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National Electrical Code Articles and Information

Based on the 2017 NEC

by Mark Lamendola

National Electrical Code Top Ten Tips: Article 525, Carnivals, Circuses, and Similar Events

  1. Article 525 applies to the installation of portable wiring and equipment for carnivals, circuses, fairs, and similar functions. This includes wiring in or on all structures.
  2. A "portable structure" is one that's designed to be moved [525.2]. Some people pretend to be confused on this to avoid meeting requirements, but basically anything that is not left in place on that fair grounds (or similar venue) all year round is a "portable structure."
  3. The requirements of Chapters 1 through 4 also apply, except as modified by this Article.
  4. Other Articles from Chapters 5 and 6 may apply [525.3].
  5. Conform to the overhead clearances specified in 225.18. But when running overhead conductors to portable structures, conform to 525.5(B).
  6. Portable does not mean temporary. You must use raceway as appropriate to protect the wiring [525.6].
  7. Install service equipment in a location that is not accessible to unqualified persons, and/or ensure it's lockable [525.10]. Ideally, you will do both. For liability purposes, also ensure you provide adequate signage. Adding a hidden camera or two is also prudent.
  8. Where you use flexible cords, ensure they are rated for hard usage. [515.20(A)]. To avoid damage, route them out of the way of traffic as much as is practical. Also use cord guards where those make sense. Taping a cord in place reduces the likelihood of theft and also prevents a tripping hazard; standard duct tape works well for this purpose.
  9. For rides, tents, and concessions, provide a disconnect within site of and within 6 ft of the operator's station [525.21]. If it's accessible to unqualified people, it muste be lockable.
  10. You don't need GFCI for receptacles dedicated to equipment (only for convenience receptacles). For equipment receptacles, ensure they are of the locking type [525.23(B). GFCI is not permitted for egress lighting [525.23(C)]. When installing GFCI receptacles, connect the load and line wires to the correct terminals so the unit actually provides GFCI protection.

How the NEC is arranged

  1. The first four Chapters of the NEC apply to all installations.
  2. Article 90 precedes Chapter One, and establishes the authority of the NEC.
  3. Article 80 follows the body of the NEC; it exists as Annex H. It provides the requirements for administration.
  4. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 are the "special" chapters, covering special: occupancies, equipment, and conditions (in that order).
  5. Chapter 8 provides the requirements for communications systems.
  6. Chapter 9 provides tables.
  7. The appendices provide mostly reference information.
  8. Appendix D contains examples that every NEC user should study.

Try your NEC moxy:

  • Do you know the difference between bonding and grounding? Hint: Look in the NEC, Article 100.
  • Does the NEC refer to grounding incorrectly in any of its articles? Yes! So be careful to apply the Article 100 definitions. Don't ground where you should bond.
  • When doing motor load calculations, which Article covers hermetic motors? Answer: While Article 440 covers the application of hermetic motors, it does so only by amending Article 430 because hermetic motors are a special case of motors. For motor load calculations, refer to Article 430.
  • Does the NEC provide a voltage drop requirement? Yes! It does so in a special case, which is Article 648 Sensitive Electronic Equipment. But for general applications, it does not provide a requirement; it merely provides a recommendation in a couple of FPNs.
  • Take our Code Quizzes.

Remember other applicable codes, rules, standards, and references:

  • OSHA's electrical worker safety rules.
  • IEEE standards.
  • NETA standards.
  • NFPA standards.
  • International Codes (if applicable to the installation).
  • State Codes (if the state has them).
  • Local ordinances and permit requirements.
  • Local fire codes.
  • Manufacturer requirements or guidelines.
  • Customer security requirements.
  • Industry standards.
  • Your company's own internal standards, practices, and procedures.
  • Engineering drawing notes.



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