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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 530, Motion Picture and Television Studios and Similar Locations

  1. Note that the electrical inspector isn't the only Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for a motion picture studio installation. Others who can enforce the codes are the general contractor, OSHA, insurance providers, other trades, and the property owner. The producers and investors, having significant sums at stake, also need to be assured that their investment won't burn down. [530.1]

  2. The intention is that Article 530 applies to business ventures in film, not to an amateur making a film of the local high school play. For this reason, any activity involving the use or editing of film or tape more than 22mm wide falls under Article 530 [530.1].
  3. For any stage or set, the permanent wiring must be Type MC cable, type MI cable, or run in approved raceway. Alternatively, it can be Type AC cable if the cable contains an insulated equipment grounding conductor sized per Table 250.122 [530.11].
  4. For any stage or set, the portable wiring must be listed for hard usage [530.12]. Where practical, use duct tape and guards to secure portable cords it in place and protect them if they run across the floor.
  5. If you use any DC plugging boxes, the smallest permitted rating is 30A [530.14].
  6. For the permanently-wired feeders, you can use the demand factors listed in Table 530.19(A) [530.19(A)].
  7. For the portable feeders, you can use a demand factor of 50% [530.19(B)].
  8. Bond together all of your metallic cable, raceway, and other non current-carrying metal parts [530.20]. Doing this eliminates dangerous differences of potential. The requirement here says "grounding" but read the Article 100 definitions that involve grounding and bonding. What is meant is to provide a metallic pathway between these parts and to the Equipment Grounding (bonding) Conductor.
  9. Single-pole portable cable connectors for AC power must be of the interlocking type [530.22].
  10. It's not recommended, but it is permitted, to supply stage set lighting loads from branch circuits that supply receptacles [530.23]. Now think about this practice. If you have to work on the lights, you won't have power for portable lights and power tools. If you have to work on the power, you still won't have power for portable lights and power tools and on top of that you will be working in the dark. Always put lights and power on different branch circuits. It's not an NEC requirement, but it is an inexpensive way to prevent expensive problems later.


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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