COMPARISON OF CONDUCTOR AMPACITIES

In the ´Comparison of Significant Provisions, NEC to IEC 60364,µ the discussion under Sec. 310-15 contains an example where the conductor ampacities appear to be relatively equivalent. A closer analysis reveals that overall the NEC ampacities are more conservative, especially when the difference in the conductor insulation temperature rating is taken into consideration. One of the standard conductor temperature ratings is 75°C in the NEC, whereas in Part 5, Sec. 523 of IEC 60364, the closest standard rating to 75°C is 70°C. If the NEC ampacities were recalculated for a 70°C maximum temperature, the allowable ampacities would be lower yet. Tables E-1 and E-2 contain the ampacities given in the respective documents. Figure E1 depicts the difference.

Table E.1
Allowable Ampacities of Insulated Conductors Rated 0-2000 V, 75°C, Not More Than Three CurrentCarrying Conductors in a Raceway or Cable, Based on Ambient Temperature of 30°C

Excerpt from NEC, Table 310-16 Copper Conductors, 75°C AWG or kcmil 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 1/0 4/0 700 mm² 2.08 3.31 5.26 8.37 13.30 21.15 33.62 53.49 107.20 355.00 Allowable Ampacities, Amperes 20 25 35 50 65 85 115 150 230 460

Table E.2
Current-carrying capacities in amperes for cables in free air, with clearance from wall not less than 0.3 times cable diameter, conductor temperature 70°C, ambient temperature 30°C, three loaded copper cores.

Excerpt from Table 52-C9, Column 2

Nominal cross-sectional area of conductor, mm²
1.5 2.5 4.0 6.0 10.0 16.0 35.0 70.0 240.0 300.0

Current-carrying capacity, amperes
18.5 25.0 34.0 43.0 6 0.0 80.0 126 .0 196.0 430. 0 497.0

A Guide to Miniature Circuit Breakers
Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs) are designed to protect the cable downstream of the device against overloads and short circuits, preventing damage to cables and equipment. MCBs are installed in modern consumer units, and are a convenient alternative to fuses as they can be reset without having to replace wire with a simple flick of a switch or button. There are 3 MCB types, Type B, Type C and Type D, and the speed at which they trip depends upon the level of overload, and is usually determined by a thermal device within the MCB. An MCB works by tripping when a circuit is overloaded or when a short circu it has occurred in the system, and has a current rating such as 6A, or 10A depending upon its intended use, i.e. for residential, commercial, industrial or public buildings. MCB ratings relate to continuous service under specified installation conditions, although cables can carry higher currents for short periods without causing permanent damage. There are 3 MCB types, Type B, Type C and Type D, and the speed at which they trip depends upon the level of overload, and is usually determined by a thermal device within the MCB. Selecting the right one should be done in accordance with BS 7671:Requirements for Electrical Installations (The IEE Regulations, Sixteenth Edition) and will ensure that the device will not give unwanted tripping. All 3 MCB types use a magnetic fault protection, which trips the MCB within one tenth of a second when the overload reaches a set level. * Type B trips between 3 and 5 time full load current; * Type C trips between 5 and 10 times full load current; and * Type D trips between 10 and 20 times full load current. An MCB's circuit rating is given in Kiloamps (KA), and this indicates the level of its ability to work. For example a domestic MCB would normally have a 6KA fault level, whereas one used in an industrial application may nee d a unit with a 10KA fault capability.

Type B devices are commonly used in domestic systems and light commercial applications where surges are low, for instance where inrush currents may come from a small number of fluorescent fittings. However, unwanted tripping can occur due to high arcing currents, often due to poor quality lamps, and in this case either a higher rating B type MRC should be used, or a type C device may be more suitable instead. Again, the MCB type used should be selected in accordance wi th BS 7671. Type C MCBs are most suitable for commercial and industrial use, where there are motors and perhaps a high number of fluorescent fittings which, when switched off together may cause a high inrush current. Whether an upgrade to a Type D is suitable should be decided according to operating times and consideration of Regulation 413 -02-08. Type D units are for more specialist industrial use, where current inrushes can be high, for example with X-ray machines and transformers. They may require a lower earth loop impedance (Zs) to achieve the operating times required. Whichever MCB type is used, it is extremely dangerous to cut corners by using inferior quality devices, therefore they should only be bought from a reputable manufacturer.