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Wire size?

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  • #748148
    Dustincoc
    Pro
    Madrid, NY

    Looking to do replace the destroyed power wires to the garage(taken down by a tree 22 years ago(Ice Storm ‘9)). Previous wiring was aerial. Looking to go buried this time. Getting mixed answers as to what wire size need.

    Distance is ~135’, ~ 100’underground, & ~35ft in the basement to the electric panel. Looking at (3) 20A general purpose outlet circuits*my mothers shop, my fathers garage, and my shop/exterior lights, all currently fed by a 12ga extension cord for my mother shop; and me and my father share a 16ga cord), a lighting circuit, a dedicated 120v 20a MIG welder circuit, and a 220v 50amp stick welder(rated 220v 48a mac output) circuit. I doubt the stick welder will be used more than a couple times a year, so hoping to squeeze it all into a 220v 60amp subpanel. That number is based on a max load of the stick welder + a couple lights which seems more than adequate. I’ve had a stick welder outlet wired in the other garage for a couple years and usage has been about once a year, so not anticipating it getting used a lot, especially since I just bought a decent MIG welder.

    Looking up the wire size calculators, I’m getting mixed answers as to that wire size I need to run between the house and the subpanel. Seeing sizes between 8/3 and 4/3. $$$ between those is significant, so want to maximize the cost to value value ratio.

    Not tat it matters much, but I’m planning on running the wiring in conduit , as it’s not going to be an easy task to run a 100’+ run of underground wire without machines, especially as part of the run is going to be busting through old barn foundations to get the garage(garage foundation sits on an old barn foundation, so looking at breaking up 5+ft of concrete to get the wires to the garage.

    Shop Blog: http://ravenbarsrepair.tumblr.com/
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    #748156
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    Your going to wanta mininum of 4 gauge at that distance to run the stick welder and anything else at the same time (60amps).
    You mighteven want to step up to 3 gauge for a little extra.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #748174
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Your going to wanta mininum of 4 gauge at that distance to run the stick welder and anything else at the same time (60amps).

    You mighteven want to step up to 3 gauge for a little extra.

    I came up with a 4/0 using this wire size calculator based on 135 feet and a 60 amp circuit to the subpanel. http://wiresizecalculator.net/ I believe a 4/0 is a lot bigger that a 4 gauge. Based on the calculator, a 4 Gauge would only be good for a 30′ distance. While you probably will never draw the whole 60 amps, you need to size the wire based on how you fuse the subpanel. With the stick welder, I think you would want to be fused at a minimum of the 60 amps, as you would not have a lot of spare capacity for lighting or anything when using it.

    #748194
    Dustincoc
    Pro
    Madrid, NY

    Thanks for the answers. I was honestly expecting the “call a professional” answer.

    Your going to wanta mininum of 4 gauge at that distance to run the stick welder and anything else at the same time (60amps).

    You mighteven want to step up to 3 gauge for a little extra.

    I came up with a 4/0 using this wire size calculator based on 135 feet and a 60 amp circuit to the subpanel. http://wiresizecalculator.net/ I believe a 4/0 is a lot bigger that a 4 gauge.

    I was seeing 4/0 and for some reason my mind equaled that to 4ga.

    I’ll be planning on 4/0, which I saw at the local Lowe’s when I was in their yesterday. Initially I was thinking a 50amp subpanel, but with the welder, I’d like a little overhead. Like I said, That welder gets very little use, and I don’t expect that to change. My father is a retired railroad welder, so maybe if powers readily available without dragging it 100ft(I wired up a 50a plug in the “house garage”(Originally a wood shed, now mostly a cat house), that would be his go to welder. I just bought a Lincoln Pro-Mig 140, that I’m planning on setting up with gas, that will have a dedicated 20a circuit, so hoping that will become the default metal hot glue gun. Main usage of that welder is some repairs to my DD Jeep, and I’m also in the market for a CJ7/YJ trail rig, which I suspect is going to need some welding as well.

    Shop Blog: http://ravenbarsrepair.tumblr.com/
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    #748211
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    Your going to wanta mininum of 4 gauge at that distance to run the stick welder and anything else at the same time (60amps).

