Need help Im Stumped

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  #1  
Old 01-14-12, 03:13 AM
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Need help Im Stumped

Last fall I built a chicken coop. Did the calculations on the web for wire size. I used Alum URD 2-2-4. 2 number 2's then a ground. I rented a trencher and installed wire in early Nov. I have 2 service lights that are only used when I am in the coop after dark, 60 watt bulbs. 2 heat lamps at 250 watts each and a water heater at 125watts with weather controlled thermastat installed in the unit. My distance from my house 200 amp panel to the 100 amp panel inside the coop is 300 feet. I had some pre existing wire thats was spliced to the new wire with water tight splice kits. All splices are above ground in Plastic electrical boxes. I have 3 15 amp breakers in the coop ran off of a 100 amp breaker in the house. I did all the calculations as if I was running everything at once. 745watts / 120 volts = 6.20 Amps at the most. I do not run everything at once, but did this for good measure. The calculation chart told me #6 urd was suggested. I used #2. Ran fine until last night. Sometimes it would trip the house breaker in 2 minutes, sometimes it took 2 hours to trip. I checked the volts at the house. Im getting 120 on each line coming out of the breaker. At the 100 Amp panel in the coop Im getting 120 on 1 side and about 45-55 Amps on the other side. Im really confused with this. Any help or explanation? Thx Eddie
 
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Old 01-14-12, 04:23 AM
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First of all, you should have 4 conductors to the remote building, not 3. You should have 2 hot conductors, 1 neutral and 1 ground, but you only installed 3 conductors and that is a code violation. You should be testing both hots to neutral and both hots to ground, but you didn't run a ground. That being said, I think your problem is with a splice on 1 of the hot conductors.
 
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Old 01-14-12, 05:47 AM
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How deep did you bury the wire? Do you have any gopher problems?
Do you know what NEC code cycle you are on? (or tell us what state you are in)

At the 100 Amp panel in the coop Im getting 120 on 1 side and about 45-55 Amps on the other side.
I assume you mean volts, not amps.
 
  #4  
Old 01-14-12, 08:47 AM
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I dont have gophers. It is buried 4' in a tench. All splices are above ground, did that so if I ever had a problem I didnt have to dig by hand. And I figured even though they are underground water resistant splice kits, keeping the dry above ground would be a plus. I have 2 hot and 1 neutral inside main panel from house. At coop box I have 2 hots, 1 neutral, and the ground bar is grounded with an 8 foot grounding rod and solid copper wire. My house was built 11 years ago and I looked at it before running wire. It has 2 hots and 1 neutral from the power company supply and a solid copper ground wire on a grounding rod outside to the panel.
 
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Old 01-14-12, 10:34 AM
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and the ground bar is grounded with an 8 foot grounding rod and solid copper wire.
Not code compliant. The ground rod is only for lightening and such. You also must have a ground all the way back to the supply panel to trip the breaker in case of a fault.

It has 2 hots and 1 neutral from the power company supply and a solid copper ground wire on a grounding rod outside to the panel.
Apples and oranges. The way the power company does it doesn't apply to how you must do it. In any event there are no fuses on the secondary side of the POCO transformer so not the same situation.

If it was me I would get rid of the current non code compliant hodge podge of wire and splices and run a code compliant circuit to the coop. If you use conduit it only needs to be 18".

What size breaker do you have at the house supplying the line?
 
  #6  
Old 01-14-12, 12:09 PM
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With only a 745 watt 120 volt load there is no need for a 240/120 feeder. Reconnect the cable at the house for 120 volt supply and use the present "neutral" as the equipment grounding conductor. This will make the installed cable code compliant. You will also need to reconfigure the panel in the chicken coop.
 
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Old 01-14-12, 01:02 PM
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Furd's idea is very good. In your first post you wrote "2-2-4. 2 number 2's then a ground" which means you may never had the box set up correctly anyway because you must have used the ground for a neutral. If you had a bare wire as a ground in the cable that meant your neutral is not code compliant.
 
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Old 01-15-12, 03:35 PM
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The install would have needed to be re-bonded and have no other metallic paths between building.

The #2 would have been the hots with a #4 neutral.
 
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