Running Electricity to shed

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Old 09-19-06, 08:51 AM
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Running Electricity to shed

I've started looking into building a shed in my back yard. I want to have a light and a few outlets in the shed. My question is how do I get the Electricity out to the shed? What would be involved in doing this and should I even attempt this myself, or hire someone to do it for me.

Thanks in advance
 
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Old 09-19-06, 09:07 AM
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The first thing is to determine how much power you need.

"I want to have a light and a few outlets in the shed." [sic]

THis does not answer the question. What do intend to do with the RECEPTACLES you plan to install? Do you have any need for 240 volts, or is 120 volts sufficient? How far is it from your main electrical panel to your shed?
 
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Old 09-19-06, 09:16 AM
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The basic steps would be:

Determine loads to be supplied, and size wire and breaker accordingly.

Dig a trench, and run cable to the shed.

Connect the cable at the shed to the various lights, receptacles, switches, etc, in the shed.

Connect the other end of the cable in the house to the breaker, and install in the main breaker panel.

If those steps sound manageable (they usually are to the reasonably skilled DIYer), then we can fill in the specifics as you go.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 03:29 AM
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mr_evans2u: I ran power to my shed a couple of years ago, so I thought I'd share with you what I did.

First, I dug a trench going from deck (at rear of house) to front wall of shed. I tried to keep the trench at least a foot deep.

Then I went under my house and found the closest wire to connect to. I chose one leading to an outside outlet because the outlet was on a GFCI circuit (I did some testing to figure out which circuit breaker this outlet was on), and I assumed that the shed should be on a GFCI circuit too.

After digging the trench, I bought about 50ft of outdoor wire, and galvanized pipe to put it in. I used the metal pipe to guarantee that in the future should I did a hole and hit the wire I wouldn't have a safety hazzard; plus, it protects the wire better from the soil. Then I fished the wire through the pipe so I had a few feet coming out of each end. Incidentally, I even used metal pipe under my deck (leading from deck edge under the house).

To hookup the new wire to the existing wire under my house, I cut the existing wire and put both ends in a new box which I attached to a floor joist. I also connected the end of the new cable in this box. Then I drilled a hole in the bottom front wall of my shed and fed the other end of the wire up to another new box. From this box I ran other cable to power a couple of outlets on my shed's desk, and to power overhead shop lights.

The only problem I've noticed is that when I run a tool that uses a lot of power, my shop lights dim while the tool is running.

Hope this helps...
 
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Old 09-22-06, 04:36 AM
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bigfred,

You did several things wrong. I do not recommend your approach to others.

Your trench is not deep enough. One foot is too shallow.

A disconnect is required at the shed. Youshould have run the cable first into a switch and then to the lights and receptacles. A disconnect is required to kill ALL the power to the shed.

You probably should have run a new circuit. Tapping an existing circuit is asking for trouble, especially if you plan on using power tools. In your case a new 20 amp circuit and possibly one wire size larger than code requires would probably have eliminated the lights dimming, or atl least made it less noticable.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 05:18 AM
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racraft:
Thanks for taking your time to give me your professional opinion. I sort of expected I'd get some critical comments on this.

"You should have run the cable first into a switch and then to the lights and receptacles." I think I should fix this to be right. What do you mean by "a switch". I envision either a plain light switch; or, maybe a special switch box. Please clarify. Tks.

Yeah I know I probably should have run a new circuit, but that's over my head (i.e., I've never done that, and figuring it out was too intimidating).

Also, my trench was mostly 18 inches deep. Considering this, and that the wire is in a steel pipe, is it still wrong?
 
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Old 09-22-06, 05:32 AM
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Electrical to a shed is required to have some means of shutting off the entire power to the shed right at the shed. This is referred to as a disconnect. With a simple 120 volt circuit a regular toggle switch is enough.

"Mostly 18 inches deep" is not completekly 18 inches deep. What kind of steel pipe is the wire in, and what type of wire is it?
 

Last edited by jwhite; 09-22-06 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 09-22-06, 05:27 PM
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racraft: Re the "regular toggle switch", thanks for the info. I'll replace the box with a simple toggle switch.

Re the pipe I used and the wire: I used galvanized steel pipe from Home Depot...comes in 10ft lengths. The wire was Home Depot's outdoor wire (sorry but I don't know the specific specs for the wire). It was covered in a gray plastic jacket.
 
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Old 09-22-06, 07:59 PM
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#Yeah I know I probably should have run a new circuit, but that's over my head (i.e., I've never done that, and figuring it out was too intimidating).#@

This is the part where you swallow your pride and ask!

The only dumb question is the one never asked.

I've seen plumbers use galvy pipe, So what Kind did you use?

