In 2002, responding to the consequences of continual updates in communications cable, the National Electrical Code (NEC) added a provision requiring the removal of abandoned cabling. But what cables must be removed, and what should be done with them? Correct answers and explanations are in red.

1. The NEC defines abandoned cable as cable that is ___________.

A. Not terminated in connectors or equipment or marked for future use

B. Replaced by newer generation cable

C. Any old, unused copper cable

D. Coax or IBM cable

This is the definition of abandoned cable, as originally covered in paragraphs 800.2 and 770.2 of the NEC 2002 CodeBook.

2. Abandoned cable must be removed because ___________.

A. The weight may cause ceilings or cable trays to collapse

B. Abandoned cables are an electrical hazard

C. Plastics and other flammable components in cables are a fire hazard

D. All of the above

Smoke and toxic fumes in a fire are the concern.

3. Fiber optic cable is exempted from this provision of the NEC.

True

False

Fiber was first covered in paragraph 770.2  of the NEC 2002 CodeBook.

4. If you update a building from Cat 5e to augmented Cat 6, ___________.

A. The Cat 5e must be removed

B. The Cat 5e cable must be marked for future use or removed

C. The Cat 5e can be left, but any earlier copper cables must be removed

D. No cables need removal

The options are to remove it or mark it for future use.

5. Removal of abandoned cables takes ___________ labor than installing new cable.

A. Less

B. More

C. About the same

Removing cables requires time to identify and separate, then extreme care to avoid damaging remaining cables.

6. Cables that are removed can be recycled for their ___________.

A. Reuse as communications cables

B. Copper conductors

C. Plastic jackets and insulation

D. Both copper and plastic content

While the copper is more valuable, the plastics can be recycled also.

7. Removal of the plastic insulation on copper cables by burning ___________.

A. Can be safely done at the job site by the contractor

B. Releases harmful chemicals and may result in an Environmental Protection Agency fine

C. Is recommended by recyclers

D. Makes the scrap cable more valuable

Burning cable is illegal, toxic and may reduce the recycling value.

8. Recyclers separate the copper and plastic in a cable ___________.

A. By squeezing the cables to split and remove the insulation

B. By chopping the cable into fine particles that can be separated

C. Both of the above

D. Neither of the above. They burn insulation off in a furnace.

Both methods are in common use.

9. For recycling, copper cables are graded by types, which generally cover ___________.

A. The size of the copper conductors

B. The weight of the cable

C. The number of conductors

D. The type of insulation

More copper means more value in recycling.

10. Fiber optic cables also can be recycled for their plastic content.

True

False

The plastics can be reused for certain molding applications.

HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.