Power to outbuildings.

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  #1  
Old 08-19-11, 08:41 AM
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Question Power to outbuildings.

I have a property with three barns than I need to update the power to. One has no power at all yet. The other two are being fed in series. 100Amp to the first barn (Barn A) and then 60 Amp line to the second barn (BARN B). The panel in my house has a 100 Amp breaker that feeds the first barn. Problem with the update is there are no slots left in the house panel so I have to add a sub-panel in the house to feed everything. A friend gave me 500 Ft of 2/0/2/0/1/0 Aluminum direct burial wire (The kind used for mobile home service connections) .
My plan is this
Open up four spaces in the existing house panel and Add 200 Amp breaker in the existing house panel to feed a new 200 Amp sub panel, this will be done with 4/0Al wire the same type coming from the meter outside. Move the current 100AMP feed going to barn A to the new sub-panel in the house. In the new sub-panel add a 125 Amp breaker and feed a new 200 Amp panel in barn B (120 ft away)using the 2/0 wire. In the 200 AMP panel in BARN B add a 100 AMP breaker for a Feed to Barn C (200FT from BARN B) using the same 2/0 AL wire.
Questions are
1. Can I use a main breaker type panel as the sub panel in the house if I isolate the ground and neutral in the sub panel? Any Problem with 200 AMP breakers in series?
2. Do I need a ground rod at all three barns. I think there may be some old metal water lines going to BARN B. Don't know about the other two.
3. Is the voltage drop to BARN C going to be an issue (total distance 320FT) if the loads are light maybe only 20-30 Amps typical?
4. DO I need to run a separate ground wire to all the barns? I think the answer is yes.
5.Any Limits on how many big breakers (60 AMPS and larger) I can have in any one panel or how many sub-panel feeds I can have in one panel?
 
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  #2  
Old 08-19-11, 09:16 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
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1. Can I use a main breaker type panel as the sub panel in the house if I isolate the ground and neutral in the sub panel? Any Problem with 200 AMP breakers in series?
Yes. The breakers aren't in series, but rather daisychained. They're fine.
2. Do I need a ground rod at all three barns. I think there may be some old metal water lines going to BARN B. Don't know about the other two
Yes, you need two at least 6 feet apart and 8' exposed to the soil.

3. Is the voltage drop to BARN C going to be an issue (total distance 320FT) if the loads are light maybe only 20-30 Amps typical?
With the 2/0 conductors, It's not going to be a problem.
4. DO I need to run a separate ground wire to all the barns? I think the answer is yes.
Yes. This has been required for many years.
5.Any Limits on how many big breakers (60 AMPS and larger) I can have in any one panel or how many sub-panel feeds I can have in one panel? .
No. As long as you don't overload the main panel you're fine.

Others will be here to comment soon.
 
  #3  
Old 08-19-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wqwilson View Post
A friend gave me 500 Ft of 2/0/2/0/1/0 Aluminum direct burial wire (The kind used for mobile home service connections) .
This wire maxes out at 125A by the way. You'll also need to get some individual #4 aluminum USE-2 to run with this for a ground wire. If they don't have green insulation you can wrap the exposed ends with green tape to mark as a ground wire.

My plan is this
Have you thought about replacing the meter with a 200A meter/main panel? Then you can feed the house main panel and the barns from this panel outside without doing too much damage inside the house. This will require you to convert the existing main to a subpanel (add ground wire, separate grounds and neutrals) but that can usually be done pretty easily.

1. Can I use a main breaker type panel as the sub panel in the house if I isolate the ground and neutral in the sub panel? Any Problem with 200 AMP breakers in series?
Yes you can. The barns require main breaker type. Ground and neutral must be isolated in all subpanels now. No problem with breakers in series.

2. Do I need a ground rod at all three barns. I think there may be some old metal water lines going to BARN B. Don't know about the other two.
Ground rods required at any outbuilding that has a subpanel. Bond them to the panel ground bar using #6 copper (aluminum not allowed for rods).

3. Is the voltage drop to BARN C going to be an issue (total distance 320FT) if the loads are light maybe only 20-30 Amps typical?
It shouldn't be an issue with light loads on the #2/0 al. You could get into trouble if you're trying to spin up any big motors out there, but small stuff should be no problem.

4. DO I need to run a separate ground wire to all the barns? I think the answer is yes.
Yes. All subpanels must have four wire (hot-hot-neutral-ground) feeder with isolated neutral bar in the panel.

5.Any Limits on how many big breakers (60 AMPS and larger) I can have in any one panel or how many sub-panel feeds I can have in one panel?
The only rule is that you can't have a breaker larger than the main feeder into the panel. Some panels also have a max stab rating, which means you can't put two very large breakers directly across from each other where they would share the same "fin" on the panel bus bar. No limit on number of subpanel feeds.
 
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