What wiring/cable should I use?

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  #1  
Old 02-10-07, 08:01 PM
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What wiring/cable should I use?

I'm hooking up a 10KW generator to a service panel in my well house. The generator has a 60amp output with a 45 amp breaker. In the well house panel I'll add a 30amp breaker and from that breaker, run an underground feed that will go 240' and plug into the house's outdoor 30amp generator panel. What wire should I run between the well house panel and the house's generator plug-in? Again, it's about 240'. I'm digging a trench between the house and well house and I have a bunch of 1" Schedule 40 PVC conduit. I'd like to run the cable inside this conduit in the trench. Should I still get direct burial cable (not sure if it will fit ok in 1" conduit? Or since it will be in conduit, should I just get separate wires (cheaper?) and run them between the two structures? In any case, what gauge would you recommend for this 30amp run? Is aluminum an option since it is cheaper?
 
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Old 02-11-07, 04:39 AM
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Why not place the generator at the well house rather than at the residence and save all that wire? It appears the generator is dedicated for your pump anyway, unless you want to control it from the house, that is alot of wire to lay. You really don't run cable in conduit, but either use UF cable for direct burial, or separate wires in conduit.
 
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Old 02-11-07, 09:37 AM
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And I believe the N.E.C. states it needs to be in 1 1/4" conduit minimum.
 
  #4  
Old 02-11-07, 09:51 AM
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chandler... The generator WILL be at the well house (where it powers the well and septic). I want to run wire from the well house to the home where it will feed the home's 30 amp generator service input. So the generator will be used for both the well house AND the house. Sorry if this wasn't clear in my original post.

HotinOKC... Is 1 1/4" required for any size wire then?

So any advise on what wire I should use?

Thanks!
 
  #5  
Old 02-11-07, 10:01 AM
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I'd run #6 or #4, if not try to locate the generator closer to the house, where you could likely use #6.

You can't run direct buriable in conduit the whole length, only up the buildings above grade, for protection, direct underground for the horizontal trench run (hence the term direct buriable).

At the generator inlet, replace the fitting there with an adequately sized junction box.
 
  #6  
Old 02-11-07, 10:15 AM
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Thanks! I'll play it safe and use #4 (what gauge for nutral and ground?). Ok, so no running direct burial cable inside conduit in the trench. So it seems I have two options:

1 - Get direct burial cable and not place it in conduit. Just put the cable in the trench. Where it comes out of the trench, use conduit. This option worries me though because part of this trench is cutting through some woods where it is not easy to dig a trench deep. Also, lots of roots. I was thinking conduit would keep the wire safe and would be the best way.

2 - Get individual #4 wires and run that in conduit the entire way. Would that be ok? But it has to be 1 1/4"? If so darn! I already have a bunch of 1".

Thanks again for your help.
 
  #7  
Old 02-11-07, 10:18 AM
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There is no prohibition against placing UF cable inside conduit. It can be done. Should it be done? That's a different question. I would not do so.
 
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Old 02-11-07, 10:21 AM
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1" should be OK, it still must be buried and protected.
 
  #9  
Old 02-11-07, 11:04 AM
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Thanks everyone. And can the neutral be smaller then #4? And what gauge for the ground wire?
 
  #10  
Old 02-11-07, 05:55 PM
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Not sure why you would run a new line to your well house. Is this not fed out of your existing house panel? IF so then this would be put on your transfer switch circuit so if you lost power this would be one of the circuits that would be picked up by the generator if power was lost. Now if the well has a completly different power supply then that is a whole different ball game.

