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    Thread: electrical panels

    1. #1
      stephen44's Avatar
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      electrical panels

      Well I just had a shock ...... went to Lowes - my second home .... to get an outside waterproof circuit breaker box - talk about $$$$$$$.

      What else do people use - I need a waterproof box that can hold 3 x circuit breakers (10,15 & 20A).

      Any one have any good web sites?

      thanks
      .
      .








      WWKC Diamond Lifetime Member #2 I miss you so much Rudy !

      "A word of encouragement during a failure
      is worth more than an hour of praise after success"

    2. #2
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      I dont remember it being very expensive. It's just a regular small box.... I think mine is a 60A. Off to look.....

      EDIT: I remember buying a larger box than 60A since they were more common and less expensive.
      Last edited by luke-gr; 10-17-2007 at 01:06 PM.

    3. #3
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      Seemed like mine was around the $25 mark. Something similar to this http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...RCU&lpage=none

      EDIT: Link doesnt seem to work. Try this item number at Lowes.com #33471

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by luke-gr View Post
      Seemed like mine was around the $25 mark. Something similar to this http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...RCU&lpage=none

      EDIT: Link doesnt seem to work. Try this item number at Lowes.com #33471
      hmm - says not available at danville - guess that is why I did not see them - wonder if it is a VA code thing - might have to go to greensboro, nc
      .
      .








      WWKC Diamond Lifetime Member #2 I miss you so much Rudy !

      "A word of encouragement during a failure
      is worth more than an hour of praise after success"

    5. #5
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      You can buy that one on line http://www.antonline.com/p_TLM612RCU-PG_331270.htm is one place that has it. Also Amazon has it but shipping is $14.... Or you can go to an electrical supply house to get it.

      Figure out your total load, what circuits you need (pumps, lights, utility outlets, UV, etc), do you want 220V outlets, etc then select a load center to match. When selecting a load center pay attention to what size wire is required for the main lugs.

      I used this load center http://www.amazon.com/Eaton-Electica.../dp/B0002YWTLM

      Cutler-Hamer also makes it in an 8 x 16 config if you need more space (BR816L125RP)

      If it were me I would definitely make sure to add support for a 220V service and if you do know that the 220V breakers use 2 poles so that means 2 slots.

      You can squeeze more circuits into the load center by using tandem breakers where you have 1 one pole breaker feeding 2 hots.

      Also look at Seimens and Square D boxes. They are all good but have different pros and cons. The manufacturer web sites have a lot of good info.

      EDIT: Also consider the number, size and locations of the knock-outs in the box.
      Last edited by davecais; 10-17-2007 at 08:05 PM.
      Dave

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by davecais View Post
      You can buy that one on line http://www.antonline.com/p_TLM612RCU-PG_331270.htm is one place that has it. Also Amazon has it but shipping is $14.... Or you can go to an electrical supply house to get it.

      Figure out your total load, what circuits you need (pumps, lights, utility outlets, UV, etc), do you want 220V outlets, etc then select a load center to match. When selecting a load center pay attention to what size wire is required for the main lugs.

      I used this load center http://www.amazon.com/Eaton-Electica.../dp/B0002YWTLM

      Cutler-Hamer also makes it in an 8 x 16 config if you need more space (BR816L125RP)

      If it were me I would definitely make sure to add support for a 220V service and if you do know that the 220V breakers use 2 poles so that means 2 slots.

      You can squeeze more circuits into the load center by using tandem breakers where you have 1 one pole breaker feeding 2 hots.

      Also look at Seimens and Square D boxes. They are all good but have different pros and cons. The manufacturer web sites have a lot of good info.

      EDIT: Also consider the number, size and locations of the knock-outs in the box.
      lots of good info - why would I want 220V ?

      i am going to run 4 x 20A circuits - each using #12 underground wire with GFI breakers in the box in the filter pit ?

      Does this sound about right ? my total load is 1 15A surge sump pump , 2 x sequence 4200 pumps and an av50 air pump - I circuit is going to the other side of the pond to the savio skimmer UV's and then to a ceiling fan in a gazebo
      .
      .








      WWKC Diamond Lifetime Member #2 I miss you so much Rudy !

