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Thread: The load center game

  1. #1
    DIY Member KAdams4458's Avatar
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    Default The load center game

    My wife and I are buying, or at least attempting to buy our first house together. The place we almost own has a detached shop with its own 200 amp service. I won't get in to details about the house at the moment, but it has its share of questionable electrical work.

    Let's focus on the load center in the shop for now. I figure we can make a little game of spotting the errors. (And it will help me identify some that I may be missing as well!) Not pictured are some wires dangling from the walls and ceiling of an addition built on to the shop in more recent years. Some of these wires are in fact attached inside of this load center, while others all lead to a sub panel in the addition. - Maybe later I can post photos of the sub panel and the dangling wires so that we can try to figure out how many paint chips a person must consume in order to begin wiring stuff this way.



    If anyone wants a slightly larger image, you should be able to access it at http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y27...CIMG0320-1.jpg
    Last edited by KAdams4458; 08-14-2008 at 05:57 PM.

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    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Cool

    Looks like white wires going to breakers! ROMEX® coming out of panel top is not protected. Any ROMEX® below 7'6" has to be protected from Mechanical damage!
    I see 2 breakers double lugged [2 circuits on 2 single pole breakers. Panel doesn't look balanced!

    OK WHAT DID I WIN ?????
    Last edited by Terry; 12-07-2011 at 10:57 AM.

  3. #3
    DIY Member KAdams4458's Avatar
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    Default

    Oh. I had not actually planned to be giving out prizes. A cookie, perhaps?

    Let me ask about the unprotected NM at the top of the panel. I was under the impression that only applied to horizontal runs, and only if the NM isn't covered, such as with sheetrock. Of course, I might have missed something, as I've been known to miss details before.

    I'm actually thinking of just gutting the entire box and starting over. There's corrosion damage which is hard to see. I think the box may have been recycled. Something about this mess makes me just want to throw a completely new load center in. Perhaps that would be overkill. I haven't decided yet.
    Last edited by KAdams4458; 08-14-2008 at 07:48 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Member KAdams4458's Avatar
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    Default Ready for the next one?

    The load center inside of the house is even better. You all won't even need to see inside of the panel to be shocked. I just found a photo of it, and figured some of you would like to see it. It;s like watching a train wreck, eh?

    I hope that you're all sitting down!





    If you guessed that the load center for this 1965 house is located in what used to be the garage, you'd be correct. I understand that it's surface mounted, but I can't tell you what they were thinking when they closed it up inside of a wall. I'm thinking at this point that I'll be ripping that wall out and building up the original wall behind the box and finishing it so that the box sits flush.

    Obviously, no one bothered to get a permit for this, because there's no way that would have passed an inspection. I just gotta shake my head at some of this stuff.

  5. #5
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic View Post
    Looks like white wires going to breakers!
    Minor violation. just remark the wires with black electrical tape.

    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic View Post
    Romex coming out of panel top is not protected. Any romex below 7'6" has to be protected from Mechanical damage!
    Code violation please....

    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic View Post
    I see 2 breakers double lugged [2 circuits on 2 single pole breakers.
    Easy fix, just add a wire nut and a pigtail to the breaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic View Post
    Panel doesn't look balanced!

    OK WHAT DID I WIN ?????
    Are you serious, this is a residential panel...

  6. #6

    Default

    Actually those panels do not look bad to me so far as safety goes. They did place spliced wires inside junction boxes which is a good thing. And they did use cover plates.

    I saw one house where the homeowner used cardboard to cover an electrical junction box! Ran lamp cord inside the walls to add-on outlets which had no boxes installed - plywood walls no less! And this was old lamp cord with the insulation falling off. Not to mention numerous wire splices in the walls/ceiling which were not in boxes.

  7. #7

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    What is the duct tape for on the door in the second picture?

  8. #8
    DIY Member KAdams4458's Avatar
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    Heh. They don't look terribly unsafe to me, either. There are a couple of 30A breakers between they two that should really be 20A based on just wire gauge, but that's the worst thing I've seen.

    In the house, you can see that one of the junction boxes isn't fixed in place - Yep, it's just dangling there. Must have been too hard to swing a hammer inside that tiny cubbyhole.

    I found some of the wiring in the attic of the house to be interesting. Nice new cables strung up there right across the top of the insulation from one side of the house to the other - Not attached to anything, mind you. We're talking four 30' runs without a single point of attachment. I guess they wanted to spend as little time in the attic as possible.

    The duct tape on the door puzzled me for a moment when I first saw it. It's a louvered door. The interior area of that little "closet" runs floor to ceiling without any insulation, and the top of it is open to the attic because a giant hole in the ceiling is the easiest way ever to route wires. Obviously, they applied a roll of duct tape to the door in order to cut down on the incredible cold draft that must be present during the winter. Yeah. Duct tape fixes everything, apparently. I'm waiting to see someone build an addition from nothing but duct tape some day.

    While we're at it, I found a photo of something else you folks might find amusing. I know it's not a load center, but I think you'll all still find it interesting. Who can spot the real safety issue here? Look closely if you have to - it is electrical in nature.



    Looking closer at this photo I realise it's impossible to tell, but the switch next to the shower also happens to have an outlet right next to it. A switch is fine if I recall correctly, but an outlet? Err.
    Last edited by KAdams4458; 08-15-2008 at 01:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KAdams4458 View Post

    Looking closer at this photo I realise it's impossible to tell, but the switch next to the shower also happens to have an outlet right next to it. A switch is fine if I recall correctly, but an outlet? Err.

    Yes, its legal, it cannot be over the tub, but directly right next to it is perfectly fine.

  10. #10
    DIY Member KAdams4458's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75 View Post
    Yes, its legal, it cannot be over the tub, but directly right next to it is perfectly fine.
    Really? An outlet? I know switches are okay, but an outlet? I thought I remembered reading that outlets are not allowed to be that close.

  11. #11
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KAdams4458 View Post
    I thought I remembered reading that outlets are not allowed to be that close.
    Well if you remember where, you let me know, ok?



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    Last edited by Chris75; 08-15-2008 at 04:27 PM.

  12. #12
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KAdams4458 View Post




    The service raceway is missing a bonding bushing also.
    Last edited by Chris75; 08-15-2008 at 04:27 PM.

  13. #13
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default Chris ,this may fly in Conn.

    It wouldn't in SF Ca. In addition to the NEC AND UPC We have many amendments to both. That's garbage work,where I come from!

  14. #14

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    Outlets in a bathroom are (should be) on a GFCI. And you are pretty darn safe with these! So not to worry...

  15. #15
    DIY Member KAdams4458's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75 View Post
    Well if you remember where, you let me know, ok?
    Heh. Okay. I have a pretty good memory, but it's certainly not perfect. I don't know where I pulled that one from. Hey, I don't do this stuff every day. It's been three years since I've even touched anything electrical, so I obviously have some brushing up to do. I better get to work!

    I can say that isn't on a GFCI, but that's a super easy fix at least.

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