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Thread: NEC requirements for contactors used in lighting control

  1. #1
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    NEC requirements for contactors used in lighting control

    I have been told that General purpose contactors are not UL listed. Does this mean that they can not be used for a commercial lighting control? Do commercial Lighting control systems have to have UL listed contactors?

    I have a commercial project with 2 lighting panels and all the contactors are general purpose, not lighting type contactors. Mostly 3 pole 30 Amp w/120V coils. Running parking lot lights, building lights (about 12 contactors in all). These contactors are old and a few no longer engadge. The customer has agreed to replacve them, but is asking why we can not put the less expensive general purpose contactors in (they have a lighting maintennace co. that changes their bulbs who has in the past installed these general purpose contactors).

  2. #2
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    "Approval" is normally an AHJ decision (110.2). In many situations, equipmemt is required to have NRTL (U.L., etc) listing for the local AHJ to approve it.
    The "call" would be up to your AHJ.
    (I have often seen GP contactors accepted)
    At my age, I'm accustomed to restaurants asking me to pay in advance, but now my bank has started sending me their calendar one month at a time.

  3. #3
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    It depends on what you are calling a general purpose relay. Most relays are sold as open style devices, because they are not in enclosures they to not carry a 'standard' UL label, instead they are 'component recognized' (the symbol is a U and a backwards R).

    What type of lighting are you switching, ballasts or tungsten?
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  4. #4
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    There are 2 types of lighting. Metal Halide (inductive ballast) & Compackt fluorescent (electronic ballsat).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DansProfElec View Post
    There are 2 types of lighting. Metal Halide (inductive ballast) & Compackt fluorescent (electronic ballsat).
    Most general purpose relays are not fully rated for ballast loads. i would not be surprised to find a 30A GP relay may only be able to handle 12A of ballast loads.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Iowa
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    general purpose enclosed vs open

    I have seen in my 18 years of Industrial Electrical work Both types of General purpose contactors. If using a Enclosed type you would have no issues running your lighting. ( as long as you calculate you load per contactor) as for the open type They are not recommended for this use nor should you ever try.

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