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Author Topic: question on breaker panel placement.  (Read 1074 times)
Uglydog56
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« on: September 28, 2011, 11:06:04 AM »

So I mounted my breaker panels in my bus and was showing my friend Dan how it turned out.  They are basically in the hallway on the backside of my shower, adjacent to the toilet, in the center of my coach.  He said "Good job, too bad it's illegal."  He told me breaker panels can't be in the bathroom and they have to be 6 feet away from a water source.  If that is true I'm basically going to have to put the breaker panels on the front bulkhead under the dash!  I want the panels inside, are there any legal options here?  Originally the bus had two breakers for everything, in a small panel under the sink, with a thousand wires running off them.  THAT's definitely wrong.  This is a crown; I don't have bays to stick stuff in.  Advice please?
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Rick A. Cone
Silverdale, WA
66 Crowny Crown "The Ark"
bevans6
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 01:48:52 PM »

This is a good one.  In my truck camper (my only pro-made RV) the breaker panel is part of the converter which is basically in the same compartment as the water pump and tank.  Maybe 6" from both.  One of my breaker boxes is near my kitchen sink.

Brian
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 01:52:21 PM »

I'm not going to quote NEC here but there are a lot of considerations that can't be met when putting a panel in a bus.

You need to have 30 inches of working space in front of and beside the panel

The panel is supposed to be at approx eye level (won't happen in a bay)

There is supposed to be a walking surface in front of the panel (once again won't happen in a bay)

The six feet is for the purpose of not getting the electric and the plumbing together (typically doesn't count if it is around the corner)

HTH

Melbo
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Len Silva
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 02:03:33 PM »

Technically, he is correct, not the best choice for location.

Even though I am something of a code wonk, I would not lose a lot of sleep over this one.  It is better than another common violation, that is installing the panel in a clothes closet.

Unlike a house, it is easy to completely remove all power sources from breaker panel in a bus before working on it, and the risk of shock is greatly reduced.

If you are not going to pee on it, I wouldn't be too concerned.
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 02:09:15 PM »

If it is next to the toilet, how about lean on it while all hot and sweaty, holding a beer, and peeing in the toilet?  That could get exciting with a little ground problem...

 Shocked

Brian
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Len Silva
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 02:14:03 PM »

No Brian, That's just a DGFD  (Drunk Ground Fault Detector)
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Uglydog56
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 04:17:06 PM »

Hee hee, I'll have to make sure not to install the DGFD.  Thanks, guys, I'm going to leave it then. 
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Rick A. Cone
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Sean
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 08:15:20 PM »

...  He told me breaker panels can't be in the bathroom and they have to be 6 feet away from a water source.  ...


This is simply not correct.  He is quoting from a part of the code that applies to a different occupancy, not an RV.  Here's what the 2008 code has to say about it in an RV situation (Section 551.45B):

"Location. The distribution panelboard shall be installed
in a readily accessible location with the RV in the
setup mode. Working clearance for the panelboard with the
RV in the setup mode shall be not less than 600 mm (24 in.)
wide and 750 mm (30 in.) deep.

Exception No. 1: Where the panelboard cover is exposed
to the inside aisle space, one of the working clearance
dimensions shall be permitted to be reduced to a minimum
of 550 mm (22 in.). A panelboard is considered exposed
where the panelboard cover is within 50 mm (2 in.) of the
aisle’s finished surface.
"

The code recognizes that panelboard location in an RV is necessarily limited by the tight quarters and odd spaces specific to that environment.

With all due deference to my good friends (and electrical experts) Len and Melbo, I believe that they, too, are thinking of parts of the code that apply to other occupancies and not RVs.  The above section contains the only specification for panelboard location and access in the RV environment, and, as you can read, it does not proscribe installation in a bathroom or require 6' of separation from water sources.

That said, article 408.37 does require that panelboards in "Damp or Wet Locations" be installed in compliance with 312.2, which basically requires a weathertight enclosure.  Note that "damp or wet locations" has a very specific meaning, and just being in a bathroom does not qualify a location as damp or wet.

So unless your installation violates the working clearance specification defined above, or the panel is actually exposed to water, it is neither illegal nor code-prohibited in an RV.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 08:28:20 PM »

So unless your installation violates the working clearance specification defined above, or the panel is actually exposed to water, it is neither illegal nor code-prohibited in an RV.

Has anybody here ever had their coach inspected by an (NEC) inspector?
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Uglydog56
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 09:04:46 PM »

Thanks Sean!  I have at least that much space.

While I'm not worried about getting inspected, I do want to build something safe, right, once.  I mean, it's a 66 Crown.  Anyone inspecting will be looking for pot or guns, not for proper wiring.
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Rick A. Cone
Silverdale, WA
66 Crowny Crown "The Ark"
TomC
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2011, 07:48:32 AM »

Rick-is that a 35ft'r or 40ft'r and what engine/transmission do you have?  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
Uglydog56
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2011, 07:57:13 AM »

35 (single axle) with a 220 cummins and a 5 speed.  Going to a rto 13spd and a smoke turbo, Although there's a guy here with a 250hp 855 small cam/10spd that wants me to buy it really bad, and has me wavering a little bit.  It is an old yellowstone tour bus already converted.  I was looking at GMC's but wanted something I could pull a trailer behind.
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Rick A. Cone
Silverdale, WA
66 Crowny Crown "The Ark"
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