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Thread: Need electricial help for sub-panel

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Need electricial help for sub-panel

    A sub panel needs to be installed for my pool equipment. It will be attached to the opposite of the house and it will be 130ft buried underground. My equipment will be a pump/sand filter/2 pool lights/SWCG. I might add some landscaping lighting later. The PB wanted to charge some silly amount 2500 to 3000. I contacted the company that installed my PV solar panels years ago and they quoted 1675. Coworker knew a electrician who said he would do it for 850 - if I dug the trench, which is no big deal because I live on sand. Well now the pool is past gunite and the coworker electrician is too busy! So my friend, who is extremely handy and has done lots of electrical work (but not a trade electrician), suggested I buy the supplies and he would help get it hooked up.

    After reading a few posts on TFP, I am beginning to question my friend. I bought the sub panel enclosure, a 60 amp breaker to put in the main breaker panel, 1 1/4 sched 40 PVC, and #6 wire. My friend said I only need 3 conductors run to the sub panel - 2 hot and a ground. This is the part I am questioning. From what I am seeing posted, I also need a neutral. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    And know that I am questioning things, do I need a grounding rod for the sub panel?

    Marty
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    For a sub panel you need 2 hots a neutral and a ground.

    Local codes may or may not require a ground rod.
    20X40 30,000 gallon gunite pool

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    If all of the loads are 240V, it may be okay to have just 2 hots and ground (that's what we have with our old wiring, but I'm not sure if still legal to do today) -- but doing that limits you to pumps (and probably SWCG); the lights would have to be supplied from another circuit somewhere (at least I think all lights are 120V). Running 4 wires (2 hot, 1 neutral, 1 ground) gives the most flexibility and allows you to mix 240V and 120V loads from the subpanel.

    ETA: For grounding, I'd check with the building dept or another licensed electrician -- I believe in most cases they want to see the subpanels grounded back at the central main panel's grounding point (thus no ground rod at the subpanel), but it can vary based on the distance, what kind of structures, etc. And pool equipment bonding is a whole other thing; I've decided to have a pro redo our pool electrical because I'm not confident in getting it all right.
    21000gal IG plaster, Sacramento CA area (late 1950s/early 60s)
    Filter: Cartridge, Pentair CCP420 (2014)
    Main pump: Pentair IntelliFlo VS (2015)
    Boost pump: 3/4hp (2011), Polaris 280 cleaner (unknown age)

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    The cost of doing something wrong with electrical stuff and the pool could be much higher than a $3k... Please do not rely on a single post, including this one

    With that said:

    You have to run neutral wire as well as the ground wire, and keep neutral bus and ground bus separated in the new subpanel.

    Neutral bus is only going to be used to hook up 120V devices like lights, etc. - you will use Line1 or Line2, neutral and ground. Current will be passing through Line and Neutral.

    For 220V load you will run Line1, Line2 and ground. Current will be passing through Line1 and Line2.

    No current should be passing through the ground wire.

    As far as the grounding rod - no. Only the main panel is grounded. You will have to have a bonding wire used to bond pumps, heater, subpanel, etc. Usually subpanels have a separate bonding clamp on the outside for this. Bonding wire is also a bare wire and looks exactly like a grounding wire, but the purpose of bonding is very different.

    V.B.
    32k free form pool with overflow spa
    Hayward Omnilogic control with T-Cell 15 SWG
    Ecostar pump, spa jets pump
    Polaris 280 with booster pump
    Propane heater

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Personally, I would use #4 wire for that length run. As above, 4 wires are required. A grounding rod is not desirable.

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    Need electricial help for sub-panel

    My run to my sub panel was about 75 feet and I ran 4 strands of #6 THHN wire. I ordered the wire on line and was able to get red/black/white/green. Just my personal preference on the color, and it was cheaper than the big box stores. I would err towards the side of caution and go #4 at that distance.

    And as far as conduit goes, oversize, oversize, oversize. Pulling 4-#6 or #4 wires you will want some extra room. I ran 1 1/2" schedule 40. And dish soap is your friend when pulling wire!!!

    I have a 110 pump, 240v swg, light, NG heater and deck outlet.


