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Make friends wiith the NEC

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by STEVETERRY, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    All--
    As a new member, I've been reading a lot of old threads about various electrical issues.

    In my early career, I had no idea what the National Electrical Code was, and how it affected my life in the theatre. This caused me to found the USITT National Electrical Code committee, and work on the Code with Mitch Hefter, Ken Vannice, and others, to make it align with current theatrical practice.
    And now , it does! It's a useful tool!

    Here's the message: buy a copy of the NEC and read it. It's easy for mere mortals to understand!

    By doing this, you will not have to rely on "rules" or "interpretations" set by others: you will be an expert as well!

    Steve Terry
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Is there a published USITT doc on how the NEC works with us, or were you able to convince the NEC to re-word things for theatre? What year did these changes go into affect? I will go out and buy a new copy if need be, but I want to make sure that the changes I need will be in there.
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    What changes do you need to be in there? Also, the code DOES change--there are revisions every couple years. If you want to follow the law, you need to know which year's version of the NEC was adopted by your locality.

    --Sean
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I am well aware that the NEC changes, I have probably 6 copies laying around here somewhere. My question was when these changes were put into affect and if the NEC changed due to USITT input or if the USITT panel clarified the NEC on its own.
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
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    I Love Portland ! I went round and round and round with an electrical inspectors once. < I've since gotten older and wiser> He told me it was against electrical code for anyone but a Licensed Electrician to plug in anything onstage. I then asked,
    "OK, What about a Janitor walking in and plugging in a 12.5 amp vacuum cleaner?" ,
    "That's Ok." he says.
    "But I can't plug in a 5 amp lighting fixture?",
    "Yep."
    "That's Stupid."
    "It's Code."

    I've since learned not to argue with EI's it like arguing with a fence post.
     
  6. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Check out Off Topic for a similar story "Stupid safety stories."
     
  7. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    The NEC is revised every three years. The next edition is 2008, which will be available in the fall of 2007.

    USITT work on the Code started in the 1984 Code Cycle. Each cycle after that, significant changes were made to Articles 520, 518, and 530. These sections were a mess in 1984 and did not reflect current practice in the theatre. Due to the efforts of the USITT, they are now in good alignment with current practice.

    Some changes of note for 2008:

    --Sine Wave dimmers and Phase Control dimmers now defined.
    --Sine Wave dimmers no longer require the neutral to be considered a current-carrying conductor for wire size and conduit fill calculations, because they don't generate harmonics.
    --Dimmer systems Listed for Emergency use are now an acceptable method of energizing emergency lighting in the event of a power failure.

    BTW, most NEC revisions come from the public. Anyone can make a proposal for a change (on the correct form, of course!). Proposals to the 2011 Code are due in the Fall of 2008.


    ST
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    SteveTerry is absolutely correct in his both join and read. I'm about 1996 having read completely and 2003 in latest for the most part read changes or beyond. This not to full memorization but to the best I can and constantly learning. Also thru work, my requesting to join the draft of standards panel once submitted for application in payment was turned down.

    Still between USITT and ESTA, there is lots of leading people now having a say in our rules and what is standard - this is a good thing. At times also a troublesome thing that at times wont' be adopted. Went line by line over Draft BSR E1.18 "Standard for the Selection, Installation and use of Single Conductor Portable Power Feeder Cable Systems for Use at Less than 601 Volts Nominal for the Distribution of Electrical Engergy in the Entertainment and Live-Event Industries." ESTA = 2006 meeting.

    My boss and I went hours and hours about discussing this proposed code changes and our own policy in reflecting it. Some good reading also in me learning more. In the end, while some things changed, not much in overall policy until it's also NEC policy persay officially. Still five pages of questions on how such a even proposed policy would effect how we do stuff. Such study and education is good to keep aware of and informed of. This much less have a vote in it's end results as policy. I also subscribe to CEE news which goes into detail about general code changes proposed and changed or detailed but misunderstood.

    Only wish I had time, this much less could be more active by way of work funding my further study and participation in code related, ESTA and USITT related things. Even got my and others where I work request to pay for our certification test turned down. "gonna wait and see if it turns into anything important" was the response. Suppose this year since the certification did turn important I'll get tested... funny I have not heard anything. This given I would have failed the lamp question posted on PLSN over the past few months.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Further thoughts.

    Overall, in industry participation in code, proposals, certification, it’s more a budget deal in paying for those to participate as a bad thing. Pay to join individually to any of the NFPA, IESTA, or USITT memberships as an individual, or have work that’s often already a member pay to fund an individual member than fund participation or certification.

    As an individual... hmm, car payment or membership... car payment or membership is often what stands in the way of me just doing it.

    Until the industry becomes more involved and participating than it is, both certified master electricians and representives from all the industry - beyond what is already good in overall membership and participation will not be full. Hmm for work, fly me to Vegas to take the test or leave me at home while others more important to as upper management enjoy or those more geared towards what we buy in new gear see what’s coming.... business wise the payoff is for upper management to have fun and the buyers of the new gear to also go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2007
  10. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    A few points:


    1. You do not have to be a member of ESTA to participate in the ESTA standards process. Membership in working groups is open to all that are affected by the work of the group. And we're always looking for working group members in the "User" catgory--of which I think there may be a few around here!

    2. You cannot "join" the NFPA NEC standards process. The NFPA membership is usefulbut not required. You are appointed to a Code Making Panel by the NFPA Standards Council. This is usually because you have special expertise or represent an organization that needs to be on the Panel (my case with USITT). However, you have power in the NFPA standards process. Every NFPA standard is subject to public comment. These comments are not judged by who made them--you have the same say as the president of GE when you make a proposal or a comment. This is exactly how the USITT chnaged the NEC before we had a member on Code Panel 15--we wrote tons of proposals that were accepted. Much later on, I remember sitting in a CMP 15 meeting and deliberating a proposal to Article 520 from a guy named Arnie something-or-other. The organization he represented? "Arnie's Bait & Tackle". You get my point.


    3. Very early in my career, I got interested in standards work because I saw the possibility of other people having a say over how we did things in the theatre--people who might know little about our world. I hated that possibility. Standards work is not something that "other people do"--it's important and interesting work that everyone should try to participate in.

    4. Finally as to ETCP certification, it's going to be an absolute must for those working professionally in the theatre or related fields. It's already being phased in to some IATSE contracts as a requirement. It's always been a dilemma in our industry to accurately define "qualified personnel". Now we can. "Qualified personnel" = "ETCP Certified".


    ST
     

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