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Erik Sine

Toggle Switches

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Any requirements for using toggle switches for T-Boxes or sign bodies change in the last few years?  Thought I heard something about them or how they are being used was going to change, or not.

 

 

Thanks

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Interesting that almost 5 days after your post not a single response to the major change in the NEC since January  regarding switches and sign bodies.    

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I thought I heard about changes.  I guess no one knows of those changes?  I suppose I'll have to do my own research, I figured maybe some knew on the top of their head.  

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Disconnecting change in section 600.6 of the NEC 2017

 

Biggest change is labeling.  Also if you service a sign, you must verify and label for compliance

 

(A) Location

The disconnect shall open all ungrounded conductors where it enters the enclosure of the sign or pole.

 

Exception No. 1: A disconnect shall not be required for branch circuit(s) or feeder conductor(s) passing through the sign where enclosed in a
Chapter 3 listed raceway or metal-jacketed cable identified for the location.

 

Exception No. 2: A disconnect shall not be required at the point of entry to a sign enclosure or sign body for branch circuit(s) or feeder conductor( s) that supply an internal panelboard(s) in a sign enclosure or sign body. The conductors shall be enclosed in a Chapter 3 listed raceway or metal-jacketed cable identified for the location.  The warning label shall comply with 110.21(B) and state the following: “Danger. This raceway contains energized conductors.” The marking shall include the location of the disconnecting means for the
energized conductor(s). The disconnecting means shall be capable of being locked in the open position in accordance with 110.25.

 

(2) Within Sight of the Sign

 

A permanent field-applied marking identifying the location of the disconnecting means shall be applied to the sign in a location
visible during servicing. The warning label shall comply with 110.21(B)

 

(B) Control Switch Rating

 

They added: electronic power supplies to be rated at 200% of load .

 

 

 

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No more toggle switches allowed on individual channel letters or sign cabinets.  First thing electrical inspector looks at, assuming you pulled a permit for your sign installation.  No energized wiring passing through sign bodies towards the switch.  Towns that do not allow switch box,  Bell box etc. on fascia will  require lockout means behind the wall or at circuit breaker.  Lockout plate which fits over a toggle switch will see rise in sales.

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Another winner.  Keeps us busy, following so called sign companies who I'm sure "think" they know what they are doing except for calling in their inspections.  Owner of the sign gets to pay for change of contractor and all the repairs to bring sign up to code.    Wondering if the toggle switch pictured below is part of the reason why the Code changed for the use of these on letters.  Another popular problem is the use of non-metalic liquidtitght (cheaper of course but obvious to inspectors as being  a fail) AND  no ground wire.  Bonding? What's that?  Morons faking sign installs/customer paying through butt to satisfy shopping center open permits which never get called in for inspections. Wonder why?

toggle trouble.jpg

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Just as a sanity check -  having a lockable disconnect switch that is NOT in sight of the sign is still acceptable, correct?   I have one town (using 2014 NEC as their rulebook)  that keeps asking for a switch in sight of the sign.  That's not always possible (or at least the customers/LL's don't like to see switches) and why that we use lockable switches.

 

If I've been doing it wrong yell at me, but I thought I was correct.  Even the 2017 NEC should allow lockable switches that are not in sight of the sign, right?   That's how I read it but my brain is old and tired.

 

Thanks all!

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We had an inspection in a town nearby that doesn't allow switches on front wall but electrical inspectors accept lockout on back of wall or at circuit breaker, both clearly out of sight.  Using 2014 Code around here in S Florida.    Additional note from inspection yesterday with an elder inspector, since I generally try to pick their mind while I have their attention for few minutes.  His opinion for why the toggle switches were phased out from being attached to metal,  they don't stand up to weather as good as most would like to think.   

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Val the switch shown in your photo is switching the secondary circuit. I don't think that was ever acceptable. The driver is still energized with the switch off. All you could safely do is replace the LEDs.

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May be my photo but certainly not my work Bob.  The way these morons installed that switch would be equivalent to hooking the switch up to the GTO in a neon letter.  But their way of thinking was that from the ground it would pass inspection which it did not.  Inspectors have a way of sniffing out sign companies using cheezy paperwork also.  A lift was requested by the inspector to verify,  cricket noises were heard for 2 years  before landlord  warned tenant to get on it.

 

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Can someone tell me where I can find where it says "no more toggle switches allowed"  I the new NEC I can see where it says that. Can someone point me in the right direction?

