View Full Version : table or chart for AWG

07-26-2007, 08:20 PM
Anyone has a link for a chart for how many amps each AWG can handle in both Aluminum and copper? i am looking for something that can handle 60amp, 100amp, and 200amp

07-26-2007, 08:47 PM
Single wire or 3 wire cable, and what is the length and ambient temperature?

Speedy Petey
07-27-2007, 04:45 AM
Also, what is it being used for? A service gets sized quite differently from a branch circuit. As does an A/C or motor.

There is NO blanket chart such as as you ask. It would be impossible and inaccurate.

07-27-2007, 05:05 AM
well i hired a contractor to run a 200amp and a 100amp into my 2 family house.
and from what i can tell he is running a #4AWG alum wire for the 100amp main panel from the meter. I thought that wire is only rated for 60amp? The run is only like 4 feet from the meters to the 2 main panels. I just want to make sure he is running the correct wire and i wont have a problem when i start to pull 80 - 90 amps out of that panel because HVAC systems are going in next week. I live in NJ just out side of Manhattan.

07-27-2007, 05:10 AM
If it is being inspected like it should be the inspector will not pass it if it does not meet code.

07-27-2007, 05:22 AM
yes, the work will be inspected. It is more for my own personal info. If the contractor used a wire that is not up to code I would like to get that fixed while he is still here and i didn't give him the final payment yet. God knows if he will come back once he get all the money.

This is what I can read from the side of the cable.


07-27-2007, 05:42 AM
yes, the work will be inspected. It is more for my own personal info. If the contractor used a wire that is not up to code I would like to get that fixed while he is still here and i didn't give him the final payment yet. God knows if he will come back once he get all the money.

This is what I can read from the side of the cable.


Why did you hire an electrician in the first place?
Do you always check out the doctors you go to?

07-27-2007, 05:46 AM
well this contractor had good references. So far his guys work is nice and clean. Maybe one of his worker forgot that I have a 100amp panel? Thanks for looking out. I will ask them when they come back today if that wire is in fact a #4 if it is they got to change it out. Also the owner came to tell me how much it would cost $2000 for upgrading the 2 panels, but i have not seen him since. His workers came the other day and did all the work. I guess next time I hire someone it will be an owner who does the work him self.

07-27-2007, 06:24 AM
Why did you hire an electrician in the first place?
Do you always check out the doctors you go to?

I even check out my car's mechanic....

07-27-2007, 06:41 AM
Listen I am not trying to razz you or anything like that but you hired an electrician and then you start questioning his ability and knowledge.

Not only is the electrician making the installation but an inspector is going to look at his work to see if it is done correctly.

Now you and start questioning the ability of the electrician and his methods of installation without even giving the inspector a chance to look at the compliance of his work

You seem to think that the Service Cable is two small for what ever reason and it is obvious that you don’t understand what size cable is installed.

Look at the Table I posted and you can see that a #2 aluminum conductor is rated at 100 amps for a Service Cable.

The numbers on the cable that you posted are as follows:
(UL) 2 CDR AWG 2-1 CDR AWG 4 COMPACT ALUMAFLEX TYPE XHHW-2 CDRS 600 VOLTS (TM) AA8176 This is (“2 CDR AWG 2”) Two cords of #2 American Wire Gauge and (“1 CDR AWG 4”) One cord #4 American Wire Gauge and these cords are compact alumaflex type xhhw-2 rated at 600 volts. This is the correct size cable. If you are addressing the #4 cord in this cable you have to go to 220.61 to learn how to size the smaller grounded (neutral) conductor.

I will ask them when they come back today if that wire is in fact a #4 if it is they got to change it out. Leave the electrician alone and let the inspector be the one to point out any violations as this cable is the correct size for a 100 amp panel.

If you question any aspect of the work ethics of the electrician get him off your job just as you would a doctor that you didn’t trust.

07-27-2007, 07:58 AM
thanks for breaking the wire size for me. it is just i had bad experience with contractors before. in our old house the guy did the work and the inspector failed him. (by than i already paid him) i kept on calling and calling and each time he said he would come back to fix the problem. i took days off from work waiting for him and he never came. at the end i had to get someone else to correct the first guy's problem and file small claim case to get some of the money back. I got some money back, but the amount of time off from work just made me want to double check before i hand the check over. I am i just got 1 bad apple but i am just trying to protect my self and learn from my mistake.

