July 8, 2004 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. II No. 13
CONTENTS
Living on Borrowed Power

Now That's a Hazardous Location

Code Basics

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

Fuel Cell Forecast

EC&M Code Change Conference


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    Nightmare Installations
    Living on Borrowed Power
    In the late '80s I was learning the trade under another electrician in State College, Pa. During a commercial office suite rewiring project, I kept getting nipped by the drop ceiling grid as I worked on what we thought was a dead circuit. I told my boss, and he tested the circuit -- hot to neutral and hot to ground -- "proving" the circuit was dead. I continued my work and continued to get nipped. I commented on it again and again until he grew tired of my complaints and tested it again, but this time he added the neutral to ground and the neutral to drop ceiling. We found that the neutral was being back fed from another office on another panel, and it registered 60V on the meter. Someone had wired a circuit in that office and "borrowed" a neutral from us. The other office was locked, so we waited until we had access to it before finishing that circuit. The moral of the story: Even on seemingly simple circuits, test all wire combinations to each other and to a proven ground.
    Ron Lentz
    Lewisburg, Pa.



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    Now That's a Hazardous Location
    As an inspector for construction and renovation projects in health-care facilities, our normal duties included an annual life safety survey of the larger hospitals. On one such survey I was asked to look at an area that was making the safety director of one hospital uncomfortable: At one rear service entrance to the hospital, we found the smoking area was adjacent to the maintenance shop that had a paint booth. We quickly discovered minor problems like improper storage of combustible gases and LP gas. After a closer look we identified the area as a classified location based on the use of explosionproof fittings and boxes and the fact that the conduit system was intact. Furthermore, I found explosionproof flex connected to an explosionproof motor junction box that was attached to a non-explosionproof TEFC motor.
    Trey Morgan
    Tallahassee, Fla.


    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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    Applications Corner
    Code Basics
    By Mike Holt
    A change to 338.10 of the 2002 NEC is meant to clarify that when Type SE service-entrance cable is used for interior wiring it needs to comply with the installation requirements of Parts I and II for NM cable, but not the 60°C conductor ampacity limitations of 334.80. This change simply reverts the text back to the requirements contained in the 1996 NEC. It's important to note that Type USE cable can't be used for interior wiring because it isn't listed for this application.

    Visit EC&M's Web site to view an example problem.


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    Code Challenge
    What's Wrong Here?
    By Joe Tedesco
    How does this installation violate NEC requirements?

    Hint: This equipment is located in the closet of an existing single-family dwelling.

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Is a disconnecting means for an outdoor spa or hot tub at a single-family dwelling required to be located within sight of the unit?
    See the answer.


    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    Consider a large industrial complex with multiple buildings. According to the 2002 NEC, what is the proper location for the disconnecting means for the eight 3,000A feeders that are installed between the eight 2,500kVA substation, 480V secondaries located outdoors, and the eight 3,000A, 480V switchgear(s) located in the electrical room(s) inside one of the facility's buildings?

    1. The disconnecting means shall be located at the nearest point of entrance (of the feeder conductors) into the building.
    2. There shall be only one disconnecting means for this installation, which must be located as written in answer a).
    3. There may be multiple disconnecting means for this installation. However, all disconnecting means must be grouped together in one location.
    4. The disconnecting means may be located remotely from the electrical equipment it serves or at the nearest point of entry of the feeder conductors into the building if the facility has qualified persons to maintain the installation along with established and maintained documented safe switching procedures.

    Visit EC&M's Web site for the answer and explanation.


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    Faces of the Code
    Ken Krastins
    Member, Code-Making Panel 13

    In retrospect, Ken Krastins couldn't have chosen a more interesting time than the late '90s to make a career change. Not long after he left the gas and steam turbine-generator industry to take a codes and standards application engineering position at fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power, the fuel cell industry itself began a rapid evolution that would continue for several years. ANSI, NFPA, CSA, UL, ASME, and IEEE were in the process of developing product and installation standards, but more importantly to followers of the Code, the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, which was just getting off the ground, was busy writing what would become the NEC's first Article on fuel cells.

    Krastins had a hand in writing or revising each of those standards, and it was his work for the Fuel Cell Council on the development of Art. 692 that would help him land a seat on Code-Making Panel 13. Now completing his first full term on the panel -- he joined midway through the 2002 Code cycle -- he's the Fuel Cell Council's principal representative. "It worked out logically," he says. "Since I was the one most heavily involved in the project, it made sense for me to assume the role."

    Not only did Krastins face the difficulty of being the "new guy" when he joined the panel, he also had to fight the uphill battle of stumping for a relatively new technology. He encountered challenges early on, helping some panel members accept some of the basic ideals of distributed generation technologies that were foreign to them. But, he says, those difficulties didn't compare to the challenges he encountered during the development of the IEEE interconnection standard and those requirements developed with the New York State Public Service Commission for interconnecting distributed resources with electric power systems. "You're talking about a technology that in some ways is intending to supplant the existing utility equipment," he says. "That makes for a push-pull relationship."

    In just a few years Krastins has made a measurable contribution to the fuel cell world, but the irony is that it wasn't his original chosen career path. "My first choice in school was computers," he says. "I joke around with a friend of mine who writes software now because he studied power systems all the way through school and I studied computers, but we ended up swapping."



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    Speak Out
    Fuel Cell Forecast
    Ken Krastins predicts that Art. 692 could undergo some significant changes in the 2008 NEC once the industry and inspectors have more experience with fuel cell installations. How long do you think it will be before fuel cell technology enjoys modest adoption in the United States? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us.

    Last issue we asked you if panel members with specialized experience in one field should be able to put their expertise to use by offering a fresh perspective on a panel that didn't necessarily cover the Articles specific to their experience. While the majority of you (59%) thought these specialized panel members should contribute to the panels that most directly relate to their work, a sizable minority thought otherwise. Is the Code suffering as a result?

    Shows and Events
    EC&M Code Change Conference
    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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