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September-October 2012
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September-October 2012 CoverSeptember/October 2012


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Life Safety Loads Depend on Reliable Power Systems

by Tim Crnko and Mark Hilbert

What matters to a person when they are in a facility that has capacity for many people and an emergency situation such as fire, flooding, storms, earthquake, explosion, or merely loss of normal utility electrical power occurs? Naturally, this depends on the situation, but the basic human instinct is to want to escape the event without physical or extreme emotional trauma. We desire safety for our family, ourselves, and others. Read more

Perspectives on PV

Inspectors Rejoice! At Last — Significant Progress in a PV Standard

by John Wiles

Most inspectors don’t have or have not read the UL Standards related to PV systems, because the standards are expensive and do not relate directly to the job of ensuring that listed PV modules and inverters are installed in a manner that meets the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC–NFPA 70). However, the requirements in the standards affect what the instruction manuals must say and those instructions guide the PV installer because NEC Section 110.3(B) requires that the instructions and labels on listed products must be followed. Read more

Magnetic Motor Starters as Controllers — A comparison of NEMA- and IEC-type devices

by Steve Vidal

NEC Article 100 defines a controller as "a device or group of devices that serves to govern, in some predetermined manner, the electric power delivered to the apparatus to which it is connected.” Section 430.2 gives a more motor-specific definition: "For the purpose of this article [Article 430], a controller is any switch or device that is normally used to start and stop a motor by making and breaking the motor circuit current.” Read more

Selective Coordination of Emergency Systems — Taking the mystery out of enforcement

by Chad Kennedy

Selective coordination of the emergency system is intended to provide a high level of reliability and continuance of supply needed for systems providing emergency functions. As with all electrical installations, an effective plan review and installation inspection of the overcurrent protective devices (OCPDs) coordination for emergency systems is fundamental in approving and inspecting such systems. In addition, understanding which circuits require emergency systems also must be considered. Read more

What's New in Fiber Optics?

by Jim Hayes

We seem to live in a world where technology changes weekly; we’re inundated with so much new hardware like smartphones and tablets and broad concepts like "Smart Grid” that it’s difficult to keep up-to-date. Everybody seems to think "fiber optics” is a new technology, too, although some of us have been involved with the technology for over thirty years! Read more

Selective Coordination as a Source of Pride

by Steve Foran

Can you think of an accomplishment that is a source of great pride? My foray into selective coordination served as my introduction to the electric utility industry. A coordination study was my very first job as an engineer. Quite honestly, when I started, I had no idea of what I was being asked to do. Read more

Article 225 — Outside Brach Circuits and Feeders

by Randy Hunter

Outside branch circuits and feeders — what is so special about these circuits that we require a completely separate article when they are located outside? What makes them different from inside branch circuits and feeders? The scope of this article covers the requirements for branch circuits and feeders running on or between buildings, structure, or poles on the premises, which would also include the wiring for the supply of utilization equipment that is located on or attached to the outside of buildings, structures or poles. Read more

Electrical Inspections for Carnivals, Fairs and Traveling Shows

by Marcus Sampson

The carnival or traveling show will only be in town for the duration of the local festival or county fair before it’s torn down, packed up and moved to the next location. While the "jump” is something the carnie crew and roustabouts do each week, this may be the only inspection of a transient enterprise you are called on to do the entire year. Making sure your neighbors, friends and family are not exposed to electrical hazards means having an understanding of the National Electrical Code rules for transient electrical distribution systems. Read more

Making Changes to the Canadian Electrical Code

by Steve Douglas

The Canadian Electrical Code consists of five parts. Part I covers the installation and maintenance of electrical equipment, Part II is the safety standards for electrical products, and Part III is for outside wiring. Part IV is the objective-based industrial electrical code, and Part VI, the electrical inspection code for existing residential occupancies. This article will focus on Part I amendments. Read more

Being an IAEI Appointee to a Canadian Electrical Code Subcommittee

by Steve Douglas

Every IAEI member has an opportunity to participate in development of the Canadian Electrical Code (CE Code). A very effective way is through the subcommittees. That is where the work is done and key decisions are made. Read more



Fact or Fiction

by David Clements

Summer has drawn to a close and families have sent their children back to school. Fall is upon us and IAEI members are attending the Annual Section Meetings. Organizing committees for each section worked hard for the past year planning logistics, educational offerings and networking opportunities, all part of providing a great educational adventure. If you haven’t yet signed up to attend one of the section meetings, now’s the time. Go to to register. Despite what some may believe, we welcome both members and non-members to our section meetings. Read more

Canadian Code

New Wiring Rules in Sections 4 and 12

by Leslie Stoch

The 2012 Canadian Electrical Code introduces some real changes. Many of them will be found in Sections 4 and 12 for wire and cable installations. No doubt we are already comfortable with the increased wire and cable ampacities in listed Tables 1 to 4. But there is more. This article discusses some of the more significant changes in these two sections of the CEC. Read more

Canadian Perspectives

Grounding and Bonding — Are we on the same page?

by Ark Tsisserev

In the electrical industry, there is hardly a subject that appliesmore often than the issue of bonding and grounding. And yet, this matter remains one of the most discussed, argued and misinterpreted by the electrical designers, contractors and inspectors. Read more

Safety in Our States

Going to Basics, Maximum Fault Current

by Thomas A. Domitrovich

One of the most basic calculations for any power system, and arguably the least understood and most misrepresented, is the calculation of available fault current. The effort of calculating fault currents flexes the basics of math and engineering. This article is not going to get into the details of the calculation; instead, we’ll have a high-level discussion to provide a general understanding of how that number is obtained. Read more

UL Question Corner

Is there a way to interact with UL’s Regulatory Services Department Staff on social media?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Yes, UL’s Regulatory Services Department has a discussion group on, entitled "UL Codes and Technical Services”. To join, go to, become a member, then select "groups” from the search pull down menu at the top right of the screen and then enter "UL Codes” in the search field. Once you are a member, you can enter the conversation or post a new topic to discuss. Read more

Has UL Certified any small wind turbines?

by Underwriters Laboratories

Yes, UL has certified small wind turbines under the product category Small Wind Turbine Generating Systems (ZGEN), located on page 466 in the 2012 UL White Book or you can check online at UL’s Online Certification Directory at by entering ZGEN at the category code search field. This category covers small wind turbine generating systems (WTGS) investigated for risk of fire and shock, including safety-related control system electrical performance and utility (grid) interconnection performance for Utility Interactive models. Read more

Focus on the Code

For radio equipment that uses a screw-type fastener to bond or attach the grounding conductor to the antenna assembly, can screw be any ordinary screw, or does it need to be a "listed” screw meeting the requirements of 250.70 or, perhaps, 250.8?

by Tom Moore

Thank you for your correspondence. The question presented is frequently discussed by many with diverse results. Radio equipment as referenced in the question falls under the scope of Article 810 of the NEC. Read more

Is it code-compliant to install Type NM cable exposed in an attached residential garage? How about a detached garage?

by Charles Palmieri

Thank you for the inquiry. For clarity, I will frame my response. First, I will substitute the term residential with the term dwelling which is defined in NEC Article 100. Second, I will consider the attached garages or detached garages and storage sheds to be directly associated with one- and two-family dwellings. Third, all structures considered will be of Types III, IV, and V construction. Read more

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