Brendan Lamothe

Key Takeaways

  • Uglies book is an essential electrical field reference.
  • Provides condensed, useful information for quick access.
  • Convenient and affordable, fitting easily in your tool belt.

Overview of the Uglies Book

Importance for Electricians

The Uglies book is a crucial tool for every electrician working in the field. It offers essential electrical codes, wiring diagrams, safety protocols, and more, all condensed into a pocket-sized manual. This book saves time by providing quick access to information that would otherwise require referencing a larger, less portable codebook.

Contents and Utility

The Uglies book includes:

  • NEC tables
  • Wiring diagrams for transformers, motors, start/stop stations
  • Pipe bending instructions
  • Mathematical formulas for trigonometry and algebra
  • Electrical and life safety guidelines
  • Solar PV
  • Knot tying techniques

Electricians can use it to size conductors for motors, calculate conduit fill, and determine the right equipment grounding conductor.

Affordability and Availability

The book is affordably priced, typically around $10 to $14. It can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe's, or online platforms like Amazon. Due to its low cost, having multiple copies for ready access at different job sites is practical and beneficial.

Functions and Diagrams Included

Electrical Safety and Life Safety

  • Electrical Codes: The Uglies book includes a comprehensive collection of electrical codes, essential for maintaining safety standards on job sites.
  • Diagrams: Contains wiring diagrams for transformers and motors, crucial for correct installation and operation.
  • Safety Procedures: Detailed procedures for electrical and life safety, including knot-tying techniques.

Pipe Bending and Math Calculations

  • Trig Functions and Algebra: Guides you through trig functions and basic algebra required for calculations.
  • Pipe Bending Tables: Reference tables for bending pipe accurately.
  • Practical Usage: Easy-to-carry format allows for quick access in the field.

Solar PV Information

  • Solar PV Standards: Includes necessary information on solar photovoltaic systems.
  • Installation Diagrams: Diagrams and charts relevant to installing and maintaining solar PV systems.
  • Equipment Sizing: Helps in sizing conductors and selecting the correct overcurrent protection devices.

Practical Usage of the Uglies Book

Conduit Fill Tables

The Uglies book is invaluable for quick reference to conduit fill tables. You'll find tables taken directly from the NEC, making it straightforward to determine how many wires of a specific size can fit into conduit of various diameters. For example, if you're wondering how many pieces of number-12 wire can go into a 3/4-inch conduit, you can easily look it up in seconds. By doing this, you avoid wasting time and resources checking with your manager or referencing larger, less portable code books.

Tabbing for Easy Reference

Tabbing your Uglies book is a game-changer. You can mark frequently used sections, such as conduit fill tables or motor FLC charts, for rapid access. Having the book tabbed allows you to thumb directly to the needed section without flipping through pages. This becomes particularly useful when you're on a job site and need to find information quickly. Consider using different colored tabs for different sections to enhance organization and efficiency.

Sponsorship Acknowledgement

Rogers Electrical Contracting Company Overview

Rogers is a well-established electrical contracting company with operations in 48 states. They boast a workforce of over 1,500 employees, including approximately 800 service technicians. Rogers offers numerous opportunities, especially if you're looking to join a larger, nationwide firm. You can find more information through the link provided in the description below.

Supplementing the NEC Codebook

Carrying Convenience and Condensed Information

The Uglies book serves as an essential electrical field reference manual. It contains numerous electrical codes, wiring diagrams, and tables directly from the NEC. This book includes information on topics such as:

  • Transformers
  • Motors
  • Start/Stop Stations
  • Pipe Bending
  • Math (Trig Functions, Simple Algebra)
  • Electrical Safety
  • Life Safety
  • Tying Knots

You can find wiring diagrams for various applications, including transformers and motors, and there are instructions on pipe bending and performing trigonometric calculations. The book also contains critical safety information, including electrical and life safety procedures.

It's an invaluable tool for making quick field calculations without needing to carry your full NEC codebook. The Uglies book features condensed information on commonly used tables and charts, such as conduit fill tables and FLC charts for motors, making it easy to reference on the job site.

Here's an example of how you might use the FLC chart within the Uglies book:

Motor Information

Example Value


10 HP


208 Volts



FLC (From Chart)

30.8 Amps

You'd use this information to determine the required conductor size based on the motor's amperage. This helps streamline tasks, allowing you to focus on your work without extended consultations of the full NEC codebook. The portable nature of the Uglies book means it fits directly in your pocket or tool belt, ready whenever you need it.

Application Examples

Sizing Conductors for Motors

When you need to size the conductors for a motor, the Uglies book is invaluable. For example, to size the conductors for a three-phase, 10 horsepower motor at 208 volts, you use the FLC tables. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate the FLC table: Tab the three-phase section for quick access.
  2. Find the motor specs: Horsepower and voltage from the nameplate.
  3. Match up values: Find 10 HP under the horsepower column and 208V under the voltage column.

The table shows 30.8 amps as the current. This amperage helps you determine the appropriate conductor size.

Using Nameplate and FLC Charts

The nameplate provides critical information about the motor such as voltage, phase, and horsepower. However, for accurate sizing, use the FLC charts from the code:

  • Example Nameplate:
    • Horsepower: 10 HP
    • Voltage: 208V
    • Phase: Three-phase

Check the FLC chart for a 10 HP motor at 208V, which lists 30.8 amps. Do not use the FLAs (full load amps) from the nameplate; always refer to the FLC charts.

Determining Equipment Grounding Conductors

To size the equipment grounding conductor (green wire), use the table for Minimum Size Equipment Grounding Conductors:

  • Identify the breaker size: Based on the equipment’s needs.
  • Match the amperage value: Find the corresponding copper conductor size.


  • 30 Amp breaker: Use number 10 copper conductor.
  • 80 Amp CNC machine: No direct match for 80 amps; use the next column, 100 amps, which requires number 8 copper conductor.

Always size based on the breaker, not the wire.


When you're out in the field, having an Uglies book handy simplifies your work significantly. It includes valuable tables and diagrams directly from the NEC, such as wiring diagrams for transformers, motors, and start/stop stations. Additionally, it covers electrical safety, life safety practices, and math instructions for trig functions and algebra.

Why You Need an Uglies Book

  • Compact Size: Fits easily in your pocket or tool belt.
  • Quick Reference: Access essential information without wasting time.
  • Practical: Easier to carry on-site compared to a full codebook.

Tables and Diagrams Include:

  • Conduit Fill Tables: Easily determine the number of wires you can run in different types of conduits.
  • FLC Charts: For sizing conductors, especially useful when dealing with motor setups in the field.
  • Grounding Conductor Sizes: Essential for setting up equipment with different power ratings.

Equipment Grounding example:

  • For a 30 amp plug, use #10 copper.
  • For an 80 amp CNC machine, use #8 copper.

Additional Features

  • Knots and Safety: Includes instructions for tying knots.
  • Solar PV: Information on photovoltaic systems.

By using the Uglies book, you streamline your work process and ensure you have accurate information readily available, making your day-to-day tasks more efficient.