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Author Topic: long power run  (Read 1189 times)
K5CQB
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Posts: 223




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« on: December 17, 2007, 03:23:58 PM »

I am running power out to my shack.  It is also a workshop and is located 120 feet from my house breaker box.  What size wire would be best?  Would 14 guage be ok or would I need to go larger for such a long run?

Thanks,
Jim
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2007, 03:27:46 PM »

10 gauge, and don't forget to pull three wires.
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W3LK
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Posts: 5644




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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2007, 03:34:33 PM »

Since you are likely going to be running multiple circuits, I'd contact a local electrician and look at the possibility of a separate breaker box for the shop/shack. You can run multiple boxes after the same meter; you don't need a separate meter for each one, assuming you don't exceed the load rating of the service drop.

Personally, if I was going to have a workshop and a shack in the same location that far from the house, I's go with a separate box AND a separate drop/meter.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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KG6WLS
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2007, 06:54:48 AM »

#14 AWG guage is only good for 15 amps. At 120 feet and 120 volts, you'll have some voltage drop with 14 guage. But, you did not indicate what kind of load/s you'll be using?

Best bet would be to bring at least a 50 amp, 240 volt, 3 wire w/ a ground (that's black, red, white, and green) #6 AWG to a new load center at your work shed/shack form the main service panel at the house. Then you'll have room to grow.

Better bet is to call a qualified electrician to perform that kind of work.

73
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W3LK
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2007, 07:17:03 AM »

<< Better bet is to call a qualified electrician to perform that kind of work. >>

Absolutely!

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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AB8XA
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2007, 06:12:45 PM »

Go for a maximum of a 5% voltage drop for the max load you intend to draw.

http://www.electrician2.com/calculators/vd_calculator_cond_size.html
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K9KJM
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2007, 01:01:10 AM »

As mentioned, You need to decide what kind of loads you will be needing power for in the outbuilding.
Do you plan to ever run an electric arc welder in your shop, Or operate a full legal limit amplifier at 240 volts?
Once you have figured out what kind of loads you need the power for, It is easy to calculate what size wire you need to run to supply that current.

One tip, If you are running that power wire underground, Do use some type of conduit, Even if the wire is "direct bury" type, (You might get by just using some low cost plastic pipe for the underground part) AND be sure to run some bare copper wire outside the conduit to bond your ground systems together.
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AB8XA
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2007, 03:53:29 AM »

I really like the idea of 50A 240V service.  Besides more to run power tools, it gives you the option of running a better (240V) air compressor as well as welder or RF amp, and it gives you extra 120V power to run a window (or RV) air-conditioner or space heater while working out there.  No "I wish I'd..." down the road.
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N0RZT
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2007, 05:10:13 AM »

I'll second/third/fourth the vote to bring in a professional.  He'll have the expertise to translate your power requirements into a sound electrical solution; he'll also know how to do it right - safe and compliant with code.

Let me share with you a story if it not done right.  The house I lived in 10 years ago had originally been built in the 1920s with a detached carriage house.  In the 1970s, a master mason lived in it who extended the house (doubled its size) - in the four years we lived in that house, it was obvious from the work done on the extension that he was indeed a master mason - beautiful stonework.  It was also obvious he was NOT a master plumber or a master electrician.

One day my wife was planting trees, when the shovel produced some real pretty sparks (she was fine - wood handle).  Turns out the power to the carriage house was a 120 line of the type you'd see inside wall framing, buried about six inches below the surface.  I don't know what the code requires, but I'm pretty sure that violated code both in terms of depth and in terms of the type of line used.  Do YOU know what the code requires for the wiring job you want to do?

73,
Chris
N0RZT/8
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KB1OCC
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Posts: 172




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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2007, 09:26:19 AM »

12 gauge wire would probably suffice as long as you're not powering up an electric heater, AMP, 50 amp power supply, etc.
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W3LK
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2007, 03:39:25 PM »

OOC:

With that statement, I'm betting you are NOT an electrician. Smiley

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2007, 07:36:04 PM »

hi,

copper prices have come down since the highs in April / May
so running larger size wire is a good idea.

you can run UF cable and not need conduit or run pvc conduit and
pull THHN cable, 24" deep trench.
place 2x4" pressure treated over the cable at ends
of the trench, should anyone dig in the area the hit the wood first.

consult the pro, you can always do the work yourself
 and he/she can tie in later and have it inspected.

some electric companies or coops will require a meter and service panel at the second building.

best to do it right otherwise when the time comes to sell the house,
the inspection will flag any problems and hold up or loose the sale to another
home in the area and cost more money to get it fixed.

73 james
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K5CQB
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Posts: 223




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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2007, 12:46:32 PM »

Thanks all for the info.  Yes my plan is to do the grunt work and lay the wire in prep for an electrician.  I have power there now from the previous owner.  I believe it is 14 gauge in the air and I am experiencing pretty noticeable voltage drops.  I have no plans for an amplifier but I will probably run a heater and an AC unit.  I guess the 240v is the way to go.  
Thanks again,
Jim
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KG6WLS
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Posts: 507




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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2007, 03:31:56 PM »

Good luck, Jim. And use Sched. 40 PVC (Non-Metalic Electrical Conduit). Don't be afraid to over size the conduit. You may decide to "go big" someday. While the trench is open, throw a spare conduit in as well. Wouldn't hurt to do so.

Using direct burial UF cable for electrical feeds is bad mojo down the road. If one of those four legged underground critters decides to munch through, or tree roots grab hold, you'll be digging it up all over again.

I can't stress enough...get a qualified electrician to do the work. Doesn't mean that you can't dig the trench though. HI HI!!

73
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2416




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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2007, 12:25:53 AM »

As I have "Been there and done that" I echo the concern to NOT just direct bury UF type wire!

Do use some type of conduit, Even if just rolled PVC plastic pipe. And dont forget the bare copper ground wire OUTSIDE the conduit!

Also consider insulated aluminum triplex wire. Much cheaper than copper, And as long as you keep it inside conduit and protected will work well.
Something like #6 Aluminum could provide your 240 volt subpanel in your workshop for future needs......
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