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Running Wire to shed

I have done this before based on a book I read, but I need a refresher. The last time I ran it was for a "shop" in my back yard that had lots of tools, so I ran lots of power (100 amps) with huge wire (2/0?) and 220 power.

This time around I only need enough for several outlets and a couple of lights. Here are some of the specifics:

There are 2 shed about 6 feet apart, both requiring electricity.

They are 60-80 feet away from the pole . . . which houses the main switch. It goes into the house to the breaker box.

The amps required will be small, as the tools are not amp hogs. The biggest is a bench table saw, and it would require a heavy draw at start up (I'm guessing 12-15 amps), but other than that there is not a any big tools. None will be used at the same time.

I would like two fluorescent lights and about 4 plugs one shed, and one light and one plug in the other.

Here are my questions:

Should I run one large wire such as an 8/2 or 10/2, or would it be better to run (2) sets of 12/2 wires?

The lights should consume about 1 amp total if I did my math, so wouldn't it be overkill to have a separate circuit for them?

I would like a 20-40 amp breaker at the pole, then a sub-panel in the shed with 1-3 breakers at it. Maybe a 20a for the outlets in the big shed (connected to 3-4 15a outlets) then a 15a breaker to the lights in both buildings and the lone outlet in the other building. Is this a good approach?

I wold bury it at least 18" underground in the gray pvc conduit using the special gray outside wire that is rated for moisture . . . is this correct? Does underground require metal conduit? I can't remember!

Obviously I need to dust off my electrical book and do some reading. Any other thoughts, suggestions, warnings before I begin laying out the wiring diagram? Thanks, dc.

Re: Running Wire to shed

Being the type that likes to do things only once, I would install the larger wire and subpanel. May want to buy a welder later that requires 55 amps. Here's a handy calculator you might want to bookmark http://www.paigewire.com/pumpWireCalc.htm


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