Is a UL listing mandatory for specialized electrical equipment?

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Specifically an X-10 coupler/repeater that's mounted next to the circuit panel in an ABS enclosure and connected to both phases via a tandem breaker.
Will my AHJ freak out because it's not UL listed?
TIA,
--
Bobby G.



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On Wed, 26 Feb 2014 06:21:31 -0500, "Robert Green"

Depends on the inspector. They certainly can tag it if they want to. What is the scope of the permit you have?
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Who said I had a permit? (-: We don't need no stinkin' permits.
This is concerning possibly changing the current setup. I had extensive discussions about the potential hazards of using a non-listed device with its creator who assured me that the enclosure he selected would contain any mayhem. To avoid inspection hassles, I ended up wiring the device through a 240VAC outlet that I installed (that did pass inspection after I corrected a nicked wire around a screw terminal). The inspector never questioned the repeater/coupler because he never saw it.
Now I am considering hard-wiring the unit to the panel and would like to find out if the AHJ will freak out because the device is not UL listed and what the issues are relating to non-listed equipment. It's much harder to hide once it's permanently connected. One of the problems other X-10 users have run into is that some inspectors have absolutely no idea what X-10 is nor do they want to know.
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Bobby G.



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On Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:11:06 -0500, "Robert Green"

If you don't have an open permit, how is the AHJ going to know you have this thing and if you do get a permit later, this will be "existing" and if it is not in the scope of the new permit, they still will not say anything most of the time..
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<stuff snipped>

The NSA will tell them. Or Yahoo will hijack my webcam and show them. <humor alert>
It would be my luck that they took pictures or good notes. I know, arf arf.
Thanks, I'm not as worried as I was.
Here's a different question. A long time ago when I had central air installed, they added a breaker to my breaker box and ran wiring to the outside to a disconnect and then to the A/C but no one ever came to inspect their work. Do A/C installers get a "pass" for things like that?
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Bobby G.



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On 3/2/2014 9:15 AM, Robert Green wrote:

Was inspected. Failed because the breaker they installed did not have the correct sticker on it. Breaker had to be replaced. Inspector didn't even look at the wiring, just the stickers on the breaker and external disconnect. In Oregon.
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When I was an inspector, my wife was a builder. I would come home from a seminar and warn her what the inspectors would be looking for next week. I was usually right.
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<stuff snipped>

Thanks for the data point. It's a little disturbing that the inspector didn't bother to look at the wiring, just the stickers. If they got the breaker choice wrong, I might suspect they did something else wrong.
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On Sunday, March 2, 2014 12:15:33 PM UTC-5, Robert Green wrote:

I guess that would depend on the AHJ. Most places in the US you'd need an electrical permit for that, the work done by a licensed electrician or the homeowner, with an inspection.
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<stuff snipped>

I often wondered whether they were supposed to call the inspector but didn't bother. I don't think there's a mechanism for the AHJ to find such installations. They were the low bidder and they proved it with their less than stellar work (garbage, knock outs and all sorts of metal stuff left outside where they could get picked up by the lawnmower).
Lo barato cuesta caro. ("The cheap becomes the expensive")
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Bobby G.



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On Thu, 6 Mar 2014 11:24:45 -0500, "Robert Green"

In SW Florida, Lee County particularly, there is not much emphasis on catching homeowners doing unpermitted activity. They do try to catch unlicensed or unpermitted activity by 3d parties but this is more in the vein of consumer protection than revenue. Generally it is complaint driven or, occasionally, an inspector will see a job in progress and there is no permit on record or the trucks do not have a license number on them. You still have the right to refuse entry into your house without a warrant and they seldom ask unless they can just cajole you into thinking having them taking a look at the work you are having done is a good thing. The "contractor" himself is still subject to being accosted when he comes outside and they can call the sheriff if the guy is hard to get along with. Generally this will just be an administrative action if the guy has a license.
This is separated from the tax man. That is a separate agency that uses aerial photos and biannual on site inspections to get their money. If you can see it outside the house, it will show up on your tax bill, even if nobody ever mentions it to you.
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<stuff snipped>

I've seen that happen to a number of house-flippers on the various "Flip This House" TV shows, especially concerning outside work like redoing steps leading up to the house.

Yeah, that's like cops trying to convince a suspect to "get ahead of this thing" before you get into real trouble. Don't believe it!

That's a big IF.

I'd like to get "separated from the tax man." Permanently!

Been there, done that with the damn central AC that I no longer even use. One year I challenged my assessment and boy oh boy did they ever lace into me with every inspector/inspection they could think of. The "message" was "don't challenge us - EVER!"
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On Sun, 2 Mar 2014 12:15:33 -0500, "Robert Green"

Not legally but it does happen a lot. Another example is a water heater. Most are replaced without a permit, most AHJs think they need one. I have even heard CBOs saying they wish Home Depot (et al) would be required to see a permit and record the number before they sold one
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<stuff snipped>

The butthead that installed my WH the last time around certainly could have used inspecting. Thank God I had already installed a CO detector because he had not attached the flue pipe to the chimney correctly and a week after the install it just fell off. Unlike car exhaust, there was no tell-tale odor of any kind (I realize CO is odorless, but with cars, you can usually smell exhaust gas).
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On 3/6/2014 11:27 AM, Robert Green wrote:

