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National Electrical Code Articles and Information

NEC Quiz: Article 386 Answers

by Mark Lamendola

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  1. This wiring method is the surface metal raceway. It's a metallic raceway that's supposed to be mounted to the surface of a structure [386.2]. Generally, this raceway has very high aesthetic value. It's meant to be installed as a system, using the couplings, connectors, boxes, and fittings for that particular system.

  2. There are four permitted uses. They are: In dry locations; in Class I, Division 2 hazardous locations as permitted in 501.10(B)(3); Under raised floors, as permitted in 645.29(1), and extending through walls and floors (this last one has conditions for permissibility) [386.10].

  3. There are actually five uses not permitted. Where subject to severe damage; where subject to corrosive vapors; where the voltage between conductors is 300V or more (unless specific special circumstances exist); in hoistways; where concealed (except as permitted in 386.10) [386.12].

  4. Secure the raceway per the manufacturer's installation instructions [386.30]. Note that deviating from these instructions may well produce an installation that violates the listing of the components. They are meant to be assembled and supported in specific ways, and they are tested with those assembly and support means to get their testing lab listing.
  5. You can use only listed components [386.6]. Maybe something you'd normally use for EMT would handily solve an installation problem, but using it would render the installation out of compliance with the Code. You can't "field-design" these systems.



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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