Panel Mounted on Switchgear - Violation?

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Taking the inspector's argument to the extreme, it would be illegal to mount open-sided equipment racks next to each other, since there is not even a panel there to remove, just free access. :)
 

jap

Senior Member
This picture is a perfect example. The far left section is against the wall. The far right section has a transformer immediately to the right. Neither section is accessible by the side panel but has access via the front and back panels. I don't think the manufacturer expects EVERY panel to accessible.
This one is somewhat different. this is a breaker Style switchgear and it looks like you could walk in the center section with the deadfront cover taken off, unlike the Fused Switchgear in the original picture where you dont have that luxury. Hopefully the transformer in this picture,at the end is not hard nippled into the Access cover or I'd have the same feelings about it as i would a disconnect mounted on one of the few accessible panels if there werent that many to begin with.
 

jap

Senior Member
= + = + =

In your OP pic., does that access panel have hinges on
it, or is it just to protect the internal parts from accidental
contact [ RE: Article 490.38, `08 NEC ] ?

I do not see any handles on it, for lifting away from the
metal enclosure itself, so it may not be an actual "accessible
panel".

FWIW, ...we inspectors question everything ! :happyyes:

= + = + =
You take out 4 bolts an the whole access panel comes off exposing the whole interior workings of the Switchgear. There are not hinges on these types of covers. Not that I've ever had the luxury of witnessing anyway.
 

meternerd

Senior Member
Location
Athol, ID
If I as a POCO guy was inspecting this and it was a service panel instead of a sub-panel, I'd never let it fly. Manufacturers have very picky rules about additions and modifications to switchgear. They receive UL listings after numerous expensive tests, including heat rise. Any modifications will usually void any warranties and UL listings unless the modification is approved by the manufacturer in writing. And they seldom approve 'em. So...would I do it that way? Probably not.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
I would like to define two separate issues in play here:
1. Mounting the equipment in a way which blocks access via the original panel, and
2. Using the access panel as a mechanical support for the other equipment.
Both are potential concerns.

Tapatalk!
 

jusme123

Senior Member
Location
NY
IMO, I'd bet the manufacture prohibits that install, in most cases of these types of disc. installs, it was just the cheapest and quickest way to install disconnect. I'd bet money there was a spot in that room to mount that disconnect, other that on the gear. JMO
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
Location
North of the 65 parallel
Occupation
EE (Field - as little design as possible)
IMO, I'd bet the manufacture prohibits that install, in most cases of these types of disc. installs, it was just the cheapest and quickest way to install disconnect. I'd bet money there was a spot in that room to mount that disconnect, other that on the gear. JMO
I don't have any issue with the install. However, most I have seen use a strut-stand bolted to the floor, often nestled right up to a piece of equipment - but not fastened to it. As jus said - "money"

ice
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
IMO, I'd bet the manufacture prohibits that install,
I highly doubt it.


I think we all agree that in the absence of instructions or labeling prohibiting it we could;

1) Butt the end of the switchgear tight to a wall making the end entirely inaccessible.

2) Install another section of gear onto it reducing if not blocking access entirely of that end.

3) Run raceways and / or cables into the end of it preventing the removal of covers/

But you think if it is a disconnect switch or a panel suddenly we have a problem?

I do not follow or agree with your logic on that.

it was just the cheapest and quickest way to install disconnect. I'd bet money there was a spot in that room to mount that disconnect, other that on the gear. JMO
Sometimes money / time is absolutely the reason it is done.

That does not change the rules.
 

meternerd

Senior Member
Location
Athol, ID
I highly doubt it.


I think we all agree that in the absence of instructions or labeling prohibiting it we could;

1) Butt the end of the switchgear tight to a wall making the end entirely inaccessible.

2) Install another section of gear onto it reducing if not blocking access entirely of that end.

3) Run raceways and / or cables into the end of it preventing the removal of covers/

But you think if it is a disconnect switch or a panel suddenly we have a problem?

I do not follow or agree with your logic on that.



Sometimes money / time is absolutely the reason it is done.


That does not change the rules.
Well...I guess we don't ALL agree. The issue as I see it is not access. Rather it is using a removable panel as a weight bearing structure (it's only held on by 4 corner screws). If you remove the panel and then install an adjacent switchgear section, no problem. Against the wall? Again no problem. Mounting a heavy disconnect which has torque applied when operating the handle?...problem (at least for me). Ditto for installing conduit fittings. If the adjacent disconnect were to fail for some reason, (unlikely, I know), the manufacturer would be the first in line after the lawyers to say the install was improper. Just my paranoid opinion, though.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Mounting a heavy disconnect which has torque applied when operating the handle?...problem (at least for me).
You call that disconnect heavy?

To much operating torque?

A problem for four, typically 1/4" bolts?


:huh:


When I mounted a large panel board on the end of a switch gear (about 7' x 4' x 1') I secured it not to the removable panels but to the frame of the gear just like an additional section would be.


I think people look for problems anytime someone does something different from what they are used to seeing.
 

norcal

Senior Member
My question is there anything behind the panels that requires access? If no, then whats the problem?
 

jap

Senior Member
My question is there anything behind the panels that requires access? If no, then whats the problem?

Yes. The inside of the gear.
Anyone who certifies switchgear or does annual maintenance of tightening,torquing and cleaning appreciates every access panel they can get.
 

ddderek

Member
Mount seperately...

Mount seperately...

I don't have any issue with the install. However, most I have seen use a strut-stand bolted to the floor, often nestled right up to a piece of equipment - but not fastened to it. As jus said - "money"

ice
I agree, this is the first thing I thought of. I feel it is a violation of the UL listing to mount directly to another piece of equipment and would have built a stand out of unistrut to accomodate the installation providing there was no wall space. Even if you stood the strut rack right where you currently have the disconnect, you'd have a few inches to get the cover off for access.
 

jdean25

New User
What if the switch fails.

What if the switch fails.

Lets just imagine that the switch fails...

But before that argument, remember that the switch gear UL label is applied for that specific build. If the switchgear did not come from the manufacturer with that switch installed on the side of it then by installing the switch you have voided that manufacturers warranty for the switchgear. (that looks old enough to be out of warranty but nonetheless it was never meant to have anything installed there). When a manufacturer has a UL label affixed to the equipment it only applies to that equipment as it came from the manufacturer unless the manufacturer installs/provides the additional parts for the gear.

ok, with that said: what if the switch fails? what happens to the rest of the switchgear that it is attached to when the switch blows up? I have to agree with the inspector based on that possible scenario...
 
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