/images/PowerCableUpdate.jpg/images/southwire_100x70.jpgEditorial Changes Abound in 2002 NEC - January/February 2002EditorialChangesAboundin2002NECJanandFeb2002.htm"This is a clean up year for the NEC," says Dave Mercier, technical director of Southwire's Electrical Division. "Formatting and organization were changed for usability, but the only significant change for industrial wire and cable users is . . .
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Editorial Changes Abound in 2002 NEC - January/February 2002


"This is a clean up year for the NEC," says Dave Mercier, technical director of Southwire's Electrical Division. "Formatting and organization were changed for usability, but the only significant change for industrial wire and cable users is the use of gray grounding conductors, which people have been doing anyway."

Look for dots instead of dashes

You'll see format changes throughout the NEC. One will be the use of dots instead of dashes in article numbers. Your old familiar (310-15) is now (310.15). The first alphabetic subsection designator will now be a capital letter, so instead of 310-15(b), you'll see 310.15(B). "Appendices" are now "Annexes," and some of the content is moved around.

Metric measurements will now appear first, with English foot-pound conversions in parentheses. In many cases, units will be rounded off to a practical number. For example, in 15m (50 ft), the English unit is rounded up from 49.2ft.

Where numeric accuracy is important, conversions will use the same number of significant digits. For example, 12mm (0.47in.).

Notice some new acronyms

More acronyms have sprung up, especially in Chapter 3. Most of the raceway types are getting new acronyms, including Type RMC for Rigid Metal Conduit, Type FMC for Flexible Metal Conduit and LFNC for Liquid tight Flexible Nonmetallic Conduit.

Learn some new article numbers

All those Chapter 3 article numbers you know by heart? Most of them have changed. The object was to rationalize the numbering system so if you look at an article on type MC cable and one on type TC cable, the numbering scheme looks the same.

Two articles on switchgear were moved from Chapter 3 to Chapter 4, and the article on Temporary Wiring was moved to Chapter 5, Article 527.

Gray and white conductors aren't the same

For years, many designers, installers and inspectors have considered white and gray to be two different colors for grounded conductors. The color codes of yellow, orange, brown and gray for 480/277V systems and black, blue, red and white for 208/120V systems are so widely used many people think those color codes are in the NEC somewhere. They're not.

Till now, the NEC did not recognize white and gray as different enough to distinguish between the grounded conductors of two different systems. In the past, some people have legitimately used gray to mark hot conductors, where they distinguished between gray and the NEC's "natural gray," which was basically a version of white.

Now the color "natural gray" is gone from the 2002 NEC language. The NEC now recognizes "gray" as a color - distinct from "white" - that can be used to identify grounded conductors and can't be used for anything else.

"The 2002 NEC does contain other substantive changes," Mercier says, "But many of them - such as the use of Type TC tray cable in open wiring applications - will only be important to some designers."

Watch for a story on Type TC tray cable in open wiring applications in an upcoming Power Cable Update.

Some information in this article is courtesy of CEE News. For more details on 2002 NEC changes, check their Web site at http://www.ceenews.com.