What's Wrong Here?

What's Wrong Here?

Hint: It looks like the installer of this optical cable was extra careful not to over bend or kink this cable.


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

This optical fiber cable was found in the vestibule of a hotel. Jeff Ruch, an industrial electrician at Alfred State College, Alfred, N.Y., cited 770.8 of the NEC, which states that optical fiber cables shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner and shall be supported and protected from normal building use. “Clearly, this cable is not being protected,” Ruch wrote.

Michael Barnish, senior electrical designer, Duke Energy, Aiken, S.C., noted two violations. “Article 770 covers optical fiber cables, and 770.8 covers the mechanical execution of work,” he wrote. “The argument can be made that the conduit and fitting are a means of support and meant to prevent damage, but this installation hardly meets this criteria. The other sections that apply concern conduit and fittings, which must be adequately closed.” He also cited the overbend radius in the cable as an explanation for the installation. “It's clear that an inexperienced installer was involved in this amateur work,” he wrote.

Greg Newren, maintenance electrician, Nu Skin International, Inc., Provo, Utah, said it looked like someone was in a hurry to get these cables up and running. “The real problem, as I see it, is it does not comply with 770.8.”

Art. 770 applies to the installation of optical fiber cables and raceways. The raceway used for enclosing optical fiber cables must be of a type referenced in Chapter 3 and installed according to its requirements. For information on listing requirements for optical fiber raceways, see UL 2024, Standard for Optical Fiber Raceways. Optical fiber cables installed within a raceway without any current-carrying conductors aren't required to meet the fill table rules of Chapter 3 or Chapter 9, but nonconductive optical fiber cables installed with electric conductors in a raceway must meet these requirements.

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