Dead front screw bored through conductor and contacts panel

For a dead front cover, using a wrong screw type like a wood screw and having it bore through a hot conductor and then contact the metal panel creates a “short circuit” not a “dead short”. Am I right?

It creates a flash and a bang, which is a result of the screw exploding in a “fuse” fashion. I think “dead short” refers to an ongoing connection.

It creates a ground fault. The enclosure is grounded and is connected to the ungrounded conductor through the screw.

I did that once. It created was a stain in my shorts!:shock:


It can be somewhat dramatic

Thank you Robert, I had a feeling I wasn’t quite right.

A dead short is a type of short circuit. A ground fault is also a short circuit since the path does not follow the designed path.

The NEC does not use the terms short circuit and ground fault interchangeably. Although not directly defined a ground fault would be a fault to the equipment grounding conductor or a grounded metal part. A short circuit would be a phase to phase or phase to neutral fault. Here’s one example of the two terms from the NEC:

So for the purposes of educating home inspectors, a wood screw through a conductor and contacting the metal panel would be a ground fault, even though it might somehow also be considered a short circuit.

This was at today’s inspection. I guess the screw wasn’t quite long enough to kill anyone–yet.:shock: I didn’t put the screw back in :cool: