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Old 08-29-2016, 07:55 AM   #16
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Perhaps i should explain some of that "overkill," then it won't seem so bad .

The trench should be 'wide' because you'll need to get in it to work. You also want to separate the pipes, simply because you don't want them coming up in one spot. After all, they all need to land in a box - and those boxes will be in each others' way. Separate the pipes some, and everything comes up nice and straight.

I said to dig 'deep' because the depth requirements are based on the TOP of the pipe, not the bottom of the ditch. By the time you add the gravel base and allow for the pipe diameter, you've come up 6-12 inches. This puts you at the depth you need (24") in 'traffic' areas. Depth = protection.

You also need depth to allow for your sweeps, and to come out of the ground vertical. 24" also puts you beyond the reach of the casual shovel bite, lawn sprinkler pipe, tent peg, whatever.

1" pipe is large enough to feed a 60-amp panel. For the next size (1-1/4") you often have a limited selection of parts available. 1-1/2" is next up. This is plenty large, even for 100-amp wire. Large pipe = easy pull, and room for a later upgrade. Pipe is cheap.

Phone - data - alarm - CATV lines are harder to pull than you'd expect, and easily damaged. The cables just don't seem to slide well in the pipe. A larger pipe make a big difference. Fiber optic wires require very gently, large radius bends- most easily obtained by using a larger pipe size.

Steel sweeps are 'proof' against the pull string burning a groove through the pipe during the pull. That groove often is enough to catch the wire, or the pull rope, making it impossible to finish the job. I really hate digging!

When I was looking to buy my house, I saw many homes with power run to sheds and detached garages. None of them met even the most minimal code requirements- let alone 'overkill.' The most common method was little more than an extension cord taped to a clothesline.
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Old 08-29-2016, 04:39 PM   #17
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Yeah makes sense to me, I was going to dig by hand , like 1' wide by 3' deep, then pack some gravel lay 2 pipes then backfill. But I may indeed just rent equipment. Given the short run a dedicated trencher machine might not be practical, but a mini excavator may work fine. I'm thinking 1" pipe too, but whatever I can easily get at Home Depot really.

As for heating, what I'd probably do is only heat the box that houses any equipment and use solar. Basically try to keep it above zero degrees in a small insulated box/cabinet that is within the insulated shed. If it goes below zero (which may very well happen) it will just shut down the equipment. That part would be a project for later though, but I just want to run the conduit for now.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:57 PM   #18
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Re: Conduit to a shed


I've been thinking more about this, and think I was maybe overthinking, if I go with simply setting it on deck blocks or something else that's not going below frost level, the shed and conduit are both going to be affected by frost heave about the same way so they should both move mostly in unison right? Maybe I can get away with simply putting an expansion fitting as suggested at both ends and call it a day? I'd use 1" PVC (the gray stuff at Home Depot in electrical section) So have it come out of the house into a 90 LB, go down with an expansion fitting, then a wide 90 circular conduit (probably two 45's?) that make it point more or less towards shed, then come up in another wide 90 at the shed, another expansion then 90 LB into the wall. That, x2. They will both remain empty for the time being as if I even start this year I may just do the footings, floor, and conduit. Then resume in spring. Depends on how the weather holds up, In past few years we get a decent September where temps stay above freezing and the snow comes later.

Of course if I go with expansion connectors I need slack in any line that is in there too or it will just rip right out of the terminals, or in the case of fibre it might stretch it.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:26 PM   #19
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Using deck blocks successfully will depend on the seasonal stability of your soil. Well-drained soil won't move than much. I've done it with decks and if they did move, it wasn't perceptible and settled back once the frost was out of the ground. I'm not sure I'd use them with a shed - you may have problems with doors and windows binding since there is no guarantee everything always goes back to the way it was and doors and windows don't have a lot of wiggle room.

I'll leave it to others to chime in about proper conduit use but I would think an expansion joint should work. Although each deck block won't necessarily move in unison, logic would dictate that the cable entry will move very similarly to the nearest block. It might help to backfill the rise of the conduit to the shed with sand.

If you're going to run the conduit then feed cables later, run a poly 'messenger' rope through it during installation.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:11 PM   #20
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Re: Conduit to a shed


One other thing, if this wasn't already mentioned: conduit spacing between power and data conduits. You don't want the EMF of the power cables interfering with your data lines. On the jobs I have worked on, requirements are typically 12" to as much as 36". The latter required a separate trench.

I remember back in the cobwebs of my mind something about special shielding required if the conduits were installed closer but that could have just been a question brought up at one of the job meetings.
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:55 PM   #21
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Re: Conduit to a shed


That's why I'm running fibre. No need to worry about interference. That and potential ground loop / uncommon grounds at both ends etc... can cause all sort of weird issues with network gear. Technically the grounds should be common, but since I'll probably go solar for the shed I want to plan for uncommon ground. Chances are I'd put a ground rod and the neutral would be tied to it though. Basically treat it like a service entry.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:00 PM   #22
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Re: Conduit to a shed


Speaking of grounds .... Solar or not, there's only ONE way you're allowed to do it.

You'll need to run FOUR wires from the house -2 hots, neutral, and ground. At the shed, you'll need a grounding electrode - be it a ground rod or some other form. You can set it in one of the concrete piers if you wish. If you add solar, that ground will need to be connected to this building ground as well.

There's no legit way to avoid running that ground wire between buildings, or needing a ground rod.

If your outside disconnect has a fuse or circuit breaker in it, your ground rod wire will tie in there.

Any interference that might be caused by power lines being near to low voltage lines is greatly reduced by the construction features in today's cat 5, 5E, and 6 cables. Use that instead of the usual phone/ bell wire. Alarm wires typically have a foil shield in the cable.

There IS another alternative to digging: run overhead. That is, string the wires between your own poles. PM me if you want details for that plan.
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