Dispenser Retrofits – Field Modifications

Retrofit kits are routinely used to upgrade or change the functionality of products. There is no truer example of this than fuel dispenser retrofits.

Fuel dispenser retrofits allow station owners to upgrade existing fuel dispensers to the latest technologies or to comply with local vapor recovery regulations. Retrofits allow such adjustments with the advantages of minimized construction effects and station downtime.

Photo 1. A dispenser with a valance


Compliance with Codes

In most cases, installing a dispenser retrofit requires disruption of dispenser circuitry or disassembly of the dispenser, which generally necessitates permits and interaction with the local building official or other AHJ to determine whether the field-modified dispenser continues to meet the applicable code requirements.

NFPA 30A, the “Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages,” addresses field modification of dispensers under Section 6.3. Specifically, NFPA 30A states, “existing listed or labeled dispensing devices shall be permitted to be modified provided that the modifications made are ‘Listed by Report’ by an approved testing laboratory or as otherwise approved by the authority having jurisdiction.”

Photo 2. A dispenser with credit card payment option

Product certification covered as a “Listed by Report” includes a report that identifies and describes the complete assembly and that includes instructions for proper installation. Copies of the report are available from the Listee.

UL’s certification of dispenser retrofits is covered under the product category for Dispensing Devices, Retrofit Assemblies (ERKQ). Guide Information for this category is available in the 2008 UL White Book on page 120 and in UL’s Online Certifications Directory:www.ul.com/database.

What Type of Dispenser Modification Calls for Listed by Report Retrofit Kit?

Dispenser modifications can vary from changes in graphic decals to the addition of credit card readers. Anytime a modification requires dispenser panels to be removed and/or the dispenser’s electrical circuitry to be tapped or interrupted, the AHJ will usually require the modification be evaluated as a “Listed by Report.”

Photos 3. A dispenser with a site installed valance

UL’s evaluation of dispenser retrofit kits includes witnessing the installation of the retrofit kit using the installation instructions developed by the manufacturer to determine the feasibility of the installation. UL’s evaluation also includes a construction review of the installed retrofit to ensure the modified dispenser continues to:

  • Operate in a safe manner for consumers
  • Comply with the applicable requirements of UL 87, the Standard for Safety of Power-Operated Pumps for Petroleum Dispensing Products.
  • Comply with the applicable electrical requirements of NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, especially wiring techniques required in classified areas

The construction review of the retrofit kit will likely include testing—input test, temperature test, rain test, etc.

Important Criteria to Consider During a Field Modification

As part of the evaluation of a retrofit kit, UL considers what it will take to install the retrofit and effects the retrofit kit has on the dispenser. In some instances physical changes are severe and require the use of power tools to access components. The use of power tools, with arcing/sparking components, is prohibited in classified areas. The dispenser or dispenser component will need to be moved to a safe location to complete the assembly procedure.

Another important aspect to consider is the effects the retrofit has on the general mechanical/electrical systems of the dispenser. Retrofits may require rewiring of dispenser power circuits or reconnection of hydraulic lines. Such changes will likely require re-inspection of related system components (e.g., conduit lines, fuel product lines, etc.).

Photo 4. Close-up of valance and unevaluated use and placement of receptacle on flammable fluid confining part

Special construction criteria and/or site considerations are documented in installation instructions accompanying UL certified retrofits.

For more information about dispensing device retrofit assemblies, contact Joe Bablo in Northbrook, IL, at +1-847-664-3995 or Joseph.Bablo@us.ul.com; or Al Ramirez in Northbrook, IL, at +1-847-664-2905 or Alfredo.M.Ramirez@us.ul.com.

Alfredo M. Ramirez
Alfredo M. Ramirez, manager of UL's Regulatory Service, oversees UL outreach and support of the regulatory community. Ramirez has worked for UL over 19 yrs and conducted evaluations and determined market requirements for electrical, mechanical, fire, etc., products at a global level. He has participated in various NFPA code committees and currently is the chair of NFPA 30A.