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  • Sammy Upgrades His Grid

    I'm in the middle of a side project, as usual

    Being a geezer, I decided I needed another 17,000Btu's in the can.

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    The breaker panel is powered by a 6/3 SOOW drop cord extending from the sub panel at the power pole. This handles two heaters, both 5Kw. Because the drop cord is usually reserved for running a welder, it has a 50amp breaker at the sub panel. However, the heaters are about 21amps per heater. The breakers are 30amp breakers to tailor the situation to the smaller individual draws from each heater. So...……..the panel is essentially a fancified gang box I guess. And NO............I don't run the welder, and heaters, at the same time on this drop cord. I play musical drop cords.

    So, fast forward...……..I decided to add another heating unit. Comfort Zone CZ22 BTW...…….GREAT little heaters for the bucks. Paid $89 each at Atwoods.

    Anyways...….the 6ga won't handle 3 heaters. So, I'm running the 3rd heater off the drop that usually runs the compressor, or 220v wire welder. 10/3 SOOW.

    IT SUDDENLY OCCURED TO ME THAT UP TILL POWERING THE FIRST 2 HEATERS THAT I PREVIOUSLY HAD ABSOLUTELY NO GROUND RETURN FROM THE CONTAINER SKIN TO THE SUB PANEL. With the exception of possibly a very weak equipment ground going back thru the metal light fixtures, which are bolted to the container ceiling.

    In addition...……..I gotta do this to all the extension cord runs in my way of thinking. Even though I now have the skin grounded thru the heater boxes, I'd feel better if each cord ran to a box,, that is in turn bonded to the skin like the heaters are. Up till now, there hasn't been any means of returning a fault to the power company source if a frayed cord contacted the skin of the container.

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    Besides...……….I just gotta plain old stinkin' mess goin' on. Been this way for almost 2 decades. I need to get the wires up off the floor to keep them away from rodents (see the chew marks on the one cord). Plan is to get it all hung at knee level, with standard receptacles, instead of cord ends. Because this is a wet area, I'd like to run GFCI's on the other end of the cords,, but they're so dam unreliable that I don't wanna mess with them. Wind up spending half the day running to flip them when they puke with sudden loads. They might work for the lighting, and coolant pump circuits......but probably won't work well with the milling machine, and drill press, circuits. The lathe, compressor, and heating units, are dry.....so I don't figure I'll bother with a GFCI in those circuits.

    This is why I take a year to get anything done Supposed to be making a bender to fix the truck, but now I'm off on another tangent.

  • #2
    Originally posted by farmersamm View Post
    ... I PREVIOUSLY HAD ABSOLUTELY NO GROUND RETURN FROM THE CONTAINER SKIN TO THE SUB PANEL...
    Wasn't the panel physically screwed to the container wall, and its own grounding buss bonded to its box?

    All those metallic j-boxes have a bonding jumper from the grounds to the threaded hole in the back of the box, right?

    GFCI receptacles are pretty reliable. It's the new blackmagic AFCI tech that's bullsh!t and causes problems. But I still wouldn't use GFCI for unmonitored critical loads like freezers, just in case of lightning transients and other possibilities.

    I would GFCI anything that has me holding the tool being powered by it.
    Last edited by MAC702; 02-24-2020, 09:18 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MAC702 View Post
      Wasn't the panel physically screwed to the container wall, and its own grounding buss bonded to its box?

      All those metallic j-boxes have a bonding jumper from the grounds to the threaded hole in the back of the box, right?

      GFCI receptacles are pretty reliable. It's the new blackmagic AFCI tech that's bullsh!t and causes problems. But I still wouldn't use GFCI for unmonitored critical loads like freezers, just in case of lightning transients and other possibilities.

      I would GFCI anything that has me holding the tool being powered by it.
      I shoulda been more clear.

      The panel in the top of the pic is indeed bonded to the skin, and the panel is bonded to the ground. But it's the first installation of its kind in almost 20yrs in this container. Up till this was installed, about a month ago, there was no provision for grounding the skin. Everything was run with fully insulated extension cords.

      So, if I'm correct...…………..until this panel was installed...…..any power conductor touching the skin, energized the skin, with no way to return that energy to the source via an equipment ground. Far as I reckon.....any equipment grounds on the milling machine, drill press, lathe, and compressor were ineffective because all of that stuff is mounted on the wooden floor of the container, so there's no continuity between those grounds, and the skin.

      I think I'm thinking right...…………..****, I dunno

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      • #4
        So, an extension cord, chewed by a rat, which might expose the hot, which could contact the skin, wouldn't trip the breaker because it hasn't made a circuit back to the transformer. The only circuit to anything, would be me grabbing the handles on the container when I opened it in the morning.

        And what with conditions lately...……...I'd be a good earth ground.

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        • #5
          Ah, yes; I understand now. I'm very glad you getting the electrical bonding and grounding done!

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          • #6
            Got all the spaghetti connected.

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            Somehow managed to shove it all back in the box, and get the cover on.

