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. Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo?


November Winners

Our three winners this month were: David Factor of High Power Factor Wiring, New Paltz, N.Y.; Jerold Wasserman, president of J. Wasserman Electric, LLC, Marshfield, Mass.; and G. Dale Dionne, owner of Dionne Electric, Bluffton, S.C. The primary violation we were looking for is related to the method of cable support used in this installation.

As given in 320.30, part (A) identifies the acceptable means to secure and support Type AC armored cable. The Code says, “Type AC cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings, designed and installed so as not to damage the cable.” While the method used here is extremely creative, it fails to meet the criteria given in this NEC rule. Although the last reference to “similar fittings” is intended to allow for the use of new products that may be produced between Code cycles and allow the local inspector to be the final arbiter of what methods may be used, screws or nails cannot be viewed as “similar fittings.” Therefore, this installation is in violation of 320.30(A).

The connector used to secure the Type AC cable to the box is in violation of 300.15. The second sentence of this requirement states, “Fittings and connectors shall be used only with the specific wiring methods for which they are designed and listed.” This wording is extremely restrictive. The result is the use of a Type NM connector is in clear violation of this rule.

Lastly, the installer failed to provide an anti-abrasion fitting (aka, red head) in the box. As required by 320.40, “At all points where the armor of AC cable terminates, a fitting shall be provided to protect the wire from abrasion, unless the design of the outlet boxes or fittings is such as to afford equivalent protection, and, in addition, an insulating bushing or its equivalent protection shall be provided between the conductors and the armor.”


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 toolbox. E-mail your response to, 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-in. insulated side-cutting pliers, 10-in. insulated tongue-and-groove pliers, and a 0.25-in. × 6-in. insulated screwdriver. (* Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery of tools.)