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 needshelp 12-16-2008 12:02 AM

electricity 750 ft away!?

Hey so I need to get electricity up to my kid's tree house which is 750 ft away from our house. I was looking into 3, 250 ft. 8-gauge wires to make it work but am not sure if it would work. Will the current stay strong enough to keep some lights lit if it it plugged into a standard outlet 750 feet away? Thanks in advance for any help. Cheers.

 theatretch85 12-16-2008 12:12 AM

Someone else can help you with the voltage drop calculations, but I would definitely not be considering just plugging this into an outlet on your house. I would hard-wire it direct into the panel, of course making sure this circuit is GFCI protected. If you want you can always put in a disconnect switch near where it exits the house to shut off power to the tree house when its not in use (or to signal the kids to come in for dinner, haha).

You will need to post what kinda things would be in use in said tree house and what your looking at for total power draw. This will have a big factor in how big the wire will need to be to maintain voltage at that distance. Though in all honesty, it probably isnt a huge deal if there is some minimal voltage drop to a kids tree house, but think about what you might use that circuit for once the kids are gone.

 joey b 12-16-2008 12:16 AM

just lights? The problem with long electrical runs and voltage drop is its toll on electrical equipment. If you are just using incidacent light bulbs save the money and run 14 gauge. The lights won't burn as bright, but they will actually last longer.

here is actually a pretty nice worksheet for such
http://www.electrician2.com/calculat...r_initial.html

 joey b 12-16-2008 12:20 AM

I 2nd the idea of a light switch inside and running directly from the circuit panel. Might not even be a bad idea to wire up a couple of light posts along the way off of the same stretch. If you get 250' rolls, you could easily put in 2 and have a safe connection. make sure that the run is GFCI inside of the house.

 theatretch85 12-16-2008 12:26 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by joey b (Post 198646) just lights? The problem with long electrical runs and voltage drop is its toll on electrical equipment. If you are just using incidacent light bulbs save the money and run 14 gauge. The lights won't burn as bright, but they will actually last longer. here is actually a pretty nice worksheet for such http://www.electrician2.com/calculat...r_initial.html
That is a decent calculator! Personally a run that long I wouldn't be looking to run anything less than 10 gauge; even if it is just a couple lights. Also, how far is it from the tree house to the main panel, not just to the house?

You could always run a MWBC (Multi-Wire Branch Circuit) with 2 20amp circuits one for lights and one for outlets on 10 gauge wire and that would probably be adequate. Minimal voltage drop with lights and some light-weight appliances (tv, game system, stereo, etc) with out effecting the lights (two separate circuits).

 needshelp 12-16-2008 12:52 AM

Wow thanks for the quick response guys. What panel are you referring to? I would have no idea how to hard wire it! The total wattage needed would be about 400 I am guesstimating. My wife wants them to be able to hang out up there as much as they want this summer so she can focus on work! HAHA.

 theatretch85 12-16-2008 01:05 AM

I don't think running this underground just to plug into an outlet is such a good idea! You never know what else is on the circuit and with that long of a run its best that it has its very own dedicated circuit. The panel we are talking about is your main service panel, where all your house's power is distributed from.

It might be worth talking with a local electrician to help wire this up for you. Alot of times you can save yourself a lot of money by digging the trench yourself (make sure its at the proper depth for the type of wire being used).

Most electricians will not just simply hook up wire that you the homeowner ran and buried, they don't want to be liable for something they didn't run. So before you start purchasing wire and boxes, etc call around and tell them what you are looking to do. This will be a fairly simple job never mind the extreme length of the run....

 Gigs 12-16-2008 04:38 AM

I would run 3 wire UF as a multi wire branch circuit as was mentioned. This gives you two 120-volt circuits, and if the need comes up you could use it as 240volts instead.

About gauge, you can use 8/3 UF, but it going to be expensive. I would not use 12 gauge for the main run, the voltage drop is too high. 10 gauge is a possiblity, but I would try to keep the load under 10 amps on both sides of the circuit. No matter what gauge you choose buy a 1000 foot spool, it'll cost less than buying smaller increments, even though it's more than you need. You can sell the extra 250 feet easily I'm sure. You can change it to 12 gauge once you come up from the ground, to make it easier to wire outlets and fixtures. Most outlets and fixtures are not designed for 8 gauge or 10 gauge wire.

UF is rated for direct burial but the trench needs to be deep enough, 24 inches deep. You will want to rent a trenching machine definitely. You should call Miss Utility or whatever it's called in your areas unless you are absolutely sure there's nothing else buried along the entire path. Where it comes up from the trench you need to have it in conduit, but not for the main length with UF rated cable.

Then you need a 2-pole 20amp breaker and two empty slots in your main circuit breaker panel.

The wire alone is going to cost about \$500-\$600... plus the trenching machine rental.. and then maybe \$100 for assorted other things and the breaker. You are looking at about \$750 total in just materials for doing it yourself.

 cantre44 12-16-2008 05:43 AM

I dont know what state u r al frm but i would just give them a flash light or go with low voltage lighting. They r kids and no matter what they get they will want more if u give it 2 them or figure how 2 get it. didnt u!

 Speedy Petey 12-16-2008 05:45 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by needshelp (Post 198654) Wow thanks for the quick response guys. What panel are you referring to? I would have no idea how to hard wire it!
This is the perfect time to call an electrician. Seriously.
This is NOT as simple as it might seem.

 jerryh3 12-16-2008 07:13 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by cantre44 (Post 198672) I dont know what state u r al frm but i would just give them a flash light or go with low voltage lighting. They r kids and no matter what they get they will want more if u give it 2 them or figure how 2 get it. didnt u!
This isn't a text message. You may want to use proper English if you want to be taken seriously.

 rgsgww 12-16-2008 07:15 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Speedy Petey (Post 198673) This is NOT as simple as it might seem.
I don't know what these other guys are talking about, but what about the trench he would have to dig...not simple at all. Or cheap...

 cantre44 12-16-2008 07:17 AM

SORRY..I AM NEW AT THIS PAGE AND JUST TRING TO HELP OUT! and u

 cantre44 12-16-2008 07:27 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by jerryh3 (Post 198692) This isn't a text message. You may want to use proper English if you want to be taken seriously.
what state are you all from

 jerryh3 12-16-2008 07:37 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by cantre44 (Post 198697) SORRY..I AM NEW AT THIS PAGE AND JUST TRING TO HELP OUT! and u
Sorry. Nothing Personal. Just a major hangup of mine. Other than that, welcome to the forum.

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