Power to shed via extension cord, inlet, outlet

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  #1  
Old 12-11-12, 12:51 AM
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Power to shed via extension cord, inlet, outlet

Surprisingly I have been able to find a straightforward answer to this anywhere on the internet. I sometimes use a 50' extension cord to bring power into my shed for my radio and a utility light. To avoid having to close the door on my extension cord (which seems like it could cause damage to the cord after a while) could I rig up an inlet on the outside of my shed wired directly to an outlet on the inside of my shed? I considered buying this inlet: Leviton 4937 Weatherproof Inlet on Flush Mount Wallplate with Aluminum Cover, Straight Blade Receptacle, Gray - Amazon.com and I know I can get the rest of the supplies at my local hardware store, but I don't know exactly how to install it safely. (I've replaced outlets before and done some basic electrical jobs around the house, so I know the general concepts and safety rules.) I've read people discussing doing something similar in boats and even vans, but no instructions were given. Is this dangerous? If so, is there another clean/easy way to bring temporary power to my shed via extension cord? This is not meant to be permanent, I would not use this in wet weather, and I always bring the cord in when I'm done using it.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 01:13 AM
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Very simple. The inlet must be mounted in a box, either surface mounted or flush mounted on/in the wall of the shed. Run cable from the inlet to another box inside that has a GFCI receptacle. Wire it white wire to silver screw, black wire to brass screw and green (or bare copper) wire to the green screw.

I strongly suggest that you check out a few DIY type electrical books from your public library and purchase Wiring Simplified at either an on-line bookseller or you can also find it in the electrical aisle of the big box mega-mart homecenter.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 12:53 PM
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Thank you, Furd! I thought it should be relatively simple and not dangerous, but wanted to be sure. I will definitely get a book as you suggest before proceeding. If there are any particular safety issues that anyone thinks I should worry about, please chime in. Thanks DIY forum!
 
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Old 12-11-12, 02:19 PM
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Furd has a good point to add the GFCI inside the shed as the first circuit that receives the power from your Levitron 4937 then run the rest of your inside outlets from the GFCI. I would make sure that everything is grounded (this is very important). You might want to consider placing a ground spike near the shed. I would also suggest that you buy a Multimeter. This will allow you to test your outlets, plugs and lighting without having to apply 110V AC. You do not have to use conduit but you do have to use cabling that has a ground (3 wires just like the extension cord). The last concern would be the rating of the 50' extension cord and if it is UL rated. At a minimum your cord should be UL rated at 15 amps. If you intend to run power tools and lights I would bump that to a 20 amp cord. Remember you get what you pay for when it comes to extension cords. Cheap Walmart cords are just that cheap cords that are not rated for the cold and will not last half as long as a comparable UL listed Home Depot cord. I know UL listed cords are more expensive but you do get what you pay for in this respect.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 03:51 PM
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You might want to consider placing a ground spike near the shed.
Grounding electrode is not required for a single circuit of 20 amperes or less. It would serve no useful purpose.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 08:22 PM
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The ground it needs is already present in the 3 wire cord as the equipment grounding conductor. As Furd said, a ground rod is not required, and a GFCI will provide all the ground fault protection you will need as they trip at 4-6 mA.

Of course you can install a ground rod if you choose. But this will not give a significant increase in safety.
 
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Old 12-12-12, 11:10 AM
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As I am concerned about safety above all, I will be sure to get a good quality extension cord that can handle power tools if necessary (although, as I said, I'm only running a radio and a light bulb). My extension cord is plugged into a power strip (in my garage) with surge protection and a light that shows whether or not it's grounded. Is that enough protection re: grounding? As I said, the cord will be unplugged and stored when not in use.

As for conduit or romex, I don't know. Which one do you think I should use?
 
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Old 12-12-12, 12:02 PM
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As for conduit or romex, I don't know. Which one do you think I should use?
Assuming you mean inside the shed, Romex would be a bit easier to use. Local code may say it needs to be protected less then six feet from the ground. If so just run a section of conduit up to the six foot mark from each switch and receptacle to sleeve it. No need for a continuous system. Even the sleeving isn't done most places I've seen.
 
