safe power to the garage


  #1  
Old 11-18-03, 10:24 AM
gettingstarted
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safe power to the garage

I want to improve wiring to/in the garage. In the existing configuration, from the service panel in the basement, with a 2 pole breaker, power (240 V, 60A) is delivered to the garage via 10/2 w/ ground, underground to the detached garage. In the garage, the line enters an old fuse box (2 fuses, knife-blade style disconnect). There, the black line wire feeds one fuse and serves receps. The white line feeds the other fuse and serves fluorescent lights. The whites and grounds of these 12/2 load cables are connected together and pigtailed to the terminal strip in the center of the fuse box ceramic body. The unsheathed ground of the 10/2 line is also connected to that terminal strip. In the main breaker box, the ground of the 10/2 terminates at the ground bus bar (not the neutral).

I have concluded (check me on this!) that the white from the 10/2 is hot, the “ground” of the 10/2 carries current all the time as the neutral, and that the outlets of the circuit are not properly grounded… and that it’s rather unsafe?

My husband and I have low-power hobbies (like jogging!), so I foresee no use for all that juice in the garage. I propose, at the service panel, replacing the 2-pole breaker with a single pole breaker and connecting the 10/2 white to the neutral terminal strip. In the garage, I would replace the fuse box with a regular junction box and have lights and receps fed together with a “star” configuration. I also want to add a couple of outdoor motion sensor lights (not switched) to the circuit.

Questions—
1. Does the proposed solution seem reasonable and safe?
2. The white wire of the 10/2 is too short to reach the neutral bus bar. In the breaker panel, is it legal to use a wire connector and another length of wire to extend the length and reach the neutral bus bar?
3. For compliance with GFCI protection for the garage, will a GFCI single-pole breaker (probably 20 amp?) be sufficient? If so, how do I figure out what kind to use?

FYI--Service panel is Siemens, door cover lists 4(?!) catalog numbers—G2020B110 and G2020L1125, with and without –CU extension, unless I’m looking in the wrong place? Branch breakers as Type QP L5538 (20A single pole) and QP L4835 (60A double pole)
 
  #2  
Old 11-18-03, 05:01 PM
J
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1. Does the proposed solution seem reasonable and safe?

Partially. 10/2 needs to be protected by a 30 amp breaker MAX. Change the 60 amp to a 30 amp. If you don not intend to fuse it at the garage use a 20 amp breaker and use #12 in the garage.

Someone else will confirm this but I think you might need a ground rod in the garage. Not sure since you won't have a sub panel anymore.

2. The white wire of the 10/2 is too short to reach the neutral bus bar. In the breaker panel, is it legal to use a wire connector and another length of wire to extend the length and reach the neutral bus bar?

yes. PLUS don't put 2 whites under the same screw. Only one is allowed.

3. For compliance with GFCI protection for the garage, will a GFCI single-pole breaker (probably 20 amp?) be sufficient? If so, how do I figure out what kind to use?

I think this is correct. You need to check the make and model of your breaker panel. Get the breaker by the same manufacturer.
 
  #3  
Old 11-18-03, 07:18 PM
R
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Without asking how deep the cable to garage is buried or how it runs (conduit, direct burial), I will say that you could get away without using a GFCI breaker, as long as you GFCI protect each outlet or all the outlets from one GFCI outlet. Of you are unsure of the depth that the cable is buried, then to be safe use a GFCI circuit breaker.

Are there any other metal connections to the garage? Such as phone wire, a water pipe, etc.? This would come into question re a separate ground at the garage. However, my understanding is that since you only have a single circuit and will not have a subpanel in the garage that no separate ground in the garage is necessary. Hopefully someone will clarify this for us.
 
  #4  
Old 11-18-03, 08:06 PM
S
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You should replace the 2-60 with 1-30 like you planned. In the fuse box you could hook the black to one incoming leg and run a jumper wire to the other one and have 2 15 amp fused circuits. That bar in that box is not a neutral bar, that box was intended as service disconnect for a water heater and that bar is bonded to the box. Use it for the ground wire and ground terminal and wirenut all white wires together. Then gfci the first recept in one circuit for recepts and put the lights on the other one. If you wanted to use 12 for recepts you could fuse one side with a 20A. A lot of travel trailer panels are wired this way to provide a couple circuits from 1 30 amp 120v circuit.
 
 

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