mislabeled conductor size

electrofelon

Senior Member
So several years ago I order in some 350 THHN AL colors for a job. About 800 feet each white, black, red, blue. Vendor is Priority W&C. All goes fine. Fast forward to now, I am doing a few 320-400 amp services and need some short lengths, and have some of those colors left over so I dig them out to use. Im hooking up this one service and I notice that the white looks a little smaller. I check the printing and it definitly says 350 KCMIL. I get out the dial calipers and the conductor is about a hundred thousandths smallerthan the other colors, and corresponds to 250 KCMIL. Both are compact stranded so not confusion there. Someone must have mislabeled it at the factory. Fortunately it was the neutral, and I (meant to) use a full size, so its rally not an issue, but a pretty big screw up for a wire manufacturer. Imagine if it had been one of the phases?
 

MAC702

Senior Member
I would definitely contact the manufacturer. There is the possibility that they may have never caught it and might still be able to track the issue and stop more installations with it. They may also be wanting to get ahead of any liability issues that might come up later and be progressive about actually replacing some where it might make a difference. Heck, they might even assume you want to replace your installation and give you the proper wire. If they are REALLY serious about it, they'll pay you to repair the job.
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
I would definitely contact the manufacturer. There is the possibility that they may have never caught it and might still be able to track the issue and stop more installations with it. They may also be wanting to get ahead of any liability issues that might come up later and be progressive about actually replacing some where it might make a difference. Heck, they might even assume you want to replace your installation and give you the proper wire. If they are REALLY serious about it, they'll pay you to repair the job.
I did mention it to the guy at the supply house I got it from (this was before I measured it with calipers) and he said to cut him off a piece and he would send it to priority. I will. What's the cost difference from 250 to 350, guessing 15- 20 cents? That's still $100 bucks, I'll take it.
 

Jon456

Senior Member
Wow, it's hard to believe that a mistake like that passed the manufacturer's QC. It just goes to show that the end user is the final QC inspector. In the future, I'll be measuring all wire diameters before installation.
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
A bit of an update. I dropped off a piece of the conductor at the supply house today. The owner is often a bit grumpy, and today he was extra grumpy. I said that after thinking about it more, I would like the cost difference of the 350 I paid for vs the 250 I got. He said, "honestly I doubt they will do anything, that was what like two years ago?" I found myself really pissed off at his comment and attitude. You would think the manufacturer would be MORE THAN HAPPY to simply reimburse for the cost difference for this 700 feet of wire I installed That is potentially huge screw up. Also the supply house owner could use a lesson on customer relations. How about something like, "Yeah I will definitely see what I can do about that, they should be happy that you simply want the cost difference." What do you guys think, who is off base here?
 

gar

Senior Member
190816-2136 EDT

Circa early 1972 I bought a batch of Cinch 22 (44) pin PC board connectors.

An earlier batch I purchased in the fall of 1971 were perfectly fine, no problems.

After assembling some mother boards from the 1972 batch and testing the final product I noticed problems. Easily detected by the PC board insertion force into the connector being low. From inspecting the connectors with low force it was obvious the insulator was cracking along the middle of the plastic molding.

Called Cinch and questioned them about the problem. Their response was that my boards were too thick. I checked my board thickness, and it was not too thick. Called them back, and they still said I was doing something wrong.

I had to produce product, and had no other choice than their connector. I could not redesign the mother boards for some other connector. Not all the Cinch sockets failed. So to meet my deadlines I just started testing the connectors with a severe mechanical loading, clamping the uninstalled socket and bending a PC board back and forth in the socket. This caused defective units to crack. Those that passed this test were used. I got about a 30% yield of usable connectors.

Several months later Cinch apparently received enough other complaints that they then investigated the problem. They were pig headed in not paying attention to my complaint early on. Later in the spring they identified the problem as --- a mold design change had been made in December of 1971 that resulted in a loss of strength in the casting. I must have received some of their first new castings. By the time Cinch bothered to look into the problem they had over 100,000 defective connectors in stock, and I have no idea on how many were in the field.

In any new designs I never used a Cinch PC board connector again.

When someone indicates a possible problem look into it, don't ignore the information.

.
 

__dan

Senior Member
" What do you guys think, who is off base here?
I'm a big fan of training the manufacturers ans suppliers to provide quality (and service). I'm usually willing to pay more for better quality and service but I usually have to test for this. So my basic minimum is they have someone knowledgeable who picks up the phone or responds to email, and understands my concern. I am quick to call the factory as necessary, but to also see how their factory support is willing to go to help.

From there, I would expect they may be able to do what is within their power to do. Mostly, you are just the 30th person that day who knocked on their door and said they owed you money. So just getting someone to listen is a lot.

