Wiring subpanel for hottub

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  #1  
Old 07-09-08, 12:14 PM
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Wiring subpanel for hottub

I will be installing a subpanel for a hottub. My community uses the National Electric Code as it's code and doesn't add anything additional to this code.

Most of my questions are realted to the location of the subpanel. According to the NEC, can I place the panel below my deck? Or does it have to be visible from the tub?

What other location requirements are there for this panel? I know how to do all of the wiring. I am just concerned with the placement of the subpanel.

I appreciate the help.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 07-09-08, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by carlg View Post
I will be installing a subpanel for a hottub. My community uses the National Electric Code as it's code and doesn't add anything additional to this code.
Which revision? 1999, 2002, 2005 or 2008? It doesn't matter which revision for the panel placement, but may matter if you have further questions.

According to the NEC, can I place the panel below my deck? Or does it have to be visible from the tub?
It has to be on the same level as the tub within line-of-sight.

What other location requirements are there for this panel?
It can be no closer than 5' from the inside rim of the tub. Some jurisdictions enforce a maximum distance also. I usually shoot for between 5' and 10'. It cannot be higher than 6'-7" from the floor to the center of the top breaker handle. It must have a clear space in front of the panel 30" wide by 36" deep; the panel may be located anywhere in the 30" side-to-side.

I know how to do all of the wiring. I am just concerned with the placement of the subpanel.
Are you sure? Article 680 contains some pretty specific requirements and restrictions for spas that are outside the realm of normal household wiring. Please post back if you have any additional questions.
 
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Old 07-09-08, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for all the great info.

Can I mount it to the handrailing of the deck or must it be attached to the house?


It's an L-shaped deck and I don't think there is a point where I can mount it on the house where it would be in line of sight and also 5 feet away from the water (You would need to be able to see around the corner).
 
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Old 07-09-08, 03:57 PM
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I believe that most inspectors would allow the panel to be around the corner on an L-shaped deck. I would probably choose that option myself given the layout you described. Of course the best option is to check with your inspector before committing to a plan, but it sounds okay to me.
 
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Old 07-09-08, 07:25 PM
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I decided to place the sub-panel on 1 of the posts of my deck.

This will make it in site of the tub and will be at least 5 feet away.

I will be running 8awg cable from my main service panel, through a hole in my exterior wall, under the deck to the post where the sub -panel will be mounted.

I understand that the cable on the inside of the house could be standard 8awg nm cable, but what about the cable outside the house under the deck that will go to my sub-panel.

Do I need special cable here? I believe I do. Should I just put in the special cable the entire length (from the main panel to the sub-panel or does it get spliced at the wall?)

Thanks again
Carl
 
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Old 07-09-08, 08:00 PM
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Why even install a sub-panel? why not just buy a hottub disconnect? And I was just curious what the actual load of the tub was and what wiring method you were going to use inside the structure?

I sell these, http://www.sbsg-equipment.com/sbsg/G...sion2small.pdf

They have a freeze alarm built in for colder climates.
 
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Old 07-09-08, 08:16 PM
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I already have the sub-panel. It came with the tub. There is a wiring diagram that came with it which is pretty easy to follow.
 
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Old 07-10-08, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by carlg View Post
I will be running 8awg cable from my main service panel, through a hole in my exterior wall, under the deck to the post where the sub -panel will be mounted.

I understand that the cable on the inside of the house could be standard 8awg nm cable, but what about the cable outside the house under the deck that will go to my sub-panel.

Do I need special cable here? I believe I do. Should I just put in the special cable the entire length (from the main panel to the sub-panel or does it get spliced at the wall?)

Thanks again
Carl
Related question: The larger NM-B cables (like #6 or #8) that have the ground conductor that is one size smaller - do these cables meet code for hot tubs/spas? The instructions in my hot tub (which did not come with it's own breaker box) call this a "weak ground" and say that a ground rod must be added at the tub, bonded to both the tub's ground and that "weak ground" conductor which obviously is bonded to ground in the main panel. What does code require? FYI, this tub's service entrance is for 220V 3-wire (2 hots and a ground) and calls for the neutral from the main panel to be connected to the GFCI pigtail. I've seen where some other tub manufacturers have 4-wire entrances.

Also, for something like a #6 3C w/ground, is NM-B allowed exterior under a deck, to the hot tub? If not, is there such a thing as a UF #6 3C w/ground?

