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Illegal adapter? 1x63A to 2x32A

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by SanTai, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. SanTai

    SanTai Active Member

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    Hi!

    I found this cable which looks dangerous. Is there any setup where it might be legal and kosher to us? Such as both 32A plugs go into one PDU each.
     

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  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    No idea what electrical code is like where you are, but in the US you need a breaker anytime you step down from a higher rated circuit to a lower rated circuit.
     
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  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @SanTai I'm nearly blind and posting from Canada. I have several questions:
    Are those Cee-Form connectors?
    If so, how many contacts are on each of the connectors??
    Is this possibly a 3 phase male 63 Amp connector feeding two 32 Amp female connectors?
    OR
    Is this possibly two 32 Amp male connectors feeding one female 63 Amp female?
    In any case, on our side of the ocean we'd require fusing or circuit breakers to change connector amperage ratings and the fuses or breakers would need to be sized to protect the wire gauges in use.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  4. SanTai

    SanTai Active Member

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    It is 3 phase CEE connectors. 1x63A feeding 2x32A. As far as I know it should be illegal hear and most likely in most parts of the world. However I imagined that there might be a strange exception while feeding 2 PDUs with 32 A breakers or something. But my assumption is that it is illegal and dangerous unless anyone can prove a safe and legal use for it.
     
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  5. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @SanTai I wondered if it was possibly one three phase male being broke out to two single phase females but we'd still require fusing or circuit breakers on my side of the ocean.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  6. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Active Member

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    Trust your instincts. I certainly won't claim to know anything about Swedish codes, but typically you are required to have a breaker or fuse before the transition to a smaller gauge wire or lower-rated connector. The breakers in the PDU in your example don't do any good to keep the wire in between from melting in the case of a fault.

    The US National Electrical Code does have some very specific exceptions for permanently installed wiring, but the section on portable stage equipment clearly says that you cannot adapt from a higher current connector/cable to one with a lower rating. Everything in line has to be rated for the full current of the breaker feeding that circuit.
     
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  7. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    if it is, they are using the wrong Cees.
    Red Cee for three phase means blue Cee for single phase assuming a standard star voltage configuration (as can generally be assumed in the 230V world)
     
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  8. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Is it impossible that the *wire* in both sides of the tail is actually rated for 63A? That would meet code, no?
     
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  9. DrewE

    DrewE Member

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    It's possible that the wire is so sized, though I kind of suspect it's not. Even if it were, I don't believe it would meet code because the 32A connectors are being fed by a 63A source, even though there are two of them. If only one is in use, it would be entirely able to be overloaded to twice its rated capacity without tripping a breaker or anything.

    I will note that simple adapters going "down" in current rating are quite common in the RV world: 50A to 30A, 50A to twin 30A, 30A to 15A, and I've even seen a downright scary 50A to 2x15A one advertised...all without any sort of overcurrent protection. I think these adapters are not generally UL-listed. (50A RV connections are four wire 120/240V split phase, but 30A and 15A are 120V single phase. The 15A connections are plain ordinary Edison plugs and sockets, unsurprisingly.)
     
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  10. AidyJ

    AidyJ New Member

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    That's a fairly common sight in the UK, strain relief on the connector may not be good, but if it is this 100% safe when used alongside competent technicians.
     
  11. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  12. AidyJ

    AidyJ New Member

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  13. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    First off, nothing in this world is 100% safe.

    And this adapter has the potential to be no where near 100% safe.
    On a standard circuit breaker curve, at 100% loading, the trip time is in the order of an hour...
    So now we've got 63A flowing through a 32A rated piece of cable for an hour before anything ever thinks about tripping.
    That can easily start a fire.

    Now the risks are somewhat mitigated if you can be absolutely certain that the piece of equipment or distribution on the other end has a 32A breaker on its input. But that would not typically be a compliance requirement in most jurisdictions.
    The UK may be a different kettle of fish; their default domestic plug arrangement includes a fuse in the plug rated to protect the appliance and sized to the wire gauge of the connected cable, as the installation of ring mains at up to 32A rating is, or at least has been, fairly common. This may carry over to industrial loads and require input protection but I could not be certain, and would introduce an incompatibility with the requirements of other nearby jurisdictions that also use Ceeform, vs the UK plug being unintermateable with standard Euro connectors...

    In ABSOLUTELY controlled load environments, yes its use can be "safe enough", and I've been in a situation like that with somewhat similar adapters made for a particular gig, but whether your insurers or occupational health and safety regulators would also agree on it being safe enough is another story. As a general rule, there are too many ways that a sensible, trained individual could cause issues with this device if they are not intimately familiar with its particular use case and able to work within those parameters.

    The correct approach here would be a box with 63A in and a 32A breaker for each outlet. These are available as a stock commercial product. Jurisdictional or risk assessment requirements may also dictate the use of RCDs at some stage along the chain...
     
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  14. AidyJ

    AidyJ New Member

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    I agree, in the UK typically every distro has an MCBO. With intelligent staff which Ron makes it sound like you don't have this won't be an issue. As long as the required technical staff know what power is going where then then I cannot see there being an issue.
     
  15. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    The thing is, at least in Aus, there is no requirement for a distro to have an input breaker. It's quite compliant to have 4 or more 10 or 20A breaker fed from 1 32A inlet. If these are all loaded to capacity, you have exceeded your input rating and are relying on the upstream protection to handle that.

    If you have a 32A three phase device, like an industrial motor, there may not be any protection on board...
    We have a duty of care to anyone who might walk into a space and assume that the 32A extension socket they find is protected to allow them to connect such a load...

    No risk assessment program in the world allows for an assumption of "intelligent staff". You have to cater to the relief casual who knows enough about power to be safe but does not know your venue unless you have engineering controls like locks and interlocks to prevent them doing something dumb. This assumption also pays dividends when your staff are approaching the limits of their fatigue window where we know the chances of mistakes increase exponentially...
     
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  16. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    In the UK and perhaps elsewhere, an OCPD is built into the plug if the item to be powered has a smaller conductor than the supply outlet... at least that seems correct for household items.

    I don't know much about electrical regulations outside the USA so I'm not qualified to comment further except to say that in the USA, using such an assembly would likely be a Code violation.
     
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