I would say that you have the pump and the other circuits you plan on running in your transfer circuit panel.
Also if you have a 60 amp genset then why limit the output with a 45 amp breaker? Why not use all 60? IMHO
 
  #11  
Old 02-11-07, 06:04 PM
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I believe he was saying that the generators receptacle is the NEMA 14-60R. I suspect he is mistaken. It is likely to be 14-50R. At ten thousand watts the generator can carry a 41.69 ampere load.
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Tom Horne
 
  #12  
Old 02-11-07, 06:26 PM
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No I have it right, it is a NEMA 14-60R and the generator breakers it at 45 amps. I asked the manufacture (Winco) why they didn't use a 50 amp plug and they said the 60's were easier to find and cheaper for the customer. They (Winco) do sell the 60's cheaper then the 50's. The generator is a Winco HPS12000HE that you can see at: http://www.wincogen.com/PortableConsumer.shtml

Chitownangler... I can't use the existing wire between the house and the well house. The well house power comes from a tap on a 400amp meter base located at the well house. The home power comes off a second tap on that meter base (i.e. 200amp panel in well house and 200amp panel in home). So with the well house's main off, power can not get out to the home. I checked on prices for adding a 400amp disconnect so I could just kill everything and leave the well house panel's main on, but the disconnects are WAY to expensive (more than the generator!).

I went out to Home Depot and checked wire. In UF cable, they had 6/3 UF and nothing heavier. He was trying to talk me into using 6 guage because even though this is a 30amp run, realisticly I won't be using that much at the home when on the generator. This is probably true (ref. + freezer + microwave + a few lights). 20 amps is proably more realistic. Wow, even the 6x3 UF is expensive!!! I had no idea the cable would run into this kind of money. I guess the price of copper has gone up! Haven't picked up anything yet. Want to shop around and see what else is available.

What about Aluminum Underground Service Cable? The ones I saw only had 3 wires though (didn't have a ground).
 
  #13  
Old 02-12-07, 11:54 AM
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Question Cheaper solution

Now that I Know were the meter is I may be able to help. What brand and model number are the panels in both the well hose and the home? Can you confirm that the meter base is just a meter enclosure and not a meter mains assembly that includes one or more main breakers. Just to be clear is the first shut off for each building in that buildings panel cabinet? The most cost effective remedy is likely to involve the use of manual transfer switches that will be located at the well house. No additional wiring to the home would be necessary.
 

Last edited by hornetd; 02-12-07 at 11:57 AM. Reason: expand question
  #14  
Old 02-12-07, 02:41 PM
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Yes, you describe my setup right on. The meter is located on the well house in a simple 400amp meter box. Heavy alluminum wire leaves that meter box and goes to a 200amp panel inside the well house and another set of alluminum wire leaves the meter base and heads to the house where it has it's 200 amp panel. Both house and well house's panels have there own 200 amp main at the top of the panel as normal. There is no shutoff at all in the meter base. The panel brand is Siemens at both locations.
 
  #15  
Old 02-12-07, 03:20 PM
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If the service entrance for your property as a whole is at the wellhouse, then install a transfer switch there. It might end up costing as much as running a feed to the house, counting labor (IE, trenching).
 
  #16  
Old 02-12-07, 11:44 PM
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I still need the model number

You did not say what model number panel you have. If it is of recent manufacture there may be an interlock kit available for it that prevents the main breaker from being closed at the same time as the breaker that serves as your generator disconnect. The web site for the press release about that product is <http://www2.sea.siemens.com/News/Construction/Siemens-Standby-Power-Interlock-Kits-Prevent-Feedback-to-Powerlines.htm>
The selection brochure can be found at <http://www.sea.siemens.com/resident/docs/RPSA-ELEC1-0805.pdf>.

The most cost effective way to connect your generator to both buildings is to install one of those kits in your well house panel and install a two hundred ampere feed through panel at the well house to control the service lateral to the house. Once the homes service lateral is controlled by a feed through panel you can install another interlock kit in it to allow the code compliant connection of the generators power to both panels through their existing wiring. The installation is complete when you wire a NEMA 14-60FI flanged inlet to the two generator control breakers. Since the generator has built in over current protection I suggest that you use two sixty ampere breakers as the generator disconnect breakers. With both interlocks thrown to the generator position you start the generator and plug the 14-60R receptacle end of the generators cord set into the flanged inlet to supply generator power to both buildings. You then have to be careful not to turn on more load then your generator can carry. The best way to avoid trips to the well house to reset the generators over current protection is to open all breakers in both panels before starting the generator. You will then only close the breakers that serve the critical loads that are within the capacity of the generator to carry.

