If the Lug Fits...
What's Wrong Here?
Faces of the Code
To Use or Not to Use
EC&M 2005 Code Conferences
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A homeowner once called me and said that as he was looking out his back window, he saw his dog relieve itself on his new screened-in porch. The dog began yelping and ran under his car in the driveway, so he went outside in his bare feet to see what was wrong. He found out when he leaned against the addition and got shocked. When I arrived, I measured 120V-to-ground on the aluminum-framed structure. I located the bond wire, which had been attached to the frame, but it appeared to have been broken by a lawnmower. After I reattached the bond wire, the circuit breaker that served the room tripped. There were no electrical fixtures or equipment attached to or touching the structure. I was about to pull my hair out until I found one of the screws that attached the enclosure to the house was blackened. I removed the screw and found it was melted on the end. After I removed some siding from the house I realized that when the screened porch had originally been secured to the house the screw had penetrated a piece of NM cable and come into contact with the hot conductor. Without a bond, nothing tripped. After all of the repairs were made, everything was back to normal except the dog - he may never relieve himself on the porch again.
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If the Lug Fits...
The story in your April 8 issue of the file used to replace a fuse reminded me of a somewhat similar case. I was an application engineer for an equipment manufacturer, and my son was a project manager for an electrical contractor. He called and asked me to come and look at some "defective equipment." The electricians had installed a meter bank with a 600A molded-case main switch. When I arrived, I discovered that power was off for the entire building and utility company primary fuses had blown. The cover door over the main switch was blackened and all the paint was peeled off. One could readily see that the door had been red hot. Some 600A Class T fuses were to be installed on-site. Evidently, the electrician saw the molded-case main switch and assumed it was a circuit breaker. Steel lifting lugs had been shipped with the board for moving it with a crane, and as it turns out, the holes in the lugs fit the bolt-in fuse lugs perfectly. The electrician assumed they were splicing straps and installed them in place of the fuses. Suffice it to say, steel straps don't make good fuses.
Crystal Lake, Ill.
Send your 200-word story to us and it may appear in a future issue of CodeWatch. Authors of stories chosen for publication will receive $25.
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By Mike Holt
There are times when we need to add conductors to an existing raceway. But do you know how do so without damaging either the existing or new conductors, or both? You can ensure a quality and Code-compliant installation by first determining the available spare space in the raceway and then calculating the number of conductors allowed in this spare space. Here's a five-step process that will keep you on the straight and narrow.
Step 1: Determine the raceway's cross-sectional area for conductor fill [Table 1 and Table 4 of Chapter 9].
Step 2: Determine the area of the existing conductors [Table 5 of Chapter 9].
Step 3: Subtract the cross-sectional area of the existing conductors (Step 2) from the area of permitted conductor fill (Step 1).
Step 4: Determine the cross-sectional area of the conductors to be added [Table 5 of Chapter 9 for insulated conductors and Table 8 of Chapter 9 for bare conductors].
Step 5: Divide the spare space area (Step 3) by the cross-sectional area of the conductors to be added (Step 4).
Now you should be ready to tackle a sample calculation.
Q. An existing 1-inch EMT contains two No. 12 THHN conductors, two No. 10 THHN conductors, and one No. 12 bare (stranded) conductor. How many additional No. 8 THHN conductors can be added to this raceway?
Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.
UL Listed ETP Raintight Fittings Have Inspection Aid
ETP UL Listed Raintight EMT steel couplings and connectors feature exclusive InspectoRidge External Inspection Aid for faster identification by inspectors. Formed on the outside of the coupling or connector, it allows an inspector to visually determine that the fitting is raintight. Offered in 1/2-inch to 1-inch trade sizes, the fittings have an internal sealing ring and gasket, along with a KO sealing ring. Choose from insulated or non-insulated throat. The rugged steel construction has a zinc electroplate finish. The fittings install with standard electrician tools and methods.
For information, call 800-621-1506. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
What's Wrong Here?
By Joe Tedesco
How does this installation violate NEC requirements?