Thanks, RJ
 
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Old 07-10-08, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by carlg View Post
I understand that the cable on the inside of the house could be standard 8awg nm cable, but what about the cable outside the house under the deck that will go to my sub-panel.

Do I need special cable here? I believe I do.
You believe correctly. The two requirements for the exterior portion of the wiring are that the ground wire must be copper with green insulation, and the wiring method must be waterproof. Romex cable fails on both counts, and UF cable fails because of the bare ground.

The most common wiring method for a spa would be individual THWN conductors pulled into PVC conduit. The only cable assembly that I'm aware of which satisfies spa requirements is waterproof metal cable (MC), which may be a special order item from the supply house.

Should I just put in the special cable the entire length (from the main panel to the sub-panel or does it get spliced at the wall?)
You can do either, but every splice is a potential point of failure. I prefer to use as few splices as possible so long as it does not substantially add to the cost or difficulty of the project. If possible, I prefer to run the PVC conduit all the way from main panel to subpanel and pull in THWN.

I already have the sub-panel. It came with the tub. There is a wiring diagram that came with it which is pretty easy to follow.
Is this a Hotsprings tub with dual 20A and 30A GFCI breakers pre-installed in the subpanel?
 
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Old 07-10-08, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rjsdiy View Post
Related question: The larger NM-B cables (like #6 or #8) that have the ground conductor that is one size smaller - do these cables meet code for hot tubs/spas?
The cables can be used for the interior portion of the run, but outside an insulated ground is required which therefore prohibits NM and UF cables.

The instructions in my hot tub (which did not come with it's own breaker box) call this a "weak ground" and say that a ground rod must be added at the tub, bonded to both the tub's ground and that "weak ground" conductor which obviously is bonded to ground in the main panel. What does code require?
None of this is required by code, nor can I imagine what the purpose is. A ground rod, ground wire and bond wire all have different purposes -- they seem to be mixing their terms quite freely and it doesn't make sense what the technical purpose is.

FYI, this tub's service entrance is for 220V 3-wire (2 hots and a ground) and calls for the neutral from the main panel to be connected to the GFCI pigtail. I've seen where some other tub manufacturers have 4-wire entrances.
There are both three-wire and four-wire types, although the four-wire spa is must more common.

Also, for something like a #6 3C w/ground, is NM-B allowed exterior under a deck, to the hot tub? If not, is there such a thing as a UF #6 3C w/ground?
NM-B is not allowed anywhere outside as it is not waterproof. You can get a #6/3g UF-B cable, but it is inappropriate for a spa for the reasons listed above.
 
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Old 07-10-08, 10:09 AM
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Ibpooks is pretty much got on the target due the NEC code is pretty spefic on outdoor tub they have pretty good section there.

However if you heard pepoles saying need ground rods for outdoor hottub the answer is no.

Then again I will mention here both NM and UF are not allowed for connection to the hot tub / spa useage due the ground wire issue.

Normally majorty of the hottub and spa useally ask for 50 amp circuit but once a while 60 amp { it do happend from time to time } and they have to be a full 4 wire due you need the netural to get the GFCI function propely.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 07-10-08, 11:55 AM
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Is this a Hotsprings tub with dual 20A and 30A GFCI breakers pre-installed in the subpanel?
You got it. The spa is a Tiger Rivers which is actually the same company as Hot Springs.
 
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Old 07-11-08, 09:57 AM
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Ben and Marc,
Thanks for all of your input.


Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
None of this is required by code, nor can I imagine what the purpose is. A ground rod, ground wire and bond wire all have different purposes -- they seem to be mixing their terms quite freely and it doesn't make sense what the technical purpose is.
This got me thinking, so I grabbed the instructions that came with the hot tub, to scan and send to you. Looking over those, I realize that I misquoted those instructions. When there is a "weak ground", they said put a ground rod at the spa disconnect, not the spa itself that I put in my post. But with you guyss skepticism about the ground rod, I wanted to send this to you so you could see what potentially misleading information is getting distributed.

Here are the scans, these are the best quality I could get:
http://home.mindspring.com/%7Erjs/spa_wiring001.pdf
http://home.mindspring.com/%7Erjs/spa_wiring002.pdf
Sorry for the full link, I couldn't find the posting about how to embed the link with http codes.