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            And now we gots the Central Command for the Climate Control Center. ROFLMAO.

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            Figgered I oughta label the stupid thing for when Alzheimers sets in. I KNOW it's a limited amp deal, but with the 6-50 receptacle, it might just fool me one of these days...…….when I'm peein' in my pants, which will probably be unzipped. K'kins is gonna have to put up with the old age thing. I don't like it. I wish she had a better alternative.

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            • #7
              The main wiring, running up to the ceiling is for the next ceiling mounted heater.

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ID:	708129Gonna be mounted where the excess wire is hangin' down.

              BUT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a two pronged attack!!!!!! The receptacle is for runnin' a little floor level heater, for when my tootsies get a little chilly.

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ID:	708130Sixty stinkin' dollars worth of cold roll layin' next to a 70 dollar heater. It all adds up I guess. Anyways...…..the stupid thing has a 6-30 plug, and it has to have the companion receptacle. Plan is to make an extension cord that plugs into the 6-50 receptacle (because 6-50 is a common receptacle/plug), with the termination being the weird 6-30 thingy. Is what it is I guess.

              So, at this point.........we're gonna have two heaters up by the door.....either two ceiling mount heaters, or the floor level heater + 1 ceiling mount.

              On the other end............1 ceiling mount heater

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              So now I have 51,000Btu's heating an 8x25 space. I'm old,, and I deserve it!!!! Closing off the backside of the container added mega comfort. No sense heating space ya don't use. This un-insulated crap is expensive to heat. Cheap to buy into a container setup, but it bites yer azz down the road. ****, been the main indoor shop for 2 decades. Is what it is.

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              • #8
                BTW...………...… I knew those stupid arrow shaped magnets were good for something, (sure aren't good for welding). They do a dandy job of holding the plastic tarps to the ceiling.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by farmersamm View Post
                  ...Plan is to make an extension cord that plugs into the 6-50 receptacle (because 6-50 is a common receptacle/plug), with the termination being the weird 6-30 thingy. ...
                  Or chop off the factory's 6-30P and put on a 6-50P. Like you say, it's the common configuration in welding shops, and even a 20A 240V welding machine or plasma cutter comes with the big 6-50 plug.

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                  • #10
                    I get the new ceiling mount heater out of the box, and run a temporary hookup to see if it works. Be a few days till I actually get it installed up in the ceiling, but need to see if it's functional in case I gotta return it.

                    Works fine...……...SORTA. Seems a little anemic, not spinning as fast as the other heaters.

                    So I check voltage drop at the heater...…..it's dropping from 250 to 239. And, if the other 2 heaters are running, and the new heater is running...…….they all slow down. This ain't right.

                    I toddle on out to the power pole, and take a look inside the panel.

                    I'm looking at the 240 circuits first...………..

                    The 50amp welder circuit (which is also used to feed the 2 existing heaters), is fed with 6ga wire...…….Ok there.

                    The 30amp compressor circuit (which will feed the new heater), is fed with 12ga wire. HOLY CRAPPOLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I probably did this so's the wire would fit the conduit (the receptacles for 50, and 30, amp circuits are inline on a single conduit run, and it's only 1" conduit. MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                    AND IT AIN'T ON A GANGED BREAKER...……….IT'S ON 2 (TWO) SINGLE POLE BREAKERS. MORON MORON MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I wired the panel about 20yrs ago, and didn't know crap about this sorta thing back then.

                    So, next, I take a look at the feed wires...……………..I'M RUNNING THE WHOLE PANEL ON 6ga (DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) This mighta been ok back when all I owned was a welder, and a few grinders.

                    Now, I got a 240v 50a, 240v 30a, 240v 20a, and two 120v 20a, receptacles runnin' off that box!!!!!!!

                    Now, we're lookin' at upgrading the feeder wires to 4ga. Not adequate if everything was drawing a load at once, but fine for the way I run things. Although I might do some thinkin' on that. 3 heaters, milling machine, and bandsaw,, running together...……….like I say, gotta maybe do some thinkin'

                    Anyways......now for the global view. Keep getting servor response errors, so I'll do it in another post.

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                    • #11
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                      The power company gives you a disconnect below the meter, which is dandy.

                      Well, when I ran the panel (years ago), I took a look at the disconnect, and saw that the neutral was bonded to the meter/disconnect box, and the neutral bus had a ground conductor to earth.

                      So..........I ran two hots, and a neutral, to the new panel that I hung on the pole. It's connected to the disconnect with Rain Tite conduit that has coiled wire, and foil, inside a plastic sheath (it's considered metallic I guess). I ohmed the new panel, and the disconnect, which showed that the conduit is an electrical pathway. (My thinking, at the time was, even if the neutral should fail, the conduit will still provide a ground path to the disconnect neutral) I might have even run an additional bare ground thru the conduit to the disconnect neutral bus......won't know till I take some pics in the morning.

                      This oughta perk yer ears up.

