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Old 06-19-2019, 07:50 PM   #1
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Default Strange Interpretation - More Than One Device In A Box

Here is the junction box in question :





It was custom-built on site using all CSA / UL listed contactors and relays.

This is in the RM of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray region). The inspector said that the box as a whole needs to get special CSA / Intertek approval. This is a little blue field inspection sticker. They then forwarded this PDF document:

Equipment Certification Notice Jan 2019.pdf

On a side note, this notice does not appear to be available on their website or anywhere on the internet. I'm not sure how we were expected to follow it.

Summarized: "Based on the consensus of the other authorities and the RMWB Electrical Safety Codes Officers, it was decided that if there is more than one component in a box it is therefore considered an assembly and would require approval."

Have any of you run into this before? I can't find a CEC reference that states that any more than one component in a JB needs approval. The contractor has decided to simply install 6 separate JBs and pipe them together. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:44 PM   #2
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Same in Ontario I think. I have never actually had to do it, but I have had special inspections for equipment that was built for us or brought in from other countries.

Cheers
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:21 PM   #3
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Probably wouldn't have looked twice if it were all IEC on DIN rails so everything was straight and "professional" looking
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:47 PM   #4
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I've gone through the certification process with ESA here in Ontario.
The interpretation given, was that if the components were used together for a specific function (ie, and single function).
A good example was a custom interlock for powering traffic lights from mains and generator. It needed approval.

To quote the first paragraph of the letter you received ..
“typically all electrical products not certified to be used together and assembled into an enclosure to create a product, requires approval.”

My question is are these relays/contactors working independently or are they performing a function together ? (ie, to create a product)

If they are for individual functions/equipment, then that interpretation is just wrong.
Good luck on an appeal though, sounds like they called every number in their rolodex

You could try getting an interpretation direct from CSA.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:25 PM   #5
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A while ago I took a mini class on control panels. Control panels have to have all the detailed labels and stickers as far as voltage, amps, fault current, etc... They have to be engineered with all the required calculations. Also about two years ago the IAEI magazine had an article about building control boxes. So yes it should be inspected by a recognized testing lab. However I bet there are tens of thousands of similar panels never tested. At least that is my understanding from where I work.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:52 PM   #6
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So, if you use a six pole contactor instead of three 2 poles, it’s okay?
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:53 PM   #7
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More than 4 contactors or relays in the box, requires local csa inspection.
I cant remember the ruling on this, but it's been this way for as along as I can remember.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emtnut View Post
...

My question is are these relays/contactors working independently or are they performing a function together ? (ie, to create a product)

If they are for individual functions/equipment, then that interpretation is just wrong.
It's tough to say if they are for a single or multiple functions. It is an industrial shop with a MUA unit and exhaust fans. The contactors are for the exhaust fans and the relays are for the MUA and other logic. The MUA is controlled via the manual switch AND the gas detection system. It may also have low/high selection functions.

They are part of a shop ventilation "system", but the individual components control totally separate parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99cents View Post
So, if you use a six pole contactor instead of three 2 poles, it’s okay?
Yes... as long as the other smaller relays were elsewhere as well. And that is part of the point. It seems a little silly. What about a lighting contactor box / lighting control panel? BMS panel? Sump pump controls? What about a fire alarm panel? What if you just put junction boxes inside the bigger junction box? Where does it end?

