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What's Wrong Here?

What's Wrong Here?

Hint: Do the terms “loose” and “insecure” come to mind?


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


Peter A. Brengosz, P.E., senior engineer, Electrical/Process Controls, Marathon Engineers/Architects/Planners, LLC, Appleton, Wis., sent in these comments. “The picture shows an outlet box with a surface extension allowing the addition of a surface metal raceway (or surface nonmetallic raceway).”

However, he notes the following problems with the installation. “The receptacle and surface extension do not appear to be securely fastened in place, as per 314.23(A). The surface metal raceway is not securely fastened to the box extension. Section 386.30 states that surface metal raceways shall be supported at intervals in accordance with manufacturer's installation instructions. I'm sure the instructions do not call for a gap at the box, thus exposing conductors. And since the equipment is not ‘installed in a neat and workmanlike manner,’ the installation violates Section 110.12.”

In addition to pointing out two of the three violations noted above by Brengosz, James W. Robertson, Jr., master electrician, J.E.C. Electric, Inc., Ft. Wayne, Ind., added this to the mix. “Per 386.100 surface raceways shall be electrically and mechanically coupled without the possibility of conductors being damaged. Per 314.22 the extension ring must be mechanically secured on a flush box.”

Mike Whitco, maintenance electrician, Wheeling Corrugating, Beech Bottom, W. Va., believes the metal surface raceway box that dropped from its original position violates NEC rules in Article 386 and 300.11(A), which in part states, “Raceways, cable assemblies, boxes, and fittings shall be securely fastened in place”.

Whitco also added, “This violation caused another violation by exposing the wires through the gap created between the box and raceway — 300.12 calls for mechanical continuity between the box and raceway.”

There's one other important Code requirement to make note of here. As per 422.51, “Cord-and-plug-connected vending machines manufactured or re-manufactured on or after January 1, 2005, shall include a ground-fault circuit-interrupter as an integral part of the attachment plug or located in the power supply cord within 300 mm (12 inches) of the attachment plug. Cord-and-plug connected vending machines not incorporating integral GFCI protection shall be connected to a GFCI-protected outlet.”

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