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    Mobile home panelboard

    A customer want me to replace an existing 100 amp panelboard in his mobile home. He says his water heater does not work - and the problem has been traced to the panel. It is an old spllt bus panel located in a bedroom clothes closet.

    Two things
    - 550.10 states that a 50 amp maximum feeder is allowed for a mobile home. (I assume that is for a power cord only situation) The outdoor circuit breaker has a 100 amp breaker with a permanent PVC feeder installed. I also looked at the neighbors and he too had a 100 amp breaker main. Is this permitted?


    Also 550-11 states no panel in a clothes closet. Can this panel be replaced because it is an exiting installation with it being just a repair?
    Or do I have to relocate the panel and all the branch circuits?

    And under the same section 550-11 - it states the panel must have 40 or 50 amp fuses for a power cord. Can I install a standard 100 amp panel in here? or does it need to be a split bus?

    Thoughts?

    #2
    Originally posted by mike9593 View Post
    A customer want me to replace an existing 100 amp panelboard in his mobile home. He says his water heater does not work - and the problem has been traced to the panel. It is an old spllt bus panel located in a bedroom clothes closet.

    Two things
    - 550.10 states that a 50 amp maximum feeder is allowed for a mobile home. (I assume that is for a power cord only situation) The outdoor circuit breaker has a 100 amp breaker with a permanent PVC feeder installed. I also looked at the neighbors and he too had a 100 amp breaker main. Is this permitted?


    Also 550-11 states no panel in a clothes closet. Can this panel be replaced because it is an exiting installation with it being just a repair?
    Or do I have to relocate the panel and all the branch circuits?

    And under the same section 550-11 - it states the panel must have 40 or 50 amp fuses for a power cord. Can I install a standard 100 amp panel in here? or does it need to be a split bus?

    Thoughts?
    Is the panel in an actual clothes closet? I don't believe that you would be required to move that panel.
    Split bus panels were common in mobile homes for a long time due to seperate dosconnect being located out in the yard, but no need too replace like with like.

    Yes 550.10 allows for a maximum 50 amp feeder size power for cord setup or a permanent installed feeder. If I was in your shoes, if whatever is between that outside disconnect and the interior panel is questionable, I would gut it. What is in the permanent feeder?

    Can you elaborate further on the panel issue that caused the water heater to crap out?

    Comment


      #3
      See Article 550 Section III, notably 550.33.

      Replacing the panel in a clothes closet should fall under the "grandfathered clause" assuming the clothes closet is a manufactured rather than a customization after delivery... but the final say so is the AHJ.
      I will have achieved my life's goal if I die with a smile on my face.

      Comment


        #4
        The feeder between the outdoor main disconnect and the panelboard is 1-1/4" PVC with (3) #3's and (1) # 6.
        And yes, it is a bedroom clothes closet with the panel mounted on plywood on the side wall of the closet.

        I did not have any tools when I looked at this. I was just looking to estimate the work. The owner said a repair person traced the problem to the panel. I told the owner I would like to verify the electrical problem with the heater, and he said "Well I would like to get rid of the panel anyway, since it is glass fuses, and not circuit breakers"

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by mike9593 View Post
          The feeder between the outdoor main disconnect and the panelboard is 1-1/4" PVC with (3) #3's and (1) # 6.
          And yes, it is a bedroom clothes closet with the panel mounted on plywood on the side wall of the closet.

          I did not have any tools when I looked at this. I was just looking to estimate the work. The owner said a repair person traced the problem to the panel. I told the owner I would like to verify the electrical problem with the heater, and he said "Well I would like to get rid of the panel anyway, since it is glass fuses, and not circuit breakers"
          The set up you describe here is pretty common w/ a lot of older m.h.'s. I see no issue with what your proposing to do. Just remember to meet 250.32 (B).
          One thing I would like ask is does the plywood setup appear to be original or is it a hackish affair?

          Comment


            #6
            Plywood appears to be original -

            Also, this is a repair of an existing electrical device correct, not requiring a permit. No additional or altering of electrical circuits. Perhaps a grey area, but I believe it meets the criteria of a repair.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mike9593 View Post
              Plywood appears to be original -

              Also, this is a repair of an existing electrical device correct, not requiring a permit. No additional or altering of electrical circuits. Perhaps a grey area, but I believe it meets the criteria of a repair.
              The reason why I asked about the plywood is that (I know this from exp) older mobile homes (especially mh parks consisting of older mhs) are usually festering hot beds of "creativity" and you may end up discovering more problems as you go along-its almost inevitable in some areas covered up w/ these tornado magnets.

