May 23, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. III No. 10

320.30 -- Secured and Supported

Fill 'er Up

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

California Adopts the 2002 NEC

States Rights

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    Top 2005 Code Changes
    320.30 -- Secured and Supported
    By Mike Holt
    This section was reorganized with editorial changes to add clarity and uniform interpretation. (Note: Code text has been paraphrased.)

    What the Code says:
    (A) General. Type AC cable must be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings, designed and installed not to damage the cable.
    (B) Securing. Type AC cable must be secured within 12 in. of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or fitting and at intervals not exceeding 4 1/2 ft where installed on or across framing members.
    (C) Supporting. Type AC cable must be supported at intervals not exceeding 4 1/2 ft. Cables installed horizontally through wooden or metal framing members are considered secured and supported where such support doesn't exceed 4 1/2 ft intervals.
    (D) Unsupported Cables. Type AC cable can be unsupported where the cable is:
    (1) Fished through concealed spaces in finished buildings or structures, where support is impracticable; or
    (2) Not more than 2 ft long at terminals where flexibility is necessary; or
    (3) Not more than 6 ft long from the last point of cable support to the point of connection to a luminaire or other piece of electrical equipment within an accessible ceiling. For the purposes of this section, Type AC cable fittings are permitted as a means of cable support.
    (Text new to the Code is underlined.)

    Behind the change: The new subsection (A) gives a title to the opening paragraph and includes requirements that apply generally. The requirements for securing and supporting have been separated into (B) and (C), as they are two different issues.

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    Nightmare Installations
    Fill 'er Up
    One day I was sent to a gas station to investigate why the computer boards on the electronic equipment kept blowing out during storms. The first thing I noticed was the lack of grounding or bonding past the meter except for rigid conduit that extended from a gutter to three separate safety switches that fed three panels inside the store. That was an easy fix, but things got more complicated when we found a separate lighting panel. The manager said it would get extremely hot at times, and when I removed the cover to investigate I found that the panel interior was being held in place by 2 inverted styrofoam cups. The plastic board meant to hold everything in place had succumbed to the heat and deteriorated. The breakers were clinging to the bus bars, which were propped up by the cups, and when I removed the cover the whole thing swayed in the box. I couldn't find any ground wires entering or leaving the panel. Needless to say, the second half of the project was a little more difficult than the first.
    Barry Kinsey
    Lawton, Okla.

    Send your 200-word story to us and it may appear in a future issue of CodeWatch. Authors of stories chosen will receive $25.

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

    Hint: Is there a plumber in the house?

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Does the Code require an electric motor-driven fire pump to be connected to a standby generator if a standby generator is installed on the premises?
    See the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    For cord-and-plug connected utilization equipment, as permitted in 400.7(A)(6) and 400.7(B) of the 2005 NEC, which of the following conditions doesn't require the use of an attachment plug energized from a receptacle outlet?

    1. A vertical branch circuit cable drop made from a junction box that was properly sized and supported
    2. A vertical branch circuit cable drop made from a bus plug connected to a busway, meeting the requirements of 368.56(B). The attachment cap was omitted, and the equipment was wired directly
    3. Cord-and-plug connected utilization equipment supplied from a receptacle outlet, in which the utilization cord cap was plugged into a wall outlet of the proper configuration and rating
    4. A vertical branch circuit cable drop made from a bus plug connected to a busway. The cable was installed with two vertical and horizontal runs in this one cable installation; in other words, the cable wasn't just vertical

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

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    Code News Update
    California Adopts the 2002 NEC
    The calendar says 2005, but it's 2002 all over again in California. The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) recently adopted the 2004 California Electrical Code, which consists of the 2002 NEC and numerous state amendments, and will begin enforcing it in August. The state had been operating under the requirements of the 1999 Code and planned to adopt the 2002 NEC last year, but the process stalled when the decision was made to adopt all construction codes at the same time. That would have meant waiting for a new edition of the California Building Code, which isn't expected to be ready for two to three years, so the commission made an exception and pushed through the electrical code's adoption. The 205-page summary of the California amendments to the 2002 NEC is available at the CBSC's Web site.

    Speak Out
    States Rights
    To say that the California Building Standards Commission wanted to make a few changes to the 2002 NEC before adopting it would be an understatement -- the commission's list of amendments is more than 200 pages long. States and municipalities are within their rights to adapt the Code to their needs, but that begs the question, What's the point of a national Code if it can change from one municipality to the next. Should local or state governments be allowed to amend the Code? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us.

    If this isn't enough to make you want to don the highest level PPE the next time you open switchgear, nothing will: Nearly three-fourths of CodeWatch readers have found a tool or other potentially dangerous item when opening a cabinet. So fess up -- who's leaving this stuff behind?

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