Dead in the
Faces of the Code
EC&M Code Conference
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The designations "National Electrical Code" and "NEC" refer to the
National Electrical Code®, which is a registered trademark of the
National Fire Protection Association.
While I was working on a bathroom remodeling project at
an old ski lodge, the plumber told me he would get shocked
he stuck his hand in the wet concrete that he was re-pouring in a
When my coworkers and I entered the bathroom we noticed a new copper
line directly over the hole he was filling. Upon testing the pipe we
read nothing to ground. When we pulled out our voltage indicators they
would glow anywhere in the room. We dragged an extension cord in from
another room but read nothing from the pipe to neutral or ground. After
tearing into several boxes inside the room we found a spread lock m/c
connector that had been overtightened and had no bushing pressed into
the m/c. The neutral was pierced by the cut edge of the metal covering
and had energized the whole ground system. The wet concrete created
potential between the energized pipe system and ground. The 60V was
enough to make our voltage indicators glow. The plumber was resting his
hand on the copper pipe and got shocked when he placed his hand in the
wet concrete. This was a perfect example of a poorly or unbonded water
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Dead in the Water
Late one rainy Friday afternoon I was called by an
to look at a recently approved permanent installation that had water
flowing through the meter socket into the base of the breaker panel.
When I arrived on-site the power company's transformer was about 4
inches deep in water. I proceeded to look at the meter socket and panel
that were both wet on the bottom of the boxes. Water was also flowing
out of a cracked conduit coupling. After calling the power company, I
found that the conduit installed to the house was underwater in the
transformer box and slightly above the elevation of both the meter
socket and the breaker panel. Having identified the source of the
problem, the power company extended the conduit to above the water line
and scheduled the raising of the transformer for the following week.
owner never wanted a water-cooled breaker electrical panel and neither
did the inspector.
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
The requirements for protecting the branch-circuit
conductors, control apparatus, and circuits that supply hermetic
refrigerant motor-compressors against short circuits and ground faults
are noted in 440.22. The size and type of short-circuit and
protection device for air conditioning and refrigeration equipment are
often marked on the equipment nameplate. The manufacturer calculates
these ratings per 440.22 and 440.32. If the equipment nameplate
specifies "Maximum Fuse Size," use a one-time or dual-element fuse. If
the nameplate specifies "HACR Circuit Breaker," use a HACR-rated
Short-circuit and ground-fault protection can't exceed the nameplate
ratings. If the equipment doesn't have a nameplate that specifies the
size and type of protection device, how do you size those devices? That
depends on whether you're sizing for multiple motors or a single motor.
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
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: Missing connections and so much more.
By Mike Holt
Q. Can a single transfer switch be used to
both emergency and non-emergency loads, such as a UPS for telecom
See the answer.
By Steve Owen
Consider a large industrial complex with multiple
buildings. According to the 2002 NEC, what would the proper location
the plaque or directory be 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
electrical room(s) inside one of the industrial buildings. This complex
is under single management.
- A sign shall be placed at each feeder location denoting
all other services, feeders, or branch circuits that supply that
building or structure or pass through that building or structure and
area served by each.
- A red sign shall be placed at each feeder location to denote all
other services, feeders, or branch circuits that supply or pass through
that building or structure and the area served by each.
- A plaque or directory shall not be required for large-capacity,
multibuilding industrial installations under single management, where
it's ensured that disconnection can be accomplished by establishing and
maintaining safe switching procedures.
- Each disconnecting means shall be marked as a "service
Visit EC&M's Web
site for the answer and explanation.
Cool Electronic Cabinets
Low cost Cabinet Coolers prevent hot weather failures by keeping
electrical enclosures cool. 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
Faces of the Code
Member, Code-Making Panel 15
Plenty of electrical engineers who serve on NEC
code-making panels have two college degrees, but Ken Vannice is
the only one who can say his second is in theater arts. Although vastly
different, the two have intersected in the least likely of places and
taken him from his work as a stage manager at his high school theater
Bozeman, Mont., to an engineering career in Portland, Ore., and a spot
on CMP-15 as a representative of the U.S. Institute for Theatre
Not only is Vannice the principal, he was the entertainment
industry's first member to win a seat at the NEC table in 1988 -- he
still has the certificate of appointment hanging on his office wall.
Since then, along with representatives from the Motion Picture
Association of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical
Stage Employees, among others, Vannice has done his part to modernize
the special occupancy sections that apply to the theater. "We weren't
many people's radar, so we weren't bothered by the electrical
very much," Vannice says. "But as we got more and more visible, we had
to deal with a Code that didn't relate to our equipment or our industry
Electrical inspectors' lack of familiarity with the entertainment
industry in the mid-'80s was what led Vannice -- with the support of
USITT -- to join CMP-15. And the first order of business was to
demonstrate that even though they hadn't been closely monitored, they
were still safe. "There are a lot of things our industry has pioneered
because we needed it -- long before the NEC required it," he says.
because we go about it in an unconventional way sometimes, inspectors
not familiar with what we do might question it. Once they understand
we do it, though, they can see it's safe."
Now a project manager for dimming products in Leviton's R&D
department in Portland, Vannice has given up his work behind the stage,
has plenty of time to sit in front of it in the audience. The only
problem, though, is catching the shows while they're in town. "A show
that goes to L.A. will stay for a month or two, but it will only come
here for a week," he says. "You have to be aware of them and be on your
The National Electrical Code Internet Connection, the No. 1
rated Code Web site in the world, offers the following FREE products:
Books, Code Quiz, DVDs, Graphics for PowerPoint, Newsletter, Online
Training, Posters, Simulated Exams, Software, Video clips, and Videos
Visit www.NECcode.com and stay
current with important industry issues.
The entertainment industry outgrew the requirements of
the Code long before Ken Vannice joined CMP-15, so he and his fellow
entertainment engineers had to improvise, knowing that in some
they were violating the NEC. When is it acceptable to violate the Code?
Visit EC&M's Web site to
Either 33% of CodeWatch readers are going to die soon or it may be a
while before fuel cells gain even a modest hold on the U.S. industrial
sector. One third of you believe you won't live to see 5% of industrial
facilities equip themselves with a fuel cell. In related news, the U.S.
fuel cell industry has begun research into the development of a
Shows and Events
Haven't signed up yet for one of EC&M's 2005
Change Conferences? There's still time. Download
the registration form, and pick the closest seminar. Fill it out and
it to (203) 929-5351. Registration for the first conference, to be held
in Atlanta on Oct. 27-28, is open through Aug. 27. And it's not too
late to take advantage of early bird registration for the San Francisco
and Seattle seminars, but procrastinators beware: the deadline for both
is Aug. 6. Moderated by Mike Holt and Fred Hartwell (Boston
only), the two-day conferences will cover everything you need to know
about the 2005 Code. All attendees will receive a copy of the 2005 NEC
and EC&M's 2005 Code Change Book, written by Mike Holt.
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