The NEC Chapter Three base methods accommodate assorted cable types, such as: 1) armored cable (Type AC) [Art. 320]; 2) metal-clad cable (Type MC) [Art. 330]; 3) nonmetallic-sheathed cable (Types NM and NMC) [Art. 334]; 4) ability and ascendancy tray cable: Type TC [Art. 336]; and 5) service-entrance cable: Types SE and USE [Art. 338].
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Armored cable is an accumulation of cloistral conductors, 14 AWG through 1 AWG, alone captivated aural waxed cardboard and independent aural a adjustable spiral, interlocked metal armor with an centralized bonding band in affectionate acquaintance with the armor for its absolute length.
Metal-clad cable (Type MC) is a annex accumulation of cloistral ambit conductors, with or after optical cilia members, amid in an armor of chain metal band (or brownish sheath) [Sec. 330.2]. Because the alien sheath of acceptable interlocked Type MC cable isn’t listed as an accessories accomplishments aqueduct (EGC) [Sec. 250.118(10)a.], Type MC contains an EGC [Sec. 330.108]. There is a Type MC cable area the brownish sheath is accumulated with a bald EGC that does authorize the cable as an EGC [Sec. 250.118(10)b.] (Fig. 1).
Nonmetallic-sheathed cable (Types NM and NMC) encloses two or added cloistral conductors, 14 AWG through 2 AWG, aural a nonmetallic anorak [Sec. 334.2]. NM cable has cloistral conductors amid aural an all-embracing nonmetallic jacket. The anorak of Type NMC cable is additionally corrosion-resistant.
Power and ascendancy tray cable (Type TC) is a annex accumulation of two or added cloistral conductors beneath a nonmetallic anorak [Sec. 336.2].
Service-entrance cable is a distinct or multiconductor assembly, with or after an all-embracing covering, acclimated primarily for casework [Sec. 338.2]. Type SE and SER cables accept a flame-retardant, moisture-resistant covering. SER cable has an cloistral aloof (resulting in three cloistral conductors) with an uninsulated EGC. SER cable is round, while 2-wire SE cable is flat. Type USE cable is for underground applications; its accoutrement is clammy resistant, but not flame-retardant.
Type AC Cable
You can use armored cable for [Sec. 320.10]:
(1) Feeders and annex circuits in apparent or active installations.
(2) Cable trays.
(3) Dry locations.
(4) Anchored in adhesive or brick, except in clammy or wet locations.
(5) Air voids area not apparent to boundless clammy or dampness.
You can additionally install armored cable in a adequateness amplitude area listed for use in an air-handling amplitude [Sec. 300.22(C)(1)] However, you can’t use it [Sec. 320.12]:
(1) Area accountable to accurate damage.
(2) In clammy or wet locations.
(3) In air voids of masonry block or asphalt walls area such walls are apparent or accountable to boundless clammy or dampness.
(4) Area apparent to acerb conditions.
Type MC Cable
The accepted uses for metal clad cable (Type MC) accommodate [Sec. 330.10(A)]:
(1) In annex circuits, feeders, and services.
(2) In power, lighting, control, and arresting circuits.
(3) Indoors or outdoors.
(4) Apparent or concealed.
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(5) Directly active if articular for the purpose.
(6) In a cable tray.
(7) In a raceway.
(8) As aeriform cable on a messenger.
(9) In chancy locations as acceptable in Secs. 501.10(B), 502.10(B), and 503.10.
(10) Anchored in adhesive or brick in dry locations.
(11) In wet locations, area a corrosion-resistant anorak is provided over the metal sheath and any of the afterward are met:
a. The brownish accoutrement is impervious to moisture.
b. A anorak is provided beneath the metal accoutrement that’s clammy resistant.
c. The cloistral conductors beneath the brownish accoutrement are listed for use in wet locations.
(12) If single-conductor cables are used, all ambit conductors charge be accumulated calm to abbreviate induced voltage on the sheath [Sec. 300.3(B)].
Specific uses for Type MC cable accommodate [330.10(B)]:
(1) In a cable tray per Art. 392.
(2) Absolute active (cables charge be adequate per Sec. 300.50).
(3) Installed as service-entrance cable (if installed per Sec. 230.43).
(4) Installed alfresco of buildings; it charge accede with Secs. 225.10, 396.10, and 396.12.
But you can’t use it [Sec. 330.12] area it’s:
(1) Accountable to accurate damage.
(2) Apparent to the annihilative acerb altitude in (a) or (b), unless the brownish sheath or armor is aggressive to the altitude (or adequate by actual aggressive to the conditions):
a. Absolute burying in the apple or anchored in accurate unless articular for the application.
b. Apparent to cinder fills, able chlorides, abrasive alkalis, or abasement of chlorine or of hydrochloric acids.
