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Scared the %^$& out of me! #113484 06/15/02 06:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,630
Admin Offline OP
Here is a picture of a 1200 amp main service disconnect. I had to shut down the service to add a subservice. During the scheduled shutdown I had everything ready to go when I tried to shut off the disconnect. Everyone can attest to how hard it is sometimes to throw the handle on large disconnects,but this was hard. I tried once, twice, even had someone help me. I then opened the disconnect door only to have my heart stop when I saw this.
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
The 500's were run up the side of the handle right through the mechanism attached to the handle. The cables were actually preventing the handle from going down. I thank my lucky stars I stopped and looked before providing the force needed to go through the insulation. The funny thing was they left the entire side of the disconnect free of cables. I think they were short on the one phase.


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Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113485 06/16/02 04:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
Looks as though it could have been nasty.

The red/yellow/blue markers on the cables look interesting. Any particular reason for these colors being used? (They happen to be the standard British phase colors!)

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113486 06/16/02 06:24 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline
a unsafe situation indeed. i've often wondered if this would be a listing violation, i have the 'General Info for Electrical Eqyuip 2001 ULpub', but am not that savey with it....

probably 208/120Y , usually red-black-blue here, but as the wires black , yellow was used....

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113487 06/16/02 08:29 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 95
joeh20 Offline
I would have wet my overalls, after I opened the door. I'd still be shaking.

Lighting the way
Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113488 06/16/02 11:53 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 132
elektrikguy Offline
to answer the question of the phasing, yes this is a british phasing system used by the utility company. These photos were taken while working on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113489 06/16/02 02:58 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
Thanks. I've often looked at the listed systems used by places like Bermuda, the Bahamas and so on where they use 120V for small appliances and wondered whether they follow standard American practice in their distribution, color codes, circuit arrangements, etc.

If you have any more info on how things differ in the islands, perhaps it would make an interesting thread? (Subtle hint... [Linked Image])

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113490 06/16/02 04:28 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 132
elektrikguy Offline
Some info on Bahamas. They adopt a 120/208 480/277 style. They predominently use the Canadian Electrical code with some little qwirks of their own. It is a 60 hz system delivered by 2 huge diesel generators located in Nassau. Power outages are not uncommon but all major resorts have an extensive backup systems. Aside from the British phasing system of the utility they use Black,Red,Blue and Brown,Orange,Yellow.(yes Black,Red,Blue..weird huh?) Maintence is very important there. The Salt air eats and corrodes EVERYTHING! I wonder if Florida is the same way. PVC is very popular. Skill level of local electricians is...uh..SCARY.

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113491 06/17/02 05:34 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
I'm on the English coast, and we have a similar problem with the salty atmosphere, although without the humidity. (And the temperatures are much lower, too [Linked Image].)

If the utility uses British phase colors, do they stick with American white/gray neutral, or do they use the British black for neutral? If the latter, I reckon it could get rather confusing where it changes to the other system!

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113492 06/17/02 11:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Bjarney Offline
Although it won't help pinched insulation, above 600V, using one, two and three white bands is fairly unambiguous. Had an unbelievably cheap outfit that used 1-2-0 bands alternated with 0-1-2 bands. Two different foremen had a tiff and wouldn't talk to each other. It took ~6 months for the plant electricians to figure out what had happened. Rolled phases don’t work too well on double-ended unit substations.

Re: Scared the %^$& out of me! #113493 09/12/02 10:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
John Steinke Offline
Getting back to the original question: Does it seem to you that little or no attention is given by manufacturers as to where the wires will go? Isn't it almost routine to find neutral and ground bard buried under the hot wires? So many disconnects that are capable of taking 100 amp fuses are not able to handle #2 wire.


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