Hint: This device was installed many years ago and is served by
By Mike Holt
Q. Is it a violation of the Code to protect temporary lighting circuits with a GFCI? I've seen exposed temporary lighting wire (wire nuts fell off or were missing) touching metal studs, thereby presenting a potentially deadly work environment.
See the answer.
By Steven Owen
Q. A new Design E motor has been chosen to replace an existing 480V, 50-hp, 3-phase AC motor. The existing motor was fed from an existing size 3 motor starter (controller) located in an existing motor control center. When is it permissible to use the existing size 3 starter (controller), which is in very good condition, for this new Design E motor, which is also rated 50-hp, 480V, 3-phase?
- when the controller is rated as Type 2
- only when the motor control center is 10 years or older
- any time
- in general, it is not permitted at any time to use the same size starter (controller) for a Design E motor
Visit EC&M's Web site for the answer and explanation.
Cool Electronic Cabinets
Stop electronic control downtime due to heat, dirt and moisture. UL Listed Cabinet Coolers produce 20 degree Fahrenheit air from an ordinary supply of compressed air to cool electrical controls. Thermostat control minimizes air usage. Maintains the NEMA 4, 4X (stainless steel) and 12 rating of the enclosure. Web site offers detailed information, downloadable drawings and PDF literature.
Faces of the Code
Member, Code-Making Panel 7
Last winter Code-Making Panel 7 accepted the NEC Technical Correlating Committee's proposal to remove the "uses permitted" Sections from the 12 wiring method-related Articles it covers. Amidst opposition from a vocal minority that would eventually cause the panel to overturn its decision, the committee argued that rather than try to constantly update the list as new uses become available, it would be more useful to focus on those uses that weren't permitted. In the interest of compromise, the panel agreed to keep the Sections but include a disclaimer that they weren't all-inclusive lists. Richard Temblador agreed with removing them. "I think a lot of people relied on just that one Article, when in fact there are many aspects of the Code that apply," he says. "People don't necessarily refer to the other Chapters as much as they should to understand the other finer points."
When Temblador joined CMP-7 as a principal for the start of the 2002 Code cycle, he didn't expect to see the panel's work polarize its members to the extent it does, but he has since grown accustomed to it, thanks in part to his multi-discipline career path. Before ultimately becoming the manager of technical sales development at Alflex, he did electrical engineering consultant work and ran the design/build engineering departments for two electrical contractors, which gave him the opportunity to work on projects as diverse as hospitals and food processing plants. That unique combination of perspectives has helped him recognize his fellow panel members' differing points of view. "We may have disagreements during the panel sessions, but at the end of the day everyone walks away as friends," he says.
As a representative of the Aluminum Association, Temblador's using his time on CMP-7 to not only help improve the Code, but dispel some of the myths about the safety of aluminum. ("There are a lot of old misperceptions," he says.) More than a third of the principal members have changed since he started in January 2000, so that task could get easier. "There's been a changing of the guard," he says. "It's good to see new people come in and contribute."
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Visit www.NECcode.com and stay current with important industry issues.
To Use or Not to Use
In addition to improving safety requirements, Code-Making Panel members are also interested in improving usability. To that end, CMP-7 tried to remove "uses permitted" Sections from the wiring methods Articles in Chapter 3, but met with strong opposition. Was that the right play? Visit EC&M's Web site to let us know.
It's good to see that some of you rarely encounter electrical disasters, but the experiences of the other 84% of you should be enough to give everyone in the industry pause. Got an idea how to fix the problem? Write us and tell us how.
Shows and Events
EC&M 2005 Code Conferences
It's that time again. The release of the 2005 NEC is only months away, and to help you prepare for all of the changes, EC&M is once again presenting its Code Change Conferences. Moderated by Mike Holt and Fred Hartwell (Boston conference only), two of the electrical construction industry's most knowledgeable trainers, the two-day conferences will cover everything you need to know about the new Code. All attendees will receive a copy of the 2005 NEC and EC&M's 2005 Code Change Book, written by Mike Holt. Seven seminars will be held in various cities across the country.
Download the registration form to find the closest seminar, fill it out, and fax it to (203) 929-5351.
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