Not meant to give you or anyone else a hard time.We just want to see things done correctley.There are codes in place, to protect you first. Thats why they are there, some fools (and pros') have died trying to save a buck. in the end.. What did you save!!?
 
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Old 09-22-06, 11:04 PM
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Bigfred

Hopefully you used a conduit called EMT (electrical metallic tubing). It can be direct buried but it is not recommended that you run cable through it.
If our cable was gray UF-b it was correct for what you wanted just isnt a great idea to put it through conduit. There are some overheating issues with the wires when you do this. It is also very easy to choose the wrong size conduit (too small) when running cable compounding the problem.

You also are running the conduit in a "wet location" so all the conduit should be made up with "rain tight" connectors/fittings.

If you only ran a 20 amp 120 volt branch circuit and it is gfci protected then that trench actually only needed to be 12 inches deep.

Roger
 
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Old 09-22-06, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger
Hopefully you used a conduit called EMT (electrical metallic tubing). It can be direct buried but it is not recommended that you run cable through it. ...
No, you cannot direct bury EMT. It will disintegrate almost completely, and it doesn't take that long, surprisingly.

In corrosive environments, it also cannot be protected solely by enamel.

Buried steel pipe must be IMC or RMC, which is probably why Bob asked which steel pipe it was; it mattered.
 

Last edited by MAC702; 09-22-06 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 09-23-06, 04:07 AM
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Roger,
In addition to the comments that MAC made, there is no prohbitioin to putting any cable in any conduit as long as the cable is rated for the enviornment. Eg. to pull cable in a conduit underground, you need to use a cable that is rated for wet locations.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MAC702
No, you cannot direct bury EMT. It will disintegrate almost completely, and it doesn't take that long, surprisingly.

In corrosive environments, it also cannot be protected solely by enamel.

Buried steel pipe must be IMC or RMC, which is probably why Bob asked which steel pipe it was; it mattered.
Not trying to argue...but...can you show me where in the electrical code it prohibits the direct burial of EMT?
steve
 
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Old 09-23-06, 06:00 AM
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358.10 (B) Corrosion Protection. Ferrous or nonferrous EMT, elbows, couplings, and fittings shall be permitted to be installed in concrete, in direct contact with the earth, or in areas subject to severe corrosive influences where protected by corrosion protection and judged suitable for the condition.

It apears to me that it would be a judgement call on the part of the inspector.

What would you reccomend for corrosioin protection?
 
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Old 09-23-06, 07:13 AM
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IMO...In plain ole dirt, I'd say the electro-plating that is factory installed on the EMT.
If there are corrosive chemicals in the soil or it is unusually alkaline or acidic, I wouldn't use it. I guess that means if the conditions would be "un-suitable for use".
Oxidation requires oxygen. If there's not a lot of free oxygen in the soil (supplied by chemical reaction), the corrosion will be minimal (and acceptable)..
 
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Old 09-23-06, 07:33 AM
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hillbilly. I did a search on a "for professionals" site and saw so convinceing photos on the side of regular ole dirt being corrosive. I will PM you a link.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 10:10 AM
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Best practice No. Wrong, not so fast.

Originally Posted by racraft
bigfred,

You did several things wrong. I do not recommend your approach to others.

Your trench is not deep enough. One foot is too shallow.
One foot of bury is acceptable for circuits of twenty amperes or less and not more than 120 volts to ground on residential property.

Location of Wiring Method or Circuit
All locations not specified below
Column 4 Residential Branch Circuits Rated 120 Volts or Less with GFCI Protection and Maximum Overcurrent Protection of 20 Amperes
mm in.
300 12

Originally Posted by racraft
A disconnect is required at the shed. You should have run the cable first into a switch and then to the lights and receptacles. A disconnect is required to kill ALL the power to the shed.
One or more snap switches are acceptable as the disconnecting means for outbuildings on residential property.

225.36 Suitable for Service Equipment.
The disconnecting means specified in 225.31 shall be suitable for use as service equipment.
Exception: For garages and outbuildings on residential property, a snap switch or a set of 3-way or 4-way snap switches shall be permitted as the disconnecting means.

Originally Posted by racraft
You probably should have run a new circuit. Tapping an existing circuit is asking for trouble, especially if you plan on using power tools. In your case a new 20 amp circuit and possibly one wire size larger than code requires would probably have eliminated the lights dimming, or at least made it less noticeable.
A new circuit would have been better practice and a multiwire branch circuit to bring twice the power would be better still. In order to avoid the cost of a double pole GFCI breaker a two foot deep trench; or 1&1/2 foot with conduit; would have allowed the circuit to be run without GFCI protection.

225.30 Number of Supplies.
Where more than one building or other structure is on the same property and under single management, each additional building or other structure served that is on the load side of the service disconnecting means shall be supplied by one feeder or branch circuit unless permitted in 225.30(A) through (E). For the purpose of this section, a multiwire branch circuit shall be considered a single circuit.
 

