120V, 20A equipment arrived with 250V, 20A inlet - does this meet code?

Junkman

Member
Location
North FL
Occupation
Facility Manager
It's just supply semantics. 120v always uses a "grounded" neutral, the other are line-line.

Ask the question from the plug context, does NEMA prescribe how the pins may or may not be used used? Maybe some can argue that a UL listing that uses only line-line test does not cover a line-neutral setup, but in reality line-line test should cover a line-neutral setup as long as you don't exceed rated voltage.

This is likely a snafu in the realm of NEC/UL. What exactly is the danger?
I guess the danger is that I have TONS of equipment with this same L6-20P inlet that uses 208V. Every lab room in the building has 208V L6-20R receptacles on the wall. Many rooms have a 1 or more L6-20p to L6-20R extension cables in them. Professors and students come and go, so the likelihood that this will get plugged into 208V in the future is high.

Also, our in-house electrical engineer thinks that it violates code, but we can't find out exactly which one. And he doesn't want us to connect it as it is. So, if I can find the right info, then we can ask the manufacturer to check the inlet to 120V (HBL 2315), removing all issues.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
I guess the danger is that I have TONS of equipment with this same L6-20P inlet that uses 208V. Every lab room in the building has 208V L6-20R receptacles on the wall. Many rooms have a 1 or more L6-20p to L6-20R extension cables in them. Professors and students come and go, so the likelihood that this will get plugged into 208V in the future is high.

Also, our in-house electrical engineer thinks that it violates code, but we can't find out exactly which one. And he doesn't want us to connect it as it is. So, if I can find the right info, then we can ask the manufacturer to check the inlet to 120V (HBL 2315), removing all issues.
So the danger is, some other L6(male) equip will get connected using your special cord to the L5(120v20A) supply, or, your 120v20A L6 equip get's directly connected to a L6(208v) supply?

Can someone wire a 120/240 motor for 120 and then connect it to 208v or 240v, especially when no nameplate is there?

Make nameplate, tag the cord as "special".

The 120v equip L6 is a terminal screw termination on back side? If so, swap it out for a L5 version, then nameplate tag it as "120v20A", and if someone later comes and says "hmmm, this thing can run 208v" and wants to re-wire it that way, then thy should know the flanged L5 won't be right.

But then I ask, if all your equip is 208, and this one pc of equip had an option for 208, why did it come as 120? Did anyone say yet "send it back, get the 208v version".
Junkman said:
Many rooms have a 1 or more L6-20p to L6-20R extension cables in them. Professors and students come and go, so the likelihood that this will get plugged into 208V in the future is high.
Well, yes, if it fits then sticking paper clip in the small blade of a NEMA 5- is likely.
The solution is, swap it to a L5 inlet, or, send it back, get the 208v version. The latter seems to be more logical to me if everything there uses 208 with extension cords.
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
From an NEC / AHJ perspective, I could argue that using the L6 is not allowed as the NEMA description says "does not provide a neutral".

So why then did the equip make send a 120v20A wired thingy with a L6 inlet?

Technically from a volts/amps context, L6 can carry L-N-Gnd, but NEMA describes it using some choice words.

Send it back, get the 208v, or, have the company come out and rewire it for 208v.

NEMA L6

NEMA L6 connectors are rated for 250 V. They are intended for two-pole, three wire hot-hot-ground circuits with a nominal supply voltage of 240 or 208 V, depending on phase configuration. The L6 connector does not provide a neutral connection.

L6-20 and L6-30 connectors are commonly found on in-rack power distribution units in countries where the mains supply voltage is greater than 120 V. They are also found in the US for heavy-duty 240 V equipment such as welders, where the higher supply voltage allows a lower current draw. These connectors are thus found where industrial equipment or large power tools are commonplace.
 

Jamesco

Senior Member
Location
Iowa
I guess the danger is that I have TONS of equipment with this same L6-20P inlet that uses 208V. Every lab room in the building has 208V L6-20R receptacles on the wall. Many rooms have a 1 or more L6-20p to L6-20R extension cables in them. Professors and students come and go, so the likelihood that this will get plugged into 208V in the future is high.

Also, our in-house electrical engineer thinks that it violates code, but we can't find out exactly which one. And he doesn't want us to connect it as it is. So, if I can find the right info, then we can ask the manufacturer to check the inlet to 120V (HBL 2315), removing all issues.
Did you tell the equipment manufacture that?