                      I wired the panel as if it were a main panel CONTAINING the service disconnect, with an attendant earth ground.

                      So, as ya can imagine...............I'm running all equpment grounds to the neutral inside the panel, and the neutral is bonded to the panel.

                      And, the panel has no earth ground. Lose the neutral from the panel to the disconnect, and it's all hangin' on a spindly little 12ga bare ground wire to get the current back to the disconnect. I got parallel pathways now. GEEZ!! Worst thing is.............I could have a fault, and not even know it. The bonded ground will carry current that's supposed to be on the neutral wire.

                      This whole stinkin' thing shoulda been wired with a 4 wire feed. So, guess who's takin' another trip to the electrical store in the AM. GEEZ!!!!!!!!!!!

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                      • #12
                        Did some pics this morning, and it's a mixed review I guess.

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                        Other than some incorrectly sized wires, I might be compliant with Pre 2008 NEC. I do know that the COOP only asked for an additional earth ground on the panel when they came out and replaced the pole some years back.

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                        ​​
                        1. Two single pole breakers for 240 circuit......fail
                        2. 12ga wire for 30amp 240v circuit.....fail
                        3. Single ground wire for both 50, and 30amp, circuits...…..I believe this is a fail, not sure...…..and the wire is too small (12ga), another fail


                        Pre 2008,, the bonded neutral is probably fine. This installation is a 3 wire to main configuration (I didn't have an additional ground wire running to the main, as I thought)

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                        So...........let's say I can Grandfather in on the bonded neutral/ground.............. I still need to fix the other problems.

                        For feed size,, I'm thinking I need to go up to 4ga ungrounded conductors. I have to see if they'll fit in the conduit

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                        ANOTHER ISSUE..........Our main service is 100amps. This is an older house, and that was standard when it was built. SO I'M DRAWING (BEFORE THE NEW HEATER) ABOUT 60ish AMPS AT THE SHOP.....IN ADDITION TO WHAT'S GOING TO THE HOUSE.

                        When they replaced the power pole, they offered to put 200amp main service on the pole. Like a dummy, which I am, I said that the old 100amp oughta be fine​ I'm thinkin' I need to call 'em up, and have the 200amp service installed. They don't charge for it,, so it's not a cost issue. This would kill any Grandfather exception for the sub panel,, but I'd rather have it all up to current code.

                        Oh yeah...…….I also might need to run an earth ground from the new 240v sub panel in the container. I believe it's considered a remote panel, being as it's in another "building" This might be wrong, as the main service is grounded, and the sub panel is fed by the main, not by the house panel.
                        Last edited by farmersamm; 02-26-2020, 11:14 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by farmersamm View Post
                          Did some pics this morning, and it's a mixed review I guess.

                          Other than some incorrectly sized wires, I might be compliant with Pre 2008 NEC. I do know that the COOP only asked for an additional earth ground on the panel when they came out and replaced the pole some years back.

                          ​​

                          ​​
                          1. Two single pole breakers for 240 circuit......fail
                          2. 12ga wire for 30amp 240v circuit.....fail
                          3. Single ground wire for both 50, and 30amp, circuits...…..I believe this is a fail, not sure...…..and the wire is too small (12ga), another fail



                          Pre 2008,, the bonded neutral is probably fine. This installation is a 3 wire to main configuration (I didn't have an additional ground wire running to the main, as I thought)



                          So...........let's say I can Grandfather in on the bonded neutral/ground.............. I still need to fix the other problems.

                          For feed size,, I'm thinking I need to go up to 4ga ungrounded conductors. I have to see if they'll fit in the conduit.

                          ANOTHER ISSUE..........Our main service is 100amps. This is an older house, and that was standard when it was built. SO I'M DRAWING (BEFORE THE NEW HEATER) ABOUT 60ish AMPS AT THE SHOP.....IN ADDITION TO WHAT'S GOING TO THE HOUSE.

                          When they replaced the power pole, they offered to put 200amp main service on the pole. Like a dummy, which I am, I said that the old 100amp oughta be fine ​ I'm thinkin' I need to call 'em up, and have the 200amp service installed. They don't charge for it,, so it's not a cost issue. This would kill any Grandfather exception for the sub panel,, but I'd rather have it all up to current code.

                          Oh yeah...…….I also might need to run an earth ground from the new 240v sub panel in the container. I believe it's considered a remote panel, being as it's in another "building" This might be wrong, as the main service is grounded, and the sub panel is fed by the main, not by the house panel.
                          Think you need to do some edits on your image presentations... Display format seems wrong and I can not see them...

                          Dale


                          "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

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                          • #14
                            I can see the pics when I'm logged in, but can't see them when I'm not logged in. Lemme try something. I'm thinking there's a pic limit, or total Kb limit per post.

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                            • #15
                              Ok...……...now when I'm not logged in, I can see all the pics, including the ones in your quote.

                              What I did, was to go back, and delete 2 images from the original post #12. But, the deleted pics show up in your quote...…..weird!!

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