Last edited by hornetd; 09-23-06 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 09-23-06, 10:19 AM
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Tom what is your point.

Half the code articles you site support what racraft said.

Why dont you tell us your point of view rather than just copying and pasting code articles?
 
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Old 09-23-06, 10:42 AM
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My first point is that one foot of bury on that circuit is code compliant because it is 120 volts to ground, GFCI protected, and run on residential property.

My second point is that ordinary switches are acceptable as disconecting means for residential outbuildings.

My third point was that multiwire branch circuits are specifically permitted as the supply to an outbuilding.

I provided the code sections to save others the time to look them up.

I will edit my post to add line breaks since the UBB code is not working.
--
Tom Horne
 
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Old 09-23-06, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
358.10 (B) Corrosion Protection. Ferrous or nonferrous EMT, elbows, couplings, and fittings shall be permitted to be installed in concrete, in direct contact with the earth, or in areas subject to severe corrosive influences where protected by corrosion protection and judged suitable for the condition.

It apears to me that it would be a judgement call on the part of the inspector. ...
I've uncovered buried EMT. I've SEEN what dirt does to it. No inspector should be allowed to make that call. In one case that was less than 15 years old, I couldn't see the pipe anymore, just rusty dirt around 3 wires.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 10:48 AM
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The poster who said that his wireing was one foot deep did not say that it was gfi protected.

On your second two notes you were only agreeing with what was said, but you did not make that clear.

alot of times I will make posts that include both the code minimum and my opinion. often times they are not the same.

You may very well have good points to make, but we will not know what they are, unless you try to tell us. Any child can copy and paste stuff. It takes more to understand what you are copying, and what it means.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 01:17 PM
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BigFred: #3
"First, I dug a trench going from deck (at rear of house) to front wall of shed. I tried to keep the trench at least a foot deep.

Then I went under my house and found the closest wire to connect to. I chose one leading to an outside outlet because the outlet was on a GFCI circuit (I did some testing to figure out which circuit breaker this outlet was on), and I assumed that the shed should be on a GFCI circuit too. "
 
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Old 09-23-06, 01:49 PM
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The original poster hasnt come back to this so we are responding to Bigfreds description of how he ran power out to his shed.

I speculated that he used EMT.... just fealt that might be what he used considering he appears to have pulled UF-b thru it.

MAC:

First I'm not going to argue about running EMT underground. I have seen it ate up as you have. I'm simply saying it is listed for direct burial. It would not be my choice.
Modern EMT is protected to allow it to be direct buried in earth.
It can however be iffy in severe corrosive environments. For instance agricultural livestock buildings, chemical plants and so forth. In these cases the AHJ or inspector may require additional protection. This can be zinc painting or pvc coated emt.
Anyway you got me thinking so I checked out a few EMT manufacturers.... a couple said their process of galvanizing with interior zinc coating required no additional protection for direct burial in earth. A couple said that the local codes may require additional protection. So go figure on this one.
If you want my opinion... I wouldnt bury it.

Jw

Yep I agree you can run a wet location rated cable in conduit. I forgot to say IMO I wouldnt run cable in conduit. I think that most DIY would have no idea how to size the conduit.
Frankly I have never seen cable in conduit fail due to overheating. I've seen it fail as a result of damage from pulling it thru the conduit however.

Lastly the DIY forum environment is darn hard to always be 100% accurate due to the already incorrectly installed systems we deal with here everyday. Aside from telling BigFred to tear the whole installation out cause it isnt 100% right... my point was to explore with him some of the issues he should ask questions about in the future so he could have a more code compliant installation. He also just might be able to help someone else from what he learns here. This is DIY not electrical contractors forum. None the less we are obligated to respond with legal and code compliant answers. I've spent the last 15 years in the trade trying to figure out what is code compliant. I'm still working on it......

Roger
 
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Old 09-23-06, 06:58 PM
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WOW! My posting sure has generated a lot of discussion. I like that because to me that's the reason these forums are valuable. They give folks a chance to hear what others have to say.

I want to add one more thought. When I made the decision to put cable in the ground leading to the shed, I made sure I bought wire that said "underground" on the box. And, the reason I bought the galvanized pipe was to protect anyone who dug into the cable. Since my soil PH is about neutral, and my backyard is normally dry, I don't expect any rapid deterioration of the metal pipe. But, even if it does deteriorate, the cable is still rated for underground, so it should be okay. One thing I would do differently if I were going to do it again would be to seal the metal sleeves used to join the pipes. They have a screw on each end that presses against the pipe when inserted into the sleeve. But, water could seep into the jhint there.
 
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Old 09-23-06, 07:48 PM
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BigFred:

Discussion is good!
Don't ever apologize for it.

