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September-October 2010
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September-October 2010 CoverSeptember/October 2010


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Electrically Charged Public Transportation

by Christel Hunter

In 1996, a new Article 625, Electric Vehicle Charging System Equipment, was added to the National Electrical Code (NEC) in anticipation of new technology in the form of electrically charged vehicles. The addition of this article was in response to clean air legislation on both the federal and state level that implemented new requirements for vehicles with reduced emissions of air pollutants. Article 625 (titled Electric Vehicle Charging System in the 2008 NEC) includes requirements for "…electrical conductors and equipment external to an electric vehicle that connect an electric vehicle to a supply of electricity…” and the installation of the related equipment and devices. Read more

Perspectives on PV

Ungrounded Electrical Systems! Ungrounded photovoltaic (PV) systems? What is the world coming to?

by John Wiles

Actually the United States is catching up to the rest of the world, which has, for the most part, been using ungrounded electrical systems for as long as the U. S. has been using grounded electrical systems. More than 100 years ago, the debate on grounded vs. ungrounded electrical systems began and the U. S. went grounded while many other countries went ungrounded. When we discuss grounded vs. ungrounded electrical systems, we are addressing whether one of the circuit conductors, like our ac neutral conductor, is grounded or not. Read more

EVs, PHEVs and the Electric Car Revolution — It’s not your parent’s old hand-me-down

by Jonathan Cadd

Remember when we were kids, and dreams of the time when we could fly in our cars like George Jetson filled our thoughts on long summer afternoons? Well, get ready for the new generation of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). While not quite ready for flight, these sleek, stylish, modern marvels of technology show the auto manufacturing industry’s desire to provide a mainstream alternative passenger vehicle that is powered from electricity and the desire to reach a point where we can finally eliminate our sole reliance on fossil fuel and the internal combustion engine (ICE). These new versions of electric vehicle technology not only offer us an alternative to the currently used modes of transportation, but will be able to sustain us and provide a source of backup power that will even be able to power our homes in times of emergency. Read more

Electrical Code for the Combination Inspector, Part I

by Randy Hunter

The combination inspector is an integral part of the inspection process in many inspection agencies across the country, including the entity for which I have worked for close to two decades. I was hired as an electrical inspector; however, on my first day (within the first hour) one of the supervisors placed a stack of code books in front of me, including the UBC, UMC, UPC[1] and the only one I recognized — the NEC. The supervisor who placed the books in front of me then announced I was one of their new "combination inspectors.” Thus began a crash course of training in subjects to which I had never before been exposed. I thought I had it dialed in: I was a master electrician, knew the NEC pretty well and had finally got a job where I could utilize the knowledge I had, but that changed the first day. Read more

Ground-Fault Protection for Marinas and Boatyards

by Cari Williamette

Two young boys are excited about being at the lake for the first time that summer. While the parents unload the car, they quickly don their swimsuits and run down the dock. The first boy dives in, oblivious to the cold water. The second boy stops to consider if he should dive in also, or wade in slowly. Suddenly the first boy screams, begins thrashing in the water, and goes under. His friend dives in after him, feels the electric current flow through his body, causing his muscles to contract. He can’t force his body to swim, or even to stand up. He also goes under. By the time the parents can get to the dock, both boys are dead. While this particular scenario is fictitious, electric shock drowning happens far too often. Read more

Smart Grid Implementation — Strategies for Success

by Rebecca L. Grant, Ph.D.

The United States is well underway with the modernization of its energy grid, driven by $4.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants and other Congressional legislation. Smart Grid needs to be implemented quickly enough to provide optimal value improving delivery and reliability, and also contribute to the nation’s energy security by tapping more domestic and renewable providers. But its success realizing the full benefits of a Smart Grid will rely on numerous implementation factors, including the ability of utilities and consumers to utilize information technology advances, adopt interoperability standards, and increase transmission efficiency. Read more



Driving Toward the Future

by Kathryn Ingley

It seems that automobiles have been an industrial harbinger. More than 100,000 patents were filed in the 19th and 20th centuries and a worldwide evolution took place around the automobile. In the 1890s, the first cars were so new and unusual that they were showed in circuses! From there, various models and designs proliferated like fleas. Read more

Canadian Code

Motor Supply Conductors

by Leslie Stoch

It’s Complicated — you’ve probably seen this witty movie about divorce. Motor wiring rules are complicated too, but not nearly as amusing as the movie. This article reviews our complicated rules for motor supply conductors. Read more

Canadian Perspectives

Elevator Code, CE Code and the NBCC — consistency of requirements

by Ark Tsisserev

Historically, this subject was always a source of confusion to the electrical designers, installers and regulators, as provisions of the Elevator Code have not always been accurately correlated with the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) and with the Canadian Electrical Code. Fortunately, some provisions for the electrically connected equipment used in conjunction with elevators have been harmonized in the latest editions of the Elevator Code and the NBCC. Read more

Safety in Our States

Local Code Adoption Challenges

by Thomas A. Domitrovich

Keeping up with local codes can pose serious challenges for electricians and inspectors, as some states adopt codes locally — not statewide. In some cases, regulations can vary from county to county, which makes keeping track of local policies difficult at best. This edition of Safety in Our States provides an update on the code adoption process across the United States and a look into how one IAEI chapter is working to increase adoption of the latest updates NFPA has to offer by "Cooking Up Safety” in Alabama. Read more

UL Question Corner

Luminaire Ballast Retrofits and Conversions — How Does that Effect the Luminaire Listing?

by Underwriters Laboratories

The short answer is that the impact is unknown. The presence of the UL Mark on a modified luminaire is essentially no different than when on a luminaire that has been serviced or repaired. Read more

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