Can you spot the Code violations?

Hint: Think protection

Find the Answer

How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn't identify? Here's your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else's work from the safety of your living room or office. Joe Tedesco, who has a knack for finding shoddy electrical work, did the dirty work and found this mess. Now it's your turn to identify the violation.

March Winners

Dylan McLaughlin submitted these comments. “It's hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like the ground wire is just kind of leaning on the back of the panelboard and is not properly attached. There's a transformer hanging, which is putting pressure on the wire connections. It also looks like there are wires twisted together without the use of twist-on connectors.”

Jim Malik, an electrical controls engineer for RPI, Inc. in Racine, Wis., says, “This is the worst enclosure I have ever seen.” Malik noted the following problems: wires crossing terminals; wire must run point to point without splices; device not mechanically attached; E-stop not easily accessible by operator (probably no E-stop legend); not a wire label in sight; and who knows about wire size, colors, etc. He concludes by saying, “I can't believe this is real!”

The bottom line is this mess is a clear violation of Art. 409, Industrial Control Panels.


Using the 2008 NEC, correctly identify the Code violation(s) in this month's photo — in 200 words or less — and you could win something to put in your tool-box. E-mail your response to Joe Tedesco at, and he'll select three winners (excluding manufacturers and prior winners) at random from the correct submissions. Winners will receive a set of insulated hand tools from Ideal Industries, Inc. valued at more than $125.* The set includes 9.25-inch insulated side-cutting pliers, 10-inch insulated tongue-and-groove pliers, and a 0.25-inch × 6-inch insulated screwdriver.

* Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery of tools.