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  • polebarn wiring

    Hello to all this is my first posting hopefully someone can help me I have been getting a lot of opinions on this job all have been very helpful, my biggest concern is the size of wire needed, first let me explain what I.m doing I want to run wiring to my polebarn which is about 125 ft. away from the houses meter
    I understand I need a 320 amp double lug meter base in which to hook the secondary line to, I have no room in the 200 amp panel for more distribution. I have had some #3 thnn copper for a long time for this job but having started this job and looking on the enternet this may be to small, I think all I would need is125 amp panel all I plan is some lighting and outlets and I want to put in a lift. I forgot to mention I have 11/2" conduit already buried. Any help would be appreciated. Ken

  • #2
    Re: polebarn wiring

    I am not a electrician, but I can not comprehend why you would need a 320 amp meter base,

    you could run it from the meter, that is the way my farm is set up (actually with a distribution pole), but if you have room in the panel one could just pop in a 50 to 100 amp breaker and run the pole barn as a sub panel it would take 4 wires two hots and neutral and a ground that way,

    the wire size is dependent on the amount of power you want to have or use at the barn and the voltage drop,

    unless your wanting a shop with stick arc welder and a 5hp compressor, your get by for lights and few things on a 40 or 60 amp breaker,

    I think you need to figure out what you want to have now and future, and then decide the power needs and figure that direction,

    (what is a Lift?)
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: polebarn wiring

      thanks for the reply a lift is ahoist to raise your car in the air it doesn't require a lot of power, I need a meter base take I can take off of for a new run I have no positions left in the house panel at least thats what I have been getting in advice, theres no room on the present meter base for another takeoff. ken

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: polebarn wiring

        You don't need a meter base or a meter as you already have one at the main dwelling (house). Services can be extended. Look for lugs the fit your existing meter that accept two conductors (wires) instead of just one. Most jurisdictions do require disconnects at the service, some do not, so you must check. The NEC allows you extend the current service to the pole barn. Distance is no issue as the wire size can be adjusted for voltage drop. This extended service cannot pass through or under any structure including the house. It must go from the existing meter to the pole barn.

        Since you have number 3 wire copper you can use it. You can put any size panel you like in the pole barn as long as it is larger than 60 amp. It MUST be a breaker panel. Use this voltage drop calculator Voltage Drop Calculator JavaScript

        Contact your building codes inspector (AHJ) and get on the same page with him. Show him my post and discuss your options. You will need a permit so the power company can pull and reinstall your meter when you finish.
        Licensed Electrician

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: polebarn wiring

          Tthank you John sounds like you saved me some money didn't know about the optional lugs and already having the wire I thought for sure I would have to buy an aluminum triplex wire, I will have an electrician do the meter base part I plan to run the wire to try and save a little since been retired and the economy every penny helps. ken

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: polebarn wiring

            You do not need any new wire or another meter can or meter, unless you cannot find double lugs for your meter. Then you might have to change meter cans. What type (brand) of meter enclosure and whats the current rating? You need a conduit all the way from the existing meter to the barn. You said you have THHN. Check and make sure it's double rated for THWN. Most all THHN and THWN is rated for wet locations. If there is no "W" imprinted on the wire you have you may not be able to use it. I am certain your wire is just fine. You must open the meter can to install the conduit. If you talk to the inspector and the power company they should allow you access to the meter can until it is finally inspected. Around here we just cut the tag and do our work. Then, once it passes inspection and the extended service is comeplete the power company comes back and re-locks the meter can.

            You have an easy project as long as you are not digging the trench. PVC must be buried at least 18" from grade. Run your buried conduit with as few bends as you can. NEC states 360 degrees. I say that is to much. Two 90 degree bends would be the best. You can use an LB to enter the barn and to enter the existing meter can..
            Licensed Electrician

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: polebarn wiring

              John I checked the meter base milbank was embossed on the bottom lid as far as the wire I couldn't find a W all it said was oil and gas resistant, the printing is not the best sounds like some bad luck? The meter
              base is rather small about a 10X16 rated 200 amps. Out here in the sticks we really don't need any inspections but I want to do it right. If I have to go to aluminum what is the largest size for a 11/2" conduit?
              I don't think I need the kind with 4 wires in it would I? thanks again Ken