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If you are looking for those exact words you will not find the answer.  When you submit your drawings for permitting and are denied because corrections are needed, that is how we find out something has changed.   In our neck of the woods.  If you simply bang out signs to ship out to others, you will find out in other ways.  We remove them as soon as signs ship in and plug the hole.

Maybe the attached can help you understand.

answer.jpg

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I remember a seasoned Inspector from a big City around here, who I generally like and respect, telling me we had to put a J-box on the front of the wall next to flush-mount channel letters in order to meet these requirements. We had a long conversation before he finally allowed me to put a lockable switch on the back of the wall.

 

Then again, this is also the Inspector who told me their City won't red tag an illegally installed sign, that was put up without a permit, because "it has already been installed." Figure that out...

 

That's par for the course for almost every City in the DFW metroplex anymore.

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12 minutes ago, jamesw001 said:

Then again, this is also the Inspector who told me their City won't red tag an illegally installed sign, that was put up without a permit, because "it has already been installed." Figure that out...

 

Sounds like our southern border James. Once you sneak it in, it's in, for a while.  That is because there is no budget for enforcement, you as the sign company is who they expect to enforce these rules.  They mostly enforce stupid little real estate signs on wire frames out of a pick up truck, banners and feather banners.  Luckily property managers want permits and most stay on top of it to some extent.   As soon as a business needs to add a partner or adjust their lease, bang.  You just got popped.

If you are spending north of a few thousand dollars for a sign,  the permit is not that much more to do it the right way. Some just like to pay twice.

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Rocco (and others encountering 2014 NEC issues),

 

There is a commonly-encountered problem in how the provisions of 600.6 are interpreted by the AHJs.  Much of that has occurred because of the specific language that appeared in the 2014 NEC.  The 2014 code language isn't wrong, it just was written in a way that allows some inspectors to draw conclusions with which we strongly object.  (BTW, I should note that most of the 2014 problems were addressed in the 2017 code language.  But state adoption of the NEC varies, some states only update every other cycle, and so some communities will be stuck with the 2014 code for several years.)

 

Basically, you should take a look at 600.6 as it appears in several editions of the NEC.  (BTW, disconnect language was the featured subject for ISA/IAEI/UL at the ISA Expo Electrical Codes Forum this past March.)

 

2011 version: 600.6 Disconnects has an introductory paragraph, followed by two exceptions. Then comes (A) Location (1) Within Sight of the Sign; and (2) Within Sight of the Controller

2014 version: 600.6 Disconnects has an identical introductory paragraph, followed by two exceptions and (A) Location. But new (1) At Point of Entry to a Sign Enclosure, followed by renumbered (2) Within Sight of the Sign; and (3) Within Sight of the Controller.

2017 version:  600.6 Disconnects has an (almost) identical introductory paragraph, followed by two exceptions and a new informational note. Then (A) Location with an added sentence "The disconnecting means shall be permitted to be located in accordance with 600.6(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3)". Followed by (1) At Point of Entry to a Sign Enclosure, (2) Within Sight of the Sign; and (3) Within Sight of the Controller--all of which have some added or modified language.

 

That new sentence (before discussing the three locations) steers AHJs away from concluding that "At Point of Entry to a Sign Enclosure" is the mandatory design.

 

It certainly appears that some AHJs didn't recognize in the 2014 NEC that (1), (2), & (3) were equally acceptable options.  The first response to that problem is to correct or improve the code language, (which occurred in the 2017 code cycle.  The second response is to educate AHJs as best we can.  We have created handouts and other materials that ISA has used when we exhibit at IAEI section meetings. (I just attended the IAEI Southern Section meting 2-3 weeks ago.)  The third response is to try to assist sign companies when they encounter challenges from the local inspector.  That can be difficult due to the wide latitude given to the AHJs interpretation.

 

We have seen some success in convincing inspectors to look to the 2017 code for greater clarity. Or at the rationale statements submitted along with public input proposals during the 2017 NEC cycle.

 

But it is a struggle.  And probably will be for awhile.

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That channel letter pic has another fail.  Can't terminate the LED module wire as shown.  It must have a small whip beyond the module, and both wires have to be capped, via wire nuts.

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I go here:

Explore the 2017 NEC®
 

It does not mention the section on toggle switches, not has the section on LED signage. And this is the NFPA site with NEC codes supposedly

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