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slankard

Electrical question about 12 gauge ext cords

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As some of you no or may remember, I've been dreaming of setting up a sub panel for my Christmas lights on the north side of my house.  The house sits on the south side of the acre and a quarter lot, but the major street and intersection with the traffic set on the north side (of course).  For years I've disconnected the AC panels on the north side of my house (up and downstairs) and converted them into four 20 amp plugs in, but it's always a hassle, fuses always seem to go out, and I lose my religion every Christmas.  It finally occurred to me, after 22 years here, that I could just have an electrician add four 20 amp breakers with GF plugs to the main box (200 amp box) and I would just be adding an extra 80 foot of length the power would have to travel to get to the north side of my display.  That doesn't seem like that big a deal, now that I think about it.  However,  it's and additional 100 to 150 foot from where I usually tap into the AC units out to where the display sits.  That distance has never been a problem, but I didn't know if adding an extra 80 foot would cause me to lose too much power.  I use 12 gauge ext. cords to all of the displays.  Should I have been doing this the past 20 years, and just didn't realize it?  I don't think there are 10 gauge ext cords, other than for use with RVs, trailers, etc, that I could use.  Correct?  Help.  Please.

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Not sure what this means "For years I've disconnected the AC panels on the north side of my house (up and downstairs) and converted them into four 20 amp plugs in," how did you convert something to 20 amps?  I went worst case and think you just changed out breaker/fuse size, did you change the wires feeding them? over loading a wire designed for 15 amps with 20 amps is a good way to start a fire.  

As to the other question,  12 gauge should be more than enough.  
https://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html,  I guessed you would lose max, 2 volts off the top of my head, this calculator shows less than that.    You won't lose power, the item plugged will use power it needs to get the job done.  Power= Volts x amps,  when the volts go down the amps go up and power should stay the same (ideally and doesn't account for power factor in AC stuff).  

 

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I agree voltage drop should not be a problem. It’s normally only issues for long runs. At work if a cable 4C #12 is over 1000ft you have to increase size to 4C #10. Also they do make large Ext.cords #10 wire but they are $$. Below is one from last year.

On 11/1/2018 at 8:13 PM, Scott Rob said:

I found some more tonight putting up Halloween blow molds. The Orange cords are 240ac twist lock cords other like yellow ones are 30A 120V twist lock. And a smaller sub panel I used in the shield at my old house.

5399BE6B-E135-4CFF-99BE-D6A43E23C7EC.jpeg

34031000-425D-4941-999C-DD584D0C59BD.jpeg

0F1872C3-A1A7-451F-8421-FD8C03BD07D9.jpeg

 

Edited by Scott Rob

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Thank you both for confirming what I should have figured out years ago.  As far as the AC, I would disconnect the wiring from the units going into the box and feed in 12 gauge romex to each pole while switching out the 35 amp fuses for 20 amp.  This gave me two 12 gauge romex cords with plug ins on the end.  It worked, but it was a pain and at least once per season one of the fuses would fail.  I don't know why I got it in my head that running the extra 80 feet would cause a problem.  

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You might want to check opinions about the type of hook-up. It might be cheaper to add a large breaker 2pole 60amp and run one cable 4C #6 to outlet box with breakers( see picture below gray box)or you could use 4C #8 cable and 2pole 40amp breaker(240VAC).Also if it had a 240/120 outlet with 20amp breaker you could use 2 outlet GFCI outdoor box (see green box below) all the way to your set up. Just things to think about good luck.

Or it might work to run from your current   Air condition box and run a shorter cable to an outdoor breaker box with 20amp breakers ( like gray one).

20625058-B50C-4A01-B252-37E1B7FF9B4E.jpeg

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32C3AA7C-214A-4B81-9BBB-017107697493.png

1FDCC96C-A0F1-475B-8866-D6679DAE8C4B.png

Edited by Scott Rob

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I found a picture of sub panel at my old house. I installed a cable 4C#10 and added 2 pole 30amp (240V) breaker from my main panel down to lower yard to green box. It has 4 GFCI outlets outlets and small breaker box with 4-15amp breakers. All inside the green box in the picture.

4ACA68EB-5F81-4776-BC82-38E1DBE890F3.jpeg

Edited by Scott Rob
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the original GFCI outlets that I had added below my main breaker box are in desperate need of help (probably installed 15 years ago.  So, I think I'll just have an electrician redo those original outlets, some of which are really showing wear and tear, and add four more, for a total of 10.  Anyone have a clue what an electrician would charge for that.  That would be replacing six old GFCI outlets and adding four news ones.

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I would call around your area and get a few to come out and give you quotes. The guy next door had a little work done last year to add some outlet in his unfinished. He said it was $120 hour. He paid $300 total. But I have no idea about out your way could be much cheaper or not?

Edited by Scott Rob

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I found some good ideas to think about when you get quotes from electricians.

 Most will bid a total cost for the project. Get multiple, detailed bids on the price of parts and labor for each project in your home. Additionally, make sure all expectations are in writing and that you completely understand the terms and conditions of the work. Talk to your contractor about what happens if you aren't satisfied or if unforeseen circumstances cause changes in the bid. Review all warranties and understand everything included in the estimate. Make sure your electrician is licensed and bonded.

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Thank you so much!  I was wondering if it would cut down on costs if I bought the 10 GFCI outlets ahead of time and had them waiting, as well as the 15 or 20 amp breakers for the four new outlets?

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