You can save money by building your own flanged inlet enclosure from the flanged inlet; some nuts, bolts, and wire; plus a six by six by six weatherproof plastic box. You will have to buy the inlet at your electrical supply house they are unlikely to have it at the local big box store. If you cannot obtain the flanged inlet you will attach a 14-60P cord cap to a short pigtail to which you can connect the receptacle end of the cord from the generator.

I wish I was near you because I love working on stuff like that.
 

Last edited by hornetd; 02-13-07 at 12:05 AM.
  #17  
Old 02-13-07, 04:23 PM
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Thanks hornetd!!! I think I follow what your saying to do. I don't know why I didn't think of doing that way. I was thinking I had to do it all in a single switch (400A) which would of been VERY expensive. Also, the existing panel in the well house is a Siemens G2040MB1200.

So let me describe what I THINK your saying to do:

1 - Add a new 200A panel in the well house.

2 - Remove the connection of the undergound feed from the house (I think what your calling the lateral) from the 400A meter box. Take that free end and attach instead to feed-through lugs on the new panel. I was looking at my existing well house panel and it doesn't have feed-through lugs. I would need to make sure the new panel had that right? Is that common or is it something that can be added to any panel?

3 - Run a new wire from the meter box (where the house connection WAS) and run that to the feed for the new panel box.

4 - In BOTH panel boxes, add a breaker to act as an input from the generator. Protect both panel boxes with interlocks to their main's.

5 - Put a box with a receptacle for the generator to plug into and run two cables from that box to the two generator input breakers in the two panels.

Steps 1, 4 and 5 are clear enough and pretty easy for me to do. I'm a little concerned about step 2. First, the house cable in the meter box will be too short to reach the new panel. This is very thick probably 4/0 or so. I think you can add extensions but not sure how hard this is or what is involved. Working on this cable will also require pulling the meter off. In fact, even getting into the meter box where the connections are has got PSE cables ties on it that would need to be cut/removed. I could probably find a local electrition to do just step 2 and 3 and I could do the rest. If you knew what you were doing I doubt if step two would take more than a couple hours right?

So anyway, have I described what you had in mind ok? I wish you were local too!!!

Thank you again for all this help.
 
  #18  
Old 02-14-07, 11:43 AM
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Yes I think you followed the thrust of my suggestions just fine,

ECSBPK03 is the Siemans part number for the interlock kit that will be installed in the well house panel. You will have to buy a panel with feed through lugs for the wiring to the house. Some panels can have through lugs added but not many. Just buy the least expensive 200 ampere main breaker panel, that is equipped with feed through lugs, for which you can get an interlock kit. If the well house panel is inside the well house then the panel for the house supply must be inside the well house also. This is because all of the switches, fused pull outs, or breakers that comprise the service disconnecting means must be co located.

Is the well water piping metallic? Is there control wiring for the well pump that comes from the house or is the pressure tank in the well house? Are there any metallic pathways of any kind that run from the well house to the house other than the service entry conductors from the electric meter?

Just out of idle curiosity; if you don't mind my asking; what loads do you have in the well house that it needs a two hundred ampere service? Was a service load calculation done on the home and the well house before the larger four hundred ampere service was constructed? Are you paying a monthly meter fee for the larger service? More importantly what loads in the well hose actually need emergency power? If you only need the well pump on emergency power we may be able to simplify the installation even further.
 

Last edited by hornetd; 02-14-07 at 11:58 AM.
  #19  
Old 02-14-07, 03:08 PM
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Not sure that I followed all these threads, but could he place (if possible?) the generator halfway between pump and house and thereby cut down the size of wire needed since the longest distance would be halved?
 