Glad that got discovered, and didn't lead to illness or worse.
I got to replace a length of flue pipe one time for a WH, the power company guy noticed and redtagged the unit. Not much room to work, and it was a real challenge. Perforated galvanized strap makes up for a lot of lack of man hands. My arms are too short.
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http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/08/4875172/permits-are-lacking-on-many-home.html#navlink=subnav Permits are lacking on many home furnace replacement jobs in area A review by The Star of public records from Kansas City, Lee's Summit, Overland Park and Olathe tracking the replacement of residential heating and cooling units in 2013 determined that permits were rarely pulled. The records showed that some of the area's well-known and established heating and cooling companies took out few if any permits. This means many homeowners don't get safety inspections to ensure carbon monoxide is vented properly.
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On 2/26/2014 6:21 AM, Robert Green wrote:

I've been looking to get one for some time. I'm using the regular X10 repeater (XPCR) now and, in this location, it seems to work ok ... although it has had some issues. AT Christmas, when I use many modules, I had, just for one evening, a situation where my 1132CU was picking up constant 'noise' and blinking its light. I suspect that the XPCR was sending out some random stuff, but really don't know. I saw this in my more suburban house a few years ago and in fact, couldn't use the XPCR at all. It generated so much noise, it would block or generate its own X10 signals. Here in a more rural setting, it seems to work ok. The XTB unit is not UL approved, unfortunately ... especially, if you opt to save a few $$$ and buy it in kit form. But, the reviews seem to say it's the best unit out there for x10 repeating. BTW, I know it's wrong, but I have my present XPCR hidden inside the breaker box, so it's not easy to see the LEDs on it, but keeps it from being easily seen.
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<stuff snipped>

Yes, I actually have a few because I was one of his beta testers from the very get-go and ended up with every piece of equipment he ever designed.

I have that unit - a lot cheaper than the XTB-II but you really get what you pay for. The problem with the XPCR is that it doesn't substantially boost the signal. The XTB-II can detect very weak X-10 signals smaller than 100mv and boosts them to around 25 volts. That's why very little on the market compares, performance-wise.
Jeff's also worked very hard on perfecting the firmware which means accounting for the many devices that *almost* follow the X-10 protocol. IIRC, the biggest issue is that some device makers put the X-10 signal out at the wrong place on AC cycle - slightly before or after the location specified by the protocol and that has some pretty serious repercussions in trying to design a repeater. Creating something like an X-10 repeater that has to deal with devices from dozens of different manufacturers (some of them extinct!) is quite a challenge.

I had a Leviton repeater that would go into a "babel" mode when you hit it with just the right command (dimming, IIRC - that's hard for a repeater to handle because of the open-ended nature of such commands). The unit would start sending out fragments of legit X-10 commands (one reason a meter is now a necessity) in an endless cascade. That meant *nothing* in the house worked because the powerline was taken over by a strong, thoroughly corrupted string of signals.
I am ashamed to say that first unit (the Leviton) was installed in the panel, temporarily, with jumper cables. EEEK! (-: It didn't stay there long because of all the trouble it caused. I was about to trash my X-10 setup. I posted a note in CHA about the repeater problems and Jeff contacted me about testing his new repeater. The rest, as they say, is history.

I also had a bad CM11A that would start spewing commands endlessly when it overheated. They apparently had made a big batch of bad units. The CM11A was also known to "speak in tongues" if you made a mistake and left the RS-232 programming cable attached to the CM11A but not the PC.

The XPCR is OK as a repeater/coupler in simple setups but it lacks it the incredible power of the XTB-II. It's also missing some very nice features like a digital input port so you can plug devices like HomeVision or Ocelot controllers directly into the repeater without needing an intermediate device like a TW523.
In my house, with the plethora of plug in equipment like switched power supplies and UPSs (a known X-10 killer) there's just no operating X-10 without the XTB. A while back when I was working on the circuit panel I disabled the XTB and it became immediately apparent how much the successful functioning of X-10 now depends on having a powerful coupler/repeater.

I only bought the assembled versions because I've never seen anyone solder as cleanly or professionally as Jeff. I also think it's important to support small businesses like his. Very few people are making things in the USA anymore. There's also the small matter of my absymal soldering skills.
We had extensive discussions about getting a UL listing and it's just not justifiable at his sales volume. Install a 240VAC outlet near the circuit box (you can use an existing dryer hookup but the closer to the panel, the stronger the signal). Then you don't have to worry too much about the inspector.
If you install the XTB-II in a separate metal box it's not very likely that even a catastrophic failure would do more than melt the components. The unit is internally fused and installed on a dual breaker that trips both phase connections if either one causes a trip. Not sure what the right word for such physically linked breakers is . . . (senior moment)

I agree wholeheartedly and I have tried most of them. I have repeater/couplers from X-10, ACT, Leviton and more. They are junior leaguers compared to the XTB line. His XTBM line of meters is also unmatched for the price. The higher priced one has a built in repeater check function that tests the repeater function every time the meter is plugged in. Jeff's one of the most detail-oriented people I know. If for any reason you had a problem with one of his units, I am sure he would work very hard to resolve it. I can't recommend his stuff highly enough. Just look at the pictures of assembled products and you'll see the attention to detail I am talking about.
http://www.google.com/search?q=xtb+photos+volp&num &safe=off&prmd=ivns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X

And you're worried about the XTB's NOT being UL listed?!!! You bad dog, Art!!!! (-:
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On 2/28/2014 5:59 AM, Robert Green wrote:

into flames. And, I have some home made stuff which is certainly not UL ... maybe the individual part are, but not the whole thing. My plan for the XTB would be to install it in a box next to the panel.
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wrote:

It sounds like a safe plan to me. As long as it is behind a suitable breaker you might see some smoke but the fire should be safely inside the box and the breaker should stop it. That is all we expect from any electrical equipment.
If it is not within the scope of a permit, I doubt an inspector would even give it a glance. They don't just come in and demand to see your stuff.
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