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Old 06-01-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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Future Electrician?


Hi, My name is Jeff

I am 17 and as soon as I get out of HS, I will be going to college for electrical school as I plan on becoming an electrician.

I have basic-moderate knowledge of house wiring, circuits, switches, outlets, etc.

I have replace outlets/lightswitches, installed new circuits with my dad, and installed light switches.

I have a small garden shed that is my "practice zone", and I am wanting to have electricity out there. Its permanent, but not permanently connected.

I have a sub panel that was purchased and never used by my uncle, so I thought I would wire it up for my shed. Not so much to add circuits since its still only plugged into a 15/20 amp circuit or generator, but put it to use since I have it. I uploaded a few photos. The main 14ga wire (I am going to upgrade to 12ga at some point for the extra piece of mind) is connected to a heavy duty grounded plug that can be plugged into a regular outlet. Ground and neutral bar separated since it is a sub, no double tapped breakers. The only trouble I ran into with is getting power to all the slots instead of half, so I installed a jumper for a 120v panel. Is this okay?



Once I buy the breakers (15a for 14 gauge NM-B), they will be installed and wired. One circuit is for indoor lighting (not yet installed), one for outlets, and one for outdoor floodlight. I will at most be using a vacuum once in a while, few lights, radio, fans etc. I've ran all of that off of a few power strips and extension cord on a 15a circuit. But I want to have a more "cleaner and nicer" install for a shed. I now have NM-B wire feeding the items stapled along the top eaves dropping down to the few outlets and lights. I would have used 1/2" PVC conduit and THWN, but I can't put that kind of money out yet, nor is it really needed.







Last edited by electropro1; 06-01-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:22 PM   #2
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The lugs can only have one wire in them.
You need to pigtail the hot and then run a wire to each lug.

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Old 06-01-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by electropro1 View Post
Hi, My name is Jeff
I am 17 and as soon as I get out of HS, I will be going to college for electrical school as I plan on becoming an electrician.
Good for you.

But rather than paying for college (and btw, what college teaches you to be an electrician?)... instead get a job with an actual electrical contractor and enroll in the ABC sponsored school which along with time in the trade and passing a few tests will actually make you an electrician.

If you're in a strong Union area and they have apprentice openings then see if you can get in there instead.

In short... get paid to become an electrician.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
The lugs can only have one wire in them.
You need to pigtail the hot and then run a wire to each lug.
Excellent! Thank you! Everything else looks good and proper? I'll upload an update photo once all the breakers are installed, the pigtail is done, and I straighten up the wires....

I would like to someway be able to plug the sub panel in "outside" the shed instead of running the cord through the window or door.

Would I run 12/2 NM from the panel for the main to an outside WP junction box, and possibly transition to the 12/2 SOOW wire with the plug, using a compression fitting/strain relief on the SOOW to keep the inside j-box dry? I think I have seen these types of setups for those "carnival games on wheels" and some RV's/trailers.
I know flexible cords can't go through the structure per code, therefore I would transition from the NM to flex cord outside in a proper box. Not really sure it would follow for my non-service connected setup, but I still want to follow code and be safe. The only thing I can't actually do is run a service to the shed because of our patio/gardens.

I was thinking an inlet, but I haven't found any 120v inlets that are weather poof, and good price, and made decently. I bought a nice Leviton 120v one a while back, and the prong broke within a month, and so did the replacement.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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i wouldnt bother with school unless you will be union, instead find your self a small shop with good boss that knows electric well and can teach you. after a little while go into a bigger shop where you have potential to see and work on big jobs.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:41 PM   #6
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i wouldnt bother with school unless you will be union, instead find your self a small shop with good boss that knows electric well and can teach you. after a little while go into a bigger shop where you have potential to see and work on big jobs.

Why work on big jobs? I bet I make more than most working for a small outfit of a company, best advice is to pick a niche in what you enjoy and strive to be the best at it... this knowledge will pay you back!
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Why work on big jobs? I bet I make more than most working for a small outfit of a company, best advice is to pick a niche in what you enjoy and strive to be the best at it... this knowledge will pay you back!
because if you ever wana open a business and make a lot of money you have to know what your doing.
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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because if you ever wana open a business and make a lot of money you have to know what your doing.
Didn't stop some people I know!
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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because if you ever wana open a business and make a lot of money you have to know what your doing.
Not sure what that has to do with working with a big business? And I agree with jbfan, the business end has nothing to do with the work load end.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:14 AM   #10
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Not sure what that has to do with working with a big business? And I agree with jbfan, the business end has nothing to do with the work load end.
small shops dont have the man power to do big commercial/indstrial. and of course it has to do with the business end because we are dicussing the op becoming an electrician not a business man. if hes not good at what he does, doesnt know how to do things properly, well hes just not going to make it in the electric field.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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To the OP:

The work you do will determine what you learn about the trade. I went through four years of union schooling but it was only 6 hours a week the first year and 3 hours a week the remaining years. Most of what I know today I learned on the job or learned on my own. School is fine and will give you the basics but hands-on training is what you take with you into your career.

My first job was working on a Six Flags park. We were doing all the underground conduit for the 480v feeders throughout the park. For months, all I did was lay plastic pipe in trenches and cover it with concrete then run a pogo stick tamper over the backfill. I didn't learn much about electricity but I sure learned how to run that tamper.

But after the conduit was installed, we pulled in all the feeders and I learned about terminations, sub-stations, 480v installations, switchgear, panelboards, transformers and electrical distribution.

Same contractor, big job, but it was the work I did and the people I worked with that determined my education. Two years later I was working on a job building townhouses and condos. I told the foreman I hadn't had any small pipe experience. He put me on the rough crew and I learned how to bend pipe. Different contractor, much smaller job but I learned things that stayed with me to this day.

The more you learn, the more valuable you will be. If you don't choose the formal education route, you can always learn things on your own and take your questions to the journeymen you work with.

The first day of school, all the new apprentices were called into a conference hall. The apprentice coordinator held up the American Electricians' Handbook and said, "Learn everything there is in this book and you can have any of our jobs" then he pointed to the instructors standing up there with him. Knowledge is power.

The people I have seen make it into other positions in electrical construction (estimator, project manager, contractor, etc) have all pursued learning outside of what was required.

The electrical trade can be very fulfilling and there's always something new to learn. What it is to you depends on what you make it. Good luck on your career.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:58 PM   #12
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WOW! Thanks for all the great info guys! I will keep all of that in mind when I get out of H.S.

Here is the finished wiring/product. I installed a 12ga. 3 wire (Hot, Neutral, Ground) for the main and pig tailed to the second lug for 120v only. All grounded, and the neutral/ground are NOT bonded since its a sub panel.

I have currently 4 separate breakers for outlets, lighting, and a future installed bath fan on the ceiling to exhaust hot air.

Between the outdoor flood, TV, stereo, shop light, exhaust fan, box fan, and other small loads like a clock, X-Mas lights and DVD player, I peaked at only 858 continuous watts. The vacuum I have is 12amps, but that is only used by itself for a max of 3-5min with a light and possibly the 1 or 2 fans, so no load problems really.




















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