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Mayhem_Hobbies 01-17-2007 07:11 PM

distribute power
I have just completed building a RC Car Race Park, and the people I lease the property from ran electricity to my lot from theres next door so that I could have power (a 120 outlet GFCI) during construction, which worked perfectly running power tools and a compressor.

Now that I am done building, I want to remove the outlet and replace it with a breaker box and run 10 outlets from it for 10 different PIT tables that the racers use for charging batteries and powering worklights and whatnot.

Is this feasable, or do I need something more than what was run to the outlet? Yes, I have their permission to keep using the power.

Brik 01-17-2007 07:48 PM

You are talking about a subpanel. You will need to see what size wire was run, what size breaker is behind it and if anything else is on that line.

You may not actually need or want a subpanel (breakers).

Lets assume that the line to the existing GFCI is a dedicated 20A line with 12g wire and the length will not be sufficient to sorry about voltage drop. Lets also assume your reasoning for wanting a breaker box is to be able to disconnect or turn off each pit area. If these assumptions are correct. Then you will want to figure the maximum draw from each pit area, in amps. Multiple that by the number of pits. Add a fudge factor of about 20%. So, if each pit is on at one, draws 1 amp each you would be golder with a 20a line. Install some switches and run lines to each pit. If each pit was 2a then you could be in trouble.

Now, lets assume you want each pit to be on its own breaker so that if one pit crew over taxes their allotment of power they do not trip a common breaker and everyone is in the dark, then you definitely want a subpanel.

I would highly doubt that the construction power would have enough capacity to power a subpanel with 10 breakers. Well, it would, but... Anyway, I'm no electrician. There are rules about the loading of branch circuits in a sub panel compared to the size of the breaker supplying the sub panel I think.

Also consider this - I do think that you can special order small breakers for your subpanel. 5a, maybe even smaller. Something like this may be ideal to control your pits.

Easiest thing if the load is light is to just add some outlets behind the GFCI. That way they are protected by the GFCI.

Mayhem_Hobbies 01-17-2007 08:03 PM

Ahhh, I think I understand. It depends on how many amps are running to the that GFCI, which determines the amount of stuff I can use at the end. I think more than 20 amps would be used at one time. I will go ask if they know how many amps are dedicated to the line. I guess that is controlled by the size of the breaker?

Brik 01-17-2007 08:18 PM

Yep - Breaker protects the wire from over loading. The GFCI is, at most, likely connected to a 20 amp circuit on 12 gauge wire. You cant just change to a bigger breaker.

Very generally speaking:
12g wire goes to 20a breaker
14g wire goes to 15a breaker
10g wire goes to 30a breaker
8g wire goes to 40a breaker
6g wire goes to 50a breaker

If you are fairly certain you will draw more than 20 amps and I am fairly certain you do not have more than 20 amps to that outlet then you will need to go to a larger wire, breaker and add a subpanel.

There are a whole host of other considerations we are not even chatting about. Is this outside or inside? Is this a connected structure a separate structure? Are the pits permanent or movable/temporary? Is feeder wire to be buried, overhead on in a wall?

Answers to those questions (plus the power requirements) will drive the requirements for the subpanel.
Generally speaking the grounding requirements are different if its an attached structure or separate. The panel is set up differently depending on that as well. If its all outside then that's a whole nuther ball of wax.

best be is to get an electrician involved.

Mayhem_Hobbies 01-17-2007 08:26 PM

Sounds like the best thing for me to do is to have the power company run power to my lot and meter it.

So how many amps originally go into a breaker before being distributed?

Mayhem_Hobbies 01-17-2007 08:28 PM

Oh wait, so if from their panel (landlords) we add a bigger breaker, bigger wire, and my own subpanel, then that will give me what I need once I find out my power needs.

BTW, everything is outside.

Brik 01-17-2007 08:40 PM

Ah, your own metered power. That may be best route. They likely default to 200 amp service or more if commercial.

If your landlords add a bigger breaker, a properly sized wire for breaker and outdoor use then yes, you may be good to go.

BUT - Its not so simple. Your feeder wire will either need to go overhead, to a pole, or in a trench. Many requirements for either option. You will also likely need a ground rod at the panel. you will also need to be able to mount a panel somewhere thats allowed by code. Not sure what outdoor requirements are. Then you will need to get wire to each pit location. Again this will likely need to be buried and maybe in conduit.
GFCIs will likely be required for the pits. GFCI breakers are available but maybe you want trip/reset buttons in the pits.

Also, if this is a business venture you may want to consider lighting to allow running at night too. How cool would that be?

Anyway - Lots to consider. I would find a licensed electrician and pay for a 1 hour consult at least.

Mayhem_Hobbies 01-17-2007 08:47 PM

I think I'll just go the "my own" power route. We are going to have the power company put in lights anyway. we are in Phoenix, night racing is a must in the summer! Thank you for your help.

Brik 01-17-2007 09:03 PM

Probably a decent idea. Remember, the power co will only deliver to a meter. The panel and pit drops will be up to you or your electrician.

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