              As for your concern about repairs and such, again that would fall under ahj. But from your details it does indeed sound like a repair.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mike9593 View Post
                Plywood appears to be original -

                Also, this is a repair of an existing electrical device correct, not requiring a permit. No additional or altering of electrical circuits. Perhaps a grey area, but I believe it meets the criteria of a repair.
                I reread your original post and while many areas would classify this as repair, those areas would number far and few between. Your not repairing an electrical device, you are replacing one. You really need to feel out your ahj on this before you bite, because it could come back to bite you. Get that permit if one is legitimately required.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mike9593 View Post
                  Plywood appears to be original -

                  Also, this is a repair of an existing electrical device correct, not requiring a permit. No additional or altering of electrical circuits. Perhaps a grey area, but I believe it meets the criteria of a repair.
                  Those requirements vary all over the country - you need to find out from applicable AHJ what work/tasks require a permit within that jurisdiction. Some places you could replace nearly everything in the building and not require a permit - but change the service and all of the work you did is subject to permits and inspections. Other places you don't even move a switch or receptacle a short distance and a permit is required. Most places you can swap components for equal components and it is considered a repair and no permit required. Your replacement panel may or may not be considered an equal replacement component.
                  I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would not consider this as a repair if you are removing a 50 amp panel and replacing it with a 100 amp panel. This would require a permit in my jurisdiction. Even if located in a mobile home park, we still review electrical upgrades. Some surrounding jurisdiction feel that the park is responsible for doing the inspections. Our fire department does not like that attitude. Get the permit, have it inspected and try to protect everyone. good luck.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The inspectors in our area have never failed us for replacing a panel in a closet, if that is where it was when it was manufactured.

                      But, be aware in our area of SW Florida, anytime we replace a panel in a mobile home (with a permit ) we are required to have an outdoor panel / disconnecting means that has extra breaker spaces [2011 NEC 550.32(D)]

                      We general end up adding a feed through panel outside the unit, or installing a meter main combo, set at the unit, and removing the service from the 4 or 6 gang meter center.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by cpinetree View Post
                        The inspectors in our area have never failed us for replacing a panel in a closet, if that is where it was when it was manufactured.

                        But, be aware in our area of SW Florida, anytime we replace a panel in a mobile home (with a permit ) we are required to have an outdoor panel / disconnecting means that has extra breaker spaces [2011 NEC 550.32(D)]

                        We general end up adding a feed through panel outside the unit, or installing a meter main combo, set at the unit, and removing the service from the 4 or 6 gang meter center.
                        I have found that many times those meter centers are absolutely dreadful-a lot of park owners try to save anyway they can and I've found out that means even "hiring" tenants to "fix" issues at their park.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by user 100 View Post
                          I have found that many times those meter centers are absolutely dreadful-a lot of park owners try to save anyway they can and I've found out that means even "hiring" tenants to "fix" issues at their park.
                          In our area a lot of the meter centers are built on the power company poles. As the centers go bad, we are no longer allowed to rebuild them on the power company pole, also it was always a nightmare trying to bill the job to 4 or 6 different owners. Even more so if only one of the meter banks is toast.

                          That is why we set new meter main combos on the mobile homes property. Most customers understand this and they also realize they no longer need to deal with that one neighbor that never agrees to anything.

                          Oh yes, cheap doesn't do some of them justice. But, it is real easy to move on to the next job.
                          As the boss says "I have never lost money on a job I didn't do"

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Smart $ View Post
                            See Article 550 Section III, notably 550.33.

                            Replacing the panel in a clothes closet should fall under the "grandfathered clause" assuming the clothes closet is a manufactured rather than a customization after delivery... but the final say so is the AHJ.
                            Where is the grandfather clause in the NEC and does it not consider a safety factor for existing installations? agree the final say is AHJ.
                            CircuitRyder --- Unfortunately not all good ideas are code enforceable.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by cpinetree View Post

                              Oh yes, cheap doesn't do some of them justice. But, it is real easy to move on to the next job.
                              As the boss says "I have never lost money on a job I didn't do"
                              You got that right. While we try to accommodate ​some customers with legitimate financial restraints, we cannot and should not accomodate the cheap skates or everybody who can't afford us. It's just bad business to do so-we've got to eat too.

                              Comment

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