Lets give AFCI'S a break and get on with some really important issues, namely why can't the directories that come with the panels be larger? Some of them are so small you can't see them without a magnifying lens. Would it really break the manufact. to make them larger?
And another thing, Why can't someone come up with a better way to install panel covers?
...and how about making the panel labels able to stand up to more than a few years of service. Many of the houses I visit all that is left of the panel label is the glue... take a guess at what kind and the max amperage it is...
I agree on the AFCI issue, there are only a few of those who post negative messages that call attention to some problems with their use, installation and cost.
As far as your concerns for panel directories, this is a very big problem and one of the top 10 code violations where panel directories are missing (like below) or filled in with pencil, or some other non- permanent markings.
I think that there is a software program called panel4.exe that will be useful, but when I found it after a search, I was unable to download it. Maybe it is no longer available??
Are there any others?
[This message has been edited by Joe Tedesco (edited 12-19-2001).]
We have the same problems here. Although our panels have space for identifying circuits many are left blank, and modfications over the years mean that any mrkings present are not always complete or accurate.
I print out Panel Directories for all jobs, and if I have enough information for the connected loads [existing ones on Remodels / T.I.s], I'll also print out Color Panel Schedules. On jobs where I have designed all, I'll include both Panel Directories and Colored Panel Schedules - regardless if I am the installer or if done by another Electrical Subcontractor.
I use Excel for these tasks.
As Steve [Sparky] has mentioned, placing your logo within a Panel Directory makes it both Cool and a Marketing angle. This all can be done very easilly with Excel - which allows you to increase the cell sizes for the next person to easilly write in a newly added circuit description.
Most of the time I'll print up labels with the Panel's name and rating. I'll put a set inside and a set outside, then cover with packing tape for lamination.
Seen some really poor excuses for Panel Directories! References like: " Receptacles", "Lights", "Computers", "Wall Partitions" and such. Just do not mean anything when there's 5 Suites on a floor, or there's a ton of work stations.
Scott " 35 " Thompson Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
IMHO , there would be much less live work if directories were done better. I've also had a habit of marking the circuit on the 'use' end, i.e.-4 sq, rec cover..... Case in point, convienece store coffee islands, which are always in a state of perpetual growth. The capaccino,pizza oven,sandwich man,glovedryer,automatic cow dispenser dude will typically plug intoeven adapt into..a dedicated circuit,overloading the breaker , sending the entire store into kaos. can U tell I get the calls???
We use Excel based panel schedules as well. I actually prefer the idea of using pencil to fill them out. That way when the next guy comes along and changes something, rather than cross out the old use, he can erase it and put in the circuit's new usage. Panel schedules tend to get really ugly as time goes on as they're filled out with pen, felt tip marker, crossed out 3 times, etc. (My Marine Biology prof. used to call pencils "scientific markers"; they're permanent unless erased) If anybody wants the Excel Panel Card files, send me an e-mail and I'll try to fix you up.
I use a spreadsheet to do panel schedules during the design phase so I can calculate and/or balance the laods. I usually use a data base (file) program to do the final "as built" panel schdule. Sometimes I'll even get the thing laminated at the office supply store ($1) prior to attaching it to the door.
The nice thing about using your computer is that when the customer calls up asking about adding additional circuits, you can look at the schedule in your computer to determine if there are enough vacant slots & capacity left.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.