need UL for new patent grounding electrode- technology is not 8 ft long (standards)

GreenInn

Member
Location
Plano, Tx
We have a patented new technology from and inventor thatworks and functions as a grounding device. This electrode has been provedsuccessful in over 8 countries and more than 2,000 locations.

This electrode is by far superior in many capabilities toany other currently available in the market (grounding rods and systems). Thistechnology differs greatly in its size and shape to the existing technologies.

The current NFPA 70, National Electrical Code section250.52(A)(5) that is required to get a UL certification states that the minimumlength of a grounding rod is 8 ft. Our largest model is shorter than thatrequired length.
Our technology is completely different, it would be likecomparing a television from the ?80s to a new HD plasma tv.
With all this, what is the best way to obtain the ULcertification? What are our possibilities to change the norm or standards? how long would this take? Who can we hire tohelp us with this?


 

GreenInn

Member
Location
Plano, Tx
yes, We have been working with a Lab here in Plano Tx - Inter tek and were about to start the safety testing, when they said that because the length is not 8ft long, regardless of the testing results, they could not give us UL certification because the NFPA code requires 8 ft long. we are not sure if this can be worked another way if we prove we are a better technology and do not have the need for 8 ft depth. any thoughts?
 

petersonra

Senior Member
yes, We have been working with a Lab here in Plano Tx - Inter tek and were about to start the safety testing, when they said that because the length is not 8ft long, regardless of the testing results, they could not give us UL certification because the NFPA code requires 8 ft long. we are not sure if this can be worked another way if we prove we are a better technology and do not have the need for 8 ft depth. any thoughts?
The reality is that unless you are willing to push getting the alternate technology accepted by the NEC folks, you are out of luck. if it is a rod, it has to be at least 8 feet long to qualify as a grounding electrode by code. There is just no way around that.

I am curious what you could do to make the idea of a ground rod any better when ground rods as a whole are going the way of the dodo birds for most installations.

BTW, does anyone here actually use plate electrodes? I was thinking that a 2' long piece of 3" angle would appear to comply.
 
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ron

Senior Member
We have a patented new technology from and inventor thatworks and functions as a grounding device. This electrode has been provedsuccessful in over 8 countries and more than 2,000 locations.

This electrode is by far superior in many capabilities toany other currently available in the market (grounding rods and systems). Thistechnology differs greatly in its size and shape to the existing technologies.

The current NFPA 70, National Electrical Code section250.52(A)(5) that is required to get a UL certification states that the minimumlength of a grounding rod is 8 ft. Our largest model is shorter than thatrequired length.
Our technology is completely different, it would be likecomparing a television from the ?80s to a new HD plasma tv.
With all this, what is the best way to obtain the ULcertification? What are our possibilities to change the norm or standards? how long would this take? Who can we hire tohelp us with this?
There is a proposal form in the back of every NFPA 70 (NEC) book. You can also get it online. You will need to get the NEC text modifed.
 
Only rod or pipe electrodes are required to be 8 ft. That being said, how can you patent a rod or a pipe?

So, if your miracle device is not a rod or a pipe, the 8 ft. requirement is moot.

If it is a plate there is no length requirement, just a surface area requirement, (2 square feet) and again, how can a plate be patented?

So what's that leave, a sphere?

I think the intent is to require a certain amount of surface contact with the earth, no matter what the design. I don't see how any testing could be done to prove an electrode lacking the required amount of surface would be as effective as one that has the required amount. That is just plain physics.

If your device is patented, you are protected against plagiarism by law. So, why didn't you give us the details? If we had the details, we would be in a better position to try to explain why the device may not be able to be listed.
 
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petersonra

Senior Member
Tout away, it's still a few square inches shy of being acceptable by the NEC.

Also, a twisted ribbon is not a plate and does not fall into any acceptable NEC electrode category unless it is listed.
I might be inclined to accept it as a plate. But it would have to have 288 sq inches of surface area to qualify as a plate type GE. And would still have to be buried 30" deep. The code does not say the plate can't be twisted.

It certainly would not qualify as a rod. It just plain is not a rod. And there is no way it could meet the minimum diameter requirements since it does not have a diameter.
 