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Old 12-12-12, 01:58 PM
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What I'm thinking of doing is putting an inlet on the outside of the shed, and then one outlet inside, directly opposite the inlet. Are you saying it's safest to to put this inlet/outlet six feet above the ground?
 
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Old 12-12-12, 09:11 PM
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"pablodepinto Member since Dec 2012

What I'm thinking of doing is putting an inlet on the outside of the shed, and then one outlet inside, directly opposite the inlet. Are you saying it's safest to to put this inlet/outlet six feet above the ground?
Is the shed plastic or a real wooden shed?

That sounds like a simple circuit. I would at least add one more box for a light fixture. That would run like this:

Power input fixture-in outside box -to- conduit two 90ded turns inside shed to first inside-box GFCI in box continue up wall with conduit 45 or 90 deg turn then box center of shed. In that box install a pull chain light and wire it back to the GFCI. (you might want to put a switch box between the GFCI and the Light box). Sound like one stick of 1/2 conduit and three or four boxes.
 
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Old 12-13-12, 02:44 PM
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I did what you (The O/P described) plan on doing to your shed with my friend about 4 years ago for practice doing electrical. Put a 5-15 inlet outside the door, that went into the GFCI outlet, fed from there an outside outlet, light switch, and motion light. We installed 2 outlets and a porcelain socket on the ceiling, with everything being wired with MC cable.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 06:24 AM
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MODERATOR'S NOTE: I split the off-topic posts into a new thread. Find it here:
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...sion-cord.html

Please keep this thread on topic.

Originally Posted by pablodepinto
Are you saying it's safest to to put this inlet/outlet six feet above the ground?
No. What he's saying is local code may call for the wiring to be protected on the walls below six feet. Typically this is done by running the wiring in pipe that has been fastened to the walls from a height of six feet to the receptacle boxes (which are usually 18 or so inches off the floor). Even if code doesn't require it, it's a good idea.
 
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Old 12-15-12, 05:57 PM
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No GFCI needed

I sometimes use a 50' extension cord to bring power into my shed for my radio and a utility light. To avoid having to close the door on my extension cord (which seems like it could cause damage to the cord after a while) could I rig up an inlet on the outside of my shed wired directly to an outlet on the inside of my shed?
I've just read - ok, scanned - back through this thread and either I missed it or none of us thought to ask this question before jumping into the need for a GFCI receptacle in the shed:

Pablodepinto, what are you plugging your extension cord into? If, as I imagine, it's an outside receptacle on your house which has GFCI protection, you do not need to install a GFCI in the shed. In fact you should not add a GFCI there. GFCI protection should only be put on any circuit once. Adding a second GFCI downstream can result in tripping for no good reason.

If you're plugging into an outdoor receptacle that doesn't have GFCI protection, you should add it there, since that receptacle needs to have it anyway.
 
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Old 12-15-12, 08:58 PM
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My extension cord is plugged into a power strip (w/surge protection and a light that shows whether or not it's grounded) which is plugged into a non-GFCI outlet in my garage. So, in this case are you saying I should change the garage outlet to a GFCI one?
 
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Old 12-15-12, 09:23 PM
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Under current code all garage receptacles should be GFCI protected.
 
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Old 12-15-12, 09:52 PM
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I'd GFI it anyway. I've also never had a problem with daisychained GFI units tripping, and I have a GFI in every extension cord for my lights.
 
  #17  
Old 12-15-12, 10:46 PM
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My extension cord is plugged into a power strip (w/surge protection and a light that shows whether or not it's grounded) which is plugged into a non-GFCI outlet in my garage. So, in this case are you saying I should change the garage outlet to a GFCI one?
No. I spoke too curtly. As Ray already noted,
Originally Posted by ray2047
Under current code all garage receptacles should be GFCI protected.
Just verify that you have GFCI wherever you're plugging in, and let that be it.

I actually meant to add "garage" into what I posted originally.
 
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Old 12-15-12, 10:52 PM
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I've also never had a problem with daisychained GFI units tripping, and I have a GFI in every extension cord for my lights.
Interesting. I have, and it was a bear to troubleshoot.

I may experiment further, since you've said this.
 
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