07-27-2007, 09:55 AM
i am just trying to protect my self and learn from my mistake.

My dear Friend

I have been doing electrical contracting for more than 37 years. I never get paid until the inspection has been made and on final the punch list is complete.
It is only good business to pay for the rough-in after the rough-in inspection and let this be no more than 60% of the total bid. On the final pay no monies until after the power is on and the system has been tested (punched out) at which time the remaining 40% is paid.

If the contractor, no matter which trade, will not accept these terms then keep shopping until someone will accept these terms. The true professional will accept these terms as this is a boiler plate scenario of payment terms.

Never for any reason pay any monies before any work is complete. It is acceptable to pay for material up front but never pay for labor until labor has been received. When I start a new job my employer will not give me a weeks pay up front, will yours?

07-27-2007, 03:37 PM
thanks for this info. I will from now on hold off the final payment till inspection is done.

Speedy Petey
07-28-2007, 07:22 AM
I must comment. JW, this is not a slam to your or your practices, it is simply my opinon.

While JW's payment schedule WAS common and typical practice for many guys, myself included for the most part, it is now not nearly as common. There are FAR more unscrupulous clients than there used to be. It is becoming just as common for a contractor to get screwed as it is for a contractor to run away with a customer's money.
I am very lucky that most of my customer base is know to me or the generals I deal with, so there is a trust there. But I DO NOT hold the whole 40% 'till the final inspection any more. I realized what a foolish move this was. I thought I was being a real upstanding guy by doing this but I soon found out this is NOT smart.
I now require a deposit before work even starts. I require approximately 60% paid up on rough inspection. Another 30% on finish, and sometimes I get part of that before final work starts and the rest at work completion. THEN, after final inspection I get the last 10%. Ten percent is typically more than enough to make sure anyone comes back to fix any issues, and it is not enough to keep me from going broke if the customer stiffs me or is being unrealistically/unfairly demanding with final punch items. For example, by this I mean a customer telling me they will not pay me the last payment because of a situation that was totally out of my control and not my responsibility. It DOES happen.

07-28-2007, 08:31 AM

I do agree with your post in the way you draw your payments. I was just posting a boiler plate type of payment plan.

I have been stuck many times on work done for a homeowner.

07-28-2007, 12:01 PM
to me it seems the best way to protect everyone is by using credit cards. Is there any reason why most contractors don't take cc?

It would be better for the customers because if say the contractor does not come back to finish up the job i can call the cc company and tell them the problem and have them go after the contractors.

For the contractors I understand you will be charged a fee for taking cc. That can be passed onto the customer. You guys can take the cc info up front and no need to keep going after the customer for payments you already got his/her cc info. No more worry about bad checks. I have an internet business and you can just use paypal to run people's cc over the internet. you don't even have to lease any equipments.

It just seems only large companies will take cc but the smaller one or two men shops will take cash and checks only.

08-14-2007, 11:51 AM
I would just like to toss in my perspective about "questioning" the work of any contractor. Contractors, inspectors, and doctors are all of variable quality. They also share the characteristic that they do not have to live with their results. You, as an individual, may know you are good. The people who hire contractors hope this is true, but they really can't be sure.

I do not believe it is reasonable to chastise an owner for questioning what is being done to his home. Even if you are coming from a place where you yourself provide excellent service, you can not generalize your performance to the rest of the world. A "trust the system " approach can yield excellent results, destroy your property, or something in between. If a person is researching something so they can understand what a person they have hired is doing, he should be applauded and assisted for taking the ultimate responsibility. And avoiding potentially destructive repairs.

I have just finished building a house. Even with recommendations and checking with prior customers, there was a huge variance of honesty and competence. One general contractor stole thousands of dollars by pocketing materials payments (yeah, I know - I paid directly for all subsequent materials, but paying the general is normal here). Plumbing was a mess. The foundation had one wall off by 8 feet (my wife spotted it the day before the pour). The sub-foundation drainage was completely incorrect (and some drains left unconnected before concrete pour). It went on and on. I started out trusting the people whose job it was to do these things and not hovering at the site. I wound up acting as the general. Even with the things I could not fix when I found out about them, if I had not validated the work performed I would have a house with many things done incorrectly. Contractor quality and reliability are issues throughout just about any industry. In my career I have had all types of technical contractors with the same spectrum of results.

