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#194602 - 06/13/10 04:06 PM Rediscovering The Electrical "Volt Nest Monster"  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
I've been spending my days in the bootheel region od Southern Missouri, and two recent events remind us of some of the assumptions we might make - to our own risk.

"Job Bismark," like the ship of the same name, needs to be sent to the bottom of the ocean. An 1840's hotel, the recently re-done service has NO main disconnect or overload devices. The owner / occupant / remodeler asserts that his area has no permit requirements, it passed inspection, the PoCo loves his arrangement and complimented him, that he has some engineer school, and all his engineer buddies have blessed his work. Huh?

Details? A pair of 320/400 amp meter heads outside. No disconnect at all. Each feeds an interior splice box, where it appears 2/0 wire is spliced to multiple #2's, to feed various sub-panels. There is NO overcurrent protection until you reach the main breaker (back fed, of course) at the sub-panel. Sub-panels are scattered about various locations of the building.

The second 'gremlin' I discovered when I was hanging a ceiling fan in a carport / patio that connected two buildings. Each building had it's own service, and was fed from different PoCo transformers. Yet, when I turned off the breaker in building 'A', the lights went out in building 'B'.

The lesson here is that you cannot rely upon even removing the meter to 'kill' ALL the power in a building. BTW, the fan circuit also ahd the neutral switched. (Gee those little volt 'tickers' sure are nice).

The moral to both these stories is: watch yourself. You simply cannot rely upon things having been done 'right,' despite whatever assertions have been made.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#194612 - 06/13/10 10:35 PM Re: Rediscovering The Electrical "Volt Nest Monster" [Re: renosteinke]  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA

I bet that Hotel would make a nice Artificial Reef, or a highly over-sized Flounder... yay
(read: place Hotel on the floor of a very deep Ocean)

I _Assume_ the "Owner / Occupant / Remodeler / Partial Engineer" person installed this Service Equipment?

Maybe leaving an Axe at the Meter Section would be helpful, as the Axe may be used to hack at the kWh Meters so they break loose from the Meter Clip - therefore providing a Service Disconnecting means via Axe-to-Meter interface technique...


the kWh Meters are driven by CTs; then the Axe must be used to chop down the Poco's Utility Pole, so as to create a fault on the Primary Feeders' Circuit, and eventually substitute as a Service Disconnecting means.

Be safe!


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#194615 - 06/14/10 06:38 AM Re: Rediscovering The Electrical "Volt Nest Monster" [Re: Scott35]  
Tesla  Offline
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Sacramento, CA
If the joint has fire insurance -- notify them.

You'll be saving a life, probably more than one.


The Poco may have given him open-delta three phase power with A-B on meter one and B-C on meter two.

What are your readings?


#194669 - 06/15/10 10:43 PM Re: Rediscovering The Electrical "Volt Nest Monster" [Re: Tesla]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Well, as for the hotel ...

I call it a 'hotel' because thaqt's what it WAS. These days, it is a vastly overly cluttered, large home for a single family.

Meters are the ringless type, held in place by the PoCo sealed meter can covers. There are no CT's, and both are fed from the same single pole mount transformer. Transformer appears to be the size usually used to feed two or three homes- that is, not very large.

I could not open the meter bases- seals apart- because of the mountain of junk piled in front of them. Looking inside the splice boxes, I saw but two hots, a neutral, and a ground. From all this, I am concluding the service is really intended to be 200 amps of 120/240 single phase.

The clutter I mentioned also interfered with my taking nearly any decent pics. The family is really ready for that reality show "Hoarders."

As you might guess, many of the panels are mounted where working space is, at best, marginal.

Compared to the outrageous service arrangement - yes, he did it himself, and claimed the PoCo was really impressed with his workmanship (gag) - the other stuff I saw was pretty tame. Unsupported romex, outside electric in CPVC with right angle plumbers' elbows, etc.

I saw enough structural gremlins to cause me concern, even if his engineer buddies all approved of them. In writing? I bet not.

I was as blunt as one can be, in keeping with being their house guest. It's a bit of a challenge to condense even my meager education into a fifteen minute lecture!

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