These instructions say that the feed from the panel to the shut-off must have all conductors as #6. NM-B has a #8 ground. Is it code to use NM-B for this? The wiring run is entirely indoors in unfinished basement, except for a few feet out the wall and to the shut-off. I planned to put an 8x8x4 box just inside, then run conduit through the wall and up to the shut-off, splice the NM-B to 4 individual #6s at a terminal block.

The run from the shut-off to the hot tub will be fully in conduit with individual #6s.

If using a ground rod at the spa shut-off is a valid approach, is it OK to use the service entrance ground? By coincidence, the shut-off will be mounted on the deck just above the service entrance and it's ground rod. If that is OK, it sure seems funny because now I have a loop between the entrance/meter base and the house main panel that is deep inside the basement. Loops are a big no-no in telecom.

Lastly, I guess even if code says the NM-B with the #8 ground is OK, I think I should put in the #6 ground anyway, just to follow the spa manufacturer's recommendation. I do construction management at my day job, and I'm constantly pressing the contractors to follow manufacturer recommendations, so I must sleep in the bed I make, eh?

Thanks again, RJ
 
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Old 07-11-08, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rjsdiy View Post
These instructions say that the feed from the panel to the shut-off must have all conductors as #6. NM-B has a #8 ground. Is it code to use NM-B for this?
It's actually #10 ground in NM-B, but that's not entirely important.

I think what the manufacturer is getting at is that they want the ground wire between the tub and the breaker to be #6. Therefore if the actual breaker is in the main panel and the outside box is just a disconnect, then a #6 ground is required for the entire run. However, if the outside disconnect box actually contains a breaker, then the #10 ground would be okay up to the disconnect and #6 ground from the disconnect out to the tub.

If using a ground rod at the spa shut-off is a valid approach, is it OK to use the service entrance ground?...I have a loop between the entrance/meter base
I would not recommend a rod, nor would I recommend creating a loop.

just to follow the spa manufacturer's recommendation.
The code specifies the minimum installation requirements. Manufacturers are allowed to require the installer to exceed code minimums. In that case you do need to follow the instructions, because that is how you maintain the UL listing of the tub.

***
I think what I would look for in your case is a 240V-only GFCI breaker which does not require a neutral pigtail. This will allow you to run 6/2g instead of 6/3g to your outside panel saving money. Instead of just a disconnect switch, install a 240V-only subpanel with the GFCI breaker outside in line-of-sight with the tub. Then you can run your conduit from the outdoor sub to the tub using the #6 hots and ground.

*** Please ignore this and see note in post below ***
 

Last edited by ibpooks; 07-14-08 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Correction.
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Old 07-11-08, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post

I think what I would look for in your case is a 240V-only GFCI breaker which does not require a neutral pigtail. This will allow you to run 6/2g instead of 6/3g to your outside panel saving money. Instead of just a disconnect switch, install a 240V-only subpanel with the GFCI breaker outside in line-of-sight with the tub. Then you can run your conduit from the outdoor sub to the tub using the #6 hots and ground.
Ben.,, Will you recheck that part again ?? I highlited in bold AFAIK all the GFCI Breaker need netural to function if don't have netural at all then the GFCI will not function at all.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 07-11-08, 02:51 PM
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What about this quote:

You can get a #6/3g UF-B cable, but it is inappropriate for a spa for the reasons listed above.
Can I use UF-B cable to run the line from the Main Service Panel to the GFCI box of the hottub?

In the above quote are you referring to the line from the GFCI box to the tub?

I just called my local electric supply house and the counter worker said that UF-B would be the best bet to run between the main service panel and the tub's GFCI panel.

Thanks for the help!!
 
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Old 07-11-08, 02:52 PM
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Ben, Marc,
Again - many thanks for your help!

I'll recheck the printline on the NM-B, it's definitely #6 3C, I probably didn't look close enough and saw the zero of the 10 and thought I saw an 8.

This hot tub is being relocated onto a reconstructed deck, so the existing circuit is just being extended/relocated. It already had the GFCI shut-off in an external panel near the tub. I already have a 240V shut-off/panel with a GFCI 240V breaker that has the neutral pigtail (all SqD QO), and all of the wiring was previously installed exactly as shown in the #2 drawing. The breaker in the main panel is a standard. Everything is 50A.