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Old 02-14-07, 03:57 PM
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bob22 - I actually had thought about that but I decided that putting the generator next to the well house would be best since the well house has all the pumps with their large start-up currents. From an aesthetic standpoint it's better as well.

hornetd - Thanks for the model for the interlock. I'll look that up! As for needing a 200amp service panel in the well house... here is what the well house panel services: The well, two pumps for the septic system, misc. well house stuff (lights, plugs, timers), a service feed for the barn (which has a shop in it) and a service feed for the detached garage. Note that when running on generator the well pump is the main thing. Switching the septic pumps on from time to time as well would be required (when nothing else is running since they draw a lot).

Any suggestions on a panel that meets all the requirements? I'll check at Home Depot and others to see what they have. Thanks for telling me it needs to be inside next to the existing panel. Will do! I was flipping a coin on that. No, the water line that runs from the pressure tank in the well house to the home and barn is plastic. There is no metallic connections (other than power wires of course) connecting the well house with the home, barn, or garage.

Any thoughts on the problem of the house cables going into the meter not being long enough to feed to a new panel? Maybe this isn't that big a deal but that kind of worries me being such heavy cables.

There is no fee that I pay for using a 400 amp meter. Maybe it's because that was used more to make things easier with the various buildings being so dispersed rather than really needing that heavy a power service.
 
  #21  
Old 02-14-07, 10:21 PM
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Simplify

You could put the breakers for the well and sewage equipment in the feed through panel that will supply the power to the home. You would then only need the transfer interlock for that panel rather then for both. That would keep you from using the emergency power in those other buildings though.

I suspect that the wires that now originate in the meter pan may well reach the feed through lugs at the bottom of the new panels buss bars.
 

Last edited by hornetd; 02-15-07 at 11:56 AM.
  #22  
Old 02-15-07, 12:46 PM
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JeffL;1126491 Wrote: "
hornetd - Thanks for the model for the interlock. I'll look that up! As for needing a 200amp service panel in the well house... here is what the well house panel services: The well, two pumps for the septic system, misc. well house stuff (lights, plugs, timers), a service feed for the barn (which has a shop in it) and a service feed for the detached garage. Note that when running on generator the well pump is the main thing. Switching the septic pumps on from time to time as well would be required (when nothing else is running since they draw a lot)."

There are a number of ways to deal with the pumps. What is the size of the breaker that protects each pump right now?

JeffL;1126491 Wrote: "
Any suggestions on a panel that meets all the requirements? I'll check at Home Depot and others to see what they have. Thanks for telling me it needs to be inside next to the existing panel. Will do! I was flipping a coin on that. No, the water line that runs from the pressure tank in the well house to the home and barn is plastic. There is no metallic connections (other than power wires of course) connecting the well house with the home, barn, or garage."

One possible panel choice is the QO1816M200FTRB. That is a square D panel with a two hundred ampere main breaker, feed through lugs, eight full sized breaker slots that will also take tandem breakers for a total of sixteen 120 volt circuits wired directly from the panel.

JeffL;1126491 Wrote:
"Any thoughts on the problem of the house cables going into the meter not being long enough to feed to a new panel? Maybe this isn't that big a deal but that kind of worries me being such heavy cables."

Those cables can be spliced but the easiest way to do it is with Insulated Connector Blocks. The NSI Polaris series is one example. If the meter pan is mounted with it's center five feet off of the ground you should be able to reach the bottom of the buss bars of a panel that is mounted on the wall behind it with the existing conductors. Any chance you could Email me some pictures of the meter pan and the wall inside were the existing pump house panel is mounted.
 
  #23  
Old 02-15-07, 03:43 PM
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Thank you so much for all the information. I hate taking up so much of your time! But I really appreciate your help. I'd love to send you some images. If you want to PM me your email address and I'll send them right off to you.
 
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