September 8, 2004 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. II No. 17
CONTENTS
Lip Service

Things That Go Bump in the Lights

Code Basics

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

When to Say When

EC&M Code Seminars


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    Nightmare Installations
    Lip Service
    Several years ago my children told me their lips would tingle as they drank from the outside water hose bib. I took a drink from it but didn't feel a thing. For at least six months they continued to complain about it and I continued to feel nothing, until one day when I was filling our outside wood boiler with water while repairing the draft fan on the boiler. After shutting off the power I started to work on the fan, but I felt a tingle whenever I touched the metal jacket of the boiler. So I got my meter and put one probe in the ground and the other on the boiler jacket. It read 50V. After some research I found the wire feeding the well pump had shorted against the metal well casing. The pump is 150 feet down in the ground, and the electricity was energizing the water traveling through the pump up the plastic pipe and into the copper water pipe. The pump must have been running when my children were drinking from the hose bib, but by the time I would take a drink the pump had shut off. It wasn't tripping the circuit breaker but was drawing about 17A. There was no ground in this circuit so I changed it out and grounded the casing of the well.
    Carl Hibbard
    Syracuse, N.Y.



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    Superglue to the Rescue
    A few years ago when I arrived at a residence to do some troubleshooting, the woman of the house offered an interesting assessment of the problem. "I'm not crazy," she said, "but I think we have poltergeists in the house." She assured me that all of the wiring in the house worked when they moved in, but strange things had started to happen afterward. Some lights and plugs would work sporadically, and then they finally quit altogether. I explained to her that rather than living in a haunted house, I felt she was experiencing something that could be more easily explained. I ended up at the electrical panel and decided to pull on each individual wire where they came into the electrical panel through a 2-inch nipple in the back of the panel. What happened next was not totally unexpected. When I pulled on one of the wires it came loose. When I looked at the end of the wire I could tell that it had been cut and it had what appeared to be some type of glue on it. Two of the wires had been cut and glued back together.
    Steve Bible
    Austin, Texas


    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 Basics
    By Mike Holt
    The requirements of Art. 702 apply to the installation and operation of standby systems. This includes permanently installed systems and those that are arranged for temporary connection such as portable generators, which are commonly used at telecommunications facilities, water and waste-water pump stations, and homes and offices.

    Whenever you connect a fixed or portable standby generator to a premises wiring system, you must do so through a transfer switch. In addition, as per 702.10(A), Separately Derived System, if the transfer switch for a portable generator switches the grounded (neutral) conductor then the portable generator must be grounded in accordance with 250.30. This means that the neutral of the portable generator must be bonded to the generator case and grounding electrode in accordance with 250.30.

    If the transfer switch for a portable generator does not switch the grounded (neutral) conductor [702.10(B), Nonseparately Derived System], then the equipment-grounding conductor must be bonded to the system-grounding electrode. This means that the grounded (neutral) conductors of the generator must not be bonded to the case [250.142]. However, the case must be bonded to a system-grounding electrode. The grounding electrode system for the building can be used for this purpose.


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

    Hint: The color of this conduit looks very similar to the clay pots in my garden.

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Is GFCI protection required for a hard-wired spa?
    See the answer.


    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    According to 314.28 of the 2002 NEC, what are the minimum dimensions required for a metal junction box that has the following raceways (conduits) connected to it? The junction box has two 4-inch EMT raceways connected directly across from one another on opposite walls. Each raceway contains three 250 kcmil XHHW conductors. A 2-inch EMT raceway, which contains three 4/0 AWG XHHW conductors, is connected to the same wall as one of the 4-inch EMT raceways. In effect, one wall has a 4-inch and a 2-inch raceway. The opposite wall has only a 4-inch raceway. The wall at a right angle to the 4-inch and 2-inch raceways has a single 2-inch EMT raceway connected to it. The 4/0 AWG conductors are installed between the 2-inch raceways and are passing through the junction box. There's no raceway on the wall opposite the single 2-inch EMT raceway.

    1. 32 inches x 12 inches
    2. 32 inches x 32 inches
    3. 26 inches x 12 inches
    4. 34 inches x 12 inches

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


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    Faces of the Code
    Al Engler
    Member, Code-Making Panel 14

    No matter where he goes, Al Engler keeps seeing the same faces. After working on various standards that apply to hazardous locations over the years, he has found that his contemporaries are few and far between. "There just aren't a lot of people who deal with this extensively," he says. "But I guess it's good that you know you have people working on these standards who have a lot of experience."

    Some of them have served with him on the International Society for Measurement and Control's (ISA) SP12 committee on electrical equipment in hazardous atmospheres. He sees some of them when attending IEC meetings, where he's the U.S technical advisor for flammable dust requirements. So given the limited number of experts in the field, it wasn't surprising that he ended up gaining a spot on the NEC Code-making panel devoted to hazardous locations when it went through what he calls a "political upheaval" in 1999. After ISA was reclassified as a manufacturer representative, a spot opened up and Engler went for it...sort of. "The ISA main committee decides who they want to represent them on the NEC," he says. "So they just drafted me."

    Engler was introduced to the world of hazardous location specifications while working for the Rosemount division of Emerson Process Control. It was there that he first worked with Factory Mutual, a commercial property insurance provider, and got a taste of certifying equipment for a variety of hazardous areas around the world. From there he went to Applied Automation, where again he dealt with some of the same contacts at Factory Mutual, who eventually introduced him to ISA. And the rest is hazardous location history.

    Since then he's moved on to EGS, where he works as the director of quality for the electrical construction materials division. He spends most of his time fielding customer complaints that range from "It doesn't work" to "The box has the wrong label." At the end of the day, though, he gets to go back to his other job with that hazardous location family he can't seem to get away from. "It's a lot of work," he says. "But it's worth it."


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    Speak Out
    When to Say When
    Al Engler says he sees a lot of the same people on the various standards panels he works on. Having an experienced group of veterans who can apply their expertise to several standards is reassuring, but it also raises the questions, How many standards-making bodies is too many for one person to serve on, and At what point does it go from working hard to help the industry to risking burnout and overextension? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us.

    Art. 90 introduces the NEC as an installation standard, and the majority of CodeWatch readers agree it should stay that way. More than two-thirds of you (68%) say that the Code can't be expected to set standards for the electrical safety of the various products that electrical workers may use from day to day.


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    Shows and Events
    EC&M Code Seminars
    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 second conference in Philadelphia on Nov. 9-10, is only open through this Friday, so act quick. And if you're planning on catching the Code caravan in Chicago on Nov. 15-16 or Orlando on Nov. 18-19, you better log on and sign up by Sept. 16. 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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    Copyright 2004, PRIMEDIA. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, re-disseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Primedia Business Magazines & Media Inc.