Mis-Leading Magazine Article


Old 08-23-04, 02:52 PM
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Mis-Leading Magazine Article

The current ( Sept.) issue of "Fine Homebuilding" magazine includes an article titled "Installing a circuit-breaker". The contents can be confusing to the un-experienced person , the type of person the article is directed to.

There is a photograph of the interior of a C-B panel which is a Sub-panel connected to a 2/3 Type NM cable with 3 insulated conductors, one "Identified" as the "In-coming Nuetral", and an un-insulated EGC "Identified"as the "In-coming Ground" Most people would be involved with a Service-panel when adding a C-B.

The implications??--- If the Service-panel is connected to Type SE cable, someone , referring to the photograph,will notice only 2 insulated conductors and may presume one is the Neutral, and where's the 3rd.?--AM I missing one? the insulated Neutral conductor in the photograph has a termination exactly similiar to the Un-grounded cable conductors. The un-insulated Neutral conductor in an SE cable could be viewed as the "In-coming Ground".

The EGC's in the photo in question appear to terminate on "add-on" Grounding terminal bars,completely seperate from the Nuetral conductors. What will a DIY'er think if his Service-panel has Neutral/EGC's connections on the same terminal bar?.

Now to the text---- "When in doubt,Test the draw"---"if you have a small,crowed panel, you should test the draw (current) with a voltage meter---" There is a "test the load" photograph which shows a clamp-on ammeter in use.
Any one who buys a "voltage-meter" to "test the draw" will be confused in applying the instrument.

The article implies that the "draw-test" be performed with ALL connected loads drawing current-- very mis-leading, over-looking Code demand-factors. Just provide us with a comprehensive list of all connected-loads, and we'll calculate the load for you.

The article describes a "twin" or "tandem" C-B unit as a "half-height" (read half-size) breaker-pole. A photo of a "Half-height" breaker is identified as a "Two-pole" breaker, and a photo of a two-pole breaker is identified as a "Half-height" breaker.

"Don't --- spend you money on a voltage meter"--- he/she means ammeter--- (we are now involved in load calculations)--- Worst possible advise to a home-owner DIY'er---- DON"T buy a volt-meter. A reliable voltmeter/ multi-tester is not an exorbitant(?) expence, well-worth the investment and very practical and useful

"Switches and lights ( fixtures ?) amost always rated for 20-amp protection"---- ???????
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Old 08-24-04, 10:14 AM
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I am an avid DIYer and if I had one hero in my life it would have to Norm Abram. Well, maybe not "hero," but you know what I mean. I love woodworking and I can't think of anyone I would rather emulate. I have absolute respect for his expertise in carpentry and woodworking. However, let me tell you about one of his shows.

On an episode during which he made turned lamps, as he was attaching the wires, he made a comment that it didn't matter which wire went to which terminal. I almost screamed. Sure the lamp lights up, but so will the person replacing a bulb if it is not wired correctly and he forgets to unplug the lamp first...not to mention some toddler just reaching up under the shade satisfying his or her curiosity.

When an article or comment comes from a source we respect, we tend to take it for gospel. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a good solution to this problem.

Thanks for bringing this one up.
Old 08-24-04, 10:24 AM
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It only matters what terminal the wires go on if the plug is polarized. Perhaps he didn't have a polarized plug.
Old 08-24-04, 10:33 AM
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I'm not sure whether he had a polarized plug or not. I couldn't tell from the TV perspective, but since he was building this lamp from scratch, he "should" have been using a polarized plug. This wasn't one of his most recent shows, but polarized plugs on lamps have been around for a long time.

I was just surprised that no one on the editorial staff caught it.
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