But they can offer account credits for damaged or shorted orders. I would say what you asked for is entirely within the normal business routine. They may need a higher level of approval because the books were closed on that year.

If not, I would usually say just complaining is necessary. Too many complaints trains the factory and the supplier to stop sending out crap.You have to help them with that.
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
So an update: I went to that supply house a few weeks ago and there was a credit slip waiting for me at the counter for $150 or so for the price difference. I didnt see the owner but assumed he had talked to priority and they gave him credit. A while later I saw the owner and it came up and he said priority wouldnt give him the credit. I felt bad, I had meant that I only cared about a credit if it came from priority as it was their mistake. The rep had said something like it was too long ago and "no one else complained." LOL. He was super pissed and said he is cutting off the relationship with priority. Can you believe that they wouldnt give him credit? What is wrong with these people. Not just as a matter of principle, but just from a business perspective I hope that $150 they hold on to is worth losing that supply house as a customer, as well as all the bad press I will give them whenever I have the chance. Its unbelievable.
 

MTW

Senior Member
It's getting more common for installers of products, to be the final QC inspectors of the products.

Several years ago I did a job for a local fire contractor, piping and wiring several cases of Kiddie smoke alarms, in several existing apartment complex buildings. The fire contractor knew my work quality, and decided that it wasn't necessary to meet me at the site and test the systems with me, before the fire inspection. He went straight away to the fire Marshall for verification testing. Turns out that more than 30% of the detectors didn't function properly. Interlocks didn't work reliably, and some didn't activate at all. Turns out the plug in harness didn't reliably connect, to the back of the detectors. Contacted the wholesale house, and provided some samples. It started a nationwide recall of those model units. I received cases of a different model detectors to replace with, but not a dime for my time.

Right now I have a certified mail notice on my desk from Schneider Electric (Sq D) for a recall of HD 3P disconnects. I'm instructed to go inspect them to test for defects. Presumably the switch does not open with the handle. Problem is I don't recall which jobs they were used on. I'm supposed to go seek them out, on my dime, and replace them for new units after filing a claim, for a replacement switch. The units were operated and tested at the time of installation. I take it that the certified letter, is to place the liability on me, if the units fail to operate at some later time.

I recently read of other switch manufactures having the same problem. I stopped using GE switches many years ago for the exact same reason. Blades not fully engaging, and the switch burning up.

These are all name brand products, made anywhere but here, with little QC inspection or life cycle testing. And then they put the liability and costs on the installer, to cover their a-$. Its shameful what corporate America has become.

MTW
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
I have, or used to, a piece of PVC that has the wrong size printed on the side.

I haven't heard a word from the sales rep that wanted the mislabeled control transformer back.

I had a similar to MTWs recall with CH. We keep enough information that we were able to locate all of them but again it was all on our dime. IIRC we notified the customer and it was up to them to ask for replacement. We visually inspected each and found no failures at that time.

Recalls on my Ram, I am only out time and fuel to get it there. Again and again...
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Happened yesterday afternoon:

Datasheet said some specialty lighting drivers operate at 12VDC. Control panel was designed to that spec. Drop drivers into panel and power up, and the (5) drivers - at $800/piece - immediately smoke. :jawdrop:

Call vendor / manufacturer, who confirms the drivers actually operate at 5VDC. The drivers were not marked anywhere with their supply voltage.

Credit where it's due though - the vendor is eating the cost of the replacement drivers, overnighting them to me at their cost, and they've offered to cover the cost of replacement power supply components.

People and companies make mistakes. It's how the end user is supported that makes all the difference. I'll be using and recommending this vendor in the future, because they did right by me and my client.


SceneryDriver
 

bkludecke

Senior Member
So an update: I went to that supply house a few weeks ago and there was a credit slip waiting for me at the counter for $150 or so for the price difference. I didnt see the owner but assumed he had talked to priority and they gave him credit. A while later I saw the owner and it came up and he said priority wouldnt give him the credit. I felt bad, I had meant that I only cared about a credit if it came from priority as it was their mistake. The rep had said something like it was too long ago and "no one else complained." LOL. He was super pissed and said he is cutting off the relationship with priority. Can you believe that they wouldnt give him credit? What is wrong with these people. Not just as a matter of principle, but just from a business perspective I hope that $150 they hold on to is worth losing that supply house as a customer, as well as all the bad press I will give them whenever I have the chance. Its unbelievable.
So now the real test of character. Are you going to pass the correction out to your original customer who ultimately paid too much for the wire?
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
So now the real test of character. Are you going to pass the correction out to your original customer who ultimately paid too much for the wire?
Well, no. But in my defense I got screwed on that job and am a few weeks away from hiring a lawyer. I have offered to be paid half of the 15k. Offer expires and lawyers get hired on nov 1. So I'll keep that $150 :lol:
 
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