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      is worth more than an hour of praise after success"

    7. #7
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      Stephen, you were planning on running 120V out to the pond then dividing that up? Im not sure how that is done with a breaker box.... Use a jumper to feed both poles with a hot?

      I'll shut up....I know just enough to get myself in trouble. I ran 220 out to mine. I was swayed by the peer pressure here.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by stephen44 View Post
      lots of good info - why would I want 220V ?

      i am going to run 4 x 20A circuits - each using #12 underground wire with GFI breakers in the box in the filter pit ?

      Does this sound about right ? my total load is 1 15A surge sump pump , 2 x sequence 4200 pumps and an av50 air pump - I circuit is going to the other side of the pond to the savio skimmer UV's and then to a ceiling fan in a gazebo
      You want 220V in the event you get something that requires 220V. This could be a welder, big air compressor, who knows, maybe a big trash pump, but as soon as you don't have it you'll wish you did.


      Circuit breakers don't trip at the listed capacity. Typically they trip at 80% of the listed capacity so a 20 amp breaker will trip at about 16 or 17 amps, you may get more out of it but don't count on it. So, don't bother installing anything smaller than a 20 amp 110V breaker.

      Don't pull UF cable for your circuits use individual strands in conduit.

      Your circuits include

      A - 1 15A surge sump pump ,
      B - 2 x sequence 4200 pumps and an av50 air pump
      C - I circuit is going to the other side of the pond to the savio skimmer UV's
      D - ceiling fan in a gazebo

      What I would do is

      A - 15A sump pump and utility outlets since the sump pump doesn't run all the time you can use the circuit for power tools, etc.

      B - 2 x sequence 4200 pumps and an av50 air pump. This is OK but install 3 GFI sockets and plug each one into a different socket then you can figure out which one tripped in case there is a problem. You may want to consider breaking this into 2 circuits instead of one just for the flexibility. Cables,breakers and conduit are cheap.

      C - Savio skimmer UV. This circuit will be problematic. First you have to trench for it then you have to mount the socket at least 12" above grade. If you mount it on a post then the post needs to be anchored in cement. Dig a hole below frost line pour in a couple inches of gravel, drop in a form tube or a 5 gal bucket with the bottom cut out, stick in your post and fill bucket/tube with concrete, back fill. Also, this will be an underutilized circuit, you may not run the UV year round and it is low amp, so it too may be a candidate for utility power for tools and what-not.

      D. Run two feeds to the Gazebo. You can do both in one conduit, just use big conduit run 2 hots a neutral and a ground. One hot will go to the ceiling fan and any lights you may have and the second hot can be used for outlets. They can share the neutral and the ground. So color one hot black and the other hot red.

      E. If you are going to have low volt lighting you also need to figure out where to fix the transformer and plug it in and you will probably want to run the low volt cable through conduit but you don't have to, will just help protect it is all.

      As I figure it here is your power budget

      sump pump = 15A
      Sequence 4200 = 1.2A * 2 = 2.4A so call it 3A
      AV50 < 1A
      UV < 1A each so call it 2A
      Ceiling fan let's say is 1A

      So your total is 22 amps. This means at max draw you will have < 30 amps 110V so you should be OK with a 40A 220V main. To be safe and leave room for expansion you should bump this up, say to 50A 220V main or if you want even 60A 220V but I couldn't imagine you ever needing more than 40 (that's roughly equal to 80 amps 110V). The issue with picking a main is you have to know what size wire to pull from the main load center to the sub-panel.

      So lets say you went with a 50amp 220V main breaker then you would need to run at a minimum #6 UF cable or if individual strand in PVC conduit #8 cable. (I would much rather deal with #8 THWN than #6 UF, that UF will be very heavy). You also need to consider voltage drop, the longer the cable the greater the drop in voltage across the cable. There is no code requirement for Voltage drop but code does suggest keeping voltage drop to less than 5% and less than 3% is preferred. So if the run is very long you will have to go up in size. So in the 50 amp 220V (AKA 240V) and the run was greater than 92 feet you need to run #6 cable if in conduit. See http://www.elec-toolbox.com/calculators/voltdrop.htm for a voltage drop calculator.

      The following are some general considerations. These may not be code where you are as code varies from place to place so be sure to check if you get a permit.