That's a horse of a different color. If there are L6-20R wall receptacles, therein fed by a 208V branch circuit, are there any power cords that have an L6-20P on one end and an L6-20R cord cap on the other end? If the plug fits! Imo therefore the equipment's L6-20R male inlet connector is not idiot proof.

I would call the manufacture back and tell them you would like to change the 250V L6-20P inlet to a 125V L5-20P inlet. That would make it idiot proof.
.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
@myspark: The issue is that they used a HBL 2325 (L6-20P) on a 120V piece of equipment. It clearly does not fit the 125V male twistlock (L5-20P). The equipment is wired for 120V, 20A. Since they also make a 208/240V version, they use the same HBL 2325 plug on all of them and ask the end user to fabricate a cord that adapts it to their available receptacle. So, the cord ends up being L6-20R to L5-20P/5-20P depending on the receptacle on the wall.

But nothing stops someone two years from now from plugging this same machine into a 208V outlet (because it fits and people only often only pay attention to what plug fits, not the actual voltage, especially when dealing with students).
Well, no one can soar like an eagle if that someone hangs out with turkeys. (sorry for the laconic analogy)

Seems like you are dealing with a special purpose machine that requires knowledge of electrical utilization equipment. . . using it will require more than just dealing with students.
Sounds like home made, jury-rigged equipment-- designed by amateurs.

The connection can be altered any which way you want. . . but it requires “solid” understanding of electrical standard connections...not expected from students and can be trusted to be done by students.
Alterations are not recommended however.

This is one reason why we have LICENSED electricians just like nurses and plumbers.
When there is a machine that is designed-- that requires consumer level voltage, in this case 120 VAC appliance. . . the voltage rating ABOVE 120 VAC--are equipped with plugs/sockets with a range of 208 volts to 240 volts. Nowhere in their usage manual will tell you to have a 120 VAC plugs/sockets for this voltage range.

On the other hand--consumer products designed strictly for 120 VAC are NOT equipped with plugs/sockets for 208-240 VAC.

There is an exception: desktops are equipped with IEC standard plug. (mentioned by other poster). You can plug it into either 120 volt or 240 volt source (with proper adapter) and there is a slide switch for correct voltage.
This is because desktops are intended for worldwide distribution.

I’ve never seen one with the plug configuration you mentioned --and the usage you intend to use it.

Of course I haven’t ordered/bought any appliance delivered direct by FEDEX-- that comes from Zhenshen, China. LOL
And no appliance of that kind is sold and made in North America that is meant for local consumer.

Majority of countries outside US operate on 220 VAC.
You won’t find a juicing machine for mom’s kitchen--with a 240 plug powered from a 240 VAC source like those high wattage ones for electric heaters.
If you find a 220 volt appliance, it would be equipped with the European SCHUCKO plug or British Standard . . . not a NEMA twistlock

So, the above manufacturing guideline--as well as mandated by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA) is for consumer safety and standardization.
You won’t have to worry about plugging it (accidentally or intentionally) to the wrong voltage--twenty to thirty years into the future.

Codes and Standards Committee (C&S) is the overseer of NEMA.
 

Jamesco

Senior Member
Location
Iowa
I’ve never seen one with the plug configuration you mentioned --and the usage you intend to use it.

Of course I haven’t ordered/bought any appliance delivered direct by FEDEX-- that comes from Zhenshen, China. LOL
And no appliance of that kind is sold and made in North America that is meant for local consumer.

Majority of countries outside US operate on 220 VAC.
You won’t find a juicing machine for mom’s kitchen--with a 240 plug powered from a 240 VAC source like those high wattage ones for electric heaters.
If you find a 220 volt appliance, it would be equipped with the European SCHUCKO plug or British Standard . . . not a NEMA twistlock

So, it was designed and built in the US. Each machine is custom built, but many have been field certified by a NRTL lab (according to the company). No one ever questioned this before, they say.

@ myspark

The equipment was designed and manufactured in the US. Apparently it is NRTL listed.

If the piece of equipment is plug and play I can't see why the NEC or the AHJ would be at play? It's a cord and plug connected piece of equipment.

As for changing the 250V L6-20P inlet connector to a 125V L5-20P all the OP needs is the approval of the manufacturer of the equipment. Preferably by the tech support/engineering department. A company email would be better than an approval over the phone. The OP needs something in writing for, (protect), the warranty on the equipment.

.
 
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myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
@ myspark

The equipment was designed and manufactured in the US. Apparently it is NRTL listed.

If the piece of equipment is plug and play I can't see why the NEC or the AHJ would be at play? It's a cord and plug connected piece of equipment.

