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Introduction to PEARL Standard Section 1300, Revision 6
Inspection, Testing and Reconditioning of
Low Voltage Panelboards, Switchboards, & Switchgear

I. Introduction
The section of the PEARL Reconditioning standards covers the following several low-voltage devices including circuit breaker panelboards, switchboards and switchgear. Although these devices are different in function, the inspection, reconditioning, and testing of all of these devices have enough in common that PEARL believes in appropriate to group them together under section 1300.

PEARL Section 1300 Low Voltage Panelboards, Switchboards & Switchgear reconditioning standards include:

  • 1310 Low Voltage Panelboards
  • 1320 Low Voltage Deadfront Switchboards
  • 1330 Low Voltage Metal Enclosed Switchgear Assemblies

    II. Components
    Electrical installations usually have several loads, often on a single circuit. Panelboards, switchboards, and switchgear are methods of consolidating control of those circuits into a common enclosure on common bus. In these applications, typical components include:

  • Cabinet or enclosure
  • Deadfront
  • Vertical bus
  • Horizontal bus (connecting cabinet sections)
  • Main or feeder switch
  • Main or feeder circuit breaker
  • Circuit breaker operator assembly
  • Motor starter or contactor
  • Fuses
  • Control power transformer
  • Fuse holders
  • Wiring devices
  • Pilot devices

    III. Testing and Inspection
    PEARL Standards begin with the definition of the term "Reconditioning" as "the process of returning electrical equipment to safe and reliable operating condition based upon the design of the original manufacturer at the time of manufacturing."

    This is followed by identification of the required information tables to be found in Section 6000 of the standards. Each individual standard within this section refers to its own set of reference tables as well as all of the other standards necessary to complete the process of reconditioning a system covered by this specific standard. In Section 1300, the technician will also be referred to:

  • Section 1100: Low Voltage Disconnect Switches
  • Section 1200: Low Voltage Circuit Breakers
  • Section 1400: Low Voltage Transformers Standard 1420 – Low Voltage Transformers Control Power & Instrumentation
  • Standard 1430: Low Voltage Current Transformers
  • Section 1500: Low Voltage Motor Control
  • Standard 1520: Low Voltage Motor Control Center Buckets
  • Section 1700: Protection Relays
  • Section 1800: Low Voltage Contractors and Relays
  • Section 1900: Apparatus Accessories
  • Section 3110: Low Voltage and Medium Voltage Fuses

    Next the standards list test equipment that will be required to complete the procedure, including:

  • Insulation Resistance Test Set (Megohmeter) 1000 Vdc minimum

    One of the following pieces of test equipment may be required to perform the testing requirements of this reconditioning standard:

  • AC Voltage Supply
  • AC Current Supply
  • AC 3-Phase Voltage Supply
  • DC Voltage Supply

    One of the following pieces of test equipment may be required to perform the testing requirements of this reconditioning standard:

  • Digital Low Resistance Ohmmeter (DLRO - 10 amp unit is sufficient.)
  • DC Current Source and a Millivoltmeter

    Megohmeters/Hipot sets are all dedicated to the testing of insulation integrity. Digital Low Resistance Ohmmeters (DLRO), and DC Current Source with mVmeter are instruments for determining the level of resistance in a circuit. This could be a wired circuit or a bussed circuit. Buss joints and wire or cable connecting points are very sensitive to proper pressure or torque. Improper tightness can result in heat build up that can translate into loosening or degrading of that connection over time. The DLRO is also the main test used to determine the protective value of fuses.

    IV. Reconditioning
    The recondition evaluation section for low voltage panelboards, switchboards & switchgear standards follow a step-by-step inspection of the device components in logical order to assure all areas are subject to visual observation.

    The next section of the low voltage panelboards, switchboards & switchgear takes a technician through the “as found” testing steps which includes but is not limited to insulation resistance, contact resistance, control device operations. The standard instructs the technician to evaluate the overall condition of the various means of isolating current carrying from non-current carrying areas of the system; proper level of conductivity through both main power and control power current carrying paths; proper operation of control devices and smoothness of operation of mechanical elements such as pivots, bearings, levers, springs; and debris, corrosion or indications of deterioration. Once all tests and inspections are preformed, the technician records the results on the standard’s Recondition Evaluation form.

    The visual inspection along with the as-found testing helps determine the actual recondition procedure. The reconditioning procedure specifies disassembly and cleaning of all parts and subassemblies, replacement of parts where necessary, tightening or adjusting where necessary. Certain processes that that are not shown in the standard may become necessary based on as found results and will be addressed in future updates to the standards. These are more repair procedures than maintenance but will be addressed as our standards continue to grow in scope.

    Assembly of the reconditioned components and subassemblies is followed by final inspection and testing. As with all testing, inspection, and reconditioning operations, final inspection and test results are recorded onto the Evaluation and Test forms included with the standard. If a PEARL certified technician follows the reconditioning standard, the low voltage panelboards, switchboards & switchgear assembly is eligible for a Blue PEARL Reconditioned Quality Seal.

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