      1. For various reason it is best to run 4 conductors from your load center in the house to the sub-panel by the pond. 2 hots, 1 grounded conductor (aka neutral) and 1 equipment ground (green or bare wire).

      2. You can pull UF (underground feeder) cable from the house to the sub-panel, but you will be happier if you run Sch 80 PVC conduit all the way from the house to the sub and pull individual strands. These individual strands are called THWN but usually they will be stamped THHN/THWN. The THWN means it is rated for wet location. The problem with UF cable is it is a bear to deal with in large sizes. The THWN is much easier to pull than UF and you will have to pull it through some conduit. The UF will need to be in a 24" deep trench but 18" if in conduit and no matter what the wire has to be in conduit from the bottom of the trench to either 8' above grade or where it enters the structure, whichever is less.

      3. From the load center to the individual sockets/equipment do not do anything other than pull THWN in conduit. It is much easier to pull than anything else and even so you may want to pick up some wire lube. HD/Lowes sells it but mostly all this stuff is cheaper (by as much as 30%) from an electrical supply house.

      4. If you do conduit from the house to the sub-panel 1 1/4" is the minimum, but use 1 1/2" maybe even 2". It will be easier to pull cable through the larger conduit. Keep elbows to a minimum, that is, trench as much as a straight line as possible. PVC conduit bends pretty easy and a little heat makes it even easier. More than 180* of bends is bad and you have to do 2 x 90* just to get the conduit into and out of the trench.

      5. While you have the trench open, run a second conduit at least 3/4" prefer 1" so later if you decide you need something else like phone line/ethernet/coax you can pull it through that. Do not mix high and low voltage in a single conduit.

      6. At the sub-panel make no connection between the neutral bus bar and the ground bus bar or the sheet metal of the box, that is do not install the bonding screw/strap if supplied with the load center, you may need it for the ground bus bar. It all depends on the load center you buy, just make no connection between ground and neutral. Also, you will probably have to buy a ground bus bar as some load centers do not come with one installed.

      7. At the sub-panel drive two 8' ground rods located a minimum of six feet from each other but if possible try to get them 16 feet apart (2x length) and connect them to the equipment ground bus using #6 copper wire, either bare or insulated. The easiest way is to make one continuous run without cutting the wire. The rods must be driven in flush or below grade. The ground rod clamps must be listed for direct burial. It will say so on the clamp or look for the letters "DB". Keep all connections accessible, so if it is in a wall or under a floor/deck provide an access panel.

      EDIT: See post #68 and #69 later in this thread. It is a no-no to put grounding rods on a sub-panel with six or fewer breakers. (Man the people who wrote the NEC really like the number 6) if you have more than six, seperate grounding rods may be justified, but for 99% of all ponds just pull ground from the house.

      8. When pulling wire, some people get wire in all the different colors, black, red, white and green. You don't have to, it is OK to just get black and wrap different colored electrical tape around the ends. Have 4" of tape about 2" from the end of the insulation and this is fine and cheaper than buying individual colors as you can get black in qty and save $.

      9. Outdoor circuits have to be GFCI protected. You can put a GFI breakers in the sub-panel but the down side of this is if something on the circuit trips the breaker everything gets shut down and it makes it hard to figure out where the fault is. So install GFI sockets everywhere and use a regular breaker. Sometimes you may have a situation where if one thing trips you need anther thing to trip as well, like maybe 2 pumps in series. In this case it may make sense to use a GFI breaker or just tie 2 breakers together in the panel.

      10. In your sub-panel you must have a main breaker if it takes more than 6 movements of the hand to shut everything down, so if you have more than 6 circuits you need a main breaker. It is recommended to put in a main breaker even if you won't have that any as you may add more circuits over time.

      11. Use stranded conductors. Electricty does not flow equally through a wire. It tends to cling to the surface so stranded wire provides more surface area and hence can carry more electricity more efficiently.
      Last edited by davecais; 10-22-2007 at 08:37 PM.
      Dave

    9. #9
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      if you have 2 pumps. then place them on seperate eletrical circuits. with there own GFI breakers. if you have an aerated bottom drain. then place the air pump for the aerated bottom drain on its own GFIC and breaker as well.

      if you put any of them on same circuit. if one GFCI / breaker trips. then ya out of alot of luck. as far as backup goes.

