Ask the Neon Electrician

Have something you want to share? Are you an expert in your field? Want to educate your fellow ninjas? Here's the place.
Neon Samurai
the unproven
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Postby Neon Samurai » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:26 am

So on my intro thread, it was stated my expertise as an electrician would be helpful as Corgimom stated that she had a situation I could help with. I asked if I should start a thread and here it is. Now to be upfront, the majority of experience is residential and light commercial, with a heavy emphasis on service work. I have taught electrical at both the high school and college levels, but it does not mean I know how to program ladders in whatever PLC you are using. If you ask some outrageous question I will not be afraid to say I have no idea, never worked with it. But for anything about wiring, fundamental basics of motors and controls, general construction, code compliance and calculations, renewable energies (photovoltaic and small wind), DC-AC theory, conduit bending, and the like then ask away. If you need good history books I have that covered as well.
"It is difficult to fight against anger, for a man will buy revenge with his soul"--Heraclites
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PhlawlessPhelon
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:18 am

Based on the introductions, I imagine Corgi will be hitting this post up soon enough.

Honestly, I think this post is a great Help-thread. If I ever run into any issue dealing with ...
wiring, fundamental basics of motors and controls, general construction, code compliance and calculations, renewable energies (photovoltaic and small wind), DC-AC theory, conduit bending, and the like
...then I will be sure to hit up this thread.

Good post.
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:48 am

OK I have a hundred and something year old house. I put in a new service main and upgraded the breaker box last year so the house has 200amp service. All inspected. All good. Rewiring is coming alone as expected. . Actually have one old circuit left to replace and add to the wires. The only brt I did not DIY was the meter upgrade and can replacement.ALL good.

Now the garage/barn/office. WHen I had the slab poured I put 2 inch gray pipe through the floor to accommodate having a breaker box out there. I know I want to do 150 amp service and I know I want to do a buried line. Now I am not planing to install until next year- house getting a new roof first but- I need to bury the line this summer before I redo the driveway since it need to run under ti.

What I can't figure out is what wire I should use. For example if I were running two 30 amp circuits I know I'd use 10/3 romax but I know squat about what I should use for 150 amp service out there.

I mean to say I understand where to run, I know a some kind of service box goes near my main box but I don't know what wire is best to buy. One tiny detail- I am try to go with long term reliability every step of the way so whatever is best is what I want. Don't want to be redoing when I am 90.
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Neon Samurai
the unproven
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Postby Neon Samurai » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:17 pm

OK, this is a fairly common situation, and as you have DIY the rest and nothing has shorted or burned up I am going to give you an attaboy and be fairly confident you understand the fundamentals. There are a couple of questions for me to get a full grasp of the situation. How far away from the main panel is the panel in the garage going to be, depending on the distance this may result in a need to account for voltage drop over distance. The second question is why you feel the need for a 150 amp service? I am not questioning your decision, it is your garage you can do what you want. What I am wondering what made you arrive to that figure? The office will likely run on 2 15-20 amp circuits unless there will be HVAC which will come into play, the garage, unless you are planning specific equipment is only two 20 amp circuits. I have no clue on the barn as I am not aware of its primary energy needs. So basically what I need to know is what major items beyond standard outlets and lighting will be in this building. The reason I ask is that, as you know, the larger you go the more expensive it gets, and I don't recommend customers to far exceed their future energy demands as it often will be wasted. What is the square footage of the office/garage/barn? Lastly, good job on installing the 2" prior, you saved yourself a lot of work. This will probably not be the last questions, but I want as clear a picture as I can get of the job.
"It is difficult to fight against anger, for a man will buy revenge with his soul"--Heraclites
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:27 pm

It is a 110 foot run.

My barn is more office/workshop than garage. It is 20 x 16 with a multi purpose office on one side 1st floor, Coffemaker, microwave, 4 computers, recording booth for music and voice over, a robotic cd/dvd duplicator, laser printer, cd printer, plus any number of used occasional bit of hardware. The other side could hold a car but it holds tools and in-progress work from woodworking Table saw router all the standard electric hand tools and I want a lath and a plainer, to electronics tools and components , electrical wire, fixtures for both the house and barn, and a full sized fridge.

I installed a spiral stair to the 3/4 loft which right now has stored materials like cabinets, plywood, and OSB but when I have used all those materials I want to finish that in as a real office/guestroom loft. It is common for me to have one employee working in the barn with me and I'd like to be upstairs. I have the components to finish up there but that is not a this year project unless I grow an extra set of hands.

So why 150? I been runing off 60 amps through 2 3/10 extension cords since building was completed. The power tools have to be managed to not over load and blow a breaker. I can see 90/100 amp might be just enough but once the line is installed I m pouring a concrete slab in front of the garage since I don't actually park in it. So planing for possible futures like a dreamed of hot tub beside the barn 150 seems right.
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:45 pm

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girlapaloo
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Postby girlapaloo » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:50 pm

Kudos! Thanks for offering your expertise :)
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:48 pm

Yes thanks very much for your consideration of my tiny situation. I am so tired of asking people in hardware stores who act like I am an idiot.
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Neon Samurai
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Postby Neon Samurai » Mon May 02, 2016 2:23 pm

Sorry for the delay, it was a very busy weekend. And yes, home improvement stores are not filled with skilled tradesmen. It seems more often than not I am the one who helps someone when I am there. Of course there are those who I sincerely recommend to a professional, but they don't want to hear that. Alas, don't listen to the guy who did it for a living for close to a decade. Anyway on to your situation. I really think 150 is more than you will need given the space and usage. Unless you are planning on using really high amperage equipment (such as a 50 amp welder or something else with high draw. really it will depend on the power requirements of the planer and lathe. That will be a factor in the total load. What most people don't realize is that when calculating a panel there are formulas in place and it is not a 1:1 amps to panel. As for the recording booth, I will need a bit more time as I have to grab my code book and look that up as there is special code section for that installation and I have never been in a situation to need to review the information.

