November 8, 2004 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. II No. 21
CONTENTS
Gutter Gamble

Suspsect Slice

Code Basics

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

Time for Training

EC&M Code Conferences


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    Nightmare Installations
    Gutter Gamble
    An old friend called and said a couple breakers at his house kept tripping, so I immediately rushed over and replaced the two culprits. By accident I felt the main 100A breaker and found it was very hot to the touch. Other breakers had small rust spots on the rivets, and his wife explained that the washing machine hose had sprayed the entire panel a couple months earlier. I spotted a trace of water on the main entrance cable at the lugs but saw no source of the leak. After tugging on the cable I found a minute crack in the cable at the entrance hole. Aha! Could the water have traveled this path? Enough to over-heat the breakers? To be safe, we decided to replace the panel and entrance cable. After disconnecting the cable from the meter I turned it over and water poured out of the end! At the conclusion of the investigation, the husband came home and informed me that the gutter was full of leaves and had overflowed numerous times onto the meter and cable. After I finished the job and explained to them both how lucky they were that their newly remodeled home hadn't burned down his wife made him promise to keep the gutters clean and sentenced him to a long list of honey do's.
    Mike Kessler
    Woodhaven, Mich.



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    Suspect Splice
    Over the years I have helped family and friends upgrade their home residential services. During a kitchen remodel at my in-laws' house, I noticed the jacket for the range cable was gray at the range yet black at the panel, so I decided to do a little investigating. I went down in the crawl space and followed the wire until I found an open splice without wire nuts, tape, or a junction box. The previous electrician had taken "special precautions" to prevent the wires from shorting by wedging a wooden clothes pin between the open splices. Needless to say, I changed this out.
    Matt Jackson
    Lapeer, 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 Basics
    By Mike Holt
    Art. 445 of the NEC contains the electrical installation requirements for generators. These requirements include such things as where generators can be installed, nameplate markings, conductor ampacity, and disconnecting means.

    Generators are basically motors that operate in reverse -- they produce electricity when rotated, instead of rotating when supplied with electricity. Art. 430, which covers motors, is the largest article in the NEC. On the other hand, Art. 445 is one of the shortest. At first, this might not seem to make sense. But you don't need to size and protect conductors to a generator. However, you do need to size and protect conductors to a motor.

    Generators require overload protection, and it's necessary to size the conductors that come from the generator. But these considerations are considerably more straightforward than are the equivalent considerations for motors. Before you study Art. 445, take a moment to read the definition of "Separately Derived System" in Art. 100.

    Still not feeling comfortable with the concept? Visit EC&M's Web site for a quiz based on the 2002 NEC's requirements.


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

    Hint: Where's the listed or approved symbol on this extension cord?

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. When is an insulating bushing required on raceway fittings?
    See the answer.


    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    According to the 2005 NEC, panic hardware on personnel doors of electrical equipment rooms is required for which of the following scenarios?

    1. On all doors leading into or out of electrical equipment rooms
    2. Only on the doors that allow entrance or exit of personnel
    3. Only personnel doors, when any one (or more) piece(s) of electrical equipment that contains overcurrent devices, switching devices, or control devices is wider than 6 feet and 1,200A or more
    4. Only personnel doors, when any one (or more) piece(s) of electrical equipment that contains overcurrent devices, switching devices, or control devices is 1,200A or more

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


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    Faces of the Code
    Palmer Hickman
    Member, Code-Making Panel 1

    They say that those who can't do, teach, but Palmer Hickman had more than a decade of "doing" under his belt before he decided he could best serve the electrical industry as an instructor. He was leading crews as a job foreman not long after becoming a journeyman in Norristown, Pa., some 25 years ago, but the desire to teach and help cultivate young electricians was always in the back of his mind. So after honing his skills in the field for nearly 11 years, he moved his desk from the jobsite trailer to the classrooms of IBEW Local 380. "I was always interested in training," he says. "So it just seemed like a logical transition."

    Given the environment he grew up in, becoming a member of a Code-making panel was a logical step as well. Conversations about Code violations took place daily -- and oftentimes well into the night -- in the Hickman household, where his electrical inspector father kept his office. And while most kids his age were spending their summers playing baseball or getting part-time jobs, Hickman was tagging along with his dad on residential inspections. "The NEC has always been near and dear to me," he says.

    And it was that interest Hickman developed for the Code by listening to his dad talk shop and joining him on those walkthroughs that partly inspired him to join Code-Making Panel 3 as an alternate for the 2002 Code cycle. Not long after that, his two priorities intersected when he joined the NJATC as director of codes and safety and accepted a spot on CMP-1 as a principal. So it would seem poetic justice that, as he says, it gave him a completely new perspective on its requirements and helped him become a better instructor. "You sort of get the insider information from being on the Code panel, and you can be a better instructor because you're a part of the behind-the-scenes discussions on the intent of the change," he says. "You can read it in the ROP and you can read it in the ROC, but being at the table helps it take on a whole new dimension."


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    Speak Out
    Time for Training
    Training is always on Palmer Hickman's mind, but as the release of the 2005 NEC approaches, it's no doubt on yours right now. And if it isn't, it should be. How -- and where -- do you plan to get your information on changes to the Code? Visit www.ecmweb.com to tell us.

    Although the Code includes specific requirements for several industries, it can't cover them all. The vast majority of CodeWatch readers (77%) believe the Code is the best option available, no matter how specialized an installation may be. So what if it doesn't get as specific as, say, GFCI protection for 120V receptacles in space station bathrooms?

    Shows and Events
    EC&M Code Conferences
    Attention, Boston-based electricians: We know you're excited. We know it was a big deal, but it's time to stop celebrating the Red Sox' World Series victory and start thinking about the 2005 edition of the Code. EC&M's Code Change Conference may not be coming to Boston until Nov. 29 and 30, but the registration deadline is Nov. 19. So put down that pennant you've been waving for the last two weeks and pick up the phone to reserve your spot. Not only will you be treated to Code expert Fred Hartwell's in-depth analysis of all the changes in the 2005 NEC that will affect you, you'll get a complimentary copy of Mike Holt's Illustrated Guide -- Changes to the NEC 2005. Download the registration form, fill it out and fax it to (203) 929-5351 before it's too late.

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