    30x20 vinyl IG, Hayward SD60 with Pentair Dynamo 340219 2HP pump, Compupool CPSC24 SWG, Hayward H200FDN heater. APC automatic pool cover.
    Central Illinois

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    Personally, I would use #4 wire for that length run.
    Well that might be a little disheartening since I just cut the first run off the 500 ft roll. I just noticed that I miss typed the size of the circuit breaker - it is 50 amp. So, if the only equipment in the sub panel is the 1.5hp pump, SWG, and the 2 pool lights would you still recommend the #4 - due to the length as the reason? I can absolutely live without anything else in the sub panel - landscape lights can be run from another source.

    As a side note, I think I need better friends and a PB. When the PB saw me unload the roll of #6 he asked me if I got #8. And my friend said I could pull the 3 wires through 3/4 pvc. He laughed when I told him I got 1 1/4 to make it easier to pull. Even when I questioned him about the 4th wire, he talked to an electrician at his work (a HUGE energy corporation) and he still believes I can go with 3 wire since I live outside city limits.
    Last edited by jagger2005; 06-03-2015 at 01:36 PM. Reason: added additional comment
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by pool1 View Post
    The cost of doing something wrong with electrical stuff and the pool could be much higher than a $3k... Please do not rely on a single post, including this one

    With that said:

    You have to run neutral wire as well as the ground wire, and keep neutral bus and ground bus separated in the new subpanel.

    Neutral bus is only going to be used to hook up 120V devices like lights, etc. - you will use Line1 or Line2, neutral and ground. Current will be passing through Line and Neutral.

    For 220V load you will run Line1, Line2 and ground. Current will be passing through Line1 and Line2.

    No current should be passing through the ground wire.

    As far as the grounding rod - no. Only the main panel is grounded. You will have to have a bonding wire used to bond pumps, heater, subpanel, etc. Usually subpanels have a separate bonding clamp on the outside for this. Bonding wire is also a bare wire and looks exactly like a grounding wire, but the purpose of bonding is very different.

    V.B.
    This ^^^

    On the grounding rod. You dont need one unless the panel is mounted on a structure other than the structure that houses the main. Sounds like you are mounting it to the house so you wouldnt need one.
    And yes, you do need a neutral, so 4 wires, 2 hots, neutral and a ground.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by jagger2005 View Post
    Well that might be a little disheartening since I just cut the first run off the 500 ft roll. I just noticed that I miss typed the size of the circuit breaker - it is 50 amp. So, if the only equipment in the sub panel is the 1.5hp pump, SWG, and the 2 pool lights would you still recommend the #4 - due to the length as the reason? As a side note, I think I need better friends and a PB.

    When the PB saw me unload the roll of #6 he asked me if I got #8. And my friend said I could pull the 3 wires through 3/4 pvc. He laughed when I told him I got 1 1/4 to make it easier to pull. Even when I questioned him about the 4th wire, he talked to an electrician at his work (a HUGE energy corporation) and he still believes I can go with 3 wire since I live outside city limits.
    I just did the calculations. On 130 foot run with #6 wire with a 50 amp continuous load (which you would never have) the voltage drop is a pinch over 2%. Anything under 5% you're golden.

    And NO NO, NO, a thousand times NO. A neutral to a subpanel with 120 volt outlets, lights, etc, is
    a MUST!
    The two hots go to the 2 lugs that feed the panel, the neutral goes to the neutral bus, ground to ground bus. Just make sure the bonding strap is removed from the ground and neutral bus. The main panel is the only place the neutral and ground bus are joined together.

    The reason the PB asked about the #8 is because thats what you need to bond the pool. #8 bare copper wire. But thats a separate issue from the electrical service.
    And I would rather be in hades with my back broke than try and fish four #6 wires 130 feet through 3/4" conduit!
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406 View Post
    This ^^^

    I'd use #4 on that distance with a 60 amp feed. If you ever thought you might want a heat pump, you would need 100 amp service. If you dont think you would ever want a heat pump, 60 amp is fine.

    On the grounding rod. You dont need one unless the panel is mounted on a structure other than the structure that houses the main. Sounds like you are mounting it to the house so you wouldnt need one.
    And yes, you do need a neutral, so 4 wires, 2 hots, neutral and a ground.
    Definitely mounting to the house. I live on 3 acres and found it amazing that I was very limited on locations for the pool equipment - restricted by septic, lat lines, and wife! I am totally on board with the 4 wires.

