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Thread: Power to a pole barn

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member lipripper's Avatar
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    Default Power to a pole barn

    My brother in law used our barn for a short period of time and he had elec. service ran to it. He did the minimum to pass code(here in tn it is one light,one switch and one receptacle,all in conduit)I believe.Anyway, now he is gone and he removed his meter box,breaker panel,etc and put it in his new location.After he got his 1st inspection passed,he just went splice crazy and ran wire everywhere,and now I am stuck with having to remove it just to repass inspection.Here is the question,what do I need to buy in terms of meter base,breaker panel,etc. to get maybe 5 receptacles,4 lights and a few switches.I will probably just put a camper in there for now,so need enough juice to power it,and some outdoor lighting.
    Will this work. I am no electrician ,just want to make sure I get the electrician the rite stuff the 1st time. Thanks Scott
    http://www.****.com/itm/643511-200A-...item3f1556a24d

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you only have one circuit, and don't use a subpanel, you don't need anything other than what's likely there. Unless there's a very good reason to have a separate meter, it generally doesn't make much of any sense to do it for an outbuilding. A second meter means a second base charge, separate billing in addition to whatever electricity cost you might use...better to just run it off the main panel.

    You can put as many receptacles on a single circuit as you want. You have to determine what you need, and what load there is. If it is larger than what one circuit will support, you'll need to run sufficiently sized new wire (a 4-wire circuit) off the main panel in the house out to a new subpanel in the barn. then, you can add as many circuits as you want, again, assuming your main feed is sufficiently sized. Then, you could shut the entire barn off with the breaker feeding it in the main panel, or out at the subpanel, individual circuits.

    IOW, if done properly, you could add all sorts of lights and receptacles off a single circuit. You may not be able to power everything at once, but to get more than one circuit, you need a subpanel (or a completely new service).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member lipripper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info,but I guess I didn't give enuff info in the 1st comment.There is no house or power at the barn.My brotherinlaw had the eleccompany run power to it,then when he relocated,he wanted his meter base back for his new place and left me with nothing there.so the power company removed the meter and the 300' of wire from the closest power pole.In order for me to get service(dont mind another bill) I have to remove all of the wiring he left inside the barn and run it in conduit(local code says so?) So I am asking what I need to put outside for the power company to put their meter in.Would the aforementioned panel work?

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Oh. The barn is not an 'outbuilding'?

    There is no other building on the same property with a meter and a service panel?

    Why do you need power at this barn? How many hours per day/week/month/year is there any sort of load on it? A small generator might do all you need?

    Assuming you actually do want a service, I cannot speak for TN, but national standards would have:

    A service panel. The smallest that you can use, I think, is a 60 amp. Go ahead and get an exterior style panel, even if it is going inside the barn. That is about $5 more, and your barn is not as water tight as a house.

    You need two grounds. In a house one is the plumbing system, which serves two purposes, to make having plumbing in combination with electricity safer, and to save the minimal cost of a second rod.

    Get two rods. They need to be 10' apart.

    The power co just needs a structurally sound place to hang the meter. Assuming you just put up a meter socket. It is up to you to run from that to the service panel.

    There are panels that are "combination" which means that they mount the meter and have breakers in them. The smallest that I know of is 100 amp. These are available in exterior use (in CA most main panels are on the outside of the house). They don't cost a fortune.

    Look up the meaning of "main lug" and "main breaker". There is a newer rule that requires that one be able to shut off all the power to a structure with six or less hand motions. A main breaker is the easiest way to do that. A 100 amp combination panel would come with one pre-installed.

    300' from the pole is a LONG way. Are there poles along the way?

    Your code demands conduit? For a barn??? Will they permit plastic? Very easy to work with. Cheap, too. Also find out what their attitude is toward GFIs.

    Kick that around.

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    DIY Junior Member lipripper's Avatar
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    Thanks .that's right,it is not an "outbuilding". However we do spend spend quite alot of time on the property ,and the barn is where we store alot of stuff.Boats,hunting vehicle,4wheeler,etc. and have had problems with theft lately.So I would like to "light it up" and put some security in it.Also would be convenient to have power tools to work on stuff and to provide light so we can stay past dark! long term goals are to build on the property,but for now I suppose 100 amp would be enuff. BTW the 300' from the nearest pole is run in conduit underground,really close to pushing local "distance limits",so I really want to make sure I get the right stuff for the power co. to set their meter in.I will have a licensed electrician wire it all up,just saw some panels for sale on **** and was wondering if they would work.Sounds like a combination panel is what I will get.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    100 amp will be vastly more than enough. My home is 1800sqft, with a 4 ton AC, and is serviced by a 100 amp panel, although that is a sub panel that had been the original panel, the garage has a 200 amp panel on it that powers the garage and the sub. Remember that a 100 amp panel means two 100 amp legs at opposite ends of the phase.

    If you had a 240v tool that drew 10 amps, it would draw them from both legs and leave you with 90 amps on each leg.

    You will not be air-conditioning this thing and it doubt that you will instal a jacuzzi, so there is zero concern that you would need more than 100 amps.

    What might be worth doing, to save on the cost of the wire in the conduit, is to install a lower amp main breaker.

    What sort of bites is that the ampacity of the wire that one buys is not well in sync with the size of the breakers on the market, and one tends to buy larger wire for the service than is utterly necessary. This is not an issue so much if one has a riser for a whip from a pole 30' away and you only need to buy 30' of wire.

    But you are looking at 1000' feet. You may well do better to have a meter socket and a separate main breaker or main lugs 60 amp panel. The cost of your wire would be halved.

    If, however, you intend to build a full sized, to be occupied year round home on the property, then a 100 amp service might be better. But you need to be sure you will be building that house, and it should be within the decade, or the cost of 1000' of wire might not make much sense.

    Square D makes a very nice eight space panel in both indoor and out door configurations. You would buy a two pole 60 amp breaker and bring the power into that, then install whatever breakers you needed as branch circuits. You would be able to shut off power to the whole structure with the 60 amp breaker.

    That would be my route.

    Hell, a 30 amp service, if your code permitted, would almost certainly support what you need. Research how much 1000' of 10 gauge thwn or thhn would cost, to get an idea of how little that much copper would cost. And then you would not be flinching when you built the new house and pulled the wire out of the conduit. But as I say, it is nearly universal that 60 amp is the minimum. Possibly for a barn an exception is made.

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