extra wire....or 2.......used for grounding?



http://www.homedepot.com/p/AFC-Cable...-AFC/205071013


https://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D...PSPD/300716367


https://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D...PDFC/204844660
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:27 AM   #2
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


x/4 cable has limited use in residential. The only one that comes to mind is wiring 3 switches and having code dictated neutral in all switch boxes.
But there easier ways without using 4 wire cable.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:05 AM   #3
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


The "how often" type questions does not really apply to electrical components. If they are needed, then you use them. I added a SquareD commercial grade surge protector to all of my panels. I have (4) 200 amp panels in my house. The surge protectors cost approx $750 each. They are designed to smooth out the maximum and minimum peaks of the sine wave. You may add these at anytime as long as you have room in the panel. They are required to be at the top in spaces 1 and 2. Does no good if they are at the bottom of the bus.



The question you have concerning breakers. It all depends on the type of panel that you have. Usually once a breaker is installed, it is never touched again, unless it is of cheap quality and it goes bad. I have never had a SquareD Professional line of breaker "go bad". I use SquareD bolt in breakers.


That is BX, or now known as MC cable. I use BX 12 gauge conductors for all normal branch circuits in my house. The x-4 type of cable has a specific Arc Fault conductor running thru it. That is the 4th conductor. You may use it depending on what you needs are.


You may want to ask these questions to your local electrical inspector or a local electrical supply house personnel.



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Old 03-07-2019, 07:53 AM   #4
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


That 12/4 cable is type AC not type MC. MC cable has a green insulated ground conductor, AC does not have an insulated ground but uses a bonding strip under the metal armor.
Both type cables have 4 insulated conductors, usually black, red, blue and white.

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Old 03-07-2019, 07:58 AM   #5
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I do suggest using whole house surge protectors even though there is no one device that can guarantee no surge will get through.
4 conductors MC has 2 neutrals. One for each of the 2 hots. Good for GFCI and AFCI multi circuit lines (2 circuits in one cable). It is also used in offices where you have both a computer circuit (clean power) and a general power circuit (dirty power).
The breakers with the pigtail is so the neutral is run through the breaker measuring the complete loop in order to detect a difference between hot and neutral which would indicate a ground fault or arc fault.
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:26 AM   #6
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


12/4 bx is something I use quite a bit in commercial where we often see three phase power and for fire alarm systems where we use 24-40V two wire DC circuits. I can think of a hand full of other uses.

For residential I have never used it but I suppose as the guy above said it could be used for three way switching or if you wanted two circuits each with dedicated neutrals.


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Old 03-07-2019, 09:32 AM   #7
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiredindallas View Post
I do suggest using whole house surge protectors even though there is no one device that can guarantee no surge will get through.
4 conductors MC has 2 neutrals. One for each of the 2 hots. Good for GFCI and AFCI multi circuit lines (2 circuits in one cable). It is also used in offices where you have both a computer circuit (clean power) and a general power circuit (dirty power).
The breakers with the pigtail is so the neutral is run through the breaker measuring the complete loop in order to detect a difference between hot and neutral which would indicate a ground fault or arc fault.
You are mixing up x/4 with x/2/2.
x/4 has 3 hots and a neutral.
x/2/2 has 2 hots and 2 neutrals.

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Old 03-07-2019, 10:43 AM   #8
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


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Originally Posted by DallasCowboys View Post
Just curious........how often do people install the whole house surge suppressors when they install a new panel? I don't have one in mine, but it will be there in the next house. They only cost 100-150 bucks, but they protect thousands of dollars of electronics in the house.

They protect up to their ability to protect, then they're toast and just sit there doing nothing but offering a false sense of security. If you're going to use panel mounted surge suppression, get the type that indicates when it's been compromised.
Quote:



What about the new circuit breakers that have the extra grounding in them. The ones that replaced the breakers with the pigtails. Are they popular to use?
AFCI breakers and GFCI breakers require the neutral of the circuit to connect, not just the hot. This is not for "extra grounding" it's to monitor and analyze the current flowing out from and back to the breaker to detect either arc-faults and/or ground-faults. Newer models of breakers and panels provide a neutral buss for these types of breakers to connect to so that the extra pigtail is eliminated.

Quote:

One more question....I saw this online. 12/4 wire. I know what 12/2 and 12/3 are......but what is 12/4? What is the extra wire used for ? Is it used specifically for industrial use? Is the extra wire....or 2.......used for grounding?
12/2/2 and 14/2/2 is to allow 2 GFCI/AFCI circuits in one cable. Prior to the extensive use of gfci and afci breaker, you could use 14/3 or 12/3 from the panel to carry 2 circuits, as 2 circuits on 2 different legs of the panel could share a neutral. But since a gfci or afci needs to monitor a circuit's neutral it cannot be shared with another circuit.

