This was asked to me today by another electrical contractor. If a person uses a 120v photocell to break one leg of 240v sign circuit would this be a code violation as long as the ocpd is a double pole? Of course we agreed that a 240v photcell should be used in this situation to de-energize the sign for safety. Any thoughts or code references?
THe bible is in the truck, so I'll give an opinion. THe photocell is more than likely not being used according to mfg instructions, if it's rated 120 volts.
Breaking one leg is not a good practice, and leaves an energized conductor somewhere btwn the PC and the sign. A sign tech may think the sign is de-energized. This is similar to using a single pole t'stst (line volt) to control a 240 volt bb heater; or a s/p switch to "shut-off" a 240 volt circuit.
The only difference between a 120 volt photo control and a 240 volt photo control is the heater voltage. If you use a 120 volt control you will need a neutral for the control but if you use a 240 volt control the white wire from the control is connected to the other leg of your circuit and a neutral is not needed. Standard photo controls will only switch one leg of your circuit. I have never seen a 2-pole control.