    BTW, TFP has been god send to me. I have already learned so much about pool ownership from this site alone. I will be supporting soon since it is getting close to needing my test kit
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Next question...obviously not enough conductor to get 4 130 ft runs out of 500 ft roll. For the 4th wire should I also get #6 - insulated in green? or can I go with a smaller gauge? Home depot has it for 0.89/ft. Got the 500ft roll for 185
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Some guys use one smaller gauge for the ground. Me? I'd use the insulated # 6 in green.

    Did you use black wire for the neutral? If so, get a role of white electrical tape and wrap it around the end of the wire at each end so you and anyone else knows is the neutral.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406 View Post
    Some guys use one smaller gauge for the ground. Me? I'd use the insulated # 6 in green.

    Did you use black wire for the neutral? If so, get a role of white electrical tape and wrap it around the end of the wire at each end so you and anyone else knows is the neutral.
    Thanks bk406. Yes 3 of the runs are black. At least my friend was good on the use of colored electric tape. LOL

    So far the pool bonding looks goods. The PB had it clamped in 4 places to the rebar grid and his #8 bare wire roll is sitting on the equipment pad as we speak.
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by jagger2005 View Post
    Well that might be a little disheartening since I just cut the first run off the 500 ft roll. I just noticed that I miss typed the size of the circuit breaker - it is 50 amp. So, if the only equipment in the sub panel is the 1.5hp pump, SWG, and the 2 pool lights would you still recommend the #4 - due to the length as the reason? I can absolutely live without anything else in the sub panel - landscape lights can be run from another source.

    As a side note, I think I need better friends and a PB. When the PB saw me unload the roll of #6 he asked me if I got #8. And my friend said I could pull the 3 wires through 3/4 pvc. He laughed when I told him I got 1 1/4 to make it easier to pull. Even when I questioned him about the 4th wire, he talked to an electrician at his work (a HUGE energy corporation) and he still believes I can go with 3 wire since I live outside city limits.
    As a point of reference: I actually have 40A breaker on the main panel. I became aware of it a few weeks ago when I replaced old subpanel with Omnilogic setup. Never had it tripped ones. When I bought my place I had the following equipment sitting on this 40A circuit:
    1. 2 hp main pump
    2. 2 hp jets pump
    3. 1.5 hp spa air blower
    4. Polaris booster pump
    5. LP Heater
    6. 2X 300W lights

    Granted I never run polaris and jets at the same time I never had tripped that breaker.

    Since then I replaced main pump with a variable speed one and replaced failed air blower with 1hp model, so my load has decreased.
    32k free form pool with overflow spa
    Hayward Omnilogic control with T-Cell 15 SWG
    Ecostar pump, spa jets pump
    Polaris 280 with booster pump
    Propane heater

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    The one thing that is missing from this conversation is "floating the neutral" The neutral in the sub panel is to be isolated from the ground in the box. The ground is to be bonded to the box but, the bond screw for the neutral is to be removed. No connection between the ground and the neutral.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    The one thing that is missing from this conversation is "floating the neutral" The neutral in the sub panel is to be isolated from the ground in the box. The ground is to be bonded to the box but, the bond screw for the neutral is to be removed. No connection between the ground and the neutral.
    Mentioned in posts 4 and 9.

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    We need a hand palm to the forehead emoticon. These will have to do ...
    for my punishment I will write 100 times on the board...

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  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. The sub panel I purchased only had one bus bar in it, so I will need to pick up a grounding bar. And I did see that the neutral bar is already "floating." The screw that could be used to bond the neutral bar to the box is in a little baggy with instructions.
    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    As mentioned earlier, be sure to use colored electrical tape, or better, heat-shrink tubing to color code the wires where they are visible. (Electrical tape deteriorates quickly, heat-shrink does not.)

    Ground (bonding) wire should be green.
    Neutral should be white.
    Hots should be one black, one red, to show at a glance that this is a 240V run. (Occasionally you see it as two red wires.)
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
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    Re: Need electricial help for sub-panel

    Quote Originally Posted by TomBorg View Post
    As mentioned earlier, be sure to use colored electrical tape, or better, heat-shrink tubing to color code the wires where they are visible. (Electrical tape deteriorates quickly, heat-shrink does not.)

    Ground (bonding) wire should be green.
    Neutral should be white.
    Hots should be one black, one red, to show at a glance that this is a 240V run. (Occasionally you see it as two red wires.)
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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