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Main Panel as Junction Box

Posted by hendricus (My Page) on
Mon, May 11, 09 at 22:59

You may have some tiny circuits that you could theoretically combine, but you can't just splice them together in the panel and stick them on one breaker.
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This was taken from another post. I know you can't put two wires under one screw on the breaker but why not combine them with a pigtail in the main box.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

By pigtailing them in the panel it now makes the panel a junction box. As long as there are overcurrent devices in a panel it cannot be used as a junction box.

Most AHJ's will allow you to use wirenuts and another piece of wire to lengthen a conductor - such as an existing neutral that isn't long enough to reach a now required AFCI.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

If this is from another thread then why did you feel the need to start a new thread to make this reply???


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I don't think so...

"By pigtailing them in the panel it now makes the panel a junction box. As long as there are overcurrent devices in a panel it cannot be used as a junction box."

WRONG.

Where do it say this in the code???


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

petey-- I started a new thread because the question has nothing to do with the topic in the other thread.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box wrong

Quick question first - how the heck do you get your quotes in bold?

Anywho - 312.8 is what was always refernced about prohibiting enclosures containing overcurrent devices from being used as junction boxes.

Very very rarely have we been able to "combine" hot wires inside of the panel so that only one conductor terminates on each breaker like the OP asked.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

Doesn't 312.8 allow both splices and through junctions so long as there is adequate space (i.e., fill requirements aren't violated)?

jmvd20: Here's how I do bold here:

Add the HTML tags "strong" before and after what you want to highlight. To illustrate, I'll use parentheses instead of the left and right carrot thingies, OK?

To put (strong)something in bold(/strong) change the parentheses to "<" and ">".

Maybe someone else has an easier way, but I'm pretty familiar with HTML tags, so that's my method.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

I simply use the "b" tags. (b)words you want in bold(/b). Again, replace the ( ) with < >.
Use "i" for italics. "u" for underline.

jmvd20, whoever has been holding you back on making splices in panels needs to brush up on their code. Or maybe this is a pet peeve of their own and they like to enforce code however they like.

Whatever the case they are wrong. Period. Tom is absolutely correct and there will almost never be a case where there is not enough room to make a few splices. This is an old electrician's wife's tale that is perpetuated by folks who don't know the code very well. Sad when that refers to inspectors.

Ask your inspector how he approves a Gen-Tran or Generac transfer panel installation. They require about 24-30 splices in the panel, and are perfectly legal.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

The quote to start was from me. In my current home, that is the first thing the inspector pointed out. If it is isn't code, I apologize for spreading misinformation.

312.8 referenced above has adequate space defined as no more than 75% of the cross sectional area occupied at any point. Does that count the breakers themselves? If so, the probably take up 75% of the middle of a 100A panel.

Anyway, even if it isn't code, I'd talk to your local inspector before doing it. If it is a misconception, apparently it is widespread enough that it may trip you up.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

Thanks for the info on the bold/italics - it makes it much easier to read when you quote someone.

As far as the j-box issue and 312.8 - in the jurisdiction where we do the majority of our work the inspectors will not allow panels to be used as junction boxes and they would consider the above scenario as a junction. In that case they would either want a new breaker installed or a tandem if no open slots were avialable. Depending upon exactly what the 2 wires fed and how they were run there is a chance they would allow it if there was no other "reasonable" way to get the junction out of the panel.

As far as generators go the splices are there for a specific purpose of installing the generator and will be allowed. Also, as I stated above they allow splicing a wire that is too short - such as the neutral when adding an AFI or GFI as I mentioned above.

The bottom line is that they have always tried to make sure there are no junctions inside of a panel unless there is no other way. In reality there have been very few instances where combining 2 wires like the OP asks cannot be done another way. In just about every instance this has ever come up (for me at least) there has been an easy fix to have the splice outside of the panel - therefore I really haven't had the need to try and argue with the inspectors about it.


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RE: Inspectors

"Or maybe this is a pet peeve of their own and they like to enforce code however they like."

Without getting into all of the local politics involving the inspection dept. your statement sums them up well.

Until recently the same inspectors were around for years and after that long you get to know each one and what they will allow and what they will not. One of the older inspectors ALWAYS had incredibly strict interpretations of the code and of course he was the one who inspected nearly all of our jobs from the beginning. Of course since he wa sthe most "experienced" his views rubbed off on everyone else in the department.

The base local code is the 2008 NEC but they have a ton of local ordinanaces that go over and above the NEC. I guess because this is where 80% of our work is located we just install things to that code and interpretation of it - no matter what jurisdiction were in. I know a lot of the inspectors in the rural counties around here are much more laid back and relaxed on these types of issues than the city inspectors are.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

"As far as the j-box issue and 312.8 - in the jurisdiction where we do the majority of our work the inspectors will not allow panels to be used as junction boxes and they would consider the above scenario as a junction."

I have run into crap like this many times over the years.

I politely challenge them to write it up, including the exact code section that is being violated.

