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Old 02-14-2019, 12:02 AM   #1
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Default Heavy Duty Connectors and NEC

Im looking for code guidance on the usage of heavy duty multi position connectors like those sold by phoenix contact, Amphenol, HARTING, etc when used to connect branch circuits. Our usage case is for pre-manufactured structures where it is advantageous to provide a pre-constructed means of easy connection between a unit (building) and an electrical panel once on site.

The panel is a standard 42 circuit 120/208 3ph 4W main breaker. Wed like to place panel mount connectors to allow for simple plug and go operation.

Our unit would have TC-ER cables with heavy duty connectors on the ends to plug into the panel.

The issue is that almost all of these connectors are rated at 10, 16, 35 A. Our branch circuits (208v lighting and 120v general use) are 20A. Id argue that we ensure to never load above 80% (16A) so 16A rating should be acceptable. Is there a section of code to reference for this type of a connection?

Ive been trying to grasp why these amp values are so standardized, is it a European thing (IEC?), or motor load? While sure we can always go with overkill for 35A, finding the right number of positions and getting low cost components is driving me to try and better understand why the connectors are rated the way they are, what is acceptable for our use, what codes may be referenced, and ultimately settle on a solution.

Thanks in advance,
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:17 AM   #2
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Those are IEC numbers.

They won't fly -- unless the inspector is high.

Please fill out your profile.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:23 AM   #3
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BTW, the ENTIRE reason for the IEC is to make their stuff incompatible with NEMA standards -- and vice versa. This is known by the authorities as a non-tariff barrier to trade.

So, you're #173,987 EE in the line to figure this out.

These barriers were first erected in the 19th Century -- to stop Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse and J.P. Morgan from sweeping the continent. The shield keeps being tweaked to keep the Americans out. While important to all Europeans, it's an obsession for Paris.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:29 AM   #4
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i would never use those type of connectors at their max ratings, they will fail prematurely, use the 35a one rating
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:58 PM   #5
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I figured it was based on an IEC standard, just couldn't find somewhere that discussed why those particular numbers (10,16,35).

As for the NEC code aspect, how are they treated? Are they considered a receptacle? And need to be rated the same or higher as the protection device?

And as for the IEC trade barrier aspect, that's all well and good, but I have to imagine that a North American group is out there that manufactures these to NEMA standards?

What about this unit from Phoenix Contact? I can't post a link so it is HC-BB10-I-CT-M or part number 1584774.

While it does have the same 16A/500V IEC rating, it does also have a 20A/600v rating from UL. Its harder to find than it should be, but it shows UL in the catalog (they list both the IEC and UL rating) and if you click 'generate a product PDF' on their site, you will see its UL numbers. Would that satisfy an inspector? I guess I'd want to make sure it has it on the unit itself? Or can provide the cut sheet?

I could use the 35a one, but they only come in 6 position or 2x 6-position (in the same housing), and that takes up significantly more room. At least from PxC. There are some circular options as well, I just liked the Heavy Con Adv line from PxC as they have a screw down hood connection which is more 'permanent' than a twist on or latch fitting.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:48 PM   #6
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I may be missing something since nobody else is mentioning this but I think connecting branch circuits with flexible cords and a plug connector is going to be a non-starter.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I may be missing something since nobody else is mentioning this but I think connecting branch circuits with flexible cords and a plug connector is going to be a non-starter.
Why do you think that? Would it matter if its in MC vs flex? Or if it was a multi-conductor TC-ER cable?

Is there a difference between these plugs and say round high amp pin and sleeve connectors?
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:54 PM   #8
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To the OP -- many of the biggest NEMA players are OWNED by Europe:

Square D

Siemens

The industry scratches each other's back, BTW.

It's as I've told you -- but it's not sinking in.

You're #173,987 in a long line of re-engineering geniuses to figure out their great dream won't fly.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZyleZuin View Post
Why do you think that? Would it matter if its in MC vs flex? Or if it was a multi-conductor TC-ER cable?

Is there a difference between these plugs and say round high amp pin and sleeve connectors?
Explain a little more clearly and in detail what you're trying to do. Something like:
Pole mounted panel is set on a site,
buildings are set on site with a crane or whatever,
pole mounted panel has a female connector that accepts a cord and plug,
building panel has a male power inlet that accepts the other end of that cord, power building like an extension cord?
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:00 PM   #10
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Multiple structures are placed on site by crane/forklift. They connect together like a double/triple wide.

One structure has the panel already mounted on one of the external sides.

Panel has male plug flange mounted on panel. Plug wires directly connect to circuit breakers.

Each structure has an internal junction box where branch wires connect to terminal blocks.

Cord whip is used to connect to internal junction box terminal blocks. Has a female heavy duty connector that matches with male end mounted on panel. Cord whip can be individual wires in a flex conduit or MC. Or multi-conductor TC-ER power cable.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZyleZuin View Post
Multiple structures are placed on site by crane/forklift. They connect together like a double/triple wide.



One structure has the panel already mounted on one of the external sides.



Panel has male plug flange mounted on panel. Plug wires directly connect to circuit breakers.



Each structure has an internal junction box where branch wires connect to terminal blocks.



Cord whip is used to connect to internal junction box terminal blocks. Has a female heavy duty connector that matches with male end mounted on panel. Cord whip can be individual wires in a flex conduit or MC. Or multi-conductor TC-ER power cable.
You've got your connector "genders" mixed up.

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Old 02-15-2019, 04:17 PM   #12
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You've got your connector "genders" mixed up.

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Youre right. Need more coffee this morning.

Sorry, female connector end would be on the panel. Male plug would be on the end of the cord whip.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:58 PM   #13
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I don't see where flexible cord is allowed to be permanent wiring.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:48 PM   #14
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OP.
Have you considered Relock?
They seem to be into exactly what you are designing.

https://hydrel.acuitybrands.com/-/me...g_brochure.pdf
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZyleZuin View Post
Multiple structures are placed on site by crane/forklift. They connect together like a double/triple wide.

One structure has the panel already mounted on one of the external sides.

Panel has male plug flange mounted on panel. Plug wires directly connect to circuit breakers.

Each structure has an internal junction box where branch wires connect to terminal blocks.

Cord whip is used to connect to internal junction box terminal blocks. Has a female heavy duty connector that matches with male end mounted on panel. Cord whip can be individual wires in a flex conduit or MC. Or multi-conductor TC-ER power cable.
The product that @Southeast Power posted gets you over the flexible cord issue, it would be a "manufactured wiring system" as in NEC article 604. It looks like it's made of MC so the MC rules would apply, if I follow the description (and I am still not sure I do) the connections will all be indoors. Wiremold Walkerflex would be another one. Apparently now that I google AFC makes a system too.

I don't know if you have to use these for the whole branch circuit. They show starters to go from the panel to the first system device, but the whips are all show as receptacle whips or lighting whips not something to connect a generic branch circuit to.
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Last edited by splatz; 02-16-2019 at 07:54 AM.
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