Wiring for a subpanel?

Old 10-07-04, 12:31 PM
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Wiring for a subpanel?

If someone could answer these questions I would really appreciate it. I want to run wiring from my cabin to a shed down by the river bank. I am coming out of a 200 amp panel and have to go about 100 feet, some underground and some stapled to the underside of the steps. In the shed I have an old two 20 buss fuse box that I would like to run out one line for a switch and 2 light sets that would be about 300 watt. On the other line I would like an outlet inside and one outside for tools or battery chargers. The most I would have on at one time would be the lights, a battery charger and perhaps a drill or saw. My questions are what size breaker, what size and type of wiring for the 100 feet, also is it necessary to put inside plastic conduit all the way? I assume that the 20 amp fuses will be adequate. Help please cause the fish are biting and my wife said I have to get this done before I can catch some. Thank you very much.
Old 10-08-04, 05:52 AM
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I'd trash the old wiring completely. Cartridge fuses and wiring stapled to stairs sounds antiquated and non-compliant. I'd install a new subpanel in the shed. I'd use 4 #10 THWN conductors out of the main service and run it through 1-inch rigid steel conduit to the new subpanel. PVC or direct burial is okay too, but the trench has to be much deeper. I believe you can use a 6-inch trench for the rigid, as opposed to 18-24 inches for PVC/direct burial. Don't forget to keep the neutral and ground bus separate and don't forget the ground rod at the shed.


1. I'm not an electrician and this post is subject to correction or even getting trashed altogether by a professional.

2. Make sure your installation is compliant with your local codes and is inspected properly.
Old 10-08-04, 06:00 AM
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If you are only going to run #10 wires, I would leave out the sub panel, as it won't gain you anything. With four #10 wires you can run a 20 amp multiwire circuit and easily power what you have indicated.

if you want a subpanel (for additional power now or in the future) I would go with larger wire now. In other words, if you are going to put in a subpanel now, go with larger wire initially, even though you may not need it yet.
Old 10-08-04, 08:09 AM
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I wouldn't be too keen on burying anything on the side of a hill. Aside from the ground usually being hard to dig (roots and such) there is the issue of soil erosion from rain and water runoff. A mere 6" of trench on a hill may leave a pipe run exposed in a few years. Digging 100 feet of trench is a LOT of work, even with a trenching machine it would take some time on that hill.

How are these stairs laid out? Is it one long run from top to bottom, or is it a number of small runs with ground in-between? If it's one long run I'd think that you might be able to run pipe down the side/back of the stairs, but it would also depend on how the stairs are made and if they would provide a secure means of attaching the pipe while not putting the pipe in a position where it could be damaged by those using the stairs. The pipe would also need to not interfere with those using the stairs. The hill is the big issue here, if you can solve your hill problem, the rest should fall into place.

Also, perhaps consider extra capacity for expansion when you are deciding on the size/number of wires to install.

Lastly, make sure you can run all the way to the shack. In many areas the beach/riverbank area is considered public land to a certain point. Even though you have the shack there, make sure that the wiring stays on your property.



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