Last edited by LawnGuyLandSparky; 03-07-2019 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 03-07-2019, 11:07 AM   #9
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


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Originally Posted by Jmcstevenson View Post
12/4 bx is something I use quite a bit in commercial where we often see three phase power and for fire alarm systems where we use 24-40V two wire DC circuits. I can think of a hand full of other uses.

For residential I have never used it but I suppose as the guy above said it could be used for three way switching or if you wanted two circuits each with dedicated neutrals.


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Code wise you can't use x/4 for 2 circuits as you only have 1 neutral. And you are not allowed to remark a hot as a neutral. x/2/2 has 2 neutrals.

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Old 03-07-2019, 12:38 PM   #10
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


(transient) surge suppressors are typically a sacrificial device that are always "wired in" and will sink any spike that is a transient, came in the supply lines. this can come from lightning, car hitting a telephone pole (ask my daughter), electrical events upstream, etc.


these spikes cause stress or failure to sensitive equipment in the house or wherever. many electronic appliances have a mov at the front to catch spikes there as well. as mentioned, make sure


they are more popular since the decline of lightning rods.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:01 PM   #11
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


Check out this SPD.......no better place for surge protection than under the meter....

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-50240.../dp/B0019F6X3I

May have to involve the POCO to install the device. Most POCO's offer their own under meter device for a price or recurring cost. Also some POCO's will install an SPD right on the transformer can....doesn't get any better than that.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:18 PM   #12
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


I would say as important as a surge suppressor is to ensure your incoming cable TV or Satellite and Telco copper lines all have grounding blocks where they enter the building are are connected to the same ground as the utility. Devices which cross connect like cable TV and Power (i.e. a set top box, or xDSL modem) are more prone to problems due to ground bounce. Sometimes cable TV and Telco grounding points (or NIDs) are poorly installed or not well grounded.
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Old 03-07-2019, 02:20 PM   #13
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


I have a surge suppressor (not just a power strip) on all of my electronic devices. On my main TV, I have a UPS which I believe acts as surge suppressor, as well as a means to clean up the power.

The one I bought was specifically designed for use with audio systems and was billed as a clean power supply. It supposedly runs the power through batteries and through it's electronics and then to the equipment. While I don't have any means to measure if it is true sine wave or not, I can say that I have not lost any equipment that has been plugged into it. While I have lost some small kitchen appliances and a TV that was NOT plugged into a surge suppressor.

I also plug my DSL modem/router into it so that I can keep surfing when the power goes out. Now I just wish I could find one to supply power to our on demand water heaters and in-floor radiant heat.

When I replace the main panel with a 200 amp one, I will be installing a whole house surge suppressor, that is unless I can talk my power company into putting a meter with one on it.
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Old 03-07-2019, 02:50 PM   #14
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Code wise you can't use x/4 for 2 circuits as you only have 1 neutral. And you are not allowed to remark a hot as a neutral. x/2/2 has 2 neutrals.

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Correct. I should have specified that in that case we would be using neutral-per-phase cable which comes with two each identified/unidentified conductors.

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Old 03-07-2019, 10:13 PM   #15
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Re: Random Electrical Questions


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Originally Posted by HandyAndyInNC View Post
The "how often" type questions does not really apply to electrical components. If they are needed, then you use them. I added a SquareD commercial grade surge protector to all of my panels. I have (4) 200 amp panels in my house. The surge protectors cost approx $750 each. They are designed to smooth out the maximum and minimum peaks of the sine wave. You may add these at anytime as long as you have room in the panel. They are required to be at the top in spaces 1 and 2. Does no good if they are at the bottom of the bus.



The question you have concerning breakers. It all depends on the type of panel that you have. Usually once a breaker is installed, it is never touched again, unless it is of cheap quality and it goes bad. I have never had a SquareD Professional line of breaker "go bad". I use SquareD bolt in breakers.


That is BX, or now known as MC cable. I use BX 12 gauge conductors for all normal branch circuits in my house. The x-4 type of cable has a specific Arc Fault conductor running thru it. That is the 4th conductor. You may use it depending on what you needs are.


You may want to ask these questions to your local electrical inspector or a local electrical supply house personnel.



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Four panels? That is a sophisticated system.




If you get one that smooths out the sine waves, it's suppose to create a better picture on your tv as well isn't it ?



Thanks for all the good information.


Mt Airy.......is that where Sheriff Taylor and Barney Fife lived

( the background for the show)?
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