      UV's, sump pump (trash pump), lights in filter pit, can be on the same circuit or on seperate circuits. though i would suggest a single eletrical outlet per eletrical box. doing so will allow you to attach timers more easly. ((many of them timers out there will completly cover both outlets per eletrical box. ))

      would suggest placing all your pumps (water,air,trash pumps) on switchs as well. ((don't know how many times i have came close from eletrocuting myself due to wet hands, and unplugging something / plugging something in))

      computer battery backups. can work nicely for most air pumps. water pumps on other hand are little more iffy. due to more power consuption. and less running time out of a battery backup. though generally. when power goes out, air alone can keep the fish going for a good length of time.

      a note on GFI's. not a eletriction. but thought there was more failure rate for GFI breakers and / or GFI breakers just don't have the specs compared to GFI's that plug into an outlet, or GFI outlets themselves. *shrugs* perhaps it was simply matter of needing a replacment breaker in the future and not being able to find a replacement GFCI breaker. vs just picking up a run of the mill GFCI outlet or GFCI that plugs into an outlet.

      you may find it easier. mounting all your eletrical boxs and switchs to a peice of board. and running all wires to each outlet / switch. then mounting the board to the wall. than trying to fuss with everything right at a wall that will most likely be in a cramped space.
      Last edited by boggen; 10-18-2007 at 02:44 AM.
      Pond and Construction Forum 101 good place for any first timers to the forum. for finding resources and general info.

      Ryan

    10. #10
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      two excellent answers - thank you - this bit sounds more complicated than the whole of the pond build put together

      So you are saying running 220V - I can pull 110V off it times two ?? ( 2 hot wires to same neutral)
      .
      .








      WWKC Diamond Lifetime Member #2 I miss you so much Rudy !

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      is worth more than an hour of praise after success"

    11. #11
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      Yes, Ryan is correct. Even with GFI outlets one GFI outlet tripping will throw the whole circuit out so it is better to put each one on a seperate circuit. Use tandem breakers in the panel if short on space.

      All of Ryan's other suggestions are also very good. Particularly the one regarding switches. You don't want wet hands in the load center. It's only rainproof when the door is shut.

      Yes, GFI breakers are more finicky than outlets. Use outlets.

      The board trick is also very nice but still keep wires in conduit just do the board first, then mount then work your conduit back to the box. You can work from both ends to the middle to make sure things line up right then use an expansion coupler to make the final piece fit. Pull wire from board back to box so the fish tape goes into the conduit at the panel. Altrnatively you can run a pull cord through the conduit as you are building it but I find this to be a pain in the but and just fish the pull cord through with a fish tape then pull the wire.
      Dave

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by stephen44 View Post
      two excellent answers - thank you - this bit sounds more complicated than the whole of the pond build put together

      So you are saying running 220V - I can pull 110V off it times two ?? ( 2 hot wires to same neutral)
      Yep. neutral is just a grounded conductor and can be shared by 2 hots. Same for ground, which is different than a grounded conductor. Ground is a grounding conductor. Why does everything have to be so hard?

      the 2 hots from the feeder each carry 110V so when you hit the panel both tie into the buss giving you a total of 220V. You cannot run one hot to the sub panel and jumper off of it. So 40 amps of 220V is roughly the same as 80 amps at 110V.

      Watts is approx Volts * Amps thus you do not save electricity by using 220V as 2 amps 220V would be the same power consumption as 4 amps 110V. There is some energy efficency with regards to heat loss in the cable but not worth worrying about for most things.

      When you get breakers they will be classified as either 2 pole or 1 pole. 1 pole breakers take one slot and provide 110V. 2 pole breakers use 2 slots and provide 220V. You will also hear people use the term 208V. 208V and 220V (really it's 240V but every one says 220V) are not the same thing. 220V is single phase and has 2 hot wires in the panel. 208V is 3 phase and will have 3 hot wires in the panel. 120/240V panel will be all you would ever need just make sure when you buy panels and breakers that the electrical supply house knows it is for a single phase application.

