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Old 04-03-2013, 04:19 PM   #1
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Correct Wire Gauge


I would like to attach 4 gauge electrical wire (already run) to a new 50 amp breaker. The 50 amp breaker is a two pole thin series and thus has a 6-8 gauge rating. Is it ok to use the 4 guage wire if it fits in the breaker's receiving hole? Or is it better to use a reducer/splice and come in the last foot with 6 gauge?

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Old 04-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #2
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Correct Wire Gauge


You'll have to make the connection with #6, and then transition to #4.

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Old 04-03-2013, 04:46 PM   #3
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Correct Wire Gauge


Thanks for the feedback and quick reply. While I'm trying to follow the manufacturer's recommendation, I'm also trying to make sense of why the splice would be a better option. The #4 fits in the hole and if the breaker can support #4 down the the run why would it be critical to attach with #6? I can see if I was going with too thin a wire, as it might overheat, but why would one gauge thicker create an issue?

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Old 04-03-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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Correct Wire Gauge


Are you sure it's not rated for #4? Usually if it fits, it's rated for it. The only reason to pigtail smaller wire is to comply with the breaker's maximum wire size listing. Too large a wire may not hold securely and could result in a loose connection.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:25 PM   #5
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Correct Wire Gauge


Is that a tandem breaker? It sounds like it might be and you really need a 2 pole if you need 240 volts.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:21 PM   #6
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Correct Wire Gauge


Yes, its a two pole, tandem breaker for 240 set up. I'm bringing four #4 lines into the breaker panel. Two for hot, 1 neutral, and 1 ground. The two pole, tandem, 50 amp breaker was to receive the two hot #4's. The #4 fits all the way into the breaker holes but the sticker on the breaker references 6-8 gauge in microscopic print. If it fits cleanly into the hole can I get by without having to do a junction box for splicing to #6?
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:33 PM   #7
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This is the breaker in question in case I'm confusing any terminology:

"Connecticut Electric UBIF0250N FPE Circuit Breaker, 2-Pole 50-Amp Thin Series"
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:04 PM   #8
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Correct Wire Gauge


The manufacturer has a reason for allowing 6-8. Are you sure you want to just ignore that?

If you intend to ignore code you shouldn't publically post about it first.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #9
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Bleh, FPE.



Assuming you didn't cut any strands i'd go ahead and hook it up, but be prepared to change it if your getting an inspection.

You can do the splice in the panel, you don't need a junction box.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:25 AM   #10
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Thanks Techy and Lawyer!

Toller, if I wanted to simply ignore code I wouldn't be posting at all. The intent was to find the "reason" you alluded to. The mfg does not provide one (or even a legible label for that matter) and there does not appear to be any logical reason why a little more copper would be a bad thing if the connections fit properly. Can you come up with a good technical explanation? Otherwise, for all we know I'm exceeding the requirements of the code...
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:11 AM   #11
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No, if the breaker says #6 max and you use a #4, you are violating the NEC by not following MFG instructions.

mpoulton gave you his answer "Too large a wire may not hold securely and could result in a loose connection." That is probably as good a guess as you are going to get.

We might come up with some more. But if you want the real answer, write to CE and ask the guys that built it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfelb8 View Post
Thanks Techy and Lawyer!

Toller, if I wanted to simply ignore code I wouldn't be posting at all. The intent was to find the "reason" you alluded to. The mfg does not provide one (or even a legible label for that matter) and there does not appear to be any logical reason why a little more copper would be a bad thing if the connections fit properly. Can you come up with a good technical explanation? Otherwise, for all we know I'm exceeding the requirements of the code...
The other reason as to why there are limitations of wire size is the heat-transference ability of the larger conductor may alter the operating characteristics of the breaker mechanism. It may not trip as designed during an overload condition.

Do not use a conductor larger than listed on the breaker (even if it "fits") as doing so voids any "UL" listings the equipment provides.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:18 AM   #13
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#4 is a common wire size for an entire 100A service, are you sure the wire you are looking at is actually #4? It would be odd.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
#4 is a common wire size for an entire 100A service, are you sure the wire you are looking at is actually #4? It would be odd.
When did a 100 amp service change to #4 from #2 as "standard". I must be getting left behind.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:51 AM   #15
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#4 CU Table 310.15 (B) (7)

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