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Thread: Wiring & Electrical Design & Safety!

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    Lightbulb Wiring & Electrical Design & Safety!

    I would like to post informatitave links here to provide a resource for anything electrical, wired or design.

    The First is what is Electricity:

    http://www.electricityforum.com/what-is-electricity.htm

    My Oldie Favorite, the Ohms Law Pie:

    http://www.the12volt.com/ohm/ohmslaw.asp

    This one will help you figure out just how much total start-up load your entire aquarium will draw at worst case. What I did from the very beginning was to find the CB (circuit breaker) for the outlets I was planning to use; boy do I wish I had two separate circuits. My house is fairly new but I took a look at all the wiring before even buying the house, most homes now are wired with 12 gauge solid wire, in the past homes used 14 gauge on 20A breakers, which these days with all the electrical stuff we use would trip breakers, burn open & even start fires. I also saw where homes used all aluminum wiring, this caused problems because of dissimilar metals would heat & contract causing loose connections, thus possible fires.
    Old homes, used a material type insulation, this wasn't the best but was good enough to separate the wires far enough to prevent them from touching or arcing & still practical for wiring homes & businesses etc. Caution should be use in older homes, making sure your wiring is updated & breakers are in good working condition. Usually a sign of a faulty breaker is tripping often & when you manually switch it, it doesn't feel crisp while it switches. They normally last a long time & a simple inspection is all necessary. If you use the calculator provided, you can judge your total current draw, I'd not max out a breaker. If you can go no more than 80% of the rated breaker, I know in some cases this may be a problem but in most cases it is ok because the Maxx rating of your system is at start-up not running. All UL devices will either have a wattage or current (AMP) rate, use the calculator & your AC voltage; (US standard is 120 VAC) to figure it out (sorry for repeating so much)!

    This link has all the calculators, awesome!

    http://www.ifigure.com/engineer/electric/electric.htm



    I found this one on GFCI, this guy is good. I hope this one helps, even me sometimes.

    http://www.codecheck.com/gfci_principal.htm

    And

    http://doityourself.com/electric/gfci.htm

    One more, this one is so but worth posting anyway.

    http://www.growinglifestyle.com/h/improve/gfci/

    Ground probes, I have a few good reads going your way.

    http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/RCM/RCM...ingProbes.html

    (I had to edit this because of a dead link, so I just copied it)


    I liked this one on surge protection; I'm a strong believer in these because I know your utility supply isn't as smooth as we would like it to be, in a course of a day you may get several hundred spikes a day, although minor, I believe they help to extend the life of your equipment.

    http://www.arstechnica.com/guide/ups/ups.html


    Codes today aren't necessary good for tomorrow, so as I speak, things change, so we can try keeping it to the basics & safety, codes will have to be determined at your location & at the time of the install or upgrade, contact your local utility provider or city metro code.


    http://www.ul.com/regulators/afci/labdatav5n3.html


    http://www.ul.com/regulators/afci/Dini2.pdf

    Why AFCI?
    Continued arcing could lead to overheating, and to a fire. The AFCI device is designed to detect currents that display the signature of this type of arcing, and to trip before a fire could start.


    http://www.mikeholt.com/documents/n...ement_page2.pdf

    GFCI’s are required on all circuits with the potential of getting wet, I want to make this clear as NEC standards for the USA. You can use an AFCI on the branch breakers & install the GFCI outlets and this will work fine.

    This is a good starter; I hope to post more as questions arise. Please feel free to ask away.

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    Awesome, Scott!! Thanks for posting all of the links! Now, once the electrical connections in my brain are firing....I'll probably have some questions for ya.
    Ohm's Law....ahhhh....physics
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    What do you feel about having the pumps on a different circuit from the rest of water moving equipment?
    Please pause before hitting enter---being nice is free.

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    I have two power strips on my small 100g system, same breaker. Each power strip is rated at 15A, & has built in surge protection. I have a split in pumps in these two strips, I also have on the lease loaded strip, the Tunze stream so if I loose all of my external/sump pumps skimmer etc.. I still have that Tunze stream.
    Now if I had two breakers to split the power, yes I'd highly recommend this also, for the same reasoning, it is just one step closer to redundancy.
    When I get time I will write about that in more detail, to try and give ideas about safety & redundancy power.