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: polebarn wiring

                Yes, you do need four wires to the garage sub panel. Two hots, a neutral and an equipment grounding conductor. You will also need two 8 foot driven ground rods spaced at least 6 feet from each other for the sub panel, since this is a detached structure. Do not bond the neutral bus bar to the cabinet. In the sub panel you will need to separate the neutral and ground wires so buy another bus bar for the ground wires.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: polebarn wiring

                  I thought the neutral and ground in a panel were the same I have a ground rod but why 2?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: polebarn wiring

                    You need two ground rods because the NEC (National Electrical Code) requires two ground rods unless you can prove that the resistance is 25 ohms or less. Sometimes, even with two rods, the soil quality will cause a reading in excess of 25 ohms. The good news is your work will still pass inspection as long as you have the two ground rods. In your main panel you will find the neutrals and grounds on the same bus bar and the bar is bonded to the cabinet. The NEC requires that a sub panel in a detached structure to have the neutrals and the grounding conductors separated and the neutral bus bar not be bonded to the enclosure. Neutral and grounding conductors are not the same. The white wire carries current back to ground and completes the circuit. The bare wire is not necessary to complete the circuit, but it is there to provide an alternate path for the current in case there is a short in the circuit, for example if a power tool shorted out, it would send the current back through the bare wire ground, which normally carries no current at all, instead of electrocuting the person holding the tool.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: polebarn wiring

                      Killavolt

                      just asking a question,

                      in rural area that I have been, and on farms, ( and on the military station i worked at,) and some industrial locations, there is usually the meter pole, with a meter and usually the meter and disconnect or breaker (to my understanding considered a site isolation device by the NEC) then out on service wires to the different buildings. and each building has it own set of distribution wire to it, and normally only the three wires unless it is a three phase set up, thus each building is treated as it own main panel, (and not sub panels).
                      the only building I was under the understanding of needing a 4 wire set up was the barn if it is used for animals, and I think that was changed in 2005, (for the purpose of developing a equipotential plane for the possibly of stray voltage),
                      and it was my understanding unless there is a paralleled grounding, in or on the building, (telephone, gas line, water line) that the ground or 4th wire is not required, (and I am not so sure that has not been recently added).

                      and so each building is treated as it has a main panel being feed by the service lines in it. And not a sub panel in it unless it is feed from another panel in a near by building and then it is a sub panel.

                      (it would be similar as in a base or compound that only has one meter, and mulpital buildings being serviced by the one meter, instead of the buildings being feed and metered individually as in a residential town,

                      (is this correct or not),
                      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                      attributed to Samuel Johnson
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: polebarn wiring

                        I have a pole in the yard with the transformer on it, no disconnect goes from the pole to the meter base on the house, what I was wanting to do was go from the meter base out to the pole barn
                        which is about 130 ft away, I don't want to have another meter installed as I have one on a separate two car garage, other places I looked up on the enternet said I would need a 320 amp double
                        lug base I'm getting more confused than ever I thought all I needed was a three wire run as if it was going to the house don't know if any of this makes sense all I want to do is run the wire and
                        install a 100 amp or so panel in the pole barn and have a electrician connect to the meter base or intall the one I need. Help!! ken

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: polebarn wiring

                          Originally posted by killavolt View Post
                          Yes, you do need four wires to the garage sub panel. Two hots, a neutral and an equipment grounding conductor. You will also need two 8 foot driven ground rods spaced at least 6 feet from each other for the sub panel, since this is a detached structure. Do not bond the neutral bus bar to the cabinet. In the sub panel you will need to separate the neutral and ground wires so buy another bus bar for the ground wires.
                          He does not need four wires. He is extending the service and nothing more. If he was running a feeder then he would be required to run four wires. You are correct regarding the rods, but not the neutrals and grounds. Think service, not feeder.

                          Originally posted by killavolt View Post
                          You need two ground rods because the NEC (National Electrical Code) requires two ground rods unless you can prove that the resistance is 25 ohms or less. Sometimes, even with two rods, the soil quality will cause a reading in excess of 25 ohms. The good news is your work will still pass inspection as long as you have the two ground rods. In your main panel you will find the neutrals and grounds on the same bus bar and the bar is bonded to the cabinet. The NEC requires that a sub panel in a detached structure to have the neutrals and the grounding conductors separated and the neutral bus bar not be bonded to the enclosure. Neutral and grounding conductors are not the same. The white wire carries current back to ground and completes the circuit. The bare wire is not necessary to complete the circuit, but it is there to provide an alternate path for the current in case there is a short in the circuit, for example if a power tool shorted out, it would send the current back through the bare wire ground, which normally carries no current at all, instead of electrocuting the person holding the tool.
                          True for feeders and feeders only. This is a service not a feeder. And it is treated accordingly. Rods as usual. Bonding of the neutrals and grounds are required, just as they are at the main structure/service.

