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Old 12-11-2010, 06:02 AM   #1
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Questions about providing electricity to an outbuilding

I'm helping my parents upgrade a large outbuilding so that they can have a place to do their crafts and such. The outbuilding is approximately 180 feet from the house. It does not have electricity, so we plan to provide electricity to it. We will use an electrician, but to cut down on costs, we want to do as much of it as possible, including buying the electrical cable. My father is an mechanical engineer and knows a little about it, but not too much and is reading a lot about it, but I thought that I'd ask others for their opinions as well. The shop will have everything from woodworking equipment to metal working equipment. He plans to be able to use his stick welder eventually but wants to cut down on costs right now, so he does not plan to send enough amperage for that to run at the same time as the lights and everything. In all, we think we are going to want to be able to have 55 amps and 220 volts going to the outbuilding. He wants to have 4/0 copper cables. I have been looking up cables for pricing, but there are so many different options and I can't find anywhere that would explain them (insulation type, etc.). We will most likely directly bury them, but if we find that it might be better to put them in pvc, we might do that as well. If it makes any difference, we live in Ohio, so we get freezing winters and hot summers. So, based on all of that, here are my questions:

1) What do you recommend as far as cabling goes?
2) Where can I buy electrical cables?
3) What should I expect to pay per foot for those cables?

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Old 12-11-2010, 06:18 AM   #2
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I would consider having a seperate electrical service installed for the building. If the usage will be large enough the power company may agree to do it with little or no charge. It may be your cheapest way to go.
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:11 AM   #3
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60 amp Sub panel sounds good as long as your main panel is in good shape and is large enough to handle it. Why not call the Electrician before you start the job and get his opinion as to what you need and how far you can go with the work yourself to save$$$.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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4/0 is way to big.that is for over 200 amp.#2 copper will carry 100 A.put in a 125A sub will need2 hot one neutral and one ground.#2 for hots and neutral and #4 ground.2" conduit easy pull.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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You want to cut down on costs and use 4/0 copper feeder cables??!? Ever hear of penny-wise and dollar foolish? Those wires are over $4 per foot, per conductor, in case you are interested.

I'd recommend that you install an empty 1" PVC conduit (or 2" if price does not matter ... no wait, you said that price DID matter) between the structures.

Bury them at least 18" deep to comply with ground cover requirements.

That way, you can install cheap feeder cables now, and then upgrade to something heavier later IF the need arises without digging the yard back up.

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
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