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Author Topic: Continuing thread - Distro box.  (Read 15653 times)

Debbie Dunkley

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Continuing thread - Distro box.
« on: October 12, 2014, 12:48:48 pm »

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,151439.msg1388993.html#msg1388993

I figured I ought to continue this thread here rather than the lounge.
The block party was held yesterday (we got rained out but that's a whole other issue)

I spoke to the electrician and took a look at what he had been using for the block parties in our neighborhood. Surprisingly, it was far simpler than I had imagined. I thought it was a bit more sophisticated than this.
He used 1x 4 gang metal receptacle box and 1 x 2 gang GFCI box per leg - total 6 receptacles each leg (One standard 4 way box and one GFCI 2 way box). All boxes  attached to a board 24" x24".
Each leg passed through a connection box which to which he had connected 2 NEMA pig tails.
NO breakers though.
He told me he connected the NEMA connectors to the 2 pigtails because we had to run the power from outdoor receptacles this year as it was held in a different location within the community. Last year and previous years, he had punched into his own fusebox as it was held close to his home.

Please see photo.

Just as a side note, we had all kinds of problems popping the breakers to the homes and messing around running cables , re-setting breakers, upsetting the home owners for about an hour until he disconnected the GFCI 2 gang boxes.
He realized that because the power feeds were already coming from GFCI outlets,  it was causing a problem. Once he disconnected those boxes, we had no issues. In the past when he ran the power from his fuse box, the GFCI's were extra protection at the box end.

Other than adding a breaker to each receptacle or group of receptacles and perhaps using higher grade materials, is this a suitable distro box for me to either build or have built?
Please bear in mind, we can run our equipment easily off 2 x 20 amp feeds and sometimes only get the option to use 1 x20 amp circuit. Other than at times of failure somewhere along the power supply (like the outside gig at the fund raiser), we have never popped a breaker so we do not need anything too crazy.

I would purchase 2x 12 gauge 100ft cables to run to the distro box.

Am I missing anything that should be included in this scenario??
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 01:34:34 pm »

I think there could be a spectacular code violation (that has been discussed before) on top of 2 that are visible (both on the supply side):  doubling up the romex in a single cable clamp and using 5-15 Edisons on romex.  The potential violation depends on whether or not he connected the neutrals of both Edison males together in the junction box.  If he did, that would easily explain why a homeowner's GFCI would trip.  The rest of his work, mounting on plywood and off the ground, is good stuff.

At its most basic, a distro functions like the breaker box in your home - it takes big wires protected by high-current fuses or breakers and "distributes" the voltage to smaller wires, protected by appropriately sized smaller fuses or breakers.  As the current needs increase and there are multiple ampacities of wiring used, we find more "mini-distros" in the cable path (think "Rack Packs" in amplifier or processing racks).  Rack packs can be thought of as being what Code calls a sub-panel.

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Mike Sokol

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 01:52:28 pm »

At its most basic, a distro functions like the breaker box in your home - it takes big wires protected by high-current fuses or breakers and "distributes" the voltage to smaller wires, protected by appropriately sized smaller fuses or breakers.  As the current needs increase and there are multiple ampacities of wiring used, we find more "mini-distros" in the cable path (think "Rack Packs" in amplifier or processing racks).  Rack packs can be thought of as being what Code calls a sub-panel.

Everyone, please include pictures (if possible) of what you're talking about to newbies. They are not going to know what a rack-pack is unless you show them one.  Here's a drawing of one that can be used on 240-volt split-phase power to "break-out" separate 120-volt outlets with circuit breakers. The second picture is a Whirlwind 3-phase PowerPack front panel. You'll find all the main outlets on the back of the unit. The duplex outlet on the front is a courtesy outlet so you can plug in your iPhone charger, etc...
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jasonfinnigan

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2014, 02:04:14 pm »

Personally I think a power Distro needs some over current protection (aka breakers). a 50AMP single phase distro box is relatively easy to make.  You just use a weather proof breaker panel (6-8 circuits is plenty). and wire it up. I just mount the outlets right on the outside of the panel itself. You can see one of my older ones here.
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 02:06:24 pm »

Not sure if having no main breaker is legal, depending on the length of the feeder...
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jasonfinnigan

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2014, 02:14:07 pm »

Not sure if having no main breaker is legal, depending on the length of the feeder...

Your Main breaker is the source you plug into, there is no need for one in the panel itself. It's basically just a sub panel with power distros.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 02:16:10 pm by jasonfinnigan »
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2014, 02:19:04 pm »

I think there could be a spectacular code violation (that has been discussed before) on top of 2 that are visible (both on the supply side):  doubling up the romex in a single cable clamp and using 5-15 Edisons on romex. 
They would bust our chops for that here in Ontario!
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2014, 02:32:00 pm »

I'm slowly getting it …thanks for the comments.

BTW…..the electrician did say his box was not to code . I wasn't sure just how outside of code it was.
So Tim….are you are saying that the 2 power feeds should not be connected as he did in that junction box?
Also, should the romex not be used for this purpose as it is exposed?

Mike…I like the look of the power pack pictured. Not even going to check out the pricing on that one ..he he !

I want something with breakers but simple. I enjoy electrical projects and would enjoy building something - just want to make sure everything is to code and parts are easily accessible. If distro boxes were cheaper, I wouldn't even be concerned about building one myself.
Even if I do not end up building one, I enjoy learning about what the components are and how they are wired…...
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jasonfinnigan

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2014, 02:36:50 pm »

So Tim….are you are saying that the 2 power feeds should not be connected as he did in that junction box?

The thing is you got two circuits going into one junction box. Which is fine by code unless there is more than 300volts potential between them.

But, all the grounds need to be tied together, and all the neutrals need to be separate.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2014, 02:37:09 pm »

They would bust our chops for that here in Ontario!

 
The guy that put it together only built it for ease of being able to have bands play in the street at the spring and fall block parties - low power needs.... It would never be used anywhere else.
However, after learning what I have on this forum since I joined, I'd like to own one that is to code myself so we never have to use this or any other 'suspect' boxes ever again. If he chooses to go ahead and use it for other purposes - that's his choice I suppose.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Continuing thread - Distro box.
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2014, 02:37:09 pm »


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