Confused with Romex

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  #1  
Old 11-19-06, 11:17 PM
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Confused with Romex or Flexible Conduit

Ok here is what I did please tell me this is an easy fix. At my place of work I added a new dj booth, but I wanted all my lights to be controlled by switches from the booth. I bought 12-3 flexible conduit (romex) if that is what it is called to get the wires from the breaker box to these switches. I ran 2 breakers in one romex using black as hot and white as common and using red as hot and green as common from breaker to the switch. The problem is this on 2 of these the Romex is getting warm. Is this a problem and if it is should I run 2 more lines to be safe?? Also I think I may have by accident ran 15amp switches on these 20amp lines. Would these switches cause the wires to get warm. I am hoping that I can just change out the switches to 20 amp switches and be golden. Please let me know what I should do. I did shut these breakers off before I left as I wanted to be sure all was ok before I left them on.. Also with the switches OFF the wires arent getting warm. Thanks in advance.
 

Last edited by discobrian; 11-19-06 at 11:27 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-20-06, 12:09 AM
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I should also mention these are dual rocker switches, I need dual is the 15 amp ok on a 20 amp breaker or do I need to do all single switches or single runs?????
 
  #3  
Old 11-20-06, 04:49 AM
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Disconnect what you have done and call an electrician. You did something very stupid (sorry for being blunt) and you are risking a serious fire or even death.

You cannot use whatever type cable you have in the manner in which you did.
 
  #4  
Old 11-20-06, 10:34 AM
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You mean I can't run single runs in the flexible stuff which is outside the wall from the breakers to switches???? These switches are all grounded as well. I know you aren' t tryig to be harsh and I am not as dumb as you think and maybe I just went the easier way around it instead of running all single runs which I now intend to switch and do it right. These lights and such are not used all the time.
 
  #5  
Old 11-20-06, 10:51 AM
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You did not buy Romex. Romex is a brand name for NM type cable. It sounds like you bought BX type cable.

Anyway, the white wire in the cable is the neutral. The red wire and the black wire are the hot wires. The green wire is the ground. The way you ran it you have no ground, which is extremely dangerous.

If, and only if, you understand what you are doing, you can run two circuits using this cable. I do not recommend this.

If you are really pulling more than 25 amps, then you also need 20 amp switches.

Finally, you are not an electrician, therefor what you are doing (working on wiring in a business) is extremely stupid. It is a good way to end up in jail.

Call an electrician.
 
  #6  
Old 11-20-06, 03:16 PM
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Ok just to give you a bit of information about me and my job, I am a mechanic and maintenance man at our bowling center and have been doing this for about 10 years. No I am no electrician, but I have followed your advice and ripped out what I have done and did it the proper way as in each circuit is on its own breaker and the BX that I ran to the switches is properly grounded to each switch as well as the breaker box. Yes it is more work and I should have done it the proper way the first time. I took the 15 amp switches and replaced them with single 20 amp switches as well. I do thank you for your advice and wisdom and also your time.
 
  #7  
Old 11-20-06, 04:01 PM
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It is good to see you did it the right way but i mean we are all adults here I don't think we need to be told call an electrician everytime someone does somehting! it is a little rediculous actually.
I assume you had the buisness owners express written consent?
 
  #8  
Old 11-20-06, 04:18 PM
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I agree that you must call a licensed electrician to do this work for you.

Advice we offer here is aimed at homeowners who have in most jurisdictions the lawfull right to pull permits to install wiring in their own homes.
You are in a commercial environment where the general public gather in large groups.
What you are doing is unlawfull and dangerous as racraft has said.

We have a genuine concern here for people's safety.
Hearing about a BX cable sheathing getting warm I personally find quite disturbing. If you had not noticed the cable getting warm an unsafe condition could have been laying dormant to surface down the road with possible tragic consequences.

It's commendable that you want to learn how to do things properly but unfortunately the only accepted way of learning the electrical trade is through an accepted apprenticeship program.

Do the right thing and hire this work out to someone qualified.
 
  #9  
Old 11-20-06, 04:21 PM
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Like everything else in the building myself and my boss are responsible for it. I can't tell you how much work is involved in keeping the business running smoothly including ballasts, bulbs, outlets, not to mention the 220v machines I have to keep running. I just had a simple question and felt a little "Stupid" about asking it here. I have seen multiple runs in BX before and was curious as to why 2 were getting warm. They weren't hot. We never get written stuff, its a simple "Do This" and we do. So as I said before I am running them seperate and properly grounded. Thanks for the concern.
 
