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May-June 2000
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May-June 2000 CoverMay-June 2000


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How Comfortable Are You?

by Michael Callanan

The electrical inspector and electrician are no different from any other craftsman. As they accumulate more experience and expertise in their field they begin to achieve a level of comfort with the tasks they perform on a regular and routine basis. Unfortunately, as the comfort level increases, the potential for complacency can begin to set in. In the electrical industry, there is no room for complacency. Read more

Grounding Electrodes


For many applications, grounding electrodes provide the essential function of connecting the electrical system to the earth. The earth is considered to be at zero potential. In some cases, the grounding electrode serves to ground the electrical system. In other instances, the electrode is used to connect noncurrent carrying metallic portions of electrical equipment to the earth. In both situations, the primary purpose of the grounding electrode is to maintain the electrical equipment at the earth potential present at the grounding electrode. Read more

Installations and Inspections of Motors and Motor Circuit Protection

by Michael Johnston

Overcurrent protection for motors and motor circuits is a little different than the rules for conductors as specified in Article 240, because motor loads have different characteristics than general lighting and other loads. Motor circuits draw a large amount of current at initial start-up, usually around six times the normal full-load current (FLA) of the motor. This large amount of current drawn at start-up is usually referred as the "inrush current,” although the Code term is "locked rotor current” (LRA). Read more

CE Marking – Is the Inspector Being Fooled?

by Jim Pauley

Inspectors play a key role in the implementation of the North American Safety System and the job is not easy. In addition to being the enforcer of the electrical installation code, the inspector must also determine if electrical products are acceptable for use. To do this, the inspector typically relies on some method of conformity assessment. Recently, there has been a significant increase in questions from inspectors about CE Marking and its acceptability as a method of conformity assessment in North America. Typical questions include… What is CE? Is it like UL? Who is CE? Am I supposed to be accepting CE? The material in this paper is intended to shed some light on such questions. Read more

I Thought It Was Dead

by Philip Cox

Assuming electrical circuits or equipment is dead or de energized can be a costly mistake. Phrases such as "I thought it was dead” have been used following an incident where an electrical shock or electrocution occurred. It pays to check it out. Every electrician who has worked for any length of time in the trade understands what can happen when a mistake occurs during work on energized or live parts of an electrical system. Electricians are taught in safety training classes to test the circuit to see if it is energized and to turn the power off before working on electrical equipment. Additional safety practices stipulate that the circuit should be locked out so that it cannot be inadvertently re-energized. For those situations where power cannot be shut off, proper safety equipment and procedures are to be used. Read more

South Florida Building Code Accepts NEIS

by Brooke Stauffer

The Miami-Dade County [Florida] Building Code and Product Review Committee became the first governmental entity in the country to accept NECA’s National Electrical Installation Standards™ for regulatory use, in November 1999. The Committee adopted the first three published NEIS™ into the South Florida Building Code as official references for methods of construction. Read more



Electrical Safety

by Philip Cox

May is the month designated to promote electrical safety. It is appropriate to set aside a time to emphasize this important issue. Too many accidents happen because individuals either fail to understand the hazards involving the misuse or abuse of electricity or they choose to ignore safety guidelines. One would think that members of the electrical industry, especially installers and maintenance personnel, would be familiar with electrical hazards and take the necessary steps to avoid them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It seems that familiarity breeds complacency. It is not uncommon to hear the phrase, "electricians are their own worst enemies.” The consuming public generally has little knowledge of electricity and either doesn’t know how to recognize electrical hazards or has been given wrong information by well-meaning but untrained people. Read more

Canadian Code

Lightning and Lightning Protection

by Leslie Stoch

A National Standard of Canada, CAN/CSA-B72-M87 Installation Code for Lightning Protection Systems provides guidance on lightning protection. The following information may be found in the standard. Read more

UL Question Corner

Does UL review installation instructions?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Yes, during Listing and Classification investigations, UL does evaluate the manufacturer’s installation instructions provided with UL certified products. Many UL Standards specify numerous requirements for the content of the installation instructions. UL reviews installation instructions to verify proper content and determine if the product can be installed and operated as intended in accordance with the applicable UL Standards, which are compatible with the installation codes. For electrical products, the National Electrical Code (NEC), NFPA 70, is the applicable code. Read more

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