Wiring a shed from a sub panel problem

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Old 02-26-19, 05:56 AM
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Wiring a shed from a sub panel problem

Iím working on an old home that has already been wired. It is a place Iím fixing up for myself to move into. I have a sub panel here that feeds a small storage building. The sub panel appears to be wired correctly. The iffy thing is the wires that goes from the sub panel to the building to feed a single light circuit. That wire is an 8 gauge with three conductors. Red, black and white. There is no ground wire. It was wired up from the sub panel with white to neutral black to hot 20A breaker and the red to a ground.

This seems ďDIYĒ in the worst way. Iíve never seen an insulated wire used as a ground but is this ok? Is it legal? I want to make sure this is safe. Iím talking about 50 years of diy ďuse whatcha gotĒ wiring here so it looks off and I want to double check. I donít know if i should do something else or just wrap 6Ē of green electrical tape on it.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 06:01 AM
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The ground isn't legal. Is this cable? If so what kind? Is it in conduit?
 
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Old 02-26-19, 06:50 AM
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I'm guessing there is some history on this one. It used to be legal to feed 240V/120V service to an outbuilding without a separate ground wire (red-black-white), and I'm guessing that's what was done at your place many years ago.

Somewhat recently it became mandatory to have a separate ground wire for outbuildings (red-black-white-green/bare). It appears that what a previous owner did was to sacrifice one of the existing hot wires and use it as a ground to sort-of comply with new code, and also provide only 120V to the outbuilding.

Electrically what you have is OK, meaning it is not hazardous from a fire or shock point of view. It is however against code to use any color other than green or bare for a ground. It's dangerous because a future person, such as yourself, will see it and and get confused about what it going on.

The 100% correct fix is to replace the wiring between the buildings with modern grounded wiring. A fix that is probably OK would be to strip off the red insulation of the wire that is being used as a ground anywhere it's visible in the boxes.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 06:54 AM
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Not sure

It looks like some kind of old Romex. Looks like insulated wires inside of a black plastic sheathing. It just looks like 10/3 cable. Red, black, white....thatís it. Wire is in great shape.

How do do I make it right or correct it? It comes out of the house and is run overhead a few feet to the building.


Edit: just saw the response for fix. Thank you. Safety is my primary concern. Code compliance is next but I can make that happen too. Yes, this is a home originally built in the 1870ís and has all manner of electrical technology up to current codes with abandoned technology still laying about but not used. Lol.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 06:57 AM
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The solution is to strip off the red insulation back to where the wire enters the panels making the ground wire bare which is to code.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 07:01 AM
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Based on your description I'm not sure the wire is approved for outside installation. Romex is one of those wires not approved for wet locations.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 11:22 AM
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Well Iím not sure if itís ďromexĒ or not. I cannot read any labeling on it. Itís a thick black sheath.

But my next question if it is going from inside the house, to outside and overhead for a few feet before going inside a shed, what is the proper wire and products to do that correctly? Itís my home so I know how to make it work but I like to do things the right way.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 11:41 AM
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Can you post a picture of the cable. How to Insert pictures The correct cable would be UF-b.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 05:26 PM
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Direct bury cable overhead?

UF-B can be legally run overhead for a few feet? Thatís direct bury cable. Didnít know that but I have a ton of that if so.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 07:11 PM
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Yes, UF-b if marked UV resistant can be run overhead if fastened to a messenger such as 1/8" steel cable.
 
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Old 02-27-19, 09:07 AM
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Awesome!

I dont hav epics of the cable but it says 10/3 NM. Looks like itís made by Carey. Canít really read it. Itís been here at least 50 years and seems to show no signs of exterior degradation or cracking. Still pliable. Lol.

id like to replace it with the right cable but I donít have access to replace it. Weíll see what I can do.
 
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Old 02-27-19, 10:29 AM
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If it's showing no signs of problems and the power it provides (120V) meets your needs I would not worry about it. I assume the short run overhead is out of harms way and cannot be touched when standing at any point.
 
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Old 02-27-19, 08:42 PM
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H

Yeah. You canít reach it. Itís a 20a circuit with one light bulb. Lol.
 
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