August 24, 2004 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. II No. 16
South Paw Shocker

Hot Wax

Code Calculations

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

Above and Beyond

EC&M Code Conferences

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    Nightmare Installations
    South Paw Shocker
    Several years ago on a job the GC told me that every time the plumbing foreman came into his trailer he complained of getting shocked by the door knob. We thought that this was odd because he was the only one on the job who ever made this complaint. I got out my meter and checked for signs of stray voltage, but not sure what I was looking for, I didn't know where to start. I checked the door knob with every metal thing within 10 feet but to no avail. The GC said something about it again the next day, so I decided to try the meter again. About halfway through I got 98V to the hand rail, which was part of the freestanding metal stair to the door. I found that a baseboard heater wire was stripped and against the frame of the trailer, which was on rubber tires. After talking to the plumber, I learned that he was left handed and always held the handrail when reaching for the door. He was the only left handed worker to enter the trailer, so he was the only one to hold the rail while opening the door. We called him "missing link" from that point on.
    Jay LeFevre
    Arvada, Colo.

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    Hot Wax
    I went out on a service call to repair a non-working exit light in a grocery store. It was a thick light with cooling air holes on the top and bottom. I looked for the conduit that supplied the light to trace it back to the emergency lighting panel, but I couldn't find it. Finally I got a ladder off my truck and took the light apart. Inside I found a burned down stub of a votive candle. It turns out the fixture had been installed with no guts and a lit candle to pass inspection eight years earlier. I then piped and wired it as it should have been done in the first place.
    Dale LaPointe
    Walled Lake, Mich.

    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
    When installing conductors of different sizes (or types of insulation) in a raceway, you can't size the raceway based on Tables 1 through 12 in Annex C. You must instead follow this three-step process to determine the proper raceway and nipple size required for this type of installation.

    Step 1: Determine the cross-sectional area (square inches) for each conductor from Table 5 of Chapter 9 for insulated conductors and Table 8 of Chapter 9 for bare conductors.
    Step 2: Determine the total cross-sectional area for all conductors.
    Step 3: Size the raceway according to the percent fill as listed in Table 1 of Chapter 9; 40% for three or more conductors and 60% for raceways 24 in. or less in length (nipples).

    Example 1: A 400A feeder is installed in Schedule 40 rigid nonmetallic conduit. This raceway contains three 500 kcmil THHN conductors, one 250 kcmil THHN conductor, and one 3 AWG THHN conductor. What size raceway is required for these conductors?

    Example 2: What size rigid metal nipple is required for three 3/0 AWG THHN conductors, one 1 AWG THHN conductor, and one 6 AWG THHN conductor?

    Visit EC&M's Web site for the answers.

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

    Hint: No, the cover from this panelboard wasn't removed prior to taking this picture.

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Is it permissible to install line and load wiring in the same raceway?
    See the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    A 200A rated panelboard (load center) has wiring space on each side that measures 4 inches wide by 4 inches deep. The total length of the wiring space on each side is 36 inches. Three individual splices that each consists of two 4/0 AWG THHN/THWN insulated conductors are connected by split-bolt connectors are located on one side of the panelboard in the wiring space. Each split bolt connector is about 1.5625 square inches (2 cubic inches). Does the NEC permit these splices in the wiring space area of a panelboard? If they're permitted, do they comply with the NEC requirements for splices in enclosures?

    1. Yes, No
    2. Yes, Yes
    3. No, No
    4. No, Yes

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

    Cool Electronic Cabinets
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    Faces of the Code
    Bob Stoll
    Member, Code-Making Panel 5

    For several years GFCIs and double-insulation design have made it difficult to get shocked while using a power tool. "At this point in time, I don't think there's any situation where people will be electrocuted unless they're standing in water or something like that," says Bob Stoll, technical director for the Power Tool Institute. Despite the already high level of safety, Stoll takes his work on CMP-5 seriously. No matter how safe power tools may be (an exception to 250.114 of the 2002 NEC nixes the requirement for a ground wire if they're double-insulated), Stoll believes there's always room for improvement. "Obviously, we can always improve safety," he says.

    If it sounds like Stoll knows a thing or two about standards work, it's because he has been there before. Prior to joining the Power Tool Institute, he worked on UL standards for explosion-proof electrical equipment in hazardous locations. And that experience has helped him appreciate the format of the NEC process. "I like the fact that it's open and that anyone can comment anywhere in the country," he says.

    The lack of pressing electrical safety concerns has offered Stoll some time to devote to other issues facing the power tool industry, among them the increasing pressure to integrate power limiting features in cordless power tools. Those in favor of the proposed legislation that would crack down on devices that use power for non-essential purposes contend that the charging process for cordless tools continues to suck up too much electricity even after the tool is fully charged, a claim that Stoll disputes. "They say that we could save a couple nuclear power plants [by instituting the legislation]," he says. "But we think the power saved by this is very minimal when you take into account the number of tool changes that would be required."

    Looking ahead, Stoll and the Power Tool Institute are keeping their eyes on a device that has caused its fair share of controversy in the electrical world: the AFCI. "We're seeing them in other types of appliances, and we wonder it it's going to come into play for power tools," he says. "We're interested in any kind of change to the Code that could affect the power tool industry."

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    Speak Out
    Above and Beyond
    Power tool safety has come so far over the years that the Code no longer requires a ground wire for double-insulated tools, seemingly putting the responsibility for safety on the manufacturer. Should the NEC rely on manufacturers to make their products safe or err on the side of caution by adding its own safety requirements? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us.

    At least when it comes to regulating low-voltage wiring licenses, the vast majority of CodeWatch readers believe less is more. More than two-thirds of you said low-voltage installers shouldn't be required to carry a license of any kind, begging the question, At what voltage level do you draw the line?

    The National Electrical Code Internet Connection, the No. 1 rated Code Web site in the world, offers the following FREE products:
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    Shows and Events
    EC&M Code Conferences
    Haven't signed up for one of EC&M's 2005 Code Change Conferences yet? 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 in Atlanta on Oct. 27-28, is only open through this Friday, so act quickly. And if you're planning on catching the Code caravan when it comes to Philadelphia on Nov. 9-10, be sure to sign up by Sept. 10. 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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