Sta-Kon® Luminaire Disconnect Meets New Industry Requirements

Dec. 7, 2006
Thomas & Betts has introduced the Sta-Kon® Luminaire Disconnect, the first device to enable disconnection of power to fluorescent lighting fixtures without exposure to live wires.  The Luminaire Disconnect was developed in response to a new National Electrical Code® requirement that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2008.  A similar industry requirement currently is in effect in the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, Canada, 2006 Edition.  The Luminaire Disconnect is the first to be UL® listed and CSA certified for this application.  It complies with NEC® 410.73 (G), 2005 edition, and CEC part I, rule 30-308(4).According to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, “277-volt lighting circuits are the biggest killer [of electricians].”  Connected between a fluorescent lighting fixture or ballast and incoming power, the Luminaire Disconnect is a cost-effective solution that enables the electrician to service the luminaire without exposure to dangerous voltage.  The Luminaire Disconnect consists of a male and female disconnect body with pre-stripped wire connected to the male and female contacts.  The contacts, similar to Sta-Kon’s male and female terminal disconnects, are made of tin-plated brass.  The disconnect terminals are housed in crack-, abrasion- and impact-resistant polycarbonate.Among the Luminaire Disconnect’s features is a finger-safe female line side with wire connectors that prevent the installer from touching hot contacts, eliminating the need to disconnect power to service the fluorescent luminaire.  The male side is connected to the fluorescent luminaire ballast - not to active power.  Other features include No. 18 GA AWG solid copper-insulated integral wire leads that are compatible with multiple sizes of copper or aluminum wire to simplify installation, as well as an integral latch in the polycarbonate housing, providing a visible and audible verification that the contacts are secured and preventing nuisance outages by not disengaging under small amounts of tension on the wires.  An additional benefit of the integral leads is the ability to provide a safe disconnect for a single luminaire that includes multiple ballasts - one disconnect removes the voltage from all the ballasts within the luminaire. “Beginning in 2008, all new luminaires must be installed with a luminaire disconnect,” said Dan Vega, product manager for Thomas & Betts.  “When a servicing electrician replaces a fluorescent luminaire in a commercial building, for example, the code will require the installation of a luminaire disconnect between the power line and the ballast.  Once the new disconnect is installed, the servicing electrician will be able to disconnect power to the ballast without handling live wires.  Canada’s requirements for luminaire disconnects already are in effect, but electrical inspectors haven’t been able to enforce them, because a luminaire disconnect hasn’t been available.”  Additional features include Pok-A-Yok design that enables mating halves to be installed only one way, ensuring the correct electrical polarization; oversized electrical contacts, which improve conductivity and limit temperature increases; a bright orange color that is clearly visible and signifies a safety device; clear identification of the line and load on each polycarbonate housing; and a rounded, compact design that is easy to handle and small enough to be used in tight applications.