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    OK...I'm relaying these questions, so if they don't make sense - that would be my fault (isn't always the wife's fault anyway?...lol)

    We are adding a 6 breaker subpanel for the tank. The distance from the main to the sub is ~100 feet. Should we make it 30 Amp or 40 Amp (making sure 40 isn't overkill) subpanel? Also, for that distance is 10 Gauge fine for the 30 Amp and/or 8 Gauge fine for a 40 Amp?
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    #8 copper is rated 40A per table 310-16. 1999 NEC 110-14(c)(1)(a) #10 for 30A. The distance of the run is never a factor in determining a cable's ampacity. It may, however, become a factor in providing sufficient voltage at the end of the run. Sometimes, you will need to use a larger wire for the same current, in order to limit voltage drop. If the minimum circuit ampacity is not shown, you must have conductors sized for at least 125% of the full load running current.
    30A @ 100ft using copper #6 you get a voltage drop of 2.9 or 17.1V @ load
    40A @ 100ft using copper #4 you get a voltage drop of 2.5 or 117.5V @ load
    I wouldn't go smaller because of the voltage drop. Now with that said. Where are you getting power for this Sub Panel? (Edit the last remark I need to check but I think If your home uses or exceeds 80% total rated wattage of main panel, it would require another run) At this point you will need to get in touch with your power provider & the city department for the proper codes & inspection, this isn't as bad as it sounds, you can do all the work yourself, but they will provide you with the proper LOCAL codes required.

    As far as to what you want, either 40 or 30 for a sub, depends on what your planning to use, If your going all out, cooler, MH lighting, fans, pumps, heaters, controllers, monitors, not to mention all the other possible connections, then go as big as you can afford, it may not cost much extra for a 40 or 50a Main breaker, for the Sub panel and break it out to 20A feeder breakers. I wouldn't feed everything on one 30 or 40 amp circuit, break it down. This way if one portion trips, you still have the rest running, so more feeders the better. Also, think of using GFCI for your equipment, also AFCI for possible arcing wires, shorting. Maybe AFCI breakers and GFCI outlets, would be a better idea, just in case you have equipment the has a problem with either of these, you can replace the breaker or outlet with standard equipment, in some cases I've heard of lighting giving problems. Any more info please ask away. I hope this helps

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    Originally posted by Scooterman
    [BIn most probable cases you will have to get it directly from the meter, not your Main breaker panel for your home.
    Can you explain this a little more? I am not aware of any limitations to remoting a sub-panel that apply here.

    I ran a 100 amp sub panel off of my main panel (200 amp) when I wired my new house. Fully inspected and all.

    Can they not just drop in a 40 amp breaker, run the wire and drop in the sub-panel (with another 40 amp breaker in it)? Sure you "waste" the 40A breaker in the main panel, but I like to be able to turn off the power from both ends of the wire.

    Adding a breaker to an existing panel is not as scary as tying a new line in to the meter base, and does not require the utility to pull the meter.

    Zeph

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    Thanks, Scott. I do know that our main is not filled, and we have room for a sub. When we built the house we also added structured wiring, and I'm sure my husband had future projects down the road in mind. I'll pass this info along and see if he has any more questions. Thanks!!
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    Zephrant, I said that thinking maybe her main panel was maxed out but now that I know she has room then it is all good, nothing wrong either way actually, depending on your Max load of your home. If your DIY you would actually pull the meter yourself & then they would come & reinstall it after inspection, of course you better know what your doing to wire in something like that. I agree on the extra breaker, & that isn't a waste at all, it is necessary actually. Depending on how much is needed would determine the size breakers needed.
    (edit: read my post prior to this one, I stated the original post incorrectly & now have fixed)

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    Thanks Scooterman- I'm going to wire in a whole-house auto-transfer switch soon, so wanted to make sure I understood. I'm planning on pulling the meter base, and rewiring from there to the transfer switch (with disconnect) and then to my main panel.

    I picked up a used 20KW generator earlier this year- It will provide about 80 amps, which is enough to run anything in my house that I care to run. (I have gas heat/hot water, etc...).


    Thanks-

    Zeph
    Barr Aquatic Systems

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    Great thread Scott, boy this could save me a couple of zaps, lol


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    I still have more information on lighting wiring & connections that are geared towards the DIY people, I just been swamped lately. Regardless I will complete the task & try to supply some good useful ideas.

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    Here is an example of a feeder at a remote location.

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    Thanks for the pic, Scott!
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    Too bad there isn't safety against human stupidity. I accidentally touched the prongs on a plug while unplugging it - needless to say, it was still part way in the socket - YOUCH! That was the first time I've ever been shocked....I hope it is the last.

    Scott - I'll post pics of the sub panel - it turned out great!
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