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Thread: 16 Gauge Wire in Circuit?

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    DIY Junior Member achaean27's Avatar
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    Default 16 Gauge Wire in Circuit?

    I have a setup where I need to connect a pump (ac motor) to a relay switch that is hard wired to a 15 amp electrical circuit (14 gauge wire). The maximum wire size to connect the pump motor is 16 gauge. Below would be the setup:

    15 amp breaker @ 14 gauge wire --> Relay --> Pump

    The amp draw of the pump is no more than 3 amps. Most of the time it would be 1.5 amps.

    My question is, can I connect a 16 gauge wire from the relay to the pump? Is there a better way to wire this?

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    "The maximum wire size to connect the pump motor is 16 gauge"

    If the pump comes from the manufacturer with 16 ga, you can wire that to the relay. But you cannot use any 16 ga anywhere else in your rig, it all must be 14 ga.

    Why is the maximum to the pump 16 ga? Why can it not be 14 ga?

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Default How to determine which wires are in a three wire circuit when six wires are in a....

    Sorry, wrong place.
    Last edited by Homeownerinburb; 05-14-2013 at 03:06 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member achaean27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeownerinburb View Post
    "The maximum wire size to connect the pump motor is 16 gauge"

    If the pump comes from the manufacturer with 16 ga, you can wire that to the relay. But you cannot use any 16 ga anywhere else in your rig, it all must be 14 ga.

    Why is the maximum to the pump 16 ga? Why can it not be 14 ga?
    I'm not sure why the motor is 16 ga, but that's what the technician says. Thank you for the advice, I'll give it a try just to the relay.

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by achaean27 View Post
    I'm not sure why the motor is 16 ga, but that's what the technician says. Thank you for the advice, I'll give it a try just to the relay.
    The manufacturer is not bound by the code the way we are.

    The cords on the various things you plug into a 20 amp general purpose circuit are not 12 ga, are they? They are large enough for the item being plugged in.

    Look inside a dish washer some time. Not much 12 ga in there.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There is seldom a "maximum" wire size for anything, unless you try to use a wire that exceeds the capacity of the connectors.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The manufacturer of the device knows the internal load and needs of what's inside and then, it is tested for proper operation so knowing what they know, they can and often do use smaller wires than the circuit that may feed it. Up to the device, the wire must be sized based on the protection device (the fuse or CB)...after that, in the device, anything goes once it has passed testing. This is why you can plug in a lamp with a 50W (less than 0.5A) load into say a 20A branch circuit.
    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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