As for changing the 250V L6-20P inlet connector to a 125V L5-20P all the OP needs is the approval of the manufacturer of the equipment. Preferably by the tech support/engineering department. A company email would be better than an approval over the phone. The OP needs something in writing for, (protect), the warranty on the equipment.

.
What equipment is that?

This sounds like a case of "writ of habeas corpus".
Show us the body so we can decide for ourselves.
 

Jamesco

Senior Member
Location
Iowa
@ myspark

Page 2, post #37.

Quote:
So, it was designed and built in the US. Each machine is custom built, but many have been field certified by a NRTL lab (according to the company). No one ever questioned this before, they say.

Page 3, my post #48

So, it was designed and built in the US. Each machine is custom built, but many have been field certified by a NRTL lab (according to the company). No one ever questioned this before, they say.
.
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
If the piece of equipment is plug and play I can't see why the NEC or the AHJ would be at play? It's a cord and plug connected piece of equipment.
It wasn't P&P. The equip maker says "field made-up cord".

Since NEMA uses the words "does not provide a neutral " any AHJ could argue the L6 cannot carry a neutral.

Best options:
1) swap it out for a L5
2) send the whole darn thing back and get the 208v version, since everything else there is 208v
3) 1 or 2, problem solved
 

Jamesco

Senior Member
Location
Iowa
It wasn't P&P. The equip maker says "field made-up cord".

Since NEMA uses the words "does not provide a neutral " any AHJ could argue the L6 cannot carry a neutral.

Best options:
1) swap it out for a L5
2) send the whole darn thing back and get the 208v version, since everything else there is 208v
3) 1 or 2, problem solved
The OP can buy a factory made power cord that is UL listed. If it's UL listed it's approved for its' intended use isn't it?
If as you say the equipment falls under the NEC, if the equipment is NRTL listed doesn't that satisfy the NEC?

Best options:
1) swap it out for a L5
I agree. Especially in the facility the equipment will be used.
Please read my post #46.

.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
The OP can buy a factory made power cord that is UL listed. If it's UL listed it's approved for its' intended use isn't it?
If as you say the equipment falls under the NEC, if the equipment is NRTL listed doesn't that satisfy the NEC?
This is not a cord question. And does UL tests prescribe it's use? What would this special cord be UL listed for, a "120v20A" test?
The UL or NRTL does "testing by criteria". Is there a UL or NRTL "test" # that says "meets all the NEC rules"? I do not see where UL is tied to NEC in any way, just as NEMA is not, etc.

UL and other NRTL labs have many tests, so what NRTL test was this equip marked with?

I don't think we can say "does it fall under the NEC?". If the AHJ says things are to be done to code using NEC 20xx, then everything there falls under the NEC. Can the AHJ "approve" non listed items, sure it can, it's up to the AHJ. Art 100 "Approved - acceptable to the Authority Having Jurisdiction".

I am just scratching my head as to why the 120v version was received to begin with. The unit will consume power, and with 208v there will be less wasted power in the wires, and, less overall heat.

Get the 208v version, or swap the flange to a L5.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
As mentioned very early in this thread, this sounds quite analogous to a machine with an IEC C14 inlet. These are very very common, for example on computer equipment. And for years the equipment would have a little switch selecting between 120 and 240V use. Use the wrong cord and plug into the wrong outlet, and out comes the magic smoke. This risk seems to be considered acceptable.

In this particular case, you have a NEMA style inlet rather than an IEC inlet serving the exact same purpose.

IMHO because this is a common risk commonly considered acceptable, I don't believe you will have any way to force the manufacturer to give you a modification.

However because of the circumstances in your facility where you have other equipment that uses this same inlet for 208V, I agree that you have a particular risk that needs to be addressed. Probably the simplest thing to do is to get the appropriate 5-20P to L6-20S cord made, and use a strap or cover to permanently affix it to the machine. In this way the casual user will only encounter the 5-20P cord end and only be able to plug into a 120V receptacle.

When the cord needs to be changed, a screwdriver would be required, giving the person doing the repair a good long time to stare at the 120V label.

-Jon
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
As mentioned very early in this thread, this sounds quite analogous to a machine with an IEC C14 inlet. These are very very common, for example on computer equipment. And for years the equipment would have a little switch selecting between 120 and 240V use. Use the wrong cord and plug into the wrong outlet, and out comes the magic smoke. This risk seems to be considered acceptable.

In this particular case, you have a NEMA style inlet rather than an IEC inlet serving the exact same purpose.

