As usual, never consider the following commentary associated with these photos as a formal interpretation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Without criticizing anyone or any product, the following scenarios present us with serious electrical safety questions.



Call of the Wild

Electrical/mechanical engineer Michael L. Stoianoff, P.E., found this 200A panelboard serving a residential property in rural Alaska. Although it was too faded to read, an approved electrical inspection sticker was affixed to the panelboard. However, there were no circuit directory markings anywhere. In the case of a panelboard, the Code requires all circuits and circuit modifications to be legibly marked by means of a circuit directory located on the panelboard's face, or inside its door. This installation violates 110.22 and 408.4 of the 2002 NEC.

The smaller photo shows receptacles installed directly below for an unknown purpose. Interestingly, the circuit breakers were mounted behind the receptacle boxes. Apparently the conductors were run in a channel cut into the building's wood exterior. There were nine circuit breakers in all, two of which were rated 100A and one 50A. This installation violates Art. 230 and 408, Part III of the 2002 NEC.

Stoianoff also discovered that although the nonmetallic sheathed cable equipment grounding conductors in the branch circuits were pulled into every outlet box, none of them was properly connected or terminated to the equipment grounding terminal on the devices. They were, however, connected to the equipment grounding terminal bus in each panelboard. This wiring arrangement wreaked havoc on the owner's computer. This installation violates 250.148 and 408.20 of the 2002 NEC.




Not Approved for Wet Conditions

These soda machines are located in a wet area on the platform of a train station in North Quincy, Mass. Sec. 406.8(B), which covers 15A and 20A outdoor receptacles installed in a wet location, requires these devices to have a weatherproof enclosure, whether or not the attachment plug cap is inserted.

Any receptacle installed in a wet location and powering an unsupervised piece of equipment, such as a sprinkler system controller, landscape lighting, or holiday lights, must have an enclosure that is weatherproof whether the attachment plug cap is inserted or removed. Also, a receptacle installed in a wet location and powering an unsupervised piece of equipment, such as portable tools, must have an enclosure that is weatherproof when the attachment plug is removed.

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