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Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I believe that you have 2 issues to deal with. You can get the listing but the NEC wording, as presently written, will not allow it anyway. My guess is to take the plunge and get it approved and then work on getting the NEC to amend the NEC. Unfortunately the deadly for the 2014 NEC has already past so it wouldn't be till 2017 that this would happen unless you can get a TIA- this is a tentative interim amendment but I am not sure of that process.

I would suggest contacting someone from NFPA
 

petersonra

Senior Member
I believe that you have 2 issues to deal with. You can get the listing but the NEC wording, as presently written, will not allow it anyway. My guess is to take the plunge and get it approved and then work on getting the NEC to amend the NEC. Unfortunately the deadly for the 2014 NEC has already past so it wouldn't be till 2017 that this would happen unless you can get a TIA- this is a tentative interim amendment but I am not sure of that process.

I would suggest contacting someone from NFPA
I would be willing to bet that the listing standards require it to comply with the NEC requirements, along with what ever other requirements there are.
 

rbalex

Moderator
Staff member
Unfortunately, it won’t pass TIA muster either; you must establish that there is an “emergency” need for it.

One of the undocumented purposes of Section 500.8(A) was to allow “...manufacturer’s self evaluation or an owner’s engineering judgment” as a basis for identified products and installations in classified locations. It more-or-less summarizes OSHA 29 CFR 1910 399, Acceptable and adds "owner’s engineering judgment" to "manufacturer’s self evaluation." While there are quacks in every profession, we PEs aren't quite as loose with our seals as some may believe. Again unfortunately, there is no general concept like this in the NEC.
 
I might be inclined to accept it as a plate. But it would have to have 288 sq inches of surface area to qualify as a plate type GE. And would still have to be buried 30" deep. The code does not say the plate can't be twisted.

It certainly would not qualify as a rod. It just plain is not a rod. And there is no way it could meet the minimum diameter requirements since it does not have a diameter.
The NEC does not define 'plate' so let's see how Webster defines it.

a : a smooth flat thin piece of material b (1) : forged, rolled, or cast metal in sheets usually thicker than 1⁄4 inch (6 millimeters)
We can see it's not flat, so it doesn't qualify as 'a plate'. If it were sheet metal 1/4" or thicker, it would be 'metal plate'. Webster differentiates between 'a plate', which is a shape, and 'plate metal' which is a product.

The NEC differentiates between 'plate electrodes' (a shape) and 'electrodes of iron or steel plates' (products). It also differentiates between ferrous and non-ferrous. 'Iron or steel plates' shall be at least 1/4" thick. Non-ferrous electrodes only need to be 1.5 mm thick. Note, the non-ferrous requirement is not for 'plate metal', so it must be 'a plate' in shape to qualify.

'Sheet metal' electrodes are not permitted.

So, if we take 250.2 literally, the twisty thing wouldn't be permitted unless listed even if it did have the required amount of surface contact.
 
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renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
I will tell you point blank, right now, that UL is NOT going to develop a standard or create a listing for anything that is patent-protected. UL will NOT become party to a proprietary marketing scheme.

A recent example was the development of AFCI technology. UL simply refused to act on this technology until after the patent owners surrendered their rights to the 'public domain.' Only then would UL consider examining the concept.

UL is simply not in the business of protecting your business model.

Finally, no matter what UL says, it has no authority to over-rule any code, standard, or law. All UL does is give their independent opinion that a product meets a safety-related standard.

Case in point: UL lists NM cable. You still cannot use NM in places that do not allow it.
 
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petersonra

Senior Member
The NEC does not define 'plate' so let's see how Webster defines it.



We can see it's not flat, so it doesn't qualify as 'a plate'. If it were sheet metal 1/4" or thicker, it would be 'metal plate'. Webster differentiates between 'a plate', which is a shape, and 'plate metal' which is a product.

The NEC differentiates between 'plate electrodes' (a shape) and 'electrodes of iron or steel plates' (products). It also differentiates between ferrous and non-ferrous. 'Iron or steel plates' shall be at least 1/4" thick. Non-ferrous electrodes only need to be 1.5 mm thick. Note, the non-ferrous requirement is not for 'plate metal', so it must be 'a plate' in shape to qualify.

'Sheet metal' electrodes are not permitted.

So, if we take 250.2 literally, the twisty thing wouldn't be permitted unless listed even if it did have the required amount of surface contact.
So a plate that is bent is no longer a plate?

In any case, the code does not allow for a listed electrode that does not meet the minimum standards either so listing is not an issue.
 
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