What's Wrong Here?

Hint: What’s objectionable about this?

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.

Find the Answer

Tony Rampacek, manager – technical support, PARTech, Inc., Boulder, Colo., was kind enough to share the following photos with us. The images show the work of an electrician in response to complaints of shock from the drive-up window staff members of a fast-food restaurant. Rampacek and his team found that when you touched the stainless steel frame of the drive-thru window and the stainless steel counter at the same time you received a nice shock. What you see in these photos is the electrician’s solution to fix the problem.

Although this isn’t a common fix, at least an attempt was made to eliminate the shock hazard. If it eliminated the shock hazard then so be it. The use of the open wire may have looked more professional in a raceway or cable. On the other hand, the problem may be related to some damage or incorrect wiring somewhere else in the system. Who knows?

One thing is for sure. For rules on objectionable current over grounding conductors, see 250.6 (A) through (D) of the 2005 NEC.

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