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June 19, 2008 A Penton Media Publication Vol. VI No. 12

Cast Your Vote Now!

Multiwire Branch Circuits ― Take Two

What’s Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

State-by-State Electrical Regulations

Learn About the Changes in the 2008 National Electrical Code


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    EC&M Product of the Year Competition

    Cast Your Vote Now!

    Do you want the opportunity to win a $100 gift check? If you’re an EC&M subscriber, we invite you to help us select this year’s Product of the Year winner. The deadline for voting is June 22, 2008. To make your voice heard, visit the EC&M Home page anytime before now and then. Click on “vote now and become eligible for a $100 gift check,” located in the center of the page. You can click on a link for each of the 24 category winners to read a brief description of the product features and view a photo. Once you’re finished with your review, you can click on the "vote here for your favorite" link, which allows you to enter in your contact information, choose your favorite product, and click submit. As an added incentive to capture your vote, five lucky voters will be randomly selected to receive one of five $100 gift checks ― so don’t delay. Vote today!

    The competition has honored innovation and excellence in product development in the electrical industry for the past seven years.

    The Fluke 1735 Power Logger is the ideal electrician or technician's power meter for conducting energy studies and basic power quality logging. Set the Power Logger up in seconds with the included flexible current probes and color display. The power quality meter measures most electrical power parameters, harmonics, and captures voltage events.

    Top 2008 Code Changes

    Multiwire Branch Circuits ― Take Two

    By Mike Holt
    A new subsection requires all conductors associated with a particular multiwire branch circuit to be physically grouped at the point of origin. The requirement reads as follows:

    "(D) Grouping. The ungrounded and neutral conductors of a multiwire branch circuit shall be grouped together in at least one location by wire ties or similar means at the point of origination.

    Exception: Grouping is not required where the circuit conductors are contained in a single raceway or cable that makes the grouping obvious."

    Multiwire branch circuits offer the advantage of fewer conductors in a raceway, smaller raceway sizing, and a reduction of material and labor costs. In addition, multiwire branch circuits can reduce circuit voltage drop by as much as 50%. This new subsection requires that all associated conductors of a multiwire branch circuit be physically grouped together at least once with wire ties or other means within the panel or origination point of the circuit to make it easier to visually identify the conductors of the multiwire branch circuit. Grouping is intended to assist in terminating multiwire branch-circuit conductors to circuit breakers correctly, particularly where twin (tandem) breakers are used. This new rule includes an exception that relaxes this requirement where the entry of the circuit conductors of a cable or raceway makes it obvious which conductors are associated with each other, without the need for additional grouping or tie wraps.

    Caution: If care is not used when making these connections, two circuit conductors can be connected to the same phase conductor. If the ungrounded conductors of a multiwire circuit are not terminated to different phases, the currents on the neutral conductor will not cancel, but will add, which can cause an overload on the neutral conductor. Conductor overheating is known to decrease insulating material service life, which creates the potential for arcing faults in hidden locations and can ultimately lead to fires. It isn’t known just how long conductor insulation lasts, but heat does decrease its life span.

    If the continuity of the neutral conductor of a multiwire circuit is interrupted (open), the resultant over- or under-voltage can cause a fire and/or destruction of electrical equipment.

    Streamline the implementation of your Arc Flash and Electrical Safety Program; what used to take days, now takes mere seconds!  Watch EasyPower in action through our online videos  Experience the most accurate Windows®-based tools for designing, analyzing, and monitoring electrical power systems: EasyPower training will be in Portland, Oregon July 28 – August 1, 2008.  This seminar fills up quickly; download a brochure and register by July 14th!

    Code Challenge
    What’s Wrong Here?
    By Joe Tedesco

    Think you know how this installation violates the NEC?

    Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.

    Hint: Not recognizable

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Can I use 14 AWG conductor pigtails from a 12 AWG, 20A circuit so that I can backstab the wires to the receptacle?

    Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    Q. What is the minimum cover requirement for an underground installation of a 13.8kV feeder installed in a 3-inch Schedule 80 rigid PVC nonmetallic conduit in the earth? Assume this is a general condition installation.

    1. 6 inches
    2. 18 inches
    3. 24 inches
    4. 30 inches

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

    Cool Electronic Cabinets
    Beat the heat and prevent hot weather failures. UL Listed Cabinet Coolers from EXAIR 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.

    Code News Update
    State-by-State Electrical Regulations
    Looking for the latest electrical code, enforcement, and contractor/electrician licensing requirements for each state in the United States? Here’s a good starting point. Check out this National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) state-by-state source listing maintained by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) chapters. This valuable list also includes agency contact information, which offers you the opportunity to make contact with key members of local enforcement authorities.

    Eliminate Red Tags
    It takes more than the UL Mark on a product to satisfy code requirements. Before your next installation, use UL's Code Compliance Database to identify the correlation between model codes and UL Certified products, as well as find manufacturers of certified products.
    Click here today to find up-to-date UL Listed products at the UL Code Correlation Database.

    Shows and Events

    Learn About the Changes in the 2008 National Electrical Code
    In two informative and interest-filled days with Mike Holt, you'll learn about major NEC changes that will impact your work, whether you're an electrician, contractor, engineer, designer, or plant/facility maintenance person. You'll also earn continuing education hours and professional development hours.

    Two conferences are scheduled for later this year:
    --September 4-5 in Portland, Ore.
    --September 8-9 in San Antonio

    For more information and to register online, go to

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