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Author Topic: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.  (Read 3838 times)

Mark Ellis

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We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« on: August 30, 2021, 12:48:46 PM »

We had a gig this past weekend in a good sized ballroom (advertised as up to 500 guests) in a big hotel in a mid-sized town. There were three closets, each with its own power box. One was labeled '100 AMP' the other two were labeled '60 AMP'. (Other than that difference they were identical in every way). I've never encountered anything like it before and wanted to get other's opinions. Power is coming in from the ceiling to two power boxes, than ONLY go to a dual gang outlet box with regular edison plugs. (I've attached pics. If it's not already evident, power came from the ceiling into the fuse box, then to the junction box ['box 2.jpg'] into the edison plugs below).

We tried telling them this was unsafe, but got the, "We've had lots of bands in here and never had a problem!" Apparently, most groups that play in here only plug into the one 100 AMP closet and draw all their power from the 4 edison plugs in there. I pointed out the burnt plug and they didn't care...

We ended up distributing our power between the 3 closets and an additional wall plug we found, which had us pulling right around 20 amps per outlet at most. I just wonder what other's thoughts are on this. I left thinking maybe I'd send an email to a higher up at the hotel if y'all (smarter guys) thought it was as dangerous as I do.
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Brian Adams

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 01:10:20 PM »

Wow, that's scary, and an accident waiting to happen. Looks like it's had a few close calls before.

It seems like the duplex outlets were added later, probably by somebody on staff at the hotel, and obviously not even close to being up to code. I wonder what your local electrical inspector would think of these photos!
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Brian Adams
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Mac Kerr

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2021, 01:25:37 PM »

We ended up distributing our power between the 3 closets and an additional wall plug we found, which had us pulling right around 20 amps per outlet at most. I just wonder what other's thoughts are on this. I left thinking maybe I'd send an email to a higher up at the hotel if y'all (smarter guys) thought it was as dangerous as I do.

The burned outlet is an issue, and this would be more user friendly if it had proper high power connectors on each switch, but this is what I have been used to seeing for the 45 years I have been working in large spaces. You bring your Cam Lok tails and tie into their company switches.

Mac
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2021, 02:28:26 PM »

it looks like an attempt to do right that was later tweaked.

Yes, tell everybody...  at a minimum the outlets should be GFCI but that isn't the largest problem.

JR
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Tim Weaver

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2021, 02:49:03 PM »

This is a situation where they "did it right" solution was put in at some point. The disconnect, the buss bars in a seperate box with knockouts. This is awseome.

What happened was, some group came in and didn't have a distro. The house electrician threw some quad boxes in there to get through that gig, and they were just never taken out. Now you have 20 amp receptacles fused at 100 amps. Seems like a recipe for some spectacular fireworks for me!
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Steve-White

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2021, 06:32:38 PM »

The second picture of the panel is a concern.  Not even close to code compliant.  Grounding panel with a lug is not kosher.  I would expect a ground buss bar.  Double lugging the two grounds a big no-no and a huge no-no for a panel ground.

Third picture panel was installed by Jethro Bodine Electric.  Moron didn't even use the bottom of the lugs for the output - double lugged everything.  Just shove the wires anywhere they fit - no big deal - don't worry about it.

I've seen worse, but not by much.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2021, 06:37:23 PM by Steve-White »
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2021, 07:07:46 PM »

"Double lugging" may actually be acceptable, though it is impossible to tell in these pictures.  Whether or not it is acceptable depends entirely on the UL listing of the lugs-usually stamped on the side they will indicate the size/number of wires that are acceptable.  The way these look and are used, the only one that "might" be acceptable is the grounding lug.  Mind you that that means code compliant-not necessarily best practice.

The worst problem I see in the last picture(outside of lack of proper overcurrent protection-which for a 15 amp receptacle is no more than 20 amps)?  No ground bonding.  While conduit may be an acceptable grounding method (barring concentric knockouts among other restrictions), generally if a grounding conductor is present, the box must be bonded to it.
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Steve Swaffer

Steve-White

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2021, 07:43:11 PM »

I've been out of the trade for a long time - but, would put some serious cash that grounding a sub panel needs to be done on a ground bus bar.  I would also doubt double-lugging any ground connections inside a can meet NEC requirements.

Agree, even if the lugs were rated that it would never be considered as a best practice.  Pig-tailing terminations at devices wasn't called out to meet code, but the shops I worked at all did it anyway as a best practice.  Pig-tailing, bonding, grounding was all done during the rough-in so inspector could see everything except finish.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2021, 12:08:43 AM »

This is a situation where they "did it right" solution was put in at some point. The disconnect, the buss bars in a seperate box with knockouts. This is awseome.

What happened was, some group came in and didn't have a distro. The house electrician threw some quad boxes in there to get through that gig, and they were just never taken out. Now you have 20 amp receptacles fused at 100 amps. Seems like a recipe for some spectacular fireworks for me!


I think you are exactly right, Bring your distro and tails, rock and roll.  I think some of the heavy hitters commenting are use to cali connectors and stuff done right.  In the middle ground this is a dream come true.  Don't tell anybody but I have 4 or 5 different style 3 phase breakers in my box and I still do hot taps.  "Hey you really need all 4 fryers going?" 
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Steve-White

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Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2021, 12:19:36 AM »

Well yeah, check the line, pigtail in the distro and rock and roll.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: We saw this in a ballroom this weekend and... have questions.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2021, 12:19:36 AM »


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