Sub panel question

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by goon, Sep 26, 2017.

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  1. Sep 26, 2017 #1

    goon

    goon

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    Hello all, new here and looking for a bit of advice on an old fuse sub panel I have.. So I have an old well house in my back yard that the structure is in good shape but the well is no longer is in use. I am planning to cap off the well and use the building as garden storage and what not. The building has an old fuse sub panel that I would like to replace. My question is what type/size of panel would I need to replace it? The panel says 30 amp but there are two fuses inside one is a 30 and one is 20. I'm not too familiar with panel sizing lol :/.. thanks in advance!

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  2. Sep 26, 2017 #2

    bud16415

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    Looks to me like you are only using one of the two fuses out there and the pump must have been a 120v pump.

    What kind of power are you needing in the shed. If you just want a light and an outlet, I would say you just need GFCI protection out there.

    The pros should be along shortly and fill you in on all the details. If you can post back and tell us what your requirements are in the shed.

    And welcome to the forum.
     
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  3. Sep 26, 2017 #3

    afjes_2016

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    Welcome to the forum--

    That would be considered more of a "disconnect" (knife-switch type "snap" maybe, can't tell for sure). Which from what I can see if wired incorrectly (it seems to be a "boot-leg" ground).

    The incoming power is only 120v. One hot, one neutral and one ground.

    The load line is "UF" of some type. Notice the conductors are individually encased in the thermo-plastic housing all molded together. I can't tell the gauge of the conductors though, nor can I tell the gauge of the incoming power conductors.

    The panel they used can be used as a 240 but in this case used as a 120v disconnect.

    A true sub panel would have two hots (120v each), one neutral and one ground, total of 4 conductors. Thus providing properly 120v240v.

    The only type of incoming power you can safely have with the existing number of conductors is either straight 120v or 240v, not both.

    The type of panel that you can replace it with is dependant on three things. A.) What is feeding this panel in the way of a breaker (amp rating) B.) what is the actual gauge of the conductors feeding the panel from that breaker C.) approximate distance from the panel feeding it to the pumphouse (we need to know if voltage drop plays a role with the distrance). Once we determine these three, then we can help you. Also again, you need to let us know what is you plan on running electrically at this station so we can advise you properly there also.

    And if possible a clearer image. I don't want us to miss something.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  4. Sep 26, 2017 #4

    JoeD

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    You only 120 volts there. One side of the disconnect has nothing attached to it.
    You need to check what size breaker/fuse is feeding the line. Change it to 20 amp and wire the shed using #12 cable. Remove that switch and put in a junction box and continue your wiring from there.
     
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  5. Sep 26, 2017 #5

    Sparky617

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    The fuses were there to protect the pump. Very common in homes with wells, fuses blow faster than breakers trip to and will protect the well. As Joe mentions replace the fuse box with a junction box. I'd put it on a GFCI breaker instead of putting a GFCI outlet on the end since you're dealing with buried cable.
     
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  6. Sep 26, 2017 #6

    afjes_2016

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    I think we first determine what OP "goon" intention is (as what he plans to run at the pump house) before we advise how to terminate the incoming power. He could end up doing double work/cost or we could end up advising him incorrectly.

    --- > While trying to determine "goon" skill level and understanding of the proper terminology.

    Step-by-step
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  7. Sep 26, 2017 #7

    afjes_2016

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    I do not agree. The pump house has not been used recently. We do not know the gauge of the incoming power conductors. At this point it is guess work looking at a blurry picture. We can not assume that since there is a 20amp fuse in the disconnect that the incoming or load conductors are at least 20amp rated (12 gauge). Many people "over fuse" panels. If replacing the breaker at this point without knowing the gauge of incoming power the breaker should not exceed 15amp. But why spend the money for a breaker feeding the pump house or do any work at the panel feeding the pump house before we know the details.
     
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  8. Sep 27, 2017 #8

    goon

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    I would like to be able to get as much power as possible but I will typically only need a plug or two and a light. But it would be great if I could power a large pump for watering my garden later on and I would like to run some conduit to a chicken coop that I'm building so we will have power in the coop for light and a plug for a heat lamp. Thanks for all the replys btw!
     
  9. Sep 27, 2017 #9

    nealtw

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    If you have conduit the whole way perhaps a bigger wire could be pulled.
     
  10. Sep 27, 2017 #10

    goon

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    No the wire that's coming from the house is just a buried wire unfortunately . .
     
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  11. Sep 27, 2017 #11

    bud16415

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    Read thru the above posts again and answer as many of the questions as you can about wire size you now have etc.

    You may have enough capacity to do your pump and chicken coop and all the rest but you may be limited to doing them one at a time.

    The distance and wire size play a big part in determining what you will be able to do without running new wire.
     
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  12. Sep 27, 2017 #12

    afjes_2016

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    Ok, thank you goon. Now we are narrowing down a bit more in specifics what your requirements will be in the future.

    Immediately when someone like me (and the other members) sees the word "heater" or term somewhat similar like "heat lamp" our ears open up a bit more. I don't know anything about chickens but did a quick google. The type heat lamp you are referring to is an inferred "red" light as chickens can't determine that as being light which may interrupt their physiological system clock which may be a big factor in laying eggs etc. So when you say heat lamp are your referring to something such as a red light bulb which I see are about 250watt mainly? These do not take nearly as much power as a "heater" would that would be required to heat a room. How many lights like this would you be using approximately. What else would you be running electrically i the chicken coup other than the heat lamps. Trying to get an overall need for your electrical requirements for the chicken coup.

    Also note, we do not know the distance from you house to your old pump house and then to the proposed site for the chicken coup. Depending on the layout and your needs for both the pump house and the proposed chicken coup and the distances of each in relation to one another it may be a better option (not saying it is now until we determine some the details) to run a new line from the house directly to the chicken coup first if that is where you main need for electrical power will be and then from there run a smaller line to the (large pump for watering your garden) pump house if that is closer to where the "future" large pump to water your garden will be located.

    Maybe a simple hand drawing layout showing the relationship between the different locations and their approximate distances would be a bit better for us.

    Can you please take a few more "clearer" pictures of that present disconnect at the pump house.

    Stating that you want as much power as possible is a very general statement when we then need to determine the size of the conductors feeding any panel location. We understand what you really are saying when you state "as much power as possible" but there are no wire sizes that really answer that question. But what we can do is narrow down your real needs a bit more. Then we determine what the load calculation will be from your needs, along with the distances and then we can advise from there much better what you will probably need in the way of a new line, panel etc.

    i.e.: for one example. You say large pump to water your garden. We have no idea how big your garden is so therefore we would have no idea how large the pump may have to be which in turn leaves us without knowing the pump motor requirements. This in itself may play a large factor especially if distance is a key factor.

    So goon from here please start narrowing down a bit more on some of the points that you make. We can go from there.

    Again, not trying to complicate this but we need to get an idea of the "scope" of your needs. Don't want you spending too little money and time when you need more money and time to re-due it again a year from now nor do we want to over power you unnecessarily.

    If I received a call from someone with this request the very first thing I would do is say "I need to come see it with my own eyes to best advise you".

    Besides the hand drawing layout you really need to let us know what size breaker is feeding this present disconnect in the pump house. Then we need to be sure we know the size conductors from that breaker going to the pump house. We can't just go with "a buried wire".

    Also please be sure you give us some type of idea of your knowledge and skill level of electrical wiring. This way we know to look for certain key factors in your replies and where your terminology comes into play; it is important we know this to some degree at least.
     
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