question on extending wire to garage


Old 03-25-05, 12:29 PM
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question on extending wire to garage

I want to run a welder in my detached garage. A 3 wire + ground #6 wire circuit runs to my back wall of the house (put in place in the past just for such a run). In my panel in the house the red and black conductors are not connected, however the white neutral and the ground is. There is space on the breaker panel for a double space breaker for this wire. I would guess the length of the existing installed cable is 60' or so if it runs under the slab. I need to add another 60' to get to the garage (I have placed 1.5" conduit for it underground), so that is about a total of 120' of #6 wire (I pulled a #8 green ground wire as well as 3 #6 conductors thru the plastic conduit).
Can I install a full panel 200A in the garage (I may want to get a seperate meter one day soon!) and use it as a subpanel connecting it to this wiring for now? What size breakers should I use? I'm guessing 50a at 240 v is the max?
I will do all the work myself. Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-25-05, 05:14 PM
Kevin W.
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First, I need to know the type of wire the #6 is. Is it copper or aluminum?
Old 03-25-05, 05:47 PM
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You can install a 200 amp panel. You can only fuse it at 60 amps with the wire you have.
Old 03-26-05, 12:46 AM
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No reason to install a 200 amp breaker as Joed points out your wire (#6 copper I'm assuming) will only handle 6o amps. 200 amp breakers are very expensive. I dont think I would even install a main breaker as long as you arent planning more than 6 circuits, just install a main lug only sub-panel. Also the type welder you are going to use can make a big difference in how much demand your garage will need in amps. Before you continue read this article it will help you get thru the project......
Old 03-28-05, 06:10 AM
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more info on subpanel

All the conductors are copper. It may be more than a 120' run from the house panels, maybe 150' if the existing wiring goes up thru the cathedral celing and down the walls to the outside. In any case, that #6 wire will have to carry all the load in the detached garage. I guess you all are saying that I can put a 60A breaker in the existing panel and connect the conductors to it. I did purchase a full 200A kit panel at a warehouse store this weekend, it has a 200A main breaker and many subbreakers.
However I want to protect the wire going to the panel, of course. So all the wire can take safely is 60A? That will be the house breaker I put in the house panel for ALL the power to supply the garage. I wanted to confirm what load the #6 copper can safely take and meet NEC.
Old 03-28-05, 07:51 AM
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more on subpanel

Thanks a lot for pointing me to those articles. I didn't know a 325 meter base existed! So now, if I want to run the load of the detached garage from my existing meter, all I have to do is get one of these dual lug meter bases, run ug conduit from the meter base to the garage and then pull a full size service cable thu it from the meter to the new detached garage (if it is ok with the utility and code)? What kind of cable do they use for that? Another note: my house presently has two panels connected to the existing meter, one next to each other, I guess each 100 amp (why would there be two in a 1200 sf 15 year old house?), but does that mean the meter base already has dual conductors connected to it to get to the panels? It is not a big meter base llike those shown in the pictures!
Oh, the welder is a new dual purpose arc/tig unit, uses 50 or 60 amp outlet-I have it connected in my present garage......I would not be using it except perhaps with the lights (maybe) and background load on (no ac or heat in the new garage). Chances are I would only be running the welder by itself.
You guys are great! Thanks.

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