Wiring a remote building

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Old 07-11-19, 02:20 PM
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Wiring a remote building

I have a camp on a small island in Ontario Canada that was built about thirty five years ago. The existing camp has a 200 amp service and there is space in the existing panel. I built a small building down by the lake (about 20 feet from the water) that has a tiny sitting/sleeping area and a storage area. I want to get power to it and it is about 160 feet from the panel in the main cabin. I intend to run a couple of circuits for outdoor lighting, a power outlet to the dock, a mini bar fridge, small stereo and occasionally power tools like a skilsaw or medium duty table saw. I recently talked to a guy who recommended ACWU 6/3 for the main cable down from the panel in the cabin to the shed. It is a heavy jacketed cable that can be buried and this guy told me it was one of the toughest out there. I intended on putting in a sub-panel and then setting up my circuits from there. I don't know a lot about electricity but over the years I have done various things in the cabin and two of my old houses without any issues. I have always believed that having really good tight clean connections and ensuring that the cabling is properly fixed in place and won't get disturbed is extremely important. I have reasonable carpentry skills and try to do clean work. I was reading an old forum where the conversation degenerated into a discussion about whether or not people should do their own wiring. Good points on both sides of the argument but most on the forum rightly guessed that DIYers will do it themselves anyway so why not give advice to help make it safer. So, anything in particular I should know about and any advice on how I should set up this project? The place is in what is called unorganized territory and I was not expecting to have this inspected but, I do love my family so want to do it right.
 
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Old 07-11-19, 06:11 PM
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I have never had an issue with people doing their own work, electrical or anything else. That is what DIY is all about. As long as people follow the local code requirements, do correct safe work, more power to them! The people who say you shouldn't be doing your own work should not be mowing their own grass, fixing their car, or painting their houses. There are professionals who that too. (End rant)

It sounds like your plan is good. Codes differ slightly in Canada than in the US so make sure you are following the codes that apply to your location. The cable the guy was talking about was likley underground feeder (Type UF) It is required to be buried 24" in the ground unless you use conduit, then you only need to go 18" (note: If running conduit it is easier to run individual wires then feed a cable) If you do use UF you will need to protect the cable with conduit as it comes out of the ground less then 24".
 
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Old 07-12-19, 07:11 AM
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Tolyn - thanks. I have a question about burying cable. As I said I'm on an island in Ontario - part of what is called the Canadian Shield - which is many trillions of tons of solid granite. Most of the soil on my island is approximately 4" deep, then granite. There are two "approved" methods for dealing with this, as far as I know. One is drilling and dynamiting a trench, the other is laying cable and encasing it in concrete. I don't intend to do that. I will be burying as deep as I can but there is no way I can truly get this to regular code. I go to camps all over the place near me and there is almost always a visible run of cable somewhere. I will be putting this cable through areas that will almost never even be walked on so I'm hoping it will be OK. Can you tell me briefly why it is always stipulated that cable be buried so deep? Every time I read that it seems like overkill unless it is in an area where people might be digging for some reason and you want to make sure no one puts a shovel through a cable.
 
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Old 07-12-19, 08:08 AM
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The depth requirements are for protection of the cable from digging, gardening and vehicle traffic. Given your unique geology it seems that there must be local practice to deal with the soil (or lack of soil). Per code encasing in concrete is the only approved method for shallow trenches.

Aerial is an option if you have some tall lighting posts or some other means to get 10 feet clearance under the cable.
 
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Old 07-12-19, 08:21 AM
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ACWU and UF are not the same. As I understand it UF is just a plastic jacketed underground cable. ACWU is metal and plastic jacketed armoured cable much more durable then UF.
 
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Old 07-12-19, 10:46 AM
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Regardless of the burial method, running 6ga wire seems to be overkill. I would probably run 10/3 cable and use a 20A breaker (MWBC). This gives you 4800w (two 20A, 120v circuits) at the cabin, which should be more than enough for what you want to use there.
 
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Old 07-12-19, 03:08 PM
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If you run rigid metal conduit you only have to bury it 6". If you can't go even that deep you can use RMC or PVC if you cover the conduit with 2" of concrete and lay the conduit on the rock. (See note 5 in table 300.4)
 
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