Simply being a licensed contractor or "being in business" does not automatically require a god-like trust from the customer.

Many things are not found by an inspector. Either because it is something they don't need to inspect or because the inspector is a political appointee who previously sold womens shoes. Reading lots of construction oriented web forums for years, the horror stories about workers and inspectors are common. Ultimately the responsibility is in the hands of the person buying the services. An owner would, in my opinion, be insane not to observe and question things they don't understand or disapprove.

I threw in doctors above as an example of a class of contractors where many of them expect unquestioned delivery of contracted services. I question doctors. I have a right to know what is being done and I always research the drug or process before hand. Even doing this, harm occurs. I identified a drug to which I was allergic. Doctor, because his was bigger than mine, used it anyway. I now have a permanent problem that impacts my quality of life. Two types of cancer not detected in a timely manner despite annual physicals and reported symptoms. They are human and variable. Again; the customer/patient is ultimately responsible for insuring, as much as possible, correct results.

08-14-2007, 02:40 PM
Alternety thanks for your input. I like to be as hands on as I can. We are adding 1800sqft to our house that is why I am here to learn. I know without this forum i would have a much harder time to make sure things are done right.
There are just too many business that rush things and cut corners. If i don't understand it, i will ask. Sometime i feel the contractors are in such rush to finish everything so they can move to the next job. I work on cars all the time and I have not once seen any shop including high price dealers that used a torque wrench to tighten up the lug nuts, they all use the impact gun. Every car has a difference spec on how much torque the lug nuts should be at. It takes MUCH long to do the job the correct way by hand instead of using the impact gun. They are trying to get the cars out of there as fast as they can to make more money. I can understand if I am the owner of the shop, if I take the time to do the job right, I will have to charge more for the same service, or take a less profit per service.

08-14-2007, 03:57 PM
hids2000 - Your welcome. I have seen too many forums (this one is generally NOT one of them) where the professionals range from non-supportive to outright hostility toward "DIY" and anything else relating to a mere customer (who pays their salaries) questioning their actions. They have some valid issues. DIY'rs causing life threatening situations, violating code, etc. But Darwin has explained this process. I do believe there are people that should be prohibited from owning tools (down to the screwdriver), but I do not believe that everyone else should be limited to this level to protect the fatally stupid and people that associate with them. Unlike the US, the universe does not try to create a risk and responsibility free environment. When the sun flares, a bunch of people in a big building voting to disallow that or provide for legal compensation will not be particularly effective.

I really do not think that the processes of the world should be limited to the capabilities of the least knowledgeable, most honest, or the lowest IQ available. Yes this is a rant. And it is probably overkill in terms of the triggering statements. But I just get sick of it. There is a fair chance that anyone that is at least up near either side of the top of the IQ Bell curve can learn about almost anything in their environment. If they choose to do so. Many people have particular learned skills and associated knowledge. Many trades have specialized knowledge and require leaning the appropriate rules (building codes, sub-atomic interactions, clock skew within a quad core microprocessor with a billion or so transistor equivalents, human interfaces to complex systems, inserting your own sequences into a gene, etc.).

Bottom line - it is inappropriate for people with particular skills or knowledge to assume no one else can acquire those skills or knowledge, or understand them. Or that anyone "certified" or doing business using those skills is automatically correct and unquestionable. Or has god-like (or governmental) powers to decide who will have access to knowledge or materials.

Just a note on this general topic: local politicians are suggesting that spray paint be sold only with "proper ID" which will be "recorded". This will prevent graffiti. They base this on the success of the same process for controlling pseudoephedrine decongestant. Which has created massive useless paper work for a huge number of stores (hey, we just went through the 500 million hand written logs and determined Bob is making meth), been a pain in the butt for everyone, significantly increases consumer costs (try to get a bottle of 250 for $10 anymore), and (maybe) outsourced meth products to other areas.

I do understand that this is a disproportionate response. I just need to do it.

Incidentally - Costo uses torque wrenches.