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January-February 2008
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January-February 2008 CoverJanuary/February 2008


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Understanding the Combination AFCI Expansion in NEC-2008

by Bill Unseld

Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) have become a familiar technology to electrical contractors during the past decade. The first branch-feeder AFCIs debuted in the late 1990s, and detected exclusively parallel arcs, or current that travels from one circuit conductor to another. Read more

Perspectives on PV

* Ground-Fault Protection for PV Systems

by John Wiles

Once upon a time (the 1987 Code cycle) in the land of Quincy, a group of alchemists from a national laboratory was elaborating on the excellence of their photovoltaic (PV) test facility in the distant Land of Enchantment. They showed some senior firefighters a picture of a burned PV module that had been subject to a ground fault and had subsequently melted down. The alchemists failed to mention at the time that this was a prototype, unlisted PV module, that the module was on a concrete pad, and that ground faults in PV systems were somewhat rare. These firefighting pros said to themselves, "PV ground faults lead to fires. Fires on the roofs and in the attics of dwellings are very hard to fight.” They then told the PV industry to propose Section 690.5 for the 1987 NEC to require a ground-fault protection device (GFPD). The proposal was accepted and the requirement was established, but no hardware existed. Read more

Uniformity in Disaster Recovery Inspections

by Rich Dubiel

Most likely, by way of our television sets, we have all witnessed the unbelievable destruction and devastating consequences of one or another natural disaster. Certainly, hurricane Katrina and the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami come to mind. Read more

Using Electric LEDs in Electric Signs and Letters

by Randy Wright

The sign industry is currently using LED light sources for many applications. LEDS were first introduced to the sign industry, I believe, on power source equipment as indicators for conditions and problems. Read more

Expanding Home Safety with AFCIs

by Gerard Winstanley

Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency escape ladders—these are all proven methods for making a quick and safe escape from a fire in the home. However, in addition to these measures, proven technology exists to prevent fires from starting in the first place. Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs)— the next generation in circuit breaker technology—are one such life-saving tool that should be considered by home owners and home builders alike. Read more

The Gold Roadrunner Club

by Richard E. Loyd

If you have been around awhile, you have probably heard of the group called the Roadrunners. If you regularly attend IAEI chapter and section meetings, you may have heard the code panel or some of the presenters referred to as Roadrunners or Circuit Riders. Read more

New Jersey Building Inspectors – Partners in NEC Enforcement

by Andre Cartal

Section 250.52(A)(3) requires that if the footing construction includes 20 feet of rebar not less than ½ inch in diameter, the rebar must be included in the grounding electrode system. Electrical inspection of the rebar presents several problems. Read more

Proposed New Standard Covering Downlights (Recessed Luminaires)

by Darren Margerison

In an effort to ensure that information is being provided to others within the electrical industry globally, I would like let you see some of the activities that Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has undertaken for the electrical industry in the past few months, along with our normal operational activity. Read more

2008 International President: Robert McCullough

by Robert McCullough

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who sit back and wonder what happened and those who stand up and make things happen. Make a difference—get involved!” Read more

Overlooked Deductions

by Kathryn Ingley

Various job-related expenses can be taken as itemized deductions on Schedule A of the federal income tax return. Among these are unreimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees, and certain miscellaneous expenses. Read more



Are you proud to wear the brand?

by James W. Carpenter

The annual section meetings are over and it is time to reflect on 2007. Membership was the major concern for this past year. IAEI’s membership has been static for several years, and we have been slowly losing members. What are the reasons? One can probably cite several reasons—from members retiring, members not renewing for whatever reason, to not enough younger members coming into the association. Read more

Canadian Code

Grounding Basics

by Leslie Stoch

Electrical system grounding is not widely understood,and it may lead to many different discussions, interpretations and a wide variation of philosophies. This article reviews some of the electrical system grounding requirements as spelled out in the Canadian Electrical Code and it throws in a few curve balls to hopefully keep things interesting. Read more

Canadian Perspectives

Electrical Work Related to Fire Alarm Systems

by Ark Tsisserev

Electrical installations related to fire alarm systems appear to be no different from other types of electrical work. A typical fire alarm system is an interconnected combination of: 1. the alarm initiating devices (i.e., field devices that constitute system inputs); 2. various audible signal devices such as bells, horns and speakers (i.e., field devices that constitute system outputs), and 3. central processing units such as a control unit, an annunciator, graphic display, a voice communication panel, etc. (i.e., equipment that represents system interface between inputs and outputs). Read more

Other Code

If Electricity Is So Expensive, Why Don’t You Buy a Generator? Part 2, Parallel Systems

by David Young

As we saw in part 1 of this series, it is tough to make alternative electric sources economical when you are trying to operate a completely independent system. Usually the only time people install such systems is when the normal electric service is not available. Read more

UL Question Corner

What is AWM and can I use it for field wiring and comply with the NEC?

by Underwriters Laboratories

I encountered some wire that was marked AWM and was marked with a style number, yet there was no type marking on the insulation that is mentioned in Article 310 in the NEC. What is AWM and can I use it for field wiring and comply with the NEC? Read more

UL Question Corner

Some ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles that carry a rating of 20 amps are provided with a 15-A NEMA configuration receptacle. Can you tell me why the GFCI is not the same?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Ground-fault circuit interrupters are Listed under the category of the same name with the category code (KCXS) located on page 170 in the 2007 UL White Book. Ground-fault circuit-interrupter receptacles are evaluated for compliance with the Standard for Safety for Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters, UL 943. Read more

UL Question Corner

In the 2008 NEC, Section 406.8(A) and (B) require receptacles installed in damp or wet locations to be weather-resistant. How will these be identified?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Weather-resistant receptacles are Listed under the category Receptacles for Plugs and Attachment Plugs, (RTRT), located on page 284 in the 2007 UL White Book. The UL Guide Information for RTRT in the 2007 White Book does not include the marking information for weather-resistant receptacles; however, the information is available on UL’s Online Certification Directory at and enter RTRT at the category code search. Read more

UL Question Corner

How are Listed tamper-resistant receptacles identified?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Tamper-resistant receptacles are Listed under the product category Receptacles for Plugs and Attachment Plugs, (RTRT), located on page 284 in the 2007 UL White Book or on UL’s Online Certification Directory at and enter RTRT at the category code search. The Guide Information for RTRT will be updated in the 2008 White Book to reflect the requirements in dwelling units as indicated below. Read more

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