July 23, 2004 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. II No. 14
Ski Trip

Dead in the Water

Code Calculations

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

Violation Validation

EC&M Code Conference

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    Nightmare Installations
    Ski Trip
    While I was working on a bathroom remodeling project at an old ski lodge, the plumber told me he would get shocked when he stuck his hand in the wet concrete that he was re-pouring in a chase. 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 just 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 system.
    Mike Stauffer
    Orem, Utah

    Accuracy and Diagnostic Functions for Maximum Industrial Productivity
    The new Fluke 87V has improved measurement functions, trouble-shooting features, resolution and accuracy to solve more problems on motor drives, in plant automation, power distribution and electro-mechanical equipment.
    • Unique function for accurate voltage and frequency measurements on adjustable speed motor drives and other electrically noisy equipment (87V)
    • Built-in thermometer conveniently allows you to take temperature readings without having to carry a separate instrument (87V)
    Visit our Web site for more details.

    Dead in the Water
    Late one rainy Friday afternoon I was called by an owner 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. The owner never wanted a water-cooled breaker electrical panel and neither did the inspector.
    Tim Crabb
    Dubuque, Iowa

    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 Calculations
    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 ground-fault 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 circuit breaker [110.3(B)].

    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.

    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: literature@egseg.com

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

    Hint: Missing connections and so much more.

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Can a single transfer switch be used to supply both emergency and non-emergency loads, such as a UPS for telecom equipment?
    See the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steve Owen
    Consider a large industrial complex with multiple buildings. According to the 2002 NEC, what would the proper location for 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 the electrical room(s) inside one of the industrial buildings. This complex is under single management.

    1. 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 the area served by each.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Each disconnecting means shall be marked as a "service disconnect."

    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 literature. www.exair.com

    Faces of the Code
    Ken Vannice
    Member, Code-Making Panel 15

    Plenty of electrical engineers who serve on NEC code-making panels have two college degrees, but Ken Vannice is probably 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 in 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 Technology (USITT).

    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 on many people's radar, so we weren't bothered by the electrical inspectors 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 anymore."

    Electrical inspectors' lack of familiarity with the entertainment industry in the mid-'80s was what led Vannice -- with the support of the 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. "But because we go about it in an unconventional way sometimes, inspectors not familiar with what we do might question it. Once they understand how 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, but he still 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 toes."

    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.

    Speak Out
    Violation Validation
    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 instances they were violating the NEC. When is it acceptable to violate the Code? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us.

    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 fountain of youth.

    Shows and Events
    EC&M Code Conference
    Haven't signed up yet for one of EC&M's 2005 Code Change Conferences? There's still time. Download the registration form, and pick the closest seminar. Fill it out and fax 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 conference 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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