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#85769 - 08/05/03 06:13 PM Using EMT as neutral
John Steinke Offline

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 509
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
Once again, I encountered some clever person who was able to "create" 110 in a 220v system by grounding the neutral screw to the box.
While I corrected the situation, I was challenged to show where this dangerous practice was banned. After all, the NEC does allow uninsulated neutrals (grounded conductors).
Other than noting that "raceways" contain, rather than act as, conductors, and noting that the code has no ampacity tables for EMT, I am at a loss as to just where this practice is explicitly banned.
Considering that I was once fired for objecting to this practice, I sure would like some better references. Any suggestions?

2014 / 2011 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
#85770 - 08/05/03 09:19 PM Re: Using EMT as neutral
stamcon Offline

Registered: 03/24/01
Posts: 322
Loc: So San Francisco CA
John, where in the NEC is it stated, that a neutral(grounded conductor) can be bare in other than a service entrance location?

#85771 - 08/06/03 03:47 AM Re: Using EMT as neutral
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
I'm thinking
'seperatley derived receptacle'

#85772 - 08/06/03 04:05 AM Re: Using EMT as neutral
Gwz Offline

Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 199
Explicity banned.

I do not recall seeing such a statement, but neither do I see where explicity permitted.

The only reference I am aware of - of metal raceways being a conductor is for Equipment Grounding Conductors (EGC), 250.118.

Along the above thought; 250.24(A)(5) does not permit the Grounded Conductor to be re-grounded after the Service Disconnecting means, but does have exceptions. I do not think most installations where the raceway would be used as the neutral could be free of being grounded somewhere.

I do not see metal raceways as conductors in Article 310, Conductors for General Wiring.

#85773 - 08/06/03 05:00 AM Re: Using EMT as neutral
resqcapt19 Offline

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2209
Loc: IL
Explicity banned.
I do not recall seeing such a statement, but neither do I see where explicity permitted.

This maybe come a problem in future codes. Starting with the '05 code, the "uses permitted" will be deleted from some code articles. The idea is that if the code does not prohibit the installation, it will be permitted.

#85774 - 08/06/03 06:30 AM Re: Using EMT as neutral
ThinkGood Offline

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Would the previously allowed method of wiring a clothes dryer be considered similar?

There was no GC, just two hots and an EGC. The frame of the unit could become hot.

Now, the requirement is two hots, a GC and an EGC.

(Or am I attempting to compare two different things?)

P. S. John: What was your solution to fix this? Pull a new, separate conductor?

[This message has been edited by ThinkGood (edited 08-06-2003).]

#85775 - 08/06/03 08:00 AM Re: Using EMT as neutral
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6805
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Funny that this topic surfaced....
Years back, I had a employee who "went on his own".

Got a call from a job he worked on, arcing behind the clothing racks along the wall. Went to the site, saw visable arc tracking on the 1/2" EMT....went to the AC receptacle, opened the 1900 cover. A new cost cutting installation method.... a great discovery.

One (1) #10 THHN, black, on the single receptacle, a 6" piece of white, from the neutral recept terminal, to a ground screw in the box. Gee, 120 volts at the outlet..

Hmm, materials cost saved? maybe $10.00, possible fire damage? priceless.

Now if he only made sure the setscrews were all tight, he might have escaped!

THe "old timers" used to call this practice "gipping the ground" "who needs the white wire", "The BX sheath is good enough for a return path".


#85776 - 08/06/03 02:03 PM Re: Using EMT as neutral
steve66 Offline

Registered: 03/13/03
Posts: 25
Article 200.2: All premises wiring systems, other than ..... shall have a grounded conductor that is identified in accordance with 200.6. 200.6 seems to only list "insulated" conductors. The definition of "conductor, insulated" in article 100 would not include conduit.

I left out a lot of exceptions in 200.2 that I didn't feel like typing.

#85777 - 08/15/03 03:27 PM Re: Using EMT as neutral
John Steinke Offline

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 509
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
Thanks for the feedback.

Where the NEC discusses the marking of the grounded conductor, is the color shall be, where insulated,.... This seems to suggest that the neutral need not be insulated. I agree that I've only seen an un-insulated "neutral" on the POCO side of the service.

How did I "convert" 240 to 120? I was lucky in that the panel was a main panel, so the ground bus also qualified as a neutral bus. All I had to do was identify one of the wires, mark it, and terminate it in the appropriate places.
On a follow-up visit, the manager told me that the maintenance guy had tried to get in the apartment to see "what I'd done," but she had refused him. I thanked her, explaining that it had been necessary for me to do work at both the apartment and the panel in order to make the change.

#85778 - 08/18/03 06:50 PM Re: Using EMT as neutral
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
i suppose it's time to throw the proverbial monkey wrench in and ask about a meter/panel back to back via EMT ?

yup, it's a NOOOOooooOOOdle guys

now noodle out of it...

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