So what I'm hearing is the NM-B #6 3/C with a #10 ground is fine from the main panel on its way to the shut-off panel, but interior only. There will be a short section of conduit-enclosed from interior to exterior to get to the shut-off, #6 on the mains and #10 or larger on the ground. The shut-off to the tub will be all #6, THWN, green insulated ground, enclosed in conduit into the entrance hole of the tub carcass. No problem at all, the NM-B simplifies my life inside the house, and I pretty much expected the conduit and THHN/THWN conductors.

Please let me know if I have anything wrong here.

My deck job is by a contractor and permitted, with some lighting and outlet circuits being added, also permitted and licensed electrician installed. I'm amazed to find out the my UF run under the deck is code, I have just always expected anything exterior to be required in conduit. Always learning!

Thanks again for y'all's help. Also, I hope some of this discussion has been helpful to Carlg, also.

RJ
 
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Old 07-11-08, 03:30 PM
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Here is what I understand:

From the main panel to the GFCI box, you use 6/3.
If you are inside the house only, you could use NM.
Anything outside the house needs UF and does not need to be in conduit. Green insulated ground is not needed for this length of cable.

My understanding based upon conversations here and outside of here is that from the GFCI box to the tub is where you need the covered/insulated ground. My hot tub dealer was telling me there are two brands that they use for this. One is called Tiger Flex and the other is called SealTight.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks
Carl
 
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Old 07-11-08, 06:00 PM
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Since I'm extending the original hot tub circuit, I'll need to splice the #6 NM-B. Single-family house, splice will be in the ceiling of the unfinished basement. Is this method acceptable by code?
http://home.mindspring.com/%7Erjs/splice+box.pdf

If the staples are within a few inches of the box, is a cable clamp needed? The terminal blocks are:

I already have these from work so there is no cost to me.
http://home.mindspring.com/%7Erjs/3044160_UT10.pdf
What size does the box need to be? My electrical books don't go up this size (for a total of 6 #6 and 2 #10.)

Anything else wrong with this idea. or any other suggestions?

Thanks, RJ
 
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Old 07-11-08, 08:23 PM
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The box you make the drawing it kinda meet the code but however this is my normal size i used all the time is 6X6X4 inch box that is pretty deep and big box it is correct size for splicing the #6's in there.

You will need romex or SE clamp they have pretty good size to handle larger cables the size you want is one inch SE/SER clamp.

To use the termal block I don't think you will have much issue with it but sizewise due I can read metric verison of that one and you are right on boarderline with the limit.

Merci,Marc
 
  #21  
Old 07-12-08, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
You will need romex or SE clamp they have pretty good size to handle larger cables the size you want is one inch SE/SER clamp.
OK, will do that.

Originally Posted by french277V View Post
To use the termal block I don't think you will have much issue with it but sizewise due I can read metric verison of that one and you are right on boarderline with the limit.

You're right, it's max wiresize is #6 and max current is 57A. Phoenix is a hugh company and these industrial wiring methods are their core business, so I "trust" that their max ratings are comfortable and even a little conservative. I use these in my specifications because their internal metaillics are copper alloy where lots of their cheaper competitors are chromate plated steel. Unfortunately, I don't have enough blocks of the next larger size (UT16 IIRC), and since they are commercial components, not as handy to purchase.

What types of splicing methods or blocks do you like to use?

Thanks, RJ
 
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Old 07-12-08, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
You will need romex or SE clamp they have pretty good size to handle larger cables the size you want is one inch SE/SER clamp.
Marc,
I already have some 3/4 NM/SE clamps and the #6 3C w/gr NM cable fits fine inside it, so I assume that size is OK?

Thanks, RJ
 
  #23  
Old 07-12-08, 11:58 PM
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RJ.,,

For 6-3w/g NM yes 3/4 inch verison can fit pretty much there but for my exerinace normally I used one inch but however .,, If you have 6-6-6-6 SER Cable then the bet is off the 3/4 will not fit in there it will take one inch or larger NM clamp type.

Now for termation in the junction box normally with copper conductors { #6 size } I used large bleu wirenut


something like this





but if alum wire then I do something differnt like this





But for my best item i like to use this.,,




That do come in few diffrent size and this work very well in quite few spots.

Some Big box store may stock this item but otherwise electrical supply centre will stock this.

Merci,Marc
 
  #24  
Old 07-13-08, 10:42 AM
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Marc,
Thanks! I really like your last one. Didn't find anything like that in a big hardware store yesterday, but will look in a big box, maybe today. Else off to a the electrical supply.

