Name this electrical box - photos attached


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Old 05-07-10, 06:40 AM
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Name this electrical box - photos attached

Not sure what this box is. My boss thought maybe it went to a generator at some point. There's a large throw switch that has been in the off position since we bought the house last december. Then there's this box with 3 large relays. most of the wires are hot currently. I traced one of them back to my furnace on/off switch.

So, what the heck is it for? I'd love to get rid of it as it's just a rat's nest of wires.



 
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Old 05-07-10, 07:14 AM
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Those relays could control anything. The only way to know what they do, without turning it on and testing that way, would be to trace the wires. If you're confident that the panel is marked correctly, you could trace the incoming wires back to each breaker and check what is says there.

A good job would have been to label the inside of that box with what circuit goes to what terminal. I would recommend that if you take the time to map this out you do that.

I would not remove it until I was certain it is non functional and unnecessary. With the current lack of knowledge about it's function, it's far better to leave it alone or find out before taking action.

If I had to take a blind guess, and I don't like blind guesses, I'd say it may be a fancy system for control of multiple outside lights or christmas lighting receptacles. I've seen some obsessive people craft some elaborate systems for their christmas lighting schemes.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 07:23 AM
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On a side note, I'd say that box is one the nicest installation on that wall. The cables and conduits from all the other boxes lack proper supporting or any semblance of organization.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 07:37 AM
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Ill take stab at it. To me it looks like they are DPDT relays. It looks like they have 220v connected to them. The wire coming in on the very right side of the box looks like the switching feed, and then there are 3 feeds and 3 feed outs, 1 set for each relay. Im not sure what they would be used for. Relays are commonly used when you need to switch something that draws close to 10 amps or over and a regular switch wont do, and also in this case when you want to turn 3 things on at once. Based on the fact that i believe they are wired for 220 i doubt they were used for christmas lighting. How many 220v breakers are in your panel? are there 3? i can see at least 2 on the left side of the panel. does the wire coming in on the right of the box go to the disconnect on the left?
 
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Old 05-07-10, 08:25 AM
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Maybe a control box for baseboard heaters?
 
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Old 05-07-10, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Maybe a control box for baseboard heaters?
Possible, but I'd expect the relay control wiring would probably be thermostat wiring instead of 12-2 romex in that case. I wouldn't discount the possibility, but it seems a little unlikely to me.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 09:37 AM
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I'm gonna do my best to trace out all wires tonight. might not go well though, you DID see the wiring job in that house. PLUS, not only is it a rat's nest, it's all aluminum too!

like I said, the only wire I traced was one going to an on/off switch on my furnace.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 10:57 AM
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Since you mentioned the possibility of a generator I'm going to say it is a poor man's version of an automatic transfer switch.

I seriously doubt they have 240 volts going to the relays, a quick meter check would verify.

Those relays plug in to the sockets. You could pull one relay at a time and see what no longer works. I suspect that one is for the furnace, one for the refrigerator and one for a couple of lights.

And unless aluminum type NM cable had a copper equipment ground conductor those are not aluminum cables. They may be copper-clad aluminum.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 04:32 PM
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It says on the door of the box that it is a "cutout box". Obviously if one does not know, it begs a 5 word question.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
It says on the door of the box that it is a "cutout box". Obviously if one does not know, it begs a 5 word question.
(′kət′au̇t ′bäks)
(electricity) A fireproof cabinet or box with one or more hinged doors that contains fuses and switches for various leads in an electrical wiring system. Also known as fuse box.

dosent really shed any light on the OP question of what this box is though..
 
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Old 05-08-10, 07:30 AM
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And what is the story on the meter on the wall, connected to what looks like 3/4" or 1/2" flex and EMT? That does not look like a utility connection. Could be related to your relay box.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 12:46 PM
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Possibly a "3-stage" hook-up for duct-installed heating elements to augment the BTU output of a heat-pump system.

What type of system heats the house?.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 02:37 AM
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There are couple question I may answer I don't know if I did hit the target anyway.,

the disconnect switch on upper left side it may used for well disconnect switch { I know I have see it couple times.}

For the relay switch there are few possibltiy one is staged baseboard heater or ceiling grid heaters.

But one thing I did noticed that one meter below the relay box look like it serve something else I know it is not tied to the main breaker box to the right due the conductor size I can able tell the diffrence there.

OP can you verify little more clear on the meter set up and where that go ?
and how many meters you have in that location ?

Merci,Marc
 
 

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