You're ticketed electricians! Shouldn't you have some discretion to practice your trade??? Surely you are qualified to hook up a few relays in a box!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcord View Post
More than 4 contactors or relays in the box, requires local csa inspection.
I cant remember the ruling on this, but it's been this way for as along as I can remember.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kb1jb1 View Post
A while ago I took a mini class on control panels. Control panels have to have all the detailed labels and stickers as far as voltage, amps, fault current, etc... They have to be engineered with all the required calculations. Also about two years ago the IAEI magazine had an article about building control boxes. So yes it should be inspected by a recognized testing lab. However I bet there are tens of thousands of similar panels never tested. At least that is my understanding from where I work.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were an actual code or legislation reference? The only references that seem to exist are anecdotal opinions of people that sell equipment and training courses.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:31 PM   #9
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When you build a control box it needs to be certified. Yes each component is CSA certified and tested but when you build something different with these components, what you built needs to be tested by CSA as a whole.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:29 AM   #10
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I betcha when they build something similar to that in China , they don't have to do anything additional at all .............. just sayin...... cause they are winning the economic race against western economy's ......
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:27 AM   #11
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The State has a thing for this too, and while I don't often build something that would trigger this, I sometimes need multiple relays for load shedding and just buy one already made and labeled to avoid this.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:38 AM   #12
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I don’t understand this. We can put together a “system” of panels, lights, receptacles, motors, transformers, etc. but putting four contactors in an enclosure requires certification from someone else. Cash grab.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99cents View Post
I don’t understand this. We can put together a “system” of panels, lights, receptacles, motors, transformers, etc. but putting four contactors in an enclosure requires certification from someone else. Cash grab.
I agree.

What if you put those contactors in separate enclosures?
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99cents View Post
I don’t understand this. We can put together a “system” of panels, lights, receptacles, motors, transformers, etc. but putting four contactors in an enclosure requires certification from someone else. Cash grab.
In the “system” you describe, we are using each piece of equipment the way they were designed and tested for.

Taking a bunch of items and building a new piece of equipment out of it is when you need to have it tested.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
I agree.

What if you put those contactors in separate enclosures?
Then you would be using them in a way they were tested and certified to be used.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Then you would be using them in a way they were tested and certified to be used.
What is the difference if they were in separate enclosures or 1 enclosure?

What if you put 4 separate enclosures next to each other with close nipples between them?

What if you put 4 separate enclosures next to each other with a window cut out between them?

Quote:
Taking a bunch of items and building a new piece of equipment out of it is when you need to have it tested.
No one is building a new piece of equipment. Putting devices into the same enclosure is no different than putting them into different enclosures next to each other.

Don't defend lunacy.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
I agree.

What if you put those contactors in separate enclosures?
Apparently you’re okay.

I built on of these two weeks ago. A fancy control box with bells and whistles you don’t need is $1500. I built one that did the job for less than $200 in materials. The tinbasher paid me to build it and I saved him money. Win/win.

These aren’t complicated controls. A current sensing relay from the exhaust controls MUA and the contactors are used to make or break power to equipment as required. They teach us about contactors and basic control circuits in school but in the field we are deemed too stupid to do what they taught us.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incognito View Post
In the “system” you describe, we are using each piece of equipment the way they were designed and tested for.

Taking a bunch of items and building a new piece of equipment out of it is when you need to have it tested.
But you’re not creating a new piece of equipment, you’re simply grouping a number of components in one location.

A contactor has ratings for coil voltage and contacts. It switches on and off. That’s what it’s designed for. That’s it’s...erm...definite purpose.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
What is the difference if they were in separate enclosures or 1 enclosure?

What if you put 4 separate enclosures next to each other with close nipples between them?

What if you put 4 separate enclosures next to each other with a window cut out between them?

No one is building a new piece of equipment. Putting devices into the same enclosure is no different than putting them into different enclosures next to each other.

Don't defend lunacy.

Most often there is no difference and everything is fine.

But other times there are many things that need to be looked at. Wire sizes often are not correct, fusing, multiple circuits contained in the one enclosure, the way the devices are mounted, bonding......

There has to be rules and things need to be certified and tested to be used in the manner they have been connected.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:21 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incognito View Post
Most often there is no difference and everything is fine.

But other times there are many things that need to be looked at. Wire sizes often are not correct, fusing, multiple circuits contained in the one enclosure, the way the devices are mounted, bonding......
Not a single thing that you mentioned here is different when they are installed in different enclosures vs. the same enclosure. If anything, installing them in different enclosures exposes them to higher risk of potential issues.

Why are you defending this nonsense?

Quote:
There has to be rules and things need to be certified and tested to be used in the manner they have been connected.
I agree, but you are misapplying that statement.
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