National Electrical Code ExplanationsBased on the 2014 NEC
National Electrical Code Tips: Article 800, Communications Circuits, Part 5
- Article 800, Part V is titled, " Installation Methods Within Buildings." This title is misleading to people unfamiliar with NEC jargon. Chapter 3 is all about wiring "methods" but it is focusing on the materials used rather than the procedures and practices of installing something. Similar thing, here. Notice the idea of "focus" rather than "exclusive coverage."
- Article 800, Part V, consists of mostly of Section 800.113. Some other, smaller sections round it out. But it begins with 800.110.
- 800.110(A) provides the requirements for raceways and cable routing assemblies. Please note that "raceway" and "conduit" are not synonyms. There are many kinds of raceway other than conduit. For communications cables within buildings, you can use any Chapter 3 raceway (not just conduit) [800.110(A)(1)] but you must install those raceways per Chapter 3 requirements.
- The requirements for cable routing assemblies [800.110(C)] were added with the 2014 NEC. Mostly, these precribe horizontal and vertical support requirements.
- The title of 800.113 seems to repeat the title of 800.110. The content, however, is very different. Back to point 1 above. 800.110 deals mostly with the procedures and practices, while 800.113 deals mostly with the materials (cables and raceways).
- Which cables and raceways you can use depends on the application. To find your application, glance througg the headings for 800.113(A) through 800.113(L). Note that four different types of riser applications are identified.
- Back to point 1, again. Section 800.133 deals with procedures and practices. For example, you must separate communications cables from other conductors. And there's quite a bit of text prescribing how you must do that.
- In 800.133(B), you will find support requirements for wires and cables. It seems that 800.110(C) really should have been added here, instead of where it was added. But all that 800.133(B) is really saying is the same thing you find elsewhere in the Code; you can't attach these cables tothe exterior of any raceway. There is an exception made for overhead spans.
- You can use only listed communications wires and cables that are indicated in Table 800.154(a) [800.154]. The same rule applies to communications raceways, except you use Table 800.154(b). And the same rule applies to cable routing assemblies, except you use Table 800.154(c).
- For new construction, you must install at least on communications outlet within the dwelling [800.156]. It must be in a readily accessible area and cable to the service provider demarcation point.
How the NEC is arranged
- The first four Chapters of the NEC apply to all installations.
- Article 90 precedes Chapter One, and establishes the authority of the NEC.
- Article 80 follows the body of the NEC; it exists as Annex H. It provides the requirements for administration.
- Chapters 5, 6, and 7 are the "special" chapters, covering special: occupancies, equipment, and conditions (in that order).
- Chapter 8 provides the requirements for communications systems.
- Chapter 9 provides tables.
- The appendices provide mostly reference information.
- 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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