      Other than 240V panel being single phase (having 2 hots, 1 neutral and a ground) and the 208 being 3 phase (having 3 hots, 1 neutral and a ground)...there is no other real difference between them except the copper buss is a little different and allows the 208V 3 phase panel is to take up to 3 pole breakers where the 240 panel can only hold 1 and 2 pole breakers.

      Very often you will hear people use the term 208V incorrectly, even in electrical supply houses. They will say 208 volt single phase when really they should have said 240V. Don't argue with them though, not worth it.
      Dave

    13. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by davecais View Post
      Yes, Ryan is correct. Even with GFI outlets one GFI outlet tripping will throw the whole circuit out so it is better to put each one on a seperate circuit.
      I don't get this part - can you explain !! - why would one tripping through the whole circuit ?
      .
      .








      WWKC Diamond Lifetime Member #2 I miss you so much Rudy !

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      is worth more than an hour of praise after success"

    14. #14
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      Just a quick note. If you go with a Square D panel, do NOT get the Homeline series. Get the QO series box. They're a lot better quality, and don't cost that much more.
      Paddle faster; I hear banjos.
      Why don't they make mouse flavored cat food?
      45ACP; don't leave home without it.



    15. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by stephen44 View Post
      I don't get this part - can you explain !! - why would one tripping through the whole circuit ?
      I think that will depend on how it is wired. You can use one GFCI outlet to protect a following outlet like being wired in series or you can wire in parallel so that doesnt happen.

    16. #16
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      This is my favorite style of pool box for use on ponds. It has machanical timer spots in the top corners and there is a smaller version with only one timer space. They run about $145.00 but really are nice to work with. I'm not sure how much the smaller one is. I've seen them from both Intermatic and Murphy on them.
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      Last edited by Kent Wallace; 10-19-2007 at 11:45 AM.

    17. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by davecais View Post
      You want 220V in the event you get something that requires 220V. This could be a welder, big air compressor, who knows, maybe a big trash pump, but as soon as you don't have it you'll wish you did.

      1.
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      Dude! What a great write up! Thanks so much for taking the time to do it.
      I printed it so I could refer back to it later.

      The previous owners of our house had a hot tub up on the deck. The deck got old, the hot tub delapidated, so they had to tear it all out and rebuild the deck. There was power ( of course) to the hot tub. They just cut off the wire at the wall, way up high under the deck. I want to use that wire for my pond power. I -think- it's the wire that comes from my breaker panel in the garage. There's a breaker there marked "hot tube".

      So, if it's 220, then all I have to do is extend it down to the filter pit in a conduit?

      Long answer here not required just yet. Let me take a few pictures and get some "tuned" advice, if'n ya don't mind.

      YOU ROCK!

      thanks,
      steve

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      My 2 cents worth here.If you opt to run conduit and pull individual circuits, try to use solid THHN instead of stranded wire. It will give you a better mechanical connection at the device aka switch or GFCI receptacle, stranded has a tendency to "walk out" when tightening.Also make sure you dont share a nuetral with two circuits on the same phase. Example CB 1 and CB 2 are both on A phase,so dont pull two hots , one nuetral ,and one ground. You would need either two nuetrals, or use CB 1 and CB 3, since CB 3 is on B phase.Would hate to see you overload your nuetral.

    19. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pond,James_Pond View Post
      Dude! What a great write up! Thanks so much for taking the time to do it.
      I printed it so I could refer back to it later.

      The previous owners of our house had a hot tub up on the deck. The deck got old, the hot tub delapidated, so they had to tear it all out and rebuild the deck. There was power ( of course) to the hot tub. They just cut off the wire at the wall, way up high under the deck. I want to use that wire for my pond power. I -think- it's the wire that comes from my breaker panel in the garage. There's a breaker there marked "hot tube".

      So, if it's 220, then all I have to do is extend it down to the filter pit in a conduit?

      Long answer here not required just yet. Let me take a few pictures and get some "tuned" advice, if'n ya don't mind.

      YOU ROCK!

      thanks,
      steve
      Thanks Steve. I get so much good info here thought I could give some back. These things are how I typically do things but by no means represents the only way, nor the best way in all situations and in fact, may not even be code in your area.

