Flexible Cables: Important Safety Issue [RE-wrenches]

Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power cfreitas at outbackpower.com
Fri Aug 27 17:45:11 PDT 2004


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Phil Undercuffler wrote:
> Outback has been using post terminals on all their breakers from day 
> one.  Perhaps they saw some writing on the wall regarding this issue.  
> How about it, Chris F:  willing to share the pertinent portions of UL 
> 486 A-B?  I know Dan Rice is too much of a peanut butter and jelly kinda 
> guy to pony up the $330! ;-)

Yes - all of the DC breakers we use in the OutBack PSDC/PS2DC enclosures 
are stud type - either 1/4" or 3/8" size.  The inverter DC terminals are 
actually 8mm studs (a little smaller than 3/8").  

All of the AC breakers (and the DC breakers in the PSPV combiners) are 
what we call "elevator" type terminals - there is a cage that clamps 
around the wires as the screw is tightened - there is no contact of the 
screw on the wire itself.  This is far superior to the normal set-screw 
type connections. The TBB (terminal buss bar) do use set-screw type 
terminals however - but there is enough room to use THHN type wire with 
them instead of the fine strand type.  

We also had our share of problems when using fine strand cables over the 
years - so we decided to go to the stud type terminals on all of the 
OutBack products where possible.  Stud type terminals also allows 
multiple wires to be terminated on the same stud - which is really handy 
under many circumstances. I high vibration situations 
(automotive/marine) ring terminals are often required as the wire won't 
fall out of the terminal if it gets loose - which can be a real issue).  

The cost of the UL standards is something we should probably discuss 
over a beer instead of here - but here is a good one - I spent years 
going to meetings and working on the UL1741 standard committee and then 
was told I had to buy the final version once it was published... 

I guess we should fell flattered that Xantrex is copying us...   

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com  
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030  

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