Camping happy with the CE Code • David Pilon
February 14, 2017 - Believe it or not, it’s that time of year when firms start looking ahead to the camping season and campground upgrades. Nothing much has changed in recreational vehicle parks over the past CE Code cycle, but a number of changes took place over the past 15 years to make this part of the code clearer.
One such example is the branch circuit for each receptacle at a recreational site, which shall be preceded by an individual overcurrent device not exceeding the rating of the receptacle involved. This means individual lots should not be looked upon as feeders tapping off of a loop fed from a single breaker, unless each pedestal has an individual breaker protecting it. Otherwise, this would violate Rule 72-106(1).
As 20A receptacles became popular, they became “acceptable” for installation in recreational vehicle lots. This was followed by the requirement for 15A and 20A receptacles to provide Class A GFI protection, which increased flexibility for installations and provided added protection for facility users. Recently, the TT-30A was added to the list of approved receptacles, making it easier to use in other locations.
Another change over the years involves service and feeder calculations, wherein all branch circuits for the receptacles shall be considered continuous loads as per Rule 8-104. Demand factors are provided for the calculations based on the ampacity of the largest receptacle at each site. Were a site to have both 50A and 20A receptacles, it would be calculated as a 50A load.
However, when using multi-wire branch circuits to feed a duplex receptacle (split plugs), remember that it must be counted as two in your calculation, as per Rule 72-102(3), and would still require Class A GFI protection (which may involve a 2-pole Class A GFI breaker).
In the past, some jurisdictions would allow you to run feeder conductors using USEI or USEB cable to park distribution centres (where you would re-ground the neutral). As Section 10 changes come into force in some jurisdictions, you should note that re-grounding the neutral here is a violation of Rule 10-204.
In fact, the system shall be grounded at the transformer (or other source of supply) then connected to a grounding conductor at each individual service, with the connection made on the supply side, having no connection between the grounded circuit conductor and the grounding electrode on the load side. This means that the ground conductor should be run with the service conductors to each feeder service.
By re-grounding the neutral, we create a situation where fault currents are possible through the soil when it is wet enough. I investigated such a fault in a recreational vehicle park where every time the renters returned to their campers from swimming (and everyone was dripping wet), they would get shocks from the steps and handles while trying to enter their campers. The feeders eventually had to be replaced, and the problem disappeared. This particular installation was a utility distribution with the grounding taking place at each individual service.
Remember to check with your local AHJ prior to starting your installations, and send in your plans early to beat the rush. There may be snow outside, but it’s not too early to start prepping. Happy camping!
* This article also appears in the February 2017 edition of Electrical Business Magazine. Check out our ARCHIVE page for back issues.
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