  #10  
Old 11-20-06, 06:11 PM
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Hello Disco

Not here to really give any additional advice but just to say that it is not unusual at all for employers to have maintenance personel do electrical work. In fact if you arent union shop then maintenance men do electrical work. Now having said this....it isnt allowable in most cases. Thing to do here is check with the commercial codes department for your area and find out what would be required to allow you to do this work. It may not be permited at all but it just might be under certain requirements dictated by your local codes inspectors. This usually requires a inspection of your work and you will have to do a permit application similar to residential work. It is also possible too have the work checked by someone licensed and insured for commercial work just depends on what your codes department will allow. I'd give them a call and visit with them awhile on this subject. The cost savings is your labor vs electrician rate labor. And if not allowable then you and the owner will know where things stand in this regard.

roger
 
  #11  
Old 11-20-06, 07:51 PM
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discobrian,

I suggest that you should not do this work because you come off to me as having limited (at best) electrical knowledge. Not knowing what "Romex" is and not knowing that a green wire is a ground indicate this to me. Perhaps you have done quite a bit of electrical work, but it does not show from your post.

I am a volunteer firefighter. I see fires quite bit. If your work caused a fire, you would be charged with a crime. If someone were hurt, you would, most likely, go to jail. If some were killed, you would likely be in jail for a long time. It would not be worth it to me to take these chances.

Even though you have made the suggested changes, I still doubt that your work is up to code. In fact, I will go as far as to say that it is likely unsafe.

I bet that your employer's insurance company would drop him like a hot potato if they found out that you were doing this work.

To me those are the two most important tests tests. Will the insurance company allow me to do this work? Will I be in legal trouble if I screw up?
 
  #12  
Old 11-21-06, 11:54 AM
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Let's just close this topic as it is going nowhere. I know what a ground wire is. I got confused on the name BIG deal. I knew what I was trying to say it just didn't come out right. What is the point of these forums if someone can't ask a question and get knowledgable answers. All that is being done is adding switches to existing lines. This is not that hard to do and the original question was answered so lets just move on. If the place in which I work hired an electrician for every little thing in the building he would be broke. So are you saying that I need to call an electrician to change a ballast in an overhead light, if you are you are nuts. The stuff I talk about is my job always has been and probably always will. I work on bowling machines. They are powered does that mean I need an electrician to change a relay in there too. ...come on quit the bashing and insinuations of people being "Stupid" and answer the questions at hand. I have seen this on multiple threads already. This forum is for DIYers and that is who asks most of the questions.
 

Last edited by Annette; 11-21-06 at 12:38 PM. Reason: only profanity removed
  #13  
Old 11-21-06, 12:13 PM
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Disco,

Bob can be rough at times, but did point out a very important safety concern. I would be less concerned about how it was said, and focus on what was said to right the problem.

As far as liability, code, etc…the advice that comes out of this forum is by-the-book, letter-of-the-law, perfect world advice. You’re right; calling an electrician every time for every little thing, while it might be required by code/law, is not a feasible option for most businesses.

Bob is one of the guys on this forum that gives it to your straight; he may ruffle a few feathers but if that’s what it takes to make things safe, I think it’s a fair trade.
 
  #14  
Old 11-21-06, 02:17 PM
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Honestly I appreciate a straight to the point explanation. I am in no way mad or upset as maybe I should have worded my original post in a different manner as it would have clearly defined what I wanted to accomplish and what I did that was wrong which for what it is worth has been ripped out and done correctly. Thank you all for your help.
 
  #15  
Old 11-21-06, 04:53 PM
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Let us never forget...... Coconut Grove.... Most recently....

The "Station night club", Providence, Rhode Island.

Perhaps not electrical origins... But a sad reminder of our actions!!

BE SMART...... BE SAFE.... Above all... Don't be STUPID!!(or greedy) Spend it, Save it.
 
