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Author Topic: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter  (Read 819 times)

Nathan Riddle

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L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« on: September 01, 2017, 09:59:00 pm »

How on earth is this UL listed?

https://www.pduwhips.com/products/1253-l21-30p-to-5-20r-splitter-power-cables.aspx

My understanding was that (nearly*) anytime a device's current carrying capacity was reduced a fuse/breaker was necessary?

*I do know that 14awg is rated for 20A at very short distances or if it was air cooled single conductors, etc. Same might apply for devices such as this splitter?

Disclaimer: I am not calling PDUwhips/IronBox out this would go for any product that does the same thing.

On a + note their L21-30 extension cables are 8awg instead of the normal 10awg one might find elsewhere :)
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 10:24:29 pm »

How on earth is this UL listed?

https://www.pduwhips.com/products/1253-l21-30p-to-5-20r-splitter-power-cables.aspx

My understanding was that (nearly*) anytime a device's current carrying capacity was reduced a fuse/breaker was necessary?

*I do know that 14awg is rated for 20A at very short distances or if it was air cooled single conductors, etc. Same might apply for devices such as this splitter?

Disclaimer: I am not calling PDUwhips/IronBox out this would go for any product that does the same thing.

On a + note their L21-30 extension cables are 8awg instead of the normal 10awg one might find elsewhere :)

UL listing and Code compliance are not interchangeable, even though Code compliance often depends on using "listed" components, devices and materials.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 10:28:26 pm »

If this is in fact UL listed, it is probably because the manufacturer rates it at 20 amps.  Yes, the plug is rated at 30 amps-but nothing in code prevents me from installed an L21-30 receptacle on a 20 amp circuit. 

It is poor design and poor practice, but code is primarily concerned with safety and using a 20 amp breaker on a device that is rated 30 amps poses no safety risk.

The burden is on the user to use the device within its ratings-and in a safe manner.
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Steve Swaffer

Ray Aberle

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 10:30:42 pm »

And if you read the website, it does state it's only rated for 20A. It all depends on what the upstream breaker is. It is common in my area for companies to have distros with 20A/3 breakered outputs, but still with an L21-30 receptacle, since it's cheaper to just maintain the one style of cabling/connectors, as opposed to having both L21-20 AND L21-30 cabling/breakouts/etc.

Just means you have to ensure you're on a 30A/3 breaker when that's what you're expecting. (I have been screwed in the past- using L21-30 breakouts, ASSuming that I was on 30A circuits, only to discover I wasn't... usually immediately after the breaker tripped.)

-Ray
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2017, 01:13:39 pm »

That makes sense, thanks, guys!

IMO, Rated doesn't mean crap when anyone can plug that into a 30A circuit and then melt the 5-20's...

But I guess having the appearances of safety is better than actually being safe.

Also, I wish it was SOOW instead of SJT cable jacket.

And if you read the website, it does state it's only rated for 20A. It all depends on what the upstream breaker is. It is common in my area for companies to have distros with 20A/3 breakered outputs, but still with an L21-30 receptacle, since it's cheaper to just maintain the one style of cabling/connectors, as opposed to having both L21-20 AND L21-30 cabling/breakouts/etc.

Just means you have to ensure you're on a 30A/3 breaker when that's what you're expecting. (I have been screwed in the past- using L21-30 breakouts, ASSuming that I was on 30A circuits, only to discover I wasn't... usually immediately after the breaker tripped.)

-Ray

Which is why when I see a L21-30 I expect 30A not 20A...

I guess I see the benefit from using the same L21-30 everywhere. Though if you already have 30A wiring for everything why have a 20A breaker on the receptacle?
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Ray Aberle

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 03:47:02 pm »

I guess I see the benefit from using the same L21-30 everywhere. Though if you already have 30A wiring for everything why have a 20A breaker on the receptacle?
So you can run feeder somewhere, and use a stage stringer/trade show booth stringer, with 3x20A receptacles, and you don't have to worry about another set of breakers to get them to 20A capacity.

(That being said, there's a couple people/companies I know who have L14-30 outputs on their distros, and they run right to stringers with no OCPD to get it down to 20A/side, but they are OK with it. I don't like it, but I am never in a position where I can bitch about it.)

-Ray
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 02:25:23 pm »

That makes sense, thanks, guys!

IMO, Rated doesn't mean crap when anyone can plug that into a 30A circuit and then melt the 5-20's...

But I guess having the appearances of safety is better than actually being safe.

Also, I wish it was SOOW instead of SJT cable jacket.

Which is why when I see a L21-30 I expect 30A not 20A...

I guess I see the benefit from using the same L21-30 everywhere. Though if you already have 30A wiring for everything why have a 20A breaker on the receptacle?

How are you planning to pull 30 amps through a 5-20, if your loads are appropriately sized for a 5-20 plug?
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Steve Swaffer

Ray Aberle

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 03:22:16 pm »

How are you planning to pull 30 amps through a 5-20, if your loads are appropriately sized for a 5-20 plug?
Second part of your question answered it. If someone doesn't size the load properly, they could pull more amperage through the 5-20 connector than it can handle, without the upstream breaker tripping. They're not *trying* to pull more than it can handle, but the potential is there.

Ray
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: L21-30 (3p) to 3x 120vac 5-20R Splitter
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 07:18:02 pm »

True, but the only way to do that is to use some sort of a "splitter" downstream on the 5-20-a triple tap/powerstrip or whatever.

The same hazard is present if you use a 15A cord or 15A triple tap or a 10 amp 16 AWG cord plugged into a 15 amp receptacle-which could very well legally be protected by a 20 amp breaker.

Downstream of an installed receptacle, anytime there are splitters used, the assumption is that the user will use things properly.

No skilled professional would ever let a breaker tripping tell him a cordset is properly loaded.

I understand mistakes happen, but if this splitter could not be listed, then neither could any smaller than 12 AWG extension cord.
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Steve Swaffer
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