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Old 11-08-2004, 01:45 PM   #1
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Installing an outdoor outlet

not really for the "trailer", but I know that some of you have installed 30-amp to your trailer's parking spot. So I thought I'd ask the collective:

I want to run a wire to my tool shed. standard 110/120 volt 15 or 20 amp outlet so that I can have an overhead light/plug in a power tool occasionally...and use the electric start on my snowblower. the shed is about 80 feet away from my foundation. I have an outlet in mind into which I can tie this circuit. what do I need to do?

bury a wire from the house to the shed: how deep does it need to be? what kind of wire? 12/2? does it need to be in a conduit? if so, what kind?

I'm thinking I'll install a single weather-proof outlet on the oustide of the shed; then run the wire inside for a single outlet, then to a switch, and to an overhead light. Should this shed be grounded separately from the house's grounding system?

I may want to run 30 amps to the trailer's parking spot, too (also about 80 feet away), but that would require a sub-panel and so forth. But If I have to rent an expensive trenching tool for the shed project...might as well bury a wire for the trailer, too, even if I don't actually connect anything until a later date.
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Old 11-08-2004, 02:49 PM   #2
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Around here, utilities are buried 18 inches below ground. I believe that is also the frost line.

For a simple outlet, home improvement stores sell wire rated to be buried without having to be encased in conduit. Your trailer's shore power might be a different story.

Here's one idea: Rent the trencher, and dig both trenches. Bury the outlet wire in one trench, and bury the right size conduit in the shore power trench. Finishing the project can be done at a later date.

Tom
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Old 11-08-2004, 03:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcwilliams
Around here, utilities are buried 18 inches below ground. I believe that is also the frost line.

For a simple outlet, home improvement stores sell wire rated to be buried without having to be encased in conduit. Your trailer's shore power might be a different story.

Here's one idea: Rent the trencher, and dig both trenches. Bury the outlet wire in one trench, and bury the right size conduit in the shore power trench. Finishing the project can be done at a later date.

Tom
yeah, that's just what I was thinking. rent a trencher, do both, hook up the other one later. but I need to know the right kind of wire, and how deep, first.
18"?? frost line is 4 FEET here. I don't think we have to dig that deep. at least, I hope not.

(we DO have to dig that deep to put in a deck, or other outside structure requireing a footing or foundation. mighty big PITA.)
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Old 11-08-2004, 05:45 PM   #4
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chuck,

here is a wire size calculator http://www.pljohnson.com/electrical/...voltdrop.shtml

as you will see you want #6 awg for the 30 amp circuit and # 8 for the 20 amp circuit. assuming both runs are 80 feet one way, from the breaker box.

direct bury romex is o.k. unless you have rocky soil, then you should use conduit. tip, a cheap way is to put the wire inside black courragated drain tube for most of the run. it is cheap and is what we do at the power company when we install a service to a house in rocky soil. otherwise backfill the trench with screened sand. believe me you don't want to try to dig up a faulted cable because a rock severed it due to frost heave!

primary conductors (over 480 volts) are installed at 30 inches, secondary conductors (0 to 480 volts) are installed at 24 inches in depth.

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Old 11-08-2004, 05:56 PM   #5
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Chuck,

I think you can go shallower if you use rigid conduit. Where I live, the rules are:
24" for UF rated wire
18" for PVC conduit
6" for rigid conduit

You should place a warning tape 12" above the feeder. You also need to switch to rigid conduit where the feeder comes out of the ground.
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Old 11-08-2004, 06:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hd
...primary conductors (over 480 volts) are installed at 30 inches, secondary conductors (0 to 480 volts) are installed at 24 inches in depth...
Chuck,

I have no doubt that John is right, but I can almost guarantee (99.99%) that there is no more than 240 vac running to your house. And you only need 120 vac for either of your intended goals.

Also, bear in mind that voltage drops (see John's table link) are with respect to the main breaker box, not where you tie into an exisiting circuit.


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Old 11-08-2004, 09:44 PM   #7
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I do reccommed putting the wire in pvc pipe so you don't cut it with a shovel some years later. We learned that the hard way. silver suz
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Chuck,

You should place a warning tape 12" above the feeder.
What's that mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
You also need to switch to rigid conduit where the feeder comes out of the ground.
I'm assuming that "rigid" means "metal"? pvc pipe seems pretty "rigid", to me.

Thanks for all the other tips, folks. yes, there is 240v service to the house. and I DO have very rocky soil. hadn't thought of that issue, so I'd better plan on using conduit.

I'll double check the measurements, too. probably closer to 100' away from the breaker box.

I'll of course, consult a local electrician before I do anything, just to make sure I don't do anything that's way out of code. But at this point, I'm just kicking the idea around.....gotta find out what it'll cost me, etc, etc.
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:43 AM   #9
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Warning tape, available at home centers, is colored plastic tape with no adhesive with the words "Warning - buried pipe" or something similar. The color is based on the type of pipe (gas,water,electric). The hope is that someone will dig up the tape before hitting the pipe if they were not expecting to find a pipe where they were digging.

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Old 11-09-2004, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcwilliams
Warning tape, available at home centers, is colored plastic tape with no adhesive with the words "Warning - buried pipe" or something similar. The color is based on the type of pipe (gas,water,electric). The hope is that someone will dig up the tape before hitting the pipe if they were not expecting to find a pipe where they were digging.

Tom
tom/chuck

warning tape is a good idea, however, it has been my experiance that most dunderheads running backhoes etc. will never see it before it is too late!

i have heard every excuse in the book from these guys, ranging from " i didn't think anyone would ever bury electric on the lot line " to " i thought you guys always buried your wire way deeper than that" or "what diggers hotline?"

the result is always the same, a big friggin bill from the friendly power company!

only once have i seen the operator do the "crappie flop" on the ground after taking a shot of 7.2 KV! guy was lucky he wasn't dead!

john
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Old 11-09-2004, 04:38 PM   #11
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tom/chuck


only once have i seen the operator do the "crappie flop" on the ground after taking a shot of 7.2 KV! guy was lucky he wasn't dead!

john
you're gonna have to explain that one
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Old 11-09-2004, 04:42 PM   #12
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You may not want to know.......... its not pretty if you get my drift


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Old 11-09-2004, 06:21 PM   #13
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chuck

a "crappie" is a panfish, when ice fishing you pull them out of the hole. then they flop around on the ice.

that is what the guy was doing...flopping around on the ground!

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Old 11-09-2004, 09:22 PM   #14
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Don't worry, in 5 years you will have no rememberance where that line is run. My husband even makes a map measuring from known points as to where it is and then I come along and decide to plant a tree. oops. wood handle was a good thing. Those warning tapes are kind of useless. silver suz
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