    You mighteven want to step up to 3 gauge for a little extra.

    I came up with a 4/0 using this wire size calculator based on 135 feet and a 60 amp circuit to the subpanel. http://wiresizecalculator.net/ I believe a 4/0 is a lot bigger that a 4 gauge. Based on the calculator, a 4 Gauge would only be good for a 30′ distance. While you probably will never draw the whole 60 amps, you need to size the wire based on how you fuse the subpanel. With the stick welder, I think you would want to be fused at a minimum of the 60 amps, as you would not have a lot of spare capacity for lighting or anything when using it.

    You are absoutly correct Kurt. Early mornings are not always the best for me. lol 4/0 is the minumim. I believe he will need to run 4-4-4-6 copper to his subpannel. Could maybe save a couple dollars with aluminum wire. but would have to step up is size.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #748212

    Could maybe save a couple dollars with aluminum wire.

    That was going to be my additional question on the topic. Are people specifying copper or aluminium wire?

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    #748262
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Could maybe save a couple dollars with aluminum wire.

    That was going to be my additional question on the topic. Are people specifying copper or aluminium wire?

    I typically see copper in our projects. With aluminum you have to use special lugs I believe and a coating on the wire. It has a tend to creep and losen in the lugs if not done correctly. It was responsible for a lot of fires several years ago.

    #748264
    Dustincoc
    Pro
    Madrid, NY

    Could maybe save a couple dollars with aluminum wire.

    That was going to be my additional question on the topic. Are people specifying copper or aluminium wire?

    Either/or. It’s the decision on wire size type that’s held this project up for years.

    Could maybe save a couple dollars with aluminum wire.

    That was going to be my additional question on the topic. Are people specifying copper or aluminium wire?

    Unsure. First time ever doing something like this. I’ve got the basics down of how to do it down, but what wire type and size are something I haven’t been able to wrap my head around.

    Looking at doing it the most cost effective way. Around here, I typically see AL wire to the panel and copper for individual circuits, so I’ll likely go that route.

    Shop Blog: http://ravenbarsrepair.tumblr.com/
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    #748905

    @Dustincoc Since you have the trench open run an extra conduit for future needs if you need for any reason change the power wires or add Communication wire well worth the up front costs . Have you decide on the gauge wire you will be using .

    Always willing to learn .

    #748920
    Doobie
    Moderator

    I wired my 60A panel in my shed a few years ago in 2 inch buried conduit with single strand sheathed copper. It saved maybe about a third of the price of using fully encased wiring. The wires were 70 feet long each wasting very little as we ran a string first to determine how much we needed to buy. Single strands also are a lot easier to pull than fully encassed bundled wiring.

    I also ran a 2nd two inch conduit which has alarm, cable, and Cat 5 wiring. Can’t mix comm lines with electrical. I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house. I, or should I say ‘we’, did all this with my licensed electrician buddy.

    Another thing you’ll need to do is have a 10 foot grounding rod or grounding plate buried from your panel(s) at each fed structure, although I’m not certain if you need one for lesser amperage fed structures, that you’ll need to confirm yourself, but I have a feeling you do for any electrically fed structure.

    #748926
    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house.

    Why can’t you use the original 2″ conduit to run your three way travelers? With a 2″ you can fill over a hundred #14 THHN or THWN conductors even with derating due to long runs.

    #748930
    Doobie
    Moderator

    I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house.

    Why can’t you use the original 2″ conduit to run your three way travelers? With a 2″ you can fill over a hundred #14 THHN or THWN conductors even with derating due to long runs.

    My electrician had said that you shouldn’t run a separate wire in the same conduit of either the electrical line of the 6 gauge feed or the conduit comm lines. He gave me the logic behind it not being allowed per code, but I can’t recall what that was.

    #748931
    GTokley
    Pro
    Madoc, ON

    I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house. I, or should I say ‘we’, did all this with my licensed electrician buddy.

    If you have Google Home or Alexa device you could install a smart light switch to turn your outside light on or off to your shed. You could set up a timer for outside light.

