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Tying into breaker panels.


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#1 Patrick Nuse

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:56 PM

I have done my share of tapping into breaker panels on houses and buildings. I usually borrow a breaker from an AC unit or spa to get 50A or so. But I remember seeing a gadget that has a jaw on one end that can be tightened by turning the handle and grab onto the bus in a breaker panel. does anyone know of what can be used or what it's called? I think linemen use something like that for connecting to high tension cables. I would like to use it to connect my own breaker panel.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:32 PM

That's a question for a proper electrician, not an internet forum.
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#3 robert duke

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:26 PM

the device was called a trico tap. it is not manufactured any longer. they are against the nec code.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:36 AM

I tried tackling this topic (similar, at least) when I first signed into this forum. I got into BIG trouble over it. It's kind of a "hands off".
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#5 Andrew Koch

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:04 AM

I had heard that California recently passed a law making tie-ins illegal, even by licensed electricians. What I was told was that even if a licensed electrician does it, the fire marshal would not sign off on it and possibly even shut down the production. I'm not sure if this is accurate. If any of you Local 728 guys know otherwise, please let me know.

I think this forum should have a section just for electrical issues like this, separate from lighting in general and just focusing on stuff like Distro, electrical safety, etc... I know in some countries, electrical duties are part of the grips jobs, but for those of us in countries where these duties are part of the electrical department, it might be helpful to have a separate forum. Sorry for going off topic.
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#6 Hal Smith

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 09:29 AM

I've used arc welding ground clamps for tie-ins on buss bars. Direct tie-ins (not using an existing breaker, outlet, etc.) are definitely only for knowledgeable and experienced, they're the kind of thing that if you have to ask about on an Internet forum...you probably shouldn't be doing. I would strongly recommend not doing direct tie-ins unless you have a pretty good knowledge of residential and commercial electrical distribution to start with and then someone to train you.

I've watched power crews do direct tie-ins on live circuits in emergencies. They wear around $2,000 worth of arc-flash protection gear and hi-tension gloves and NEVER do it by themselves, it's always a full line crew.
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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:32 AM

I had heard that California recently passed a law making tie-ins illegal, .......


It serves no purpose to post information such as this without a link to a credible reference.


Tricos are still made, a 5 wire tie in set in small medium or large can still be purchased. I will add that the design of some residential panels makes it difficult to attach a trico to the hot or supply bus. A tie-in using an appropriately sized breaker would be a better choice.


If you wish to obtain some protective equipment, insulating gloves and/or sleeves for class 0 work would be sufficient. In addition, you'll need to wear leather protetive gloves over the rubbers to keep from tearing or wearing through them. A pair of safety glasses will protect your eyes and absorb most of the ultra-violet light emitted during an arc-flash.
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 12:49 PM

I'm a little surprised this thread has gone this far. One of the many, even countless things I like about my local area is that the power companies are patching in stingers at every customer location. I've got a fiberglass stinger pole. The city engineers get pissed if they see me with it. The county guys don't give a crap as long as you don't try to blame them when you blow your brains clean out of your skull.

Electricity is dangerous. No doubt. But, it is knowable. It is work-withable. I imagine both Hal and JD have worked with it "old school" and got the job done and no one got killed.
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