More than once the problem has simply gone away when the AHJ starts the write up and realizes he is full of bovine scatology.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

What's funny is 312.8 specifically ALLOWS this.

Do they realize what it would take to fill the gutter space of a panel to 75%???? I doubt you could ever do it in a typical 40 space panel. Now when we go to 80 circuit panels that will be fun.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

I think the problems go away sometimes when the AHJ goes back to write up the issue, and realizes they were wrong.

With no one around they let the matter drop.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

jmvd20 (and others):

Sorry if this is slightly off topic, but I'm fascinated by local jurisdictions that load a lot of local ordinances and rules onto national codes (building and plumbing as well as electrical).

I've run into a few here and there that make sense to me. For example, my sister was a licensed GC in the California Bay Area for years and they have a lot of anti-earthquake stuff there. Quite a bit of it focuses on foundations and structural requirements, and it sometimes extends to plumbing and less often to electrical. I can understand why an area built on hillsides in an area with frequent earthquakes needs these.

But when it comes to those local add-ons to the NEC, what's your take on them? Do any of them make sense as local regs because of something unique in the area? Are any of them reasonable fixes to loose parts of the NEC that should be tightened nationally for safety?

Or (as I often suspect), are they mostly just B.S. (see Brick's explanation of the abbreviation) that complicates things for no other purpose than to make some bureaucrats feel important or to institute "union rules" in a market area?

I'd be interested in anyone's take on the utility and wisdom of local regs they've encountered.

Mostly jes curious...


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

I am a apprentice and there has been multiple times that we have done service changes and wired new homes where we have spliced 2 wires leaving and pigtailed one to the breaker. I have never heard of this being a problem or of anyone getting called for it sounds rediculous to me. Oh and by the way i just got done with my 2nd year of schooling and i have been living in the code book and going over it and i have never even seen it in their either.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

Virginia put a halt to the local junk a few years ago by passing a Uniform Building Code for the entire state.

Gone are the local rules saying every residential outlet must be counted as 180 V-A (like in commercial work), along with some other stupid alterations.

The state legislature is slow in adopting new code revisions though.
We are many revs behind.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

What you don't like the 2002 NEC? Obviates the need for those pesky AFCIs.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

"Virginia put a halt to the local junk a few years ago by passing a Uniform Building Code for the entire state."

Yeah, thank goodness for that since one of my residences is in NoVA and the other's in rural Maine. As to the latter, the dialogue at the town office goes something like this:

Building permit (stress on second second syllable)? Ya mean a burning permit? Closest we have is a hunting and fishing license. Inspector? For electric? Nope, never heard of one of them around these parts. If you have local questions, ya might wanna ask the parts guy who works in the basement of Longley's hardware store. He knows a lot.

But seriously, does anyone here work with local regs that might actually be useful or make sense in any way?

Once I get appointed master of the universe, I'm going to ban them all, dang it.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

"But when it comes to those local add-ons to the NEC, what's your take on them? Do any of them make sense as local regs because of something unique in the area? Are any of them reasonable fixes to loose parts of the NEC that should be tightened nationally for safety?"

Since the vast majority of our work is performed with these "additional" regulations in place they just became habit. Some of them are reasonable while others are BS in my opinion. One of the worst ones is that no MC (BX/AC or whatever you prefer to call it) cable is permitted to be used on anything under the municipal code. On the other hand requiring the installation of smoke detectors on all service upgrade projects kind of makes sense - at least to me it does.

I guess the bottom line of how you feel about these depends upon where you learned and what you were taught. The people I learned from were strict and perhaps performed things a little "overkill" - and on top of that most of the inspectors were the same way. I guess that is why I feel the way I do about some of these issues as that is how we performed the work on a day-to-day basis.

Just as a quick example - the person I learned the most from ALWAYS installed double/triple pole breakers on any circuits with shared neutrals. To me this was "code" even though the book never stated it - some of the local inspectors have felt the same as well. Honestly to me this makes perfect sense, even though the NEC has allowed the use of single pole breakers without ties for much of that time.


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

Thanks, jmdv20. It's an interesting persepective. And you'll get no argument from me when it comes to a professional exercizing judgment to go "above code" when it makes sense. It's the petty potentates that stick in my craw. They turn way too many questions into guesswork, IMO.

Hank: Hope I haven't unduly hijacked your thread. I figured this one is kinda like a sidebar conversation with some of the regulars here and isn't quite the same as posting irelevant stuff in some OP's urgent problem. Apologies if I've read that wrong.

Petey: "B" is shorter than "strong" and that alone makes this thread worthwhile to me. I've reformed--at least at this site--and am now happily recycling some wasteful keystrokes. :-) (Bad habit, I reckon, from another site I frequent where "strong" works and the "b" tag doesn't.)


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RE: Main Panel as Junction Box

tom I got my answer, thank you. I love posts like this, there's a lot of knowledge floating around.

And I too learned how to do bold and italic .

Very nifty and easy.

Hank


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