    Greg
    Do More of What Makes You Happy

    #748944
    Doobie
    Moderator

    I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house. I, or should I say ‘we’, did all this with my licensed electrician buddy.

    If you have Google Home or Alexa device you could install a smart light switch to turn your outside light on or off to your shed. You could set up a timer for outside light.

    There’s an idea.

    #748953
    GTokley
    Pro
    Madoc, ON

    I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house. I, or should I say ‘we’, did all this with my licensed electrician buddy.

    If you have Google Home or Alexa device you could install a smart light switch to turn your outside light on or off to your shed. You could set up a timer for outside light.

    There’s an idea.

    Just simple as changing the switch.

    Greg
    Do More of What Makes You Happy

    #748973

    I wired my 60A panel in my shed a few years ago in 2 inch buried conduit with single strand sheathed copper. It saved maybe about a third of the price of using fully encased wiring. The wires were 70 feet long each wasting very little as we ran a string first to determine how much we needed to buy. Single strands also are a lot easier to pull than fully encassed bundled wiring.

    I also ran a 2nd two inch conduit which has alarm, cable, and Cat 5 wiring. Can’t mix comm lines with electrical. I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house. I, or should I say ‘we’, did all this with my licensed electrician buddy.

    Another thing you’ll need to do is have a 10 foot grounding rod or grounding plate buried from your panel(s) at each fed structure, although I’m not certain if you need one for lesser amperage fed structures, that you’ll need to confirm yourself, but I have a feeling you do for any electrically fed structure.

    Did you use the ground rod bit that attaches to your hammer/drill to install the rods down into the ground . Over using a sledge hammer and brute force .

    Always willing to learn .

    #749002
    Doobie
    Moderator

    I wired my 60A panel in my shed a few years ago in 2 inch buried conduit with single strand sheathed copper. It saved maybe about a third of the price of using fully encased wiring. The wires were 70 feet long each wasting very little as we ran a string first to determine how much we needed to buy. Single strands also are a lot easier to pull than fully encassed bundled wiring.

    I also ran a 2nd two inch conduit which has alarm, cable, and Cat 5 wiring. Can’t mix comm lines with electrical. I actually wish I had run a third conduit to feed back to the house a 14 gauge line so I could switch on/off it’s exterior lights from the house. I, or should I say ‘we’, did all this with my licensed electrician buddy.

    Another thing you’ll need to do is have a 10 foot grounding rod or grounding plate buried from your panel(s) at each fed structure, although I’m not certain if you need one for lesser amperage fed structures, that you’ll need to confirm yourself, but I have a feeling you do for any electrically fed structure.

    Did you use the ground rod bit that attaches to your hammer/drill to install the rods down into the ground . Over using a sledge hammer and brute force .

    We haven’t done it yet. At that time, it wasn’t feasible so we said we’d do it at a later date but It’s still on the to-do list. We do plan on using the SDS-Max ground rod driver to deal with it though.

    #749029
    GTokley
    Pro
    Madoc, ON

    Did you use the ground rod bit that attaches to your hammer/drill to install the rods down into the ground . Over using a sledge hammer and brute force

    I never knew there was such a bit for the hammer/drill. That sure takes all the fun out of using a sledge hammer to install a ground rod.

    Greg
    Do More of What Makes You Happy

    #749106

    Did you use the ground rod bit that attaches to your hammer/drill to install the rods down into the ground . Over using a sledge hammer and brute force

    I never knew there was such a bit for the hammer/drill. That sure takes all the fun out of using a sledge hammer to install a ground rod.

    It’s a body saver for sure and is made buy Bosch or it’s sold throw there brands .

    Always willing to learn .

    #749116
    GTokley
    Pro
    Madoc, ON

    Did you use the ground rod bit that attaches to your hammer/drill to install the rods down into the ground . Over using a sledge hammer and brute force

    I never knew there was such a bit for the hammer/drill. That sure takes all the fun out of using a sledge hammer to install a ground rod.

    It’s a body saver for sure and is made buy Bosch or it’s sold throw there brands .

    Oh I am sure it is a body saver. I just didn’t that amount of accessories you can get for the rotary hammers.

    Greg
    Do More of What Makes You Happy

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