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Thread: Some questions for the Canadian guys

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    Some questions for the Canadian guys

    Figured I'd start off the new forum section with a few questions for our neighbors to the north:

    1) for those familiar with the Canadian electrical code and the NEC, how similar are they, what major differences have you noted?

    2) do you guys have 480 / 277 like us, or is it all 600 / 347v? I have read that both have similar arc flash potentials, the higher voltage seems desirable as, all other things being equal, one would have 25% more current capacity for the same size wiring. Thoughts and comments?
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    I worked in Colombia on a project and we were using North American wiring standards and devices. The head electrician was Canadian, so we had to use red, black, blue for phase coloring instead of black, red, blue that the rest of us were used to. I think he told me it was actually Code for them to do so up there, but I didn't sharpshoot him on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    Figured I'd start off the new forum section with a few questions for our neighbors to the north:

    1) for those familiar with the Canadian electrical code and the NEC, how similar are they, what major differences have you noted?

    2) do you guys have 480 / 277 like us, or is it all 600 / 347v? I have read that both have similar arc flash potentials, the higher voltage seems desirable as, all other things being equal, one would have 25% more current capacity for the same size wiring. Thoughts and comments?
    Never worked as an electrician in Canada, but I had a panel shop in Seattle where some of our customers were in Canada, so I had to become CSA certified. The codes are almost identical, just a few minor little differences, mostly additions. One thing that constantly bit me was that when you had something in a steel box, the door had to be grounded across the hinge by a wire, they don't consider the hinge itself a reliable ground path. My shop would forget that over and over so our panel would get rejected and I had to drive to BC or Alberta just to put on a freaking little green wire...

    When a lot of lumber mills in the US started going under in the 80s and 90s, many of them were bought as surplus by Canadians and moved, lock stock and barrel, to BC and Alberta. They wouldn't change all of the motors, it was cheaper to just buy transformers. Some oil patch companies in Calgary and Edmonton AB did that too, bringing stuff up from Texas and Oklahoma. So there is a LOT of 480V in use in those areas. I remember one sawmill in BC that had the entire office complex done in 600/347, then the mill behind it was all 480/277. But if you get outside of BC and AB, it's mostly 600/347 for industrial / commercial. residential is all 120/240V exactly like us.
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    So why are the load centers sideways in housing?

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    One thing they do correctly is the name of the bonding conductor...theirs is correctly named as a bonding conductor while ours is incorrectly named as a grounding conductor (EGC).
    Don, Illinois
    (All code citations are 2017 unless otherwise noted)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sameguy View Post
    So why are the load centers sideways in housing?
    In Canada the main breaker is isolated from the rest of the panel so entering the panel with branch circuits or feeders is not possible from the top of the panel. Hence the sideways setup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    the higher voltage seems desirable as, all other things being equal, one would have 25% more current capacity for the same size wiring.
    ?????

    25% more watts, maybe................

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    Huge sidetrack here, but today I worked in an old vacant textile mill building with a 600 volt ungrounded delta. Those used to be very common here once upon a time and this is one of the few that now remain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
    In Canada the main breaker is isolated from the rest of the panel so entering the panel with branch circuits or feeders is not possible from the top of the panel. Hence the sideways setup.
    Think that was inherited from UK codes... the main feeder is kept covered. Or separated.. so cannot touch those wires while servicing the breakers themselves... loads of stuff done concerning safety and touch covers over the wires.. even testers and tools have more insulation requirements now..
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    Figured I'd start off the new forum section with a few questions for our neighbors to the north:

    1) for those familiar with the Canadian electrical code and the NEC, how similar are they, what major differences have you noted?

    2) do you guys have 480 / 277 like us, or is it all 600 / 347v? I have read that both have similar arc flash potentials, the higher voltage seems desirable as, all other things being equal, one would have 25% more current capacity for the same size wiring. Thoughts and comments?
    The times I've worked in Canada it was all 600V 3-phase, 60 Hz. But that was all on ships. Icebreakers. I don't know that is standard for other electrical systems in that great country. I don't recall 347V single phase. I'm pretty sure they use 120V for that.
    Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

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