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Old 09-05-2008, 11:20 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I do maintenance for a high school and am slowly learning electrical. I just started and completed a small job of running 3 new circuits for some new machines with the help of a co-worker. However, both of us are not certified electricians. I've heard rumors that there are charts out there that will tell you how big of a wire to run for how many feet if the machine produces so many amps. Is that true? And where can I find them?

Also I am in AZ, is there some sort of certification that I and my co-worker can get in electrical? Does anyone know of classes or training classes we can take???

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Old 09-05-2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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The charts..I'm not sure, other than the NEC code book. Check with some local elect suppliers. Maybe others in the forum will know.

Classes...check with your local comm college. They should have some good leads...or your state labor board. In Mich we go through our state Labor & Economic Growth board for our licenses.

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Old 09-06-2008, 12:37 AM   #3
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Hi all,

I do maintenance for a high school and am slowly learning electrical. I just started and completed a small job of running 3 new circuits for some new machines with the help of a co-worker. However, both of us are not certified electricians. I've heard rumors that there are charts out there that will tell you how big of a wire to run for how many feet if the machine produces so many amps. Is that true? And where can I find them?

Also I am in AZ, is there some sort of certification that I and my co-worker can get in electrical? Does anyone know of classes or training classes we can take???

Dude, there are a ton of charts available on the web, trying searching "Wire Sizing" or "AWG sizing" (American Wire Gage). But I have to tell you- all good "practicing" electrical engineers swear by Ugly's Electrical Reference Book. It's about $10. Check out http://cart.mcesi.com/. I've carried one in my brief case for over 10 years. Deals with electrical issues in general, geared towards industrial applications. . . but for $10 its money well spent. It addresses length of runs . . . (lets not forget about voltage drops when we're dealing with motors and other hi-ampacity devices), along with your specific question about wire sizing for the load that you are serving. It is not a NEC replacement, but augments the NEC with abridged info and good practical info. Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:45 AM   #4
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What I can believe is that a county High School is allowing non licensed men to do electrical work at a school. This same county would want to hang you for doing that at your own home.
Get him kctermite
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Last edited by TazinCR; 09-06-2008 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:45 AM   #5
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There is NO blanket chart for wire size and ampacity. Sure, there are rules of thumb, but there is more than just #12 on a 20A breaker to know. There are MANY different section of the NEC that involve adjustment factors and limiting factors for wire sizes.


Also, a school is a place of assembly. BE VERY CAREFUL working there without some form of certification if you are not qualified to do so. Learning as you go is fine if you are taught by a master or someone qualified to teach you, but a school is NOT a good place to learn as you go (pun intended) on your own.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by fixerup07 View Post
Hi all,

I do maintenance for a high school and am slowly learning electrical.

Also I am in AZ, is there some sort of certification that I and my co-worker can get in electrical? Does anyone know of classes or training classes we can take???
This is a scary post. A high school is no place to "slowly learn electrical" unless you want to "quickly kill a whole bunch of people".

Unless Arizona is the most ass backwards state in the union, I don't believe what you're doing is legal ( 220/221 you're in Arizona, it is illegal isn't it?).

At a minimum you need to at least be working "under the direct supervision" of a licensed master electrician in most states.

If you can't even size conductors, you have absolutely no business touching anything electrical in a school. A school is not a DIY project!!!!!!!!!

What the hell is wrong with you people?
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:30 AM   #7
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I like Silk's post better than mine.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
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Yes I agree with you all 100% about me and my co-worker not working on the electrical. We keep trying to tell the facilities director about it and we have pushed off many big projects and pissed off a lot of people because of that. I don't really care what they think. Our last immediate supervisor was certified and he was the one that was teaching me. I know enough to change ballasts and do some pretty extensive trouble shooting, but not running new circuits. That is why I am asking about classes or getting certified so that I can go to my now current boss and see if they will pay for the classes so we both can get certified.

Also even if i was taking classes how else would I learn without being hands on at work? If my old super was still there I would still be learning as i go...
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:19 AM   #9
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Codes can be very strange for public facilities. Around her places like fire stations, schools, industrial plants, etc. are not required to pull permits or have inspections. As far a industrial sites are concerned, as long as there in an "on-site" engineer at the facility they are exempt.
My work involves installing on-line chemical analyzers in a chemical production facility. I am a chemist by degree, but I make all of the final connects to the analyzers. It is also my responsibility to make sure the systems meet all of the NEC codes covered in the "500" section. The rules for electrical equipment in NFPA classified areas make all other NEC codes seem easy. You can speed mega bucks on equipment in real simple installations.

I think you need to have a fair amount of training and be under someone's direction before doing this type of work but sometimes the laws are written so that schools and other public facilities can do pretty much what they want. But then again, what's right is right and what's legal is not always the same.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:30 AM   #10
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I think you need to have a fair amount of training and be under someone's direction before doing this type of work but sometimes the laws are written so that schools and other public facilities can do pretty much what they want. But then again, what's right is right and what's legal is not always the same.
And think the reason they are still like this is because before my last super quite he knew so much and did all the work that they expected us to know as much as he did, but he had been doing this stuff for 14 years...whereas the 2 of us for only 4 and 2 years (me being the 2 years).

So i really think their mentality is off and not thinking of safety first.

I've almost wondered if I should call the state board and let them know whats going on and just drop them an anonymous letter letting them know what's going on...
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:49 AM   #11
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I think I would do something. You have to think about liability. If a child gets injured you may be held liable with the county. Remember guilty or not anyone can be sued and you have to pay to defend yourself. It the states now.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:50 AM   #12
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So i really think their mentality is off and not thinking of safety first.

I've almost wondered if I should call the state board and let them know whats going on and just drop them an anonymous letter letting them know what's going on...
Well, you might be eliminating your own job with this- however, I think you should not go beyond what you are very comfortable with for "maintenance" such as replacing ballasts, light switches etc. Even this might be a stretch.
New installations should be done by licensed commercial/industrial contractors. Is the school assuming ALL liability (in writing) if you do something wrong? I'm sure you don't want lawsuits from student's parents!!!
CYA !
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:01 AM   #13
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Changing ballasts and light switches, changing out fuses in disconnects for our fan coils and such are easy to me. I've down ballasts and light switches at home for years. Doing these types of things I am very comfortable with.

The most extensive thing I've ever done is wiring in a new pump for our Evap coolers and wiring up a single phase 208v welding machine to a pre-existing disconnect box.

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