Main Disconnect

3 years ago I did an inspection for the City of Mt Vernon. They were in the process of cleaning up some neighborhoods and needed an official to “condem” the buildings.
One of the houses had some people still occupying them and a large dog that was menacing. So they called in a swat team. They had to shoot the dog and they cleared the building… while I was there with my mighty pen and pad:shock:

That was a month long experience I would rather not have again. As one can imagine the buildings were in unbelieveable disrepair… they had the best luck in condeming them via the electrical inspection for some reason.

I saw a guy get killed (sure looked dead to me) at Charlotte Correctional on an inspection of a shelter in the yard. The CO looked at me and said "we have about 30 seconds until this place gets locked down. I told him I had seen all I needed to see and we went for the gate. I guess the tower was watching because as soon as the gate closed behind us all hell broke loose.
Guys in massive body armor and shields “took” the yard.
I hope all of that wiring was right because I passed it … and gave him permission to build anything else he wanted to out there in the yard and it was passed too. Most of my prison work was in fairly low security areas but this is where the bad guys got in shape.

I ran into something similar today. This main panel had 3 240 breakers on the left side at the top and 1 unused 240 breaker on the right at the top. The third 240 breaker down the left side was labeled “lighting main” and shutoff all the single 120 breakers below the 240s. The 240 volt breakers had to be shutoff individually. There was no exterior cabinet where another disconnect might be found. The resulting configuration left 5 movements to shut off all power, which is per requirements. The problem is that the labeling is very confusing and in some cases non existant. Also, another issue is that the main lighting is rated at 60 amps and the client wants to upgrade to 200. I told him that his best bet is to modernize and replace the entire box. But just as a point, is this a legitimate, however unorthodox, installation?

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Yes that is known as a split bus panel. They are no longer made but were legal when installed. The top half is for all the 240 loads, up to six including the lighting section as you noticed. be careful with these panels as the upper bus is always hot unless the meter is pulled.