Type NM and NMC Cable
You can use Type NM and Type NMC cables for [Sec. 334.10]:
(1) One- and two-family dwellings of any height, and their attached/detached garages or accumulator buildings.
(2) Multifamily dwellings acceptable to be of Types III, IV, and V construction. See Annex E for the assurance of architecture types [NFPA 220, Table 3-1].
(3) Added structures acceptable to be of Types III, IV, and V construction. Cables charge be active aural walls, floors, or ceilings that accommodate a thermal barrier of actual with at atomic a 15-min. accomplishment rating, as articular in listings of fire-rated assemblies.
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But you can’t use Types NM or NMC cables [Sec. 334.12(A)]:
(1) In any abode or anatomy not accurately acceptable in Sec. 334.10(1), (2), (3), and (5).
(2) Apparent aural a alone or abeyant beam atrium in added than one- and two-family, and multi-family dwellings.
(3) As service-entrance cable.
(4) In bartering garages accepting chancy locations, as authentic in Sec. 511.3.
(5) In theaters and agnate locations, except area acceptable in Sec. 518.4(B).
(6) In motion account studios.
(7) In accumulator array rooms.
(8) In hoistways, or on elevators or escalators.
(9) Anchored in caked cement, concrete, or aggregate.
(10) In any chancy location, except area acceptable by added sections in the Code.
And you can’t use Type NM cables:
(1) If apparent to acerb effluvium or vapors.
(2) If anchored in masonry, concrete, adobe, fill, or plaster.
(3) In a bank hunt in masonry, concrete, or adobe and covered with plaster, adobe, or agnate finish.
(4) In wet or clammy locations (Fig. 2). A approach in a arena attic slab is advised a wet area [Sec. 300.5(B)].
Type TC Cable
You can use ability and ascendancy tray cable (Type TC) in [Sec. 336.10]:
(1) Power, lighting, control, and arresting circuits.
(2) Cable trays including those with mechanically alternate segments up to 1 ft.
(4) Outdoor locations accurate by a agent wire.
(5) Class 1 circuits as acceptable in Parts II and III of Art. 725.
(6) Nonpower-limited blaze anxiety circuits per Sec. 760.49.
(7) Between a cable tray and accessories if it complies with Sec. 336.10(7)a through f.
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(8) Wet locations area the cable is aggressive to clammy and acerb agents.
(9) One- and two-family dwellings, Type TC‑ER cable is acceptable per Part II of Art. 334.
(10) Absolute active area articular for absolute burial.
But you can’t use Type TC cables [Sec. 336.12]:
(1) Area apparent to accurate damage
(2) Alfresco a approach or cable tray system, except as acceptable in Secs. 336.10(4), 336.10(7), 336.10(9), and 336.10(10)
(3) Apparent to absolute appliance of the sun, unless articular as sunlight resistant.
Type SE and USE Cables
You can use service-entrance cable as [Sec. 338.10]:
• Service-entrance conductors, if installed per Art. 230.
• Annex circuits and feeders area the ambit conductors are insulated.
SE cable is acceptable for annex circuits and feeders if the cloistral conductors are acclimated for ambit wiring, and the uninsulated aqueduct is acclimated alone for accessories accomplishments (Fig. 3).
Exception: In absolute installations, uninsulated conductors may be acclimated for the aloof aqueduct if the uninsulated aloof aqueduct of the cable originates in account equipment.
SE cable acclimated for annex circuits or feeders charge accede with Sec. 338.10(B)(4)(a) and (b).
(a) Autogenous installations. Install per the aforementioned requirements as Type NM Cable — Art. 334, excluding Sec. 334.80.
Where installed in thermal insulation, the ampacity of conductors 10 AWG and smaller, charge be sized with the 60°C (140°F) aqueduct temperature appraisement per Table 310.15(B)(16). For aqueduct ampacity alteration and/or adjustment, use the aqueduct temperature appraisement ampacity.
(b) Exterior installations. Support the cable per Sec. 334.30. Area run underground, the cable charge accede with Part II of Art. 340.
You can’t use SE cable [Sec. 338.12(A)]:
(1) If accountable to accurate accident unless adequate in accordance with Sec. 230.50(B).
(2) Underground with or after a raceway.
You can’t use USE cable [Sec. 338.12(B)]:
(1) For autogenous wiring.
(2) Aloft ground, except area adequate adjoin accurate accident per Sec. 300.5(D).
You can see there are abounding differences in acceptable and banned uses of cables. Being accustomed with these Code rules helps you baddest the actual cable for the application. Once you’ve done that, abode the NEC’s accession requirements for the cable you’ve chosen. At this point, you still accept abounding accomplish larboard to complete the job. To abstain redoing them, analysis your cable alternative afore proceeding with them.
Holt is the buyer of Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc. in Leesburg, Fla. He can be accomplished at www.mikeholt.com.
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