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I recently had an inspector tell me that the wrong screws were used to place a 200 amp panel in the wall cavity. I checked and drywall screws were used - no problem except she wouldn't tell me the correct ones to use. Question: I checked around and can't seem to get a straight answer. So, what type of screws are used to attach a panel in between the studs? Thanks.
 

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I recently had an inspector tell me that the wrong screws were used to place a 200-amp panel in the wall cavity. I checked and drywall screws were used - no problem except she wouldn't tell me the correct ones to use. Question: I checked around and can't seem to get a straight answer. So, what type of screws are used to attach a panel in between the studs? Thanks.
Thats probably a little over thinking it on that inspector's part, but you did say it was a drywall screw right for attaching drywall so if its wood frame go get some Billy bad-azz wood screw's or on metal framing get some self-tapping 5/16" hex heads like a pro would bra lol. see below

inset examples here
Hex Washer Head #10 X 3/4 Self-Drilling Tek Screw with #3 Point
#8 X 1" Stainless Slotted Hex Washer Head Screw
 

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Code reference from the inspector, or they can take a hike. I have zero time for BS and will tell them that. But I’m old and gnarly.
The NEC defines “approved” as “acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction [AHJ].” The AHJ is typically the jurisdiction’s building official who deputizes field inspectors to issue approvals during inspection processes.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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I think the inspector is within their rights on some of the general requirements in Article 110. Mounting is supposed to be secure. Drywall screws are the duct tape of fasteners. They are good for what they are intended for, fastening drywall to framing. They are used for everything else because they are always handy, but they are crap, the heads pop off easily, very little shear strength, etc. The bugle head is made for drywall or wood, not metal. You can very easily snap them off with a hand screwdriver, let alone an impact. If one snaps off when the panel is installed, it will be a huge pain in the ass to fix.

If you used a good wood screw, the largest size that will fit through the pre-drilled holes, I doubt anyone would ever argue with that. Of course I doubt anyone would bitch about a big sheet metal screw either, which doesn't really hold in wood as well as a wood screw (tapered shaft on the wood screw works with the grain of the wood) but really nobody cares.

There are what they call "structural screws" available now, they can be used in places where nails are usually used, they have good shear strength. These are cheap and good to keep on hand for general use. If you wanted to go right over the top, you could use a cabinet screw like the GRKs, these things are made for hanging cabinets and they're ridiculously strong, I keep these around for much heavier tasks but they'd work:

Metal Font Fashion accessory Sword Wood
 

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I think the inspector is within their rights on some of the general requirements in Article 110. Mounting is supposed to be secure. Drywall screws are the duct tape of fasteners. They are good for what they are intended for, fastening drywall to framing. They are used for everything else because they are always handy, but they are crap, the heads pop off easily, very little shear strength, etc. The bugle head is made for drywall or wood, not metal. You can very easily snap them off with a hand screwdriver, let alone an impact. If one snaps off when the panel is installed, it will be a huge pain in the ass to fix.

If you used a good wood screw, the largest size that will fit through the pre-drilled holes, I doubt anyone would ever argue with that. Of course I doubt anyone would bitch about a big sheet metal screw either, which doesn't really hold in wood as well as a wood screw (tapered shaft on the wood screw works with the grain of the wood) but really nobody cares.

There are what they call "structural screws" available now, they can be used in places where nails are usually used, they have good shear strength. These are cheap and good to keep on hand for general use. If you wanted to go right over the top, you could use a cabinet screw like the GRKs, these things are made for hanging cabinets and they're ridiculously strong, I keep these around for much heavier tasks but they'd work:

View attachment 160070
Those GRK screws are nice, but can you get them short enough to not go clear through the stud? The Torx head works well, but it’s yet another bit to keep track of. I wish they were a square drive Robertson as those are mostly strip proof and I already carry them already.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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Those GRK screws are nice, but can you get them short enough to not go clear through the stud? The Torx head works well, but it’s yet another bit to keep track of. I wish they were a square drive Robertson as those are mostly strip proof and I already carry them already.
I agree 100%! If they did away with all torx heads I would not miss them, way too many sizes, I prefer Robertson hands down. Three sizes covers just about anything short of a hex head / hex drive.

They make those GRK cabinet screws in #8 from 1-1/4" to 3-1/2" or so, they're made for hanging cabinets on the wall so they're made to go into studs. GRK's structural screws are bigger sizes to replace regular lag screws, you can hang the ledger board for a deck with them. They're actually rated stronger than traditional lags. I keep a couple sizes of those structural screws on hand too, for lagging crossarms onto poles and etc.
 

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The NEC defines “approved” as “acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction [AHJ].” The AHJ is typically the jurisdiction’s building official who deputizes field inspectors to issue approvals during inspection processes.
That’s part of give a code reference. The other part is making up code in their head. I will say this much about mounting with drywall screws, how many boxes come with that exact screw? It may not be a 200 panel, but it is a box and they are drywall screws.
Font Engineering Rectangle Gas Auto part
 

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I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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That’s part of give a code reference. The other part is making up code in their head. I will say this much about mounting with drywall screws, how many boxes come with that exact screw? It may not be a 200 panel, but it is a box and they are drywall screws. View attachment 160071
But those boxes are designed to except that screw style and seat properly.
A #6 drywall screw can not seat properly in a metal can.
The plastic helps prevent over torquing and snapping it off.
 

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But those boxes are designed to except that screw style and seat properly.
A #6 drywall screw can not seat properly in a metal can.
The plastic helps prevent over torquing and snapping it off.
I don’t disagree with you and I don’t use drywall screws to hold a panel between studs. I’m just saying that drywall screws are used for other than drywall. And as far as the OP, he never said he got a code reference. That is a red flag in my world! I mean, how long did it take someone to post a code reference. And they weren’t the know it all inspector! In Minnesota, you only need a JM license to be an inspector. But you have to have a master in the EC company. That is just wrong.
 

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I keep an assortment of #14 lengths. 3/4 up to 3½, i think. Sometimes hanging a Clic through 2 or 3 layers of siding needs a long screw. I'm not opposed to pre- drilling when needed, either. GRKs or Spax work great when that type is needed. I don't even like drywall screws for drywall, i guess i could use them for small strapping, if i really had nothing else available. I'll buy the bulk exterior deck screws as a general-purpose (cheap"er") screw. For the tiny, diy type stuff, i just pick up a box from hd or Ace or a local hardware store and don't worry about it. I like my panels, bases, SE supports to be rock solid. To me, overkill is justenoughkill.


Textile Red Rectangle Engineering Electrical wiring


This bin needs a going over- lots of leftovers in there...
Food Green Motor vehicle Ingredient Automotive lighting


This is my new favorite hex driver:
Bottle Tool Line Font Tire
 

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Barring specific instructions from the manufacturer, I just use whatever is on hand at the moment.

I would take it as a compliment if all an inspector had to look at screws to try and find something wrong.....
 
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