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Thread: 84 Circuits

  1. #1
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    84 Circuits

    I have installed quite a few of these ETC dimmer panels without thinking about it. What I am wondering now is how does the 48 module unit, which contains 84 circuits, comply with 408.15? :confused:

  2. #2
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    Dimmer panels or packs as we call them is an end use equipment that is manufactured for lighting control purpose. This not a breaker panel that has the OCPD's that protect branch circuits and feeders.
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
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    Just don't be fairly safe

  3. #3
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    I understand. But look at this unit closer. The 48 module (84 circuit) model is wired as follows. It requires a 400A feeder which lands on a set of main lugs. Then, you plug in dimmer modules which have 2 20A breakers each. the 20A breakers are the overcurrent protection for the branch wiring. Looks like a breaker panel to me!

  4. #4
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    It appears that this dimmer panel is within the scope of Article 408.
    This article covers the following:
    (1) All switchboards, panelboards, and distribution boards installed for the control of light and power circuits
    (2) Battery-charging panels supplied from light or power circuits
    I really thought that 408 only applied to panels with OCPDs, but that isn't what the scope says. A dimmer panel does control lighting circuits and looks to me like it would fall within the scope of the article. If it is within the scope then 408.15 applies.
    Don
    Don, Illinois
    "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." B Franklin

  5. #5
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    Question

    1) Is the dimmer panel UL listed as a panelboard? If not then panelboard restrictions would not apply, just as they would not apply to a panel that is UL listed as control equipment.

    2) Is there a horizontal divider which effectively creates two seperate sections with not more than 42 poles per section? This would be similar to a "double tub" panel.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  6. #6
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    These dimmer panels are UL listed for a certain purpose and are not designed to have branch circuits ran to receptacles or other equipment. they are engineered to handle the load that could be placed on them and are UL tested for that load. 408 does not cover this type of equipment. as it is for end use control of lighting not for supplying branch circuits that can be added upon to feed receptacles or other types of appliance's.
    The modules that fit into these panels will only fit this panel and are a complete lighting dimmer control with a small breaker built into it. Most of these panels are made for portable use for traveling road shows, but you can get a panel that mounts permanently but it can only be surface mounted as it has to be able to dissipate the heat given off from the dimmers units.
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
    Be Fair, Be Safe
    Just don't be fairly safe

  7. #7
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    I should add that I wouldn't even concider them as a panel at all as they are nothing more than a rack cabnet with 19" bays to mount the dimmer modules in just like the cabnets that audio equipment is mounted in. It's true they have buss's in them that allow the modules to connect to but nothing like a OCPD panel that we use. Most are free standing as the one in the first post. and some can be mounted on a wall. There are many manufactures out there like ETA, NSI which was bought out by Leviton which it is now called Leviton's NSI Division. and there was one of the biggest ones called Color Tran but they were bought out by NSI. before Leviton got into the the show.

    [ October 10, 2004, 08:17 PM: Message edited by: hurk27 ]
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
    Be Fair, Be Safe
    Just don't be fairly safe

  8. #8
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    Wayne I do not understand why you say these are not branch circuits?

    Would you also say that the wiring from this pack does not have to be an article 300 method.

    Maybe we are talking about different types of units.

    I am used to seeing lutron / graphic eye type systems which take a feeder like Nick described and use 20 amp breakers to protect the output wiring. These dim / control permanently installed fixtures, nothing to do with road shows. Along with dimming lights they may operate projection screens and blinds.

    Edit to phrase the question nicer.

    [ October 10, 2004, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: iwire ]

  9. #9
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    The literature states they are UL listing. The literal text of what this listing is seems to be un available without a call to the manufacturer. There is no horizontal divider.

    Wayne, I should add these are available with non dimmer modules that only contain the 20A overcurrent protection to feed loads that do not require switching or dimming. They are also available with GFCI breakers.
    These are not portable by any means. They are very expensive and fragile. The large units are 81" tall and installed in places like theme parks, concert halls and theaters. The only difference between them and a panelboard is the control capability and possibly the listing.

    One note to anyone that installs these in the future. The 20 breaker protects the wiring but does not protect the electronics in the module. One dead short renders it useless even after the breaker trips. This leaves you with two $400.00 20 a breakers.

  10. #10
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    Re: 84 Circuits

    Nick that is one reason I didn't like ETC units. NSI and ETA both use Amp trap fast acting fuses. that will protect the electronic's. The dimmer modules are easy to repair as the traic's are single unit module plug in type and can be easily replaced.
    And yes there are OCPD modules only to feed other remote dimmer packs or other equipment and combo OCPD/ remote switch modules to control non dimming applications.

    Bob the equipment that we are talking about is nothing like a lutron system. While someone could call these output to the lights, branch circuits they are more like control wiring as they are designed to only control up to about 1200 or 2400 watts each channel. I'll see if I can look up the UL listing on them. If you have ever seen a large venue concert where there is allot of lighting control you will see these type of units in use.
    They can use up to 256 channels of lighting control and can be multiplexed together with a cat-5 cable, to even add more. the controls are very simple but the programing can be very complicated.

    Think of it this way They are no different than the old GE low voltage relay control that was put in houses in the 60's and 70's and there was no limit on how many control relays you could install in a relay panel but in this case there was no OCPD as that was back at the service panel.
    The one that he posted about will handle up to 48 modules which would give you 96 separate controllable circuits.

    [ October 11, 2004, 01:58 AM: Message edited by: hurk27 ]
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
    Be Fair, Be Safe
    Just don't be fairly safe

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