IMHO because this is a common risk commonly considered acceptable, I don't believe you will have any way to force the manufacturer to give you a modification.

However because of the circumstances in your facility where you have other equipment that uses this same inlet for 208V, I agree that you have a particular risk that needs to be addressed. Probably the simplest thing to do is to get the appropriate 5-20P to L6-20S cord made, and use a strap or cover to permanently affix it to the machine. In this way the casual user will only encounter the 5-20P cord end and only be able to plug into a 120V receptacle.

When the cord needs to be changed, a screwdriver would be required, giving the person doing the repair a good long time to stare at the 120V label.

-Jon
Although true, the IEC inlet is made (spec'd) for the intended purpose. The NEMA L6 specifically says "does not provide a neutral", thus it's use is technically limited by NEMA words.
 

Jamesco

Senior Member
Location
Iowa
This is not a cord question. And does UL tests prescribe it's use? What would this special cord be UL listed for, a "120v20A" test?
As in a UL listed assembly. It's listed, safety tested, for it's intended use.

You're the one that made it a cord question, not me.

Your post #51:
It wasn't P&P. The equip maker says "field made-up cord".
I just gave you an example of a UL listed power cord for the equipment in question. It doesn't have to be a "field made-up cord". The OP can buy a ready made UL listed cord.
Therefore the unit is a plug and play piece of equipment, imo.

Assuming this equipment is considered portable. The NEC is an installation standard, not a product standard. Where in the NEC does it say how a manufacturer shall design and build his product?

As for the AHJ in the OPs area who knows what they may say one way or the other. I doubt they would say the AHJ has any control over how a manufacturer designs and builds a piece of portable equipment. Especially if the equipment is Listed.


I am just scratching my head as to why the 120v version was received to begin with.
Just a guess 120V is what was ordered. And just a guess the department head that ordered the equipment did not ask the OP or the EE for their input or blessing.
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
As in a UL listed assembly. It's listed, safety tested, for it's intended use.

You're the one that made it a cord question, not me.

Your post #51:


I just gave you an example of a UL listed power cord for the equipment in question. It doesn't have to be a "field made-up cord". The OP can buy a ready made UL listed cord.
Therefore the unit is a plug and play piece of equipment, imo.
I am rather certain, the UL listing on such UL tested cord will not say "for use with XYZ make/model". More likely will be a "tested for 120v20A" UL listing. If the cord came with the equip, kinda still in the same boat, you have two items that are "listed" and they work together, but one listing does not indicate that the items is for use with another specific item. Certainly the make of the equip could supply install doc that says "must use supplied cord", which then limits how the equip can be connected to an outlet.

UL listed ocpd's, does the UL listing for a CH ocpd say "only for use in a CH distro panel"? No, but Eaton puts labels on their stuff indicating such, like "only use BR breakers in this panel", or, "for use in CH only panels". The UL listing for the ocpd is test criteria like amps, trip curve, voltage, etc. You see what I mean?

It's kinda intereting to see a L6 to L5 cord assembly UL listed. The L6 is then violating the NEMA description for L6 usage.


Jamesco said:
Assuming this equipment is considered portable. The NEC is an installation standard, not a product standard. Where in the NEC does it say how a manufacturer shall design and build his product?

As for the AHJ in the OPs area who knows what they may say one way or the other. I doubt they would say the AHJ has any control over how a manufacturer designs and builds a piece of portable equipment. Especially if the equipment is Listed.

Just a guess 120V is what was ordered. And just a guess the department head that ordered the equipment did not ask the OP or the EE for their input or blessing.
The AHJ has control over what electrical standards it follows, any "accepted" listing standards (UL being just one of many), and any "accepted" non-listed items, portable or not.

Why not OP just ask the AHJ what they think?
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Even using 406.8 for your argument.
If the OP buys a UL listed adapter cord and uses the UL listed adapter to the feed the piece of equipment, the NEC is satisfied.
https://www.lockingpowercords.com/products/978-5-20p-to-l6-20r.aspx

Question is, does the manufactured adapter cord even fall under the NEC? Does the piece of equipment fall under the NEC?

.
So, the adapter is not UL listed. According to IronBox (the maker of the adapter), UL requires both ends be rated the same voltage. Yes, it can carry 120v20A just fine. Can the AHJ accept it, I dunno, that's up to the AHJ.

So, it's not possible to get a L5/L6 cord assembly UL listed. Maybe some other NRTL lab does, but not UL.
 
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