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Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel #220929 08/23/20 10:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 2
W
w2tq Offline OP
New Member
My usual practice when placing an outlet box (e.g., Raco 8232 quad) near a service panel is to mount the box on the same backboard about an inch away from the panel. I then run the Romex cable through clamp connectors (e.g., Halex 3/8" no. 20511) mounted in the knockouts in the panel and the box.

I recently came across a video where rigid box spacers (e.g., Halex no. 91641) were used between the panel and box. While this makes for a very neat installation, shielding the Romex cable from damage, one concern I would have is the lack of clamps preventing the movement of the cable when working in the panel or the box, notwithstanding the rigidity of the Romex. Of course, additional clamps (plastic, metallic) could be used in conjunction with the rigid box spacer, but that would make for one or two additional components in already tight quarters. I haven't tried this so it's not clear whether the back of the box would be flush with the backboard or is supported by the box spacers.

I welcome any comments including whether the code addresses this configuration (I was not able to find any provisions directly addressing the issue).

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel [Re: w2tq] #220930 08/23/20 12:31 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
G
gfretwell Offline
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I see boxes connected to panels with close nipples all the time. I am not sure the code addresses conductors in a raceway being clamped at all except for long vertical runs where you need to prevent gravity from pulling them down. There is generally a row of KOs in a panelboard enclosure that lines up with the box KO so they have a common back surface. If you are using a spacer behind the panelboard or some other reason why they don't line up, you can use the offset nipple and rotate it to get the correct alignment, attach the box and tighten up the lock rings.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel [Re: w2tq] #220931 08/24/20 12:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,233
HotLine1 Offline
Member
OK, I checked out the video, still cannot determine what a 'box spacer' is. Could be a close nipple.

The video does not show any support for the box, nor does it show the box being bonded. This could be a moot comment as the 'box spacer' may be listed for bonding the box, but??

Just my .02 cents.

Common practice here is an offset nipple, or a short nipple if the box is 'close' to the panel.


John
Re: Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel [Re: w2tq] #220933 08/24/20 07:28 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
G
gfretwell Offline
Member
The Halex number he gave is the close nipple with the shoulder so it will be OK for bonding using the knerled lock rings. If you use the right KO, it will end up tight to the back board so you can screw the box down.

[Linked Image from halexco.com]


Greg Fretwell
Re: Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel [Re: w2tq] #220934 08/24/20 07:40 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
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gfretwell Offline
Member
I looked at the video and that installer used 2 close nipples and I suppose that will locate the box fairly rigidly but I still like direct support when it is available. He is probably trying to use 314.23 (F) but that specifically says "threaded hubs". I doubt any children will die but I would still want to see a couple screws through that box into the back board or structure. (Even if he needed to come up with a spacer and tap con it to the wall)


Greg Fretwell
Re: Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel [Re: w2tq] #220936 08/25/20 08:57 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,233
HotLine1 Offline
Member
Greg:

I didn't lookup the item, and thank you for doing that and posting it here. I never saw that type of nipple/connector.

I did hear the video say 2 close nipples, and thought about 'why' briefly. Yes, it does not create a death threat being unsupported by screws/anchors, but I would have a discussion with the EC/installer about 'why'.

Stay safe and have a good day.


John
Re: Using a rigid box spacer between the service panel [Re: w2tq] #220945 09/06/20 11:48 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 42
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WNYJim Offline
Member
I've always used an offset nipple. Even if the knockouts don't line up the box can be screwed into the panel board to provide a secure attachment (and I think it gives it a more professional look).


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