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Yet another electric install question


Robert Jones
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This really looks homeowner performed to me. Zinsco panel(called for replacement), There is a 50amp breaker installed(second breaker from the top) which services a sub panel in a detached garage. The feed wire from the home to the detached garage, appears to be 3 wire 2 gauge aluminum. I have not seen this size of feeder wire running to a detach before. Besides the fact it is low to the ground, is it the wrong size for a 50 amp breaker? Should it be a 4 wire feed? I hope the pics make some sense.

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This really looks homeowner performed to me. Zinsco panel(called for replacement), There is a 50amp breaker installed(second breaker from the top) which services a sub panel in a detached garage. The feed wire from the home to the detached garage, appears to be 3 wire 2 gauge aluminum. I have not seen this size of feeder wire running to a detach before. Besides the fact it is low to the ground, is it the wrong size for a 50 amp breaker? Should it be a 4 wire feed? I hope the pics make some sense.

The #2 is plenty big enough for 50amps.

When that was installed, it was acceptable to have a 3-wire feed to a separate building. Personally, I don't see a need to recommend and upgrade to a 4-wire feeder unless there's a metal pathway between the buildings.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I have not seen this size of feeder wire running to a detach before. Besides the fact it is low to the ground, is it the wrong size for a 50 amp breaker? Should it be a 4 wire feed?

I've seen that before, in fact in my own back yards when I had room for workshops. We call that wire "triplex" up here, maybe your way as well. Corrosion at the connections is a problem, sometimes.

The idea is that the subpanel in the shed has a grounding cable to a ground rod out there.

My understanding of your code is that this was permitted, certainly in the era when that house in your pic was built. But the ground wire must be there.

I think there may be a problem with the connections to the breaker in the panel, though, so you are ok to call that out for a repair. I'll bet that mini-breaker is not rated for that size wire, but I'm no electrician, and my monitor is the size of a postage stamp. What's that funny thing on the breaker there?

If they rearranged those breakers, there would have been room for a full-sized breaker in there. But the panel is garbage anyway. [:)]

If they put in a new panel, does farmer Dan have to upgrade the feeder to the shed? I think not, but I guess it's up to the authority.

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It looks like the 3 insulated conductors supported by a bare wire carrier..yes? How was that carrier wire connected to the structures? If it's not on insulators then there is a metal pathway between the buildings. Also...how was the sub-panel set up? Ground rod at the garage? Floating or bonded neutrals, etc?

Looks like a regular triplex cable on my monitor. There's that one spot where the wires are a bit separated, probably from kids swinging from it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I have not seen this size of feeder wire running to a detach before. Besides the fact it is low to the ground, is it the wrong size for a 50 amp breaker? Should it be a 4 wire feed?

I've seen that before, in fact in my own back yards when I had room for workshops. We call that wire "triplex" up here, maybe your way as well. Corrosion at the connections is a problem, sometimes.

The idea is that the subpanel in the shed has a grounding cable to a ground rod out there.

My understanding of your code is that this was permitted, certainly in the era when that house in your pic was built. But the ground wire must be there.

I think there may be a problem with the connections to the breaker in the panel, though, so you are ok to call that out for a repair. I'll bet that mini-breaker is not rated for that size wire, but I'm no electrician, and my monitor is the size of a postage stamp. What's that funny thing on the breaker there?

If they rearranged those breakers, there would have been room for a full-sized breaker in there. But the panel is garbage anyway. [:)]

If they put in a new panel, does farmer Dan have to upgrade the feeder to the shed? I think not, but I guess it's up to the authority.

That's how Zinsco breakers are made. They are color coded for easy ampacity recognition.

For a Zinsco panel, that install actually looks pretty clean compared to most.

It's still gotta go, though.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Mike

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This really looks homeowner performed to me. Zinsco panel(called for replacement), There is a 50amp breaker installed(second breaker from the top) which services a sub panel in a detached garage. The feed wire from the home to the detached garage, appears to be 3 wire 2 gauge aluminum. I have not seen this size of feeder wire running to a detach before. Besides the fact it is low to the ground, is it the wrong size for a 50 amp breaker? Should it be a 4 wire feed? I hope the pics make some sense.

The #2 is plenty big enough for 50amps.

When that was installed, it was acceptable to have a 3-wire feed to a separate building. Personally, I don't see a need to recommend and upgrade to a 4-wire feeder unless there's a metal pathway between the buildings.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Thanks Robert, for adding the subpanel pic. I like the loose chunk, all stripped and ready for another circuit. [:)]

It looks like he took 240 from the main panel, and those handles should be tied on that breaker. Can't tell if they are. The electrician will fix that double-tap too. [:)]

Your closeup shows three insulated feeders but the long shot shows two insulated around a bare wire. I suspect he ran 3 insulated until he got clear of the weatherhead at the house.

I believe from the house to the shed, the bare wire is the neutral, and the ground rod is required at the shed. If you tested a 120 circuit at the shed, your 3-light tester would show a ground only if the ground rod was installed.

In that case, it is acceptable for kids to swing on the wire. Not. [:)]

.

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