You can't see the forest through the trees.
We need the questions to keep us all thinking. Sometimes it becomes second nature, and you forget to mention the basics.
 
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Old 09-20-07, 12:51 PM
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Running power to shed

I am also trying to do this.

I was hoping to run it from an existing socket by changing it to a switched spur, running the cable buried to the shed and another switched spur with a lower amp fuse and powering a double socket and double light switch, the switch is for two lights inside the shed and 8x60w external bulkheads.

The shed is approx 40ft from the house.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 08:57 AM
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AC disconnect

Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Electrical to a shed is required to have some means of shutting off the entire power to the shed right at the shed. This is referred to as a disconnect. With a simple 120 volt circuit a regular toggle switch is enough.
Or you can get an A/C disconnect from the big box store for $11. I used one of these, since it's really not much more and I felt a lot more comfortable with a disconnect that physically removes contact from the circuit and can not be accidentally bumped back on.

I also considered a double-pole switch (I know, it's more than necessary), but that costs about the same as the disconnect and can be bumped.
 
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Old 09-22-07, 06:38 PM
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The following is from the UL Guide (listing) Information for EMT (Guide FJMX).
"In general, galvanized steel electrical metallic tubing in contact with soil requires supplementary corrosion protection."
Don
 
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Old 03-31-08, 06:21 PM
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I want to do the same (but different)

I am looking to do similar and wanted the group here to check me out on the specifics.

I will be doing a new run from my service panel out to my shed. The run is 40 feet through my basement and then 50 ft through my back yard.

I intend to trench 3ft deep (because I will be regrading at the same time) and then bury schedule 40 PVC with glued connectors.

I was going to run a dedicated 15A circuit based on what I need to run (max 4 x 100W lights and an occassional power tool etc), but was wondering if I should run 12ga wire to accomodate for voltage drop over a close to 100ft run.

I understand that I need a means of shutting off power in the shed (AC disconnect) - should this be at the first box where the service enters the shed or should it be where the circuit exits the basement ?

Circuit to be GFCI of course.

Here's the tricky part - I want lights on the outside of the shed but I want them SPDT switched so I can control them from the house or from the shed, so I will have to run 50ft of 4 wire (3 wire + ground) cable back from the shed to the house which sparks a few of questions :
1. Being on the same circuit as the GFCI outlet this circuit also gets protection (wired in series of course not in parallel)
2. Can I run both my 3w+G and my 2w+G romex in 1/2" sched 40 conduit, or should I go up to 3/4" or should I run 2 runs of 1/2" conduit
3. Am I being overcautious in using 12ga romex on a 15A circuit with a 100ft run ?
4. Am I being over cautious running exterior grade romex
As I run the romex back for the house side SPDT switch, does this need to be switched at the shed also, or does the "master" switch cover this ?
5. Do I need to put a separate ground rod in the shed ? It's 10'x12' 2x4 construction on 16" centers with T111 siding and an asphalt shingle roof over 3/4 ply floor is 2x6 PT lumber on 12' centers with 3/4" PT ply floor, all resting on solid concrete blocks on 8" compacted gravel.


Also, I have used metal boxes and metal conduit previously so I know how to enter and exit the cable with the clamps and how to transition from conduit to box, but I am unclear on how one fastens the schedule 40 conduit to the boxes.

I have plenty of time, not doing the trench until the fall, but will probably wire the shed side this summer.

Thanks
 
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Old 07-22-08, 01:30 PM
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Thumbs up Cheap way to run electricity to your shed

If you dont have a bunch of money you could take an outdoor extension cord and plug it in to and outdoor outlet. Then dig a trench all the way back to where you want the power. Once you get the wire burried unlug it and at the end nearest to the shed measure about six feet of wire from the ground. Then cut off the tip and wire it directly to a circuit box. Then wire outlets or what not from the circuit box. Then plug the cord back in to an outdoor outlet and you will have enough power to run anything you want. Trust me this is what i did to my shed and i have a 12 horse air compressor, two 120 volts shop lights, and 3 outlets for radio, fan, and phone!!!
 
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Old 07-22-08, 01:34 PM
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[QUOTE=ricktee;1232238]I am also trying to do this
I was hoping to run it from an existing socket by changing it to a switched spur, running the cable buried to the shed and another switched spur with a lower amp fuse and powering a double socket and double light switch, the switch is for two lights inside the shed and 8x60w external bulkheads.

The shed is approx 40ft from the house.
[/QUOTE=tyb94;1234567]Read my posting for Jul, 22 under the postee of tyb94, and the headline is"Cheap Way to run electricity to your shed"
 
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Old 07-22-08, 01:56 PM
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I am closing this thread as the advice provided by tyb94 is neither safe nor appropriate. This thread is nearly two years old and I'm sure the OP has resolved his problem by now.
 
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