      The feed to the hot tub is almost certainly 220V. Those heaters take big juice. It is probably on a 45 or 50 amp 2 pole breaker. So in theory you could install a junction box on the end of the conduit then extend the conduit out to your pond and presto 45a 220V sub-panel. It's a lot of electricity. connect the wire together in the junction box with appropriately sized wire twist nuts that say they are for wet location. You can use regular wire nuts but I use the wet location ones for extra overkill.

      http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...atherproof.jsp
      http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...er_db_plus.jsp
      http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...nderground.jsp

      are all good. But don't go squeezing your own sealant in the nut, could degrade the insulation.

      Depending on lenght or the run you may have to repull the whole branch as you may need to bump up to a larger wire.
      Dave

    20. #20
      davecais is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by colin View Post
      My 2 cents worth here.If you opt to run conduit and pull individual circuits, try to use solid THHN instead of stranded wire. It will give you a better mechanical connection at the device aka switch or GFCI receptacle, stranded has a tendency to "walk out" when tightening.Also make sure you dont share a nuetral with two circuits on the same phase. Example CB 1 and CB 2 are both on A phase,so dont pull two hots , one nuetral ,and one ground. You would need either two nuetrals, or use CB 1 and CB 3, since CB 3 is on B phase.Would hate to see you overload your nuetral.
      Stranded wire is easier to pull through conduit. If walk out is a concern then you can do a couple of things to prevent it. You could "tin" the ends with a bit of solder or what I do is use T-Strippers and strip the insulation off the wire a little long say an inch or maybe a little more but do not pull the insulation all the way off, leave about 1/8 inch on the wire to help hold it together. Then, with the pliers tip of the T-strippers twist the end tight. I then loop the wire around the screw, do not pre-loop, then tighten the screw and trim off the excess. May be a little awkward at first but after you do it a couple of times it goes pretty quick. I hate pulling wire through conduit and the stranded stuff just bends a whole lot easier.

      That is a very good point on the shared neutral. Real electricians hate shared neutrals (technically called a multiwire circuit) and usually they exist because some one did something as an after thought or was trying to save some labor. If you can get a dedicated neutral and ground in there by all means do so, but if you find yourself in a situation where you have to share neutral to make something work make sure the hots are from different poles (poles is the correct term not phase as we are only dealing with single phase power).

      The shared neutral does not carry the sum of the two currents; it carries the difference. If both loads draw the same amount of current, the neutral will carry no current. The voltage on one hot will always be of opposite polarity to the voltage on the other hot so the the current returning by way of the white wire for each circuit flows in the opposite direction to the current for the other circuit, so that the two currents subtract, and the white wire can never carry more current than one of the two hot wires. If the two breakers supplying the two hot wires are connected to the same pole, the voltage on both hot wires will be of the same polarity, and the current for each of the two circuits will return in the same direction through the white wire, and thus add together. The white wire may carry as much as twice the rating of the circuit. This is bad

      To check it to make sure you are on different poles use a multimeter to measure the voltage between the two hots. If they are connected to opposite poles there will be a difference of 240ish volts between them. If they are on the same pole the reading will be zeroish.

      If a multiwire circuit is supplying "split-wired" receptacles (as you would be doing), a means must be provided to disconnect both ungrounded conductors (the hots) simultaneously. This can be done with a two-pole switch, but usually it is done by tieing the handles of the two circuit breakers together. The reason you do this is if one breaker trips and you go to work on it you could find yourself in a situation where the neutral is hot. This is why real electricians hate multiwire circuits cause it's not obvious by looking that a multiwire circuit exists. So, like I mentioned earlier, if you can get a dedicated neutral for each circuit please do so.

      If the circuit supplies a mixture of 120v and 240v loads the disconnection means must be the "branch circuit overcurrent device" (the circuit breaker) and not a switch.

      http://ecatalog.squared.com/pubs/Cir...DB0203R902.pdf
      provides better information than I could on why shared neutral is bad, but sometimes a shared neutral may be the only way to get something done.

      This shows some wiring diagrams of how to wire different senarios
      http://downloads.cutler-hammer.ca/do...20B3101CSK.pdf

      Figure B and D are the most rational reason to use shared neutral, notice they do not show a picture of shared neutral from 2 different one pole breakers but you can still do it just make sure you have to do it and that the hots are on different poles.



      .
      Dave

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