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Electrical Construction and Maintenance


Mike Holt

By Mike Holt, NEC Consultant


Fri, 2012-07-20 17:26

All questions and answers are based on the 2011 NEC.


Q. Please explain the equipment temperature terminal rating for sizing conductors?
A. Conductors are to be sized using their ampacity from the insulation temperature rating column of Table
310.15(B)(16), which corresponds to the lowest temperature rating of any terminal, device, or conductor of the
circuit [110.14(C)(1)]. Unless the equipment is listed and marked otherwise, conductor sizing for equipment
terminations must be based on Table 310.15(B)(16) in accordance with (a) or (b) [110.14(C)(1)]:
(a) Equipment rated 100A or less must be sized using these rules:
Conductors must be sized using the 60C temperature column of Table 310.15(B)(16).
Conductors terminating on terminals rated 75C are sized in accordance with the ampacities listed in the
75C temperature column of Table 310.15(B)(16).
(b) Equipment rated more than 100A must be sized using these rules:
Conductors must be sized
using the 75C temperature
column of Table
310.15(B)(16).
Separate connector
provisions. Conductors can
be sized to the 90C column
of Table 310.15(B)(16) if the
conductors and pressure
connectors are rated at least
90C, as shown in Fig. 1.
Q. Can you please explain the
10-ft feeder tap rule and
provide an example?
A. Except as permitted by
240.21(A) through (H), overcurrent
devices must be placed at the point
where the branch circuit or feeder conductors receive their power. Taps and transformer secondary conductors

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arent permitted to supply another conductor (tapping a tap isnt permitted) [240.21]. Branch circuit taps are
permitted in accordance with 210.19 [240.21(A)]. Conductors can be tapped to a feeder as specified in
240.21(B)(1) through (B)(5). The next-size-up protection rule of 240.4(B) is not permitted for tap conductors
[240.21(B)].
Feeder tap conductors up to 10 ft long are permitted without overcurrent protection at the tap location if the tap
conductors comply with the following [240.21(B)(1)]:
1) The ampacity of the tap conductor must not be less than the calculated load in accordance with Art.
220 [240.21(B)(1)(1)(a)] and the rating of the device or overcurrent device supplied by the tap conductors
[240.21(B)(1)(1)(b)].
2) The tap conductors must not extend beyond the equipment they supply.
3) The tap conductors are installed in a raceway if they leave the enclosure.
4) If the tap conductors leave the enclosure or vault in which the tap is made, the tap conductors must
have an ampacity not less than one-tenth of the rating of the overcurrent device that protects the feeder.
Note: See 408.36 for the overcurrent protection requirements for panelboards.
Lets review this example to help
drive home the concepts of this
rule.
A 400A breaker protects a set of
500kcmil feeder conductors. There
are three taps fed from the
500kcmil feeders that supply
disconnects with 200A, 150A, and
30A overcurrent devices. What are
the minimum size conductors for
these taps (see Fig. 2)?
200A: 3/0 AWG is rated
200A at 75 and is greater
than 10% of the 400A
overcurrent protection device
(40A).
150A: 1/0 AWG is rated 150A
at 75 and is greater than
10% of the 400A overcurrent
protection device (40A).
30A: 8 AWG is rated 50A at 75 and is greater than 10% of the ampacity of the 400A overcurrent
protection device (40A).
Anything smaller than 8 AWG cant be used, as it will have an ampacity of less than 10% of 400A (40A) in the
75 column of 310.15(B)(16).
Q. Does the Code allow metal cable tray systems to be installed in spaces used for environmental
air (plenum)?
A. Yes, metal cable tray systems can be installed to support the wiring methods and equipment that are
permitted to be installed in this location [300.22(C)(2)(a)].

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Q. What are the minimum bending radius requirements for Type NM and Type MC Cable?
A. Bends in MC Cable must be made so that the cable wont be damaged, and the radius of the curve of any bend
at the inner edge of the cable must not be less than whats described in each of the following instances:
Smooth-sheath Type MC cables must not be bent so the bending radius of the inner edge of the cable is
less than 10 times the external diameter of the metallic sheath for cable up to in. in external diameter
[330.24(A)(1)].
Interlocked- or corrugated-sheath Type MC cable must not be bent so the bending radius of the inner edge
of the cable is less than seven times the external diameter of the cable [330.24(B)].
When Type NM Cable is bent, it must not be damaged and the radius of the curve of the inner edge of any bend
must not be less than five times the diameter of the cable [334.24].
Q. What is the rule on having a neutral conductor at light switch locations?
A. Switches controlling line-to-neutral lighting loads must have a neutral provided at the switch location
[404.2(C)].
Ex: The neutral conductor isnt required at the switch location if:
1) The conductors for switches enter the device box through a raceway that has sufficient cross-sectional
area to accommodate a neutral conductor.
2) Cable assemblies for switches enter the box through a framing cavity thats open at the top or bottom
on the same floor level, or switches enter the box through a wall, floor, or ceiling thats unfinished on one
side. Note: The neutral conductors purpose is to complete a circuit path for electronic lighting control
devices.
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07-03-15 2:32 PM