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Old 06-12-2012, 04:23 AM   #1
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Default Main power wire gauge for 50A panel

I've searched the forum and can't see to find a consistent answer for this. What size wire should I use to go from a 50A breaker in my main panel to a 50A spa panel with GFCI to my control panel? I feel like I've seen both 6 and 8 gauge copper THHN recommended. Also, is conduit needed or can the wire just be run through the wall?

I know there are a lot of other things that factor into this so here are some details...

Spa panel will be within a few feet of my main panel in my garage, which is drywalled.
Probably go with a 12-15' power cable to run from spa panel to control panel.
Including option to run 2 elements at the same time so will be pulling 45+ amps occasionally.

I'm going to have someone install the breaker and spa panel but wanted to be able to tell them exactly what I need and why. It's a friend of a friend of a friend type thing so I'd rather be able to have everything ready for them to just install it.

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:31 AM   #2
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#6 is the way to go. For such a short run, why go with 8? You may save a few dollars but will not technically be "NEC legal". I'd use 6 then when you add a few amps in the future you will not have to worry.

Edit: conduit depends on the application and your local codes. My brewery feed is in conduit but is not required to be...I'm sure that doesn't help you

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Old 06-12-2012, 06:02 PM   #3
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Thanks Ischiavo! Are you recommending using #6 for both the short run to the spa panel and also for the 12-15' main power cord?

The main reason I'm asking about all of this is safety/code...the other reason is that I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to distribute the power inside my panel. I want my terminal blocks or din blocks to be able to handle the incoming wire size.

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Old 06-12-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by summerofgeorge View Post
Thanks Ischiavo! Are you recommending using #6 for both the short run to the spa panel and also for the 12-15' main power cord?

The main reason I'm asking about all of this is safety/code...the other reason is that I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to distribute the power inside my panel. I want my terminal blocks or din blocks to be able to handle the incoming wire size.
Yes, I would use 6 between the breaker and the terminal block in your control panel.

I really like these blocks and have used them in several panels:

http://www.elecdirect.com/product/66...7ea6ffdbd.aspx

You can run your 6 in and tap off to your fusing. They work nice. I usually put in four for the hots, neutral and ground.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by summerofgeorge View Post
Thanks Ischiavo! Are you recommending using #6 for both the short run to the spa panel and also for the 12-15' main power cord?

The main reason I'm asking about all of this is safety/code...the other reason is that I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to distribute the power inside my panel. I want my terminal blocks or din blocks to be able to handle the incoming wire size.
I have 6 running from my panel to the spa to the control panel. Into DINs. The DINs I used can handle the 6# upto 22#. Quick and easy.

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Old 06-14-2012, 01:43 AM   #6
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electrician here. You need 6 awg for 50 amps

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Old 06-14-2012, 01:52 AM   #7
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electrician here. You need 6 awg for 50 amps
That is a huge "depends":

http://www.cerrowire.com/ampacity-charts

Depends on the wire rating and conductor rating.

Take a look at the chart.!
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:00 AM   #8
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That is a huge "depends":

http://www.cerrowire.com/ampacity-charts

Depends on the wire rating and conductor rating.

Take a look at the chart.!
Of course there's a lot more to it. You need to consider ambient temp, raceway (conduit or open air), number of conductors ampacity derating percentages and insulation type. I was just making it easier for him. I know what I do for a living.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:13 AM   #9
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...
I know what I do for a living.
Understood. No problem - However - I took exception to the blanket statement that was made. There is one hell of a lot more to it than that.

It's like the other issue that I have a hard time ignoring. The "percentage rule" for the power draw on a electrical outlet circuit. There is more to it than most "electricians" seem to realize.

Another thing... Never mind - it no longer matters.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:20 AM   #10
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Understood. No problem - However - I took exception to the blanket statement that was made. There is one hell of a lot more to it than that.

It's like the other issue that I have a hard time ignoring. The "percentage rule" for the power draw on a electrical outlet circuit. There is more to it than most "electricians" seem to realize.

Another thing... Never mind - it no longer matters.
no worries here. I was just trying to keep it simple and help. 6 awg is what I would run if it was in my house.
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