Use #6 Stranded Copper for 20amp circuit?

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Old 04-28-14, 12:38 PM
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Use #6 Stranded Copper for 20amp circuit?

I have a small off-the-grid solar cabin in a remote area of Colorado. When we did the rough-wiring, I had envisioned installing a 24-volt refrigerator and freezer so I installed two outlets wired as two separate circuits using #6 Stranded Copper to minimize line loss. Since that time I have perfected my solar generation to the point where I am now considering the use of a small conventional refrigerator/freezer (120v). Having already drywalled the interior, is there a way I can make use of the existing #6 stranded rather than rip open the walls, yank out the #6 and install #12?

I considered butt-splicing but do not know if one can splice #6 to #12. Also don't know if you can butt-splice inside the main electrical panel?
 
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Old 04-28-14, 12:50 PM
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#6 Stranded Copper
That could be a lot of things even automotive accessory wire. If it is NM-b or THHN in conduit no problem. Anything else it may not be suitable for 120 volt wiring if you follow code.

Walls do not generally need to be ripped open to install new cables. The cables are fished.
 
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Old 04-28-14, 12:52 PM
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A piece of #12 could be spliced to the #6 in an accessible junction box.
 
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Old 04-28-14, 12:58 PM
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The existing wire is 6/2 NM-b. I'll see if I can find quick-connects. Main thing is to meet code so I can get the final inspection done and close out my building permit.
 
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Old 04-28-14, 01:04 PM
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With 6-2 NM-b no problem. You could even use a large gray or blue wire nut (IIRC).
 
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Old 04-28-14, 01:10 PM
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Can I splice like that inside the main electrical planel? Can't fit #6 into a 20amp breaker! I assume the splice inside the receptacle boxes will be OK.
 
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Old 04-28-14, 01:18 PM
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Can I splice like that inside the main electrical planel?
Yes.
Can't fit #6 into a 20amp breaker
Unlikely but the neutral and ground will fit the neutral bar (or neutral and ground bar if ground bar present).
 
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Old 04-28-14, 01:31 PM
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The neutral and ground 6-guage wire does fit the neutral/ground bars. BTW, the electrician that did the original rough-in attached both neutral and grounds to the neutral bars. My dad (a master electrician) always taught me that you should never connect ground wires to the neutral bar but install separate grounding bar to the panel enclosure. Something about the neutral bar being bonded vs the grounding bar being truly grounded. Any idea what code says?
 
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Old 04-28-14, 02:47 PM
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taught me that you should never connect ground wires to the neutral bar
If this is the first service panel with an OCPD (breaker or fuse) that rule doesn't apply. It apples only to subpanels. If you need more room you can add a ground bar to the panel with the first OCPD but it isn't required and unlike in a subpanel it would have to be bonded to the neutral bar.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 04:38 PM
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Just curious, what size boxes are you using for the receptacles ?
Geo
 
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