                          Originally posted by BHD View Post
                          Killavolt

                          just asking a question,

                          in rural area that I have been, and on farms, ( and on the military station i worked at,) and some industrial locations, there is usually the meter pole, with a meter and usually the meter and disconnect or breaker (to my understanding considered a site isolation device by the NEC) then out on service wires to the different buildings. and each building has it own set of distribution wire to it, and normally only the three wires unless it is a three phase set up, thus each building is treated as it own main panel, (and not sub panels).
                          the only building I was under the understanding of needing a 4 wire set up was the barn if it is used for animals, and I think that was changed in 2005, (for the purpose of developing a equipotential plane for the possibly of stray voltage),
                          and it was my understanding unless there is a paralleled grounding, in or on the building, (telephone, gas line, water line) that the ground or 4th wire is not required, (and I am not so sure that has not been recently added).

                          and so each building is treated as it has a main panel being feed by the service lines in it. And not a sub panel in it unless it is feed from another panel in a near by building and then it is a sub panel.

                          (it would be similar as in a base or compound that only has one meter, and mulpital buildings being serviced by the one meter, instead of the buildings being feed and metered individually as in a residential town,

                          (is this correct or not),
                          This is the point I am trying to make. Services can be extended. Just like you have described. You are not always required to run a four wire feeder. In this circumstance he only has a meter can. His best bet is to tap the service conductors via a listed double lug and just extend the service out to the barn.

                          Originally posted by oleboy View Post
                          I have a pole in the yard with the transformer on it, no disconnect goes from the pole to the meter base on the house, what I was wanting to do was go from the meter base out to the pole barn
                          which is about 130 ft away, I don't want to have another meter installed as I have one on a separate two car garage, other places I looked up on the enternet said I would need a 320 amp double
                          lug base I'm getting more confused than ever I thought all I needed was a three wire run as if it was going to the house don't know if any of this makes sense all I want to do is run the wire and
                          install a 100 amp or so panel in the pole barn and have a electrician connect to the meter base or intall the one I need. Help!! ken
                          I have tried to help you and it seems you are hard headed and do not take the correct advice I have given you. The internet can say anything. The internet is full of people that claim to be qualified electricians. If you are going to take instruction only from the internet and that includes me, I doubt your project will run smoothly. Good Luck on your project.
                          Licensed Electrician

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: polebarn wiring

                            Originally posted by John Valdes View Post
                            He does not need four wires. He is extending the service and nothing more. If he was running a feeder then he would be required to run four wires. You are correct regarding the rods, but not the neutrals and grounds. Think service, not feeder.



                            True for feeders and feeders only. This is a service not a feeder. And it is treated accordingly. Rods as usual. Bonding of the neutrals and grounds are required, just as they are at the main structure/service.



                            This is the point I am trying to make. Services can be extended. Just like you have described. You are not always required to run a four wire feeder. In this circumstance he only has a meter can. His best bet is to tap the service conductors via a listed double lug and just extend the service out to the barn.



                            I have tried to help you and it seems you are hard headed and do not take the correct advice I have given you. The internet can say anything. The internet is full of people that claim to be qualified electricians. If you are going to take instruction only from the internet and that includes me, I doubt your project will run smoothly. Good Luck on your project.
                            John, you're right of course. He is extending the service and the sub would be treated as another main panel, neutrals and grounds bonded. Sorry, I just did two garage panels fed from the house load center and was thinking along those lines. Thanks for clearing that up!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: polebarn wiring

                              Originally posted by killavolt View Post
                              John, you're right of course. He is extending the service and the sub would be treated as another main panel, neutrals and grounds bonded. Sorry, I just did two garage panels fed from the house load center and was thinking along those lines. Thanks for clearing that up!
                              I appreciate you posting. I had this come up several years ago and I was going to pull a feeder to a detached garage. Another electrician saw that the meter was close by and suggested we extend the service instead. I did not know we could do that. We did it, it passed with flying colors and took half the time. I am glad I had someone tell me that. Looking back there are many feeders I have installed when I could have just extended the service. Live and learn I guess.

                              The key is finding the correct listed double lugs for the meter can. Since he has a Millbank meter, I am certain he can get them. I have seen them on Millbanks web site.
                              Licensed Electrician

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