Thanks, RJ
 
  #25  
Old 07-14-08, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
I think what I would look for in your case is a 240V-only GFCI breaker which does not require a neutral pigtail. This will allow you to run 6/2g instead of 6/3g to your outside panel saving money.
I went back to review this, and realized that this is not correct advice. I checked with the major manufacturers catalogs and none of them make a double-pole GFCI breaker which does not require the neutral pigtail. I thought this product was available for residential applications, but it is not so please ignore this.
 
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Old 07-14-08, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
RJ.,,

For 6-3w/g NM yes 3/4 inch verison can fit pretty much there but for my exerinace normally I used one inch but however .,, If you have 6-6-6-6 SER Cable then the bet is off the 3/4 will not fit in there it will take one inch or larger NM clamp type.
For an application like this, splicing the 6-6-6-10 NM cable in a plastic box, with SE/NM cable clamps to hold the cable, do I need to bond the clamp itself to the #10 ground that I'm splicing inside the box? I never thought about this, I guess since I don't recall ever using a romex clamp in a non-metallic box before.

Thanks, RJ
 
  #27  
Old 07-14-08, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by rjsdiy View Post
I really like your last one. Didn't find anything like that in a big hardware store yesterday, but will look in a big box, maybe today. Else off to a the electrical supply.
The last one pictured is a "Polaris" brand connector. You will have to get it from a supply house -- I've never seen one at a big box store as they are a little pricey and outside the realm of typical DIY electrical work.
 
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Old 07-14-08, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rjsdiy View Post
For an application like this, splicing the 6-6-6-10 NM cable in a plastic box, with SE/NM cable clamps to hold the cable, do I need to bond the clamp itself to the #10 ground that I'm splicing inside the box? I never thought about this, I guess since I don't recall ever using a romex clamp in a non-metallic box before.

Thanks, RJ

Thanks for getting my attetion with your plans due you are planning to use plastic box however you can get a bonding locknut to bond the NM clamp and tie into the green or bare wire.

I doubt the big box store may have this but the electrical supply centre .,, Yes they do have it in wide varites of size and IIRC about 3 or 4 diffrent styles as well.

Merci,Marc
 
  #29  
Old 07-15-08, 12:00 AM
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Ibpooks.,
I know you say you never saw that in big box store and I did see one but really I don't know if they will sell alot of that or not but yes electrical supply centre will have them on hand.

And yes they are not cheap but it will jusify the time and labour [ they are time saver for me due I used it alot on commercal / industrail location ]

Merci,Marc
 
  #30  
Old 07-15-08, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
The last one pictured is a "Polaris" brand connector. You will have to get it from a supply house -- I've never seen one at a big box store as they are a little pricey and outside the realm of typical DIY electrical work.
I looked at a couple of Home Depot and Lowes in Atlanta, nothing like it. One of them has probably tried it at some point but probably did not keep due to low volume. I see lots of stuff go in and out them carrying.

Found them at a couple of supply houses, but yes they seem pricey. I think I'm going to stick with my DIN rail blocks.
 
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Old 08-10-08, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by french277V View Post
Originally Posted by rjsdiy
For an application like this, splicing the 6-6-6-10 NM cable in a plastic box, with SE/NM cable clamps to hold the cable, do I need to bond the clamp itself to the #10 ground that I'm splicing inside the box? I never thought about this, I guess since I don't recall ever using a romex clamp in a non-metallic box before.

Originally Posted by french277V View Post
Thanks for getting my attetion with your plans due you are planning to use plastic box however you can get a bonding locknut to bond the NM clamp and tie into the green or bare wire.

I doubt the big box store may have this but the electrical supply centre .,, Yes they do have it in wide varites of size and IIRC about 3 or 4 diffrent styles as well.

Merci,Marc
Marc,
Thanks for all of your help previously. The deck project that's causing me to move the spa is just getting to the point of needing the wiring, that's why it's been a little while. Anyway, you'll see a new thread from me about the bonding of this SE/NM clamp. I have tried several electrical supply houses and having no luck at all on the bonding locknut, none of them even understood what I was asking for, and one had them but for 1/2 only.

Is it definitely a national code requirement to bond to ground this cable clamp in a plastic box? I believe my jurisdiction just follows the NEC, doesn't add their own. I haven't asked yet if they have adopted 2008.

Thanks, RJ
 
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