"individual" conductor vs "cable" in conduit


Old 07-25-05, 05:56 AM
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"individual" conductor vs "cable" in conduit

I've read elsewhere on this forum to run "individual" conductor in conduit. What does that mean? I have 6-3 50A wire (is this considered "cable"?) to run outside, so once I'm out of the basement, I will be running conduit. Should I not do this?? DO I need to go buy 4 individual wires (2 hot, 1 neutral and a ground) to run seperately in the same conduit?
Old 07-25-05, 06:17 AM
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Conduit is designed for two purposes. It provides an enclosure for running individual wires, and it provides protection for wires and cables.

A cable is two or more wires in a single assembly. In your case you are talking 6 gage wires (three insulated and one not insulated).

There are several types of cable. The most common types are NM and UF. NM is non-metallic, and is for indoor use only. If you have NM type cable you cannot use it outdoors regardless of whether it is in conduit or not. UF is underground feeder cable and is safe for direct burial outdoors. it is completely waterproof. It may also be used indoors, but is generally not as it is harder to work with and usually more expensive.

Individual wires are generally used when conduit is necessary. Some portions of the US require conduit (Chicago is one place). Conduit is also required for certain installations (pools and spas, for example). When conduit is needed, individual wires are run. These wires are usually dual rated THHN and THWN. THWN is necessary for outdoors.

Conduit is also used for protection. Sometimes it is necessary to use cable (NM or UF) and have the cable exposed. Since cable must be protected when exposed, conduit is allowed to be used for protection. People will argue about whether cable can be run through conduit when the entire run is conduit. Some will say this is okay, other will argue it isn't okay.

Your application will determine whether you need conduit or not. If you need conduit, you should use individual wires (four of them, in appropriate colors). Four individual wires are easier to pull through conduit than one cable, and there is no ambiguity as to whether your installation is up to code.

If you do not need conduit, then you can use UF cable, which is suitable to be direct buried. If any portion of the cable will be subject to sunlight, then make sure that the cable is sunlight resistant.

The type of installation will determine how deep the cable needs to be buried. Factors such as GFCI protection, conduit usage or not, and load (pool, sub panel, post light, etc.) are all important in the determination.
Old 07-25-05, 08:26 AM
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I suggest a "transition" from a cable-type Wiring Method to a race-way type Wiing Method.This requires an interiorJ-B where the cable-conductors connect to the raceway conductors.

Types of raceways--- rigid metal conduit, rigid non-metallic conduit, electrical metallic tubing-----

Good Luck & Enjoy the Experience!!!!!!!!!

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