Another question, did you run the pipe all the way to the barn? If you ran 2" the entire way it will be easier, even if you decided to get into welding to change the wire as it is just bumping up the panel and pulling the new wire. Except for the heavy power tools and whatever the recording studio takes, honestly, I would be seeing 2 circuits for the office space, one for the microwave, two for your HVAC installation. The garage space would be two 20A with dedicated circuits for your larger equipment. I would also put the lighting on a separate circuit. So grand total 4 general purpose, one lighting, 2 HVAC, and 2 heavy equipment, plus any necessitated by the recording booth codes. Here is the thing, in a realistic scenario you would likely only be using two tools at a time unless you plan on a full time operation. Let me look at the recording studio code this week, and shop some potential planers and lathes to get the amperages and we can go from there. Right now I am thinking a 100A which is 2/2/2/4 aluminum. Also the panel needs a main breaker because it is on an outbuilding and when you install do not connect the ground screw that bonds the neutral bar to the panel. An electrical system should only have a single path to ground.

I will post again later in the week with what I find in the recording studio section. (if you have ever read the code book, you will understand it may take a bit. It is like reading the tax code, dry, dull, and obfuscating language.)
"It is difficult to fight against anger, for a man will buy revenge with his soul"--Heraclites
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Mon May 02, 2016 3:44 pm

How dare you have a life! j/k. I am very glad to see you back.

The pvc pipe through the floor is just a stub but I had planed on pulling the cable through conduit all the way to the house main panel. As "not an electrical professional'"I have always pulled long runs of wire with the pipe disassembled dry assembling to double check then doing glue up. I have never done a run this long or more than a couple of circuits.

The robotic cd/dvd duplicator documentation says is 20 amps an requires a dedicated circuit but I wired it into the sound booth since I will never use them at the same time just like I will never run the concrete mixer at the same time as the router.

I already have the overheads in the office and the upstairs on one circuit 14/2 wire. The shop side is less complete but I do plan on those lights being split into two circuits. Almost cut my finger off 3 years ago when I tripped a breaker and had no lights to see that the table saw blade was still turning.

I have a home owner 21 gal. 2.5 HP 125 PSI Cast Iron Vertical Air Compressor for etching glass and striping paint/rust. Harbor freight mid-range. If it ever dies i will go with a professional 5 H.P. replacement.

You have no idea how much I appreciate this. I don't need to fully set up the electrical service right now but getting the underground wire in place means I can set up things that are in that wiring path.
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Neon Samurai
the unproven
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Postby Neon Samurai » Tue May 03, 2016 12:48 pm

The key to long pulls is that lube (There is always time for lube!) You pull a string or rope (depending on size) through the sealed pipe, and then you take wire lube (it is a thing, but I wouldn't recommend it for other applications) and apply it to the wire as it enters the hole, it glides the cables through the conduit as long as it doesn't twist a kink, which will bind the wire in the conduit. ((no wonder we are pervs, the innuendo is strong in our field.) The big thing on the panel are the busses, the long metal bars in the back. As long as you are not pulling more than they can sustain, then there is little worry about overload. In fact the breakers are there to protect the wire. Realistically, as It doesn't sound like you will be looking to run the compressor, cement mixer, and audio equipment at the same time, which you already know you are not, I doubt you will run into any problems with 100Amp main breaker panel.
"It is difficult to fight against anger, for a man will buy revenge with his soul"--Heraclites
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Wed May 04, 2016 1:30 pm

I agree 100 amps is totally serviceable at this time but I do have a little of Tim the Tool man bigger is better in me.. so I guess I should go price wire. Tk for all your help.
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Neon Samurai
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Postby Neon Samurai » Wed May 04, 2016 1:43 pm

I totally get that, but if you were to go to a full scale commercial operation which needs more power, I would put in a separate service. There are two reasons. The first is it would allow a 200amp panel with little difficulty. Second, if you were using it as an exclusively commercial building, the separate electric bill would make business deductions easier as it does not include your residential costs. I think that may be a little excessive for the size of the building, but who knows, if you expand later, that may be an option.
"It is difficult to fight against anger, for a man will buy revenge with his soul"--Heraclites
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Phara
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Postby Phara » Wed May 04, 2016 1:52 pm

What a fantastic thread. Thank you so much for this. :)
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Corgimom
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Postby Corgimom » Wed May 04, 2016 3:08 pm

Neon Samurai wrote:I totally get that, but if you were to go to a full scale commercial operation which needs more power, I would put in a separate service. There are two reasons. The first is it would allow a 200amp panel with little difficulty. Second, if you were using it as an exclusively commercial building, the separate electric bill would make business deductions easier as it does not include your residential costs. I think that may be a little excessive for the size of the building, but who knows, if you expand later, that may be an option.


LOL I need more land to expand .
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