  #16  
Old 11-21-06, 09:28 PM
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Perhaps we should just have policy that says we dont give advice to commercial questions. Brian asked for advice... he was told 4 or 5 times that an electrician is needed for what he is doing. He was rightfully told by Bob he wired incorrectly.We all know that maintenance men do this kind of work. Doesnt matter whether we agree with it or not. Its real world. He knows now and he alone has to deal with the consequences. I'm not sure which is worse calling him not skilled enough and having him do the work anyway. Or telling him how to do it right because we all know he has to in order to keep his job. Very few people would walk away from their jobs over this type of thing. So now we wash our hands of this thread. Brian has redone the work... we dont bother to ask him how he did his new wiring. We dont know if it is right or wrong.. just a "we told you so" attitude.
Now we are going to reference two of the worst fires in US history, that have nothing to do with an electrical cause, to try and scare the guy to death. I dont see where this solves anything for the better. My idea of a diy forum is to "prevent incorrect installations" where we know there isnt going to be an inspection or permit pulled. Yes we have to tell them what is required by code and local authority. But I also feel strongly that we should at least attempt to to find out why those wires were getting warm. The wiring as he originally explained would not cause overheating of the insulation or cable armor. Yes it was incorrect and unsafe if he used a ground for a neutral wire but it doesnt explain the wires or armor getting warm. So now he has redone this with 12/2 runs and I dont see what changes as to what is causing the warm wires. So we just sit silent and let him have a fire anyway. Didnt hear him mentioning a tripped breaker over time. Maybe what is going on is normal...we didnt ask so we will never know.

Just my thoughts

Roger
 

Last edited by Roger; 11-22-06 at 12:08 AM.
  #17  
Old 11-22-06, 08:50 AM
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I’m not sure it’s the responsibility of anyone on this forum to ‘follow up’ with the OP, or any OP. The forum is for advice, and I’m sure somewhere there is a detailed disclaimer about how the advice should and shouldn’t be used. But we also shouldn’t put out false info, such as the two fires that were referenced. I think lee was citing those as examples of stupidity rather than electrical miswiring.

But you’re right. 99.9% of the work discussed on this sub-forum, and all the other sub-forums with this site are done by the homeowner, without a permit.

The real world.
 
  #18  
Old 11-22-06, 05:10 PM
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Permits don't prevent fires. Your correct.


I'm not trying to scare anyone "To death" either. But how soon we forget.
Just trying to show the bigger picture. Our actions have a reaction. Regardless of the back drop.

So your oppinion would be to let him "Flounder" and hope all is well? That would be way Irresponsible!
As Professionals, part of our task is to inform. This includes the proper install and the ramifications of doing it wrong.
\If we perhaps let them know that they can't handle it, Then so be it.
The OP wants to save a buck, Who doesn't? But at what cost?

Sorry you took objection.

Stupidity: I phrased it wrong, "Ignorance", of the trade, not the attitude.
 
  #19  
Old 11-22-06, 07:08 PM
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All you can do is point out an unsafe situation and attempt to help the OP fix it.

I sure hope you are not losing any sleep at night worrying about the people on this board.
 
  #20  
Old 11-22-06, 09:34 PM
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Were do we draw the line?

The two fires that were mentioned were not electrical but the fire at the MGM Grand Hotel was electrical in it's cause and origin and according to the final reports on the loss was caused by electrical work that was done by unqualified person/s. That unqualified person may have had an electrical license. I have no way of finding out if he/she did or not. I do know that the fire at the MGM Grand Hotel took the lives of eighty five persons. The electrical work that caused the fire was not on the "as built" electrical drawings and was done after the original construction of the hotel was complete. If the person or persons that had done that work had been identified they would have been looking at eighty five counts of manslaughter.

The law in most jurisdictions requires that electrical construction work in commercial premises be done by licensed electrical contractors or by other persons licensed or permitted to perform such work such as licensed operating engineers. This forum is focused on owner occupied single family detached residential properties were the consequence of an electrical failure will be unlikely to effect anyone but the occupants of the dwelling unit of origin by virtue of the detached nature of single family homes. The forum may not have said that formally but it is obvious from the content. A maintenance worker who had qualified to do electrical work by passing an operating engineers electrical unit examination or by other means acceptable to the Authority Having Jurisdiction would be familiar with the terms that are applicable in the craft.

As another volunteer firefighter who is an electrician for his bread work I have to say that carrying out the dead stays with you forever. Yes I have done it! I had to carry out more than ten on just one fire. Electrical work in a public assembly occupancy such as a casino or a bolling alley should be performed only by qualified persons. Anyone who wants to quarrel with that position should join Racraft and myself in crawling down long snotty hallways at 0dark30 looking for other peoples relatives and hoping you will reach them in time.
 
  #21  
Old 11-23-06, 07:05 AM
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FYI...

Beverly Hills Supper Club fire was electrical in origin.
 
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