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Old 07-14-2018, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default 1970s GE Panel in Restaurant Kitchen Main Contactor

I encountered a 1970s era GE panel in a restaurant kitchen that had a contactor where you'd expect the main breaker (for the panel, not the restaurant). Is this part of an Ansul type system? Is there anything else it could be? Is Ansul required by NEC, AHJs or insurance companies?

Also , there were 2 input cables per lug for each of the 3 phases. A google search showed dual rated, single hole, lugs but I can't determine if this panel or these lugs were dual rated.

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Old 07-14-2018, 05:04 PM   #2
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Dual rated lugs have a weird hole shape, not seen in your photo.

However, this rig has obviously stood the test of time.

ANSUL systems are as common as dust in commercial kitchens, and it's the fire marshal that demands it.
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Old 07-14-2018, 06:01 PM   #3
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Many if not all ansul systems are mechanical.
Electric is only used for alarms, horn and strobe, and electric gas shut off valves.

Also all electric under hood and makeup air if its there, must shut off when ansul system is activated.

It could possibly be for 1 of those things but typically they're done by relays or shunt trip breakers

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Old 07-14-2018, 07:32 PM   #4
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The contactor in the panel is most likely for lighting, usually night lighting. It turns the entire panel on and off. Sometimes it's controlled by a photocell, sometimes s time clock.

If the loads have been modified, there's a good chance the contactor is always on.

The lugs pictured are not rated for more than one conductor. The fact that this installation is still in perfect condition is evidence that portions of our precious code are actually garbage and belong in the green box out back. And further, the idiots who enact the code obviously need a bit more actual field experience.

End of rant......

The smaller wires under the lugs most likely go to another panel or maybe a fused disconnect somewhere. If the lugs feed the contactor, then the small wires feed a constant-hot load.

It's entirely possible though that the panel feeds only kitchen loads and the contactor is fed through the Ansul system. If so, the smaller wires likely go to the exhaust fan. A lot of places require the exhaust fan to run during a fire.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:15 PM   #5
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that install is not in perfect condition look at "A" lug and wire, it was overheated. looks like the lug to bus connection was the problem though
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiresmith View Post
that install is not in perfect condition look at "A" lug and wire, it was overheated. looks like the lug to bus connection was the problem though


That's the problem I was working on. They called me because smoke was coming from the panel. I cut out the burned part and spliced with a Polaris 3/0 3-position Multi-tap connector, so that each wire now has it's own terminal. I removed and bypassed the contactor. The contactor terminals were burned anyway. The restaurant is up and running but now I'm concerned that I've tampered with a safety system that may have not been working in the first place. I'll make arrangements to go back after hours to see exactly what that panel controlled. If I'm lucky, it is only lights and that may be true because the restaurant was operating, without lights, during the work while power to the panel was cut at the switch gear.
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Old 07-15-2018, 02:00 PM   #7
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was the lug to bus connection good? thats what looks like the problem to me.

p.s. when i think of the term dual rated lugs i think al/cu. lugs rated for 2 wires i usually hear them called lugs rated for multiple conductors or something like that (nothing official, i'm just saying usually dual rated is used to describe al/cu in my experience). there may be a better term for the lugs, i don't think i have ever used them so i probably wouldn't know.

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Old 07-15-2018, 02:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiresmith View Post
was the lug to bus connection good? thats what looks like the problem to me.

p.s. when i think of the term dual rated lugs i think al/cu. lugs rated for 2 wires i usually hear them called lugs rated for multiple conductors or something like that (nothing official, i'm just saying usually dual rated is used to describe al/cu in my experience). there may be a better term for the lugs, i don't think i have ever used them so i probably wouldn't know.

The lug to bus connection was burned. I put the 2 input wires into this type of connector to bypass the connection:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Polaris-...-303578169-_-N

I ran a third 3/0 wire from this connector to a lug on the panel on the other side of the contactor so all the burned stuff was either cut out or bypassed. Sounds like I have to do more research on dual rated lugs and lugs for multiple conductors. All input wires came from the same hole which leads me to believe that the smaller wires were added to increase ampacity.
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