Electrical Boxes

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Jena, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Ok, first in what I know will be a series of dumb questions...

    I will go to the electric supply place to get my stuff, but I was looking at Lowe's on-line to get an idea of what I need. Too many choices for what I thought was an easy deal.

    I know I want metal boxes, rather than plastic, since they are liable to have things smack against them, etc.

    I know I want to screw them in, as nails just won't do it with the hard wood.

    I know that I need to protect the wiring from lots of dust, possibly being pooped on, etc.

    So...is just any old metal box ok, or are there ones that are more appropriate choices? I'll ask the electric supply guys, but I don't want to walk in there clueless. Something about a clueless blonde that makes guys see $$$$ :)

    I also want to make some of my outlets have four receptacles instead of just two. So I just get the 4" boxes and install two outlet thingys when I get that far? And just get the smaller boxes for the places I want regular outlets.

    Do I go ahead and knock out the knock outs before I screw them in? I'll know which way the wires will be going in/out, and it seems like it would be harder to knock them out once they are stuck to a wall.

    And final question...should I buy like the whole box thing at once....box, cover, whatever goes inside, or just get the boxes for now and go back when I've seen that it's going to work the way I think it is?

    Thanks
    Jena
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    I wouldnt worry about the dust/poop/etc getting on the wires. Romex will be able to withstand that.

    If you want a single receptical then get a single gang nail on box (you can screw it on instead of using nails). If you want 2 recepticals then get a doulbe gang box.

    If you use a 4" square box then you will need whats called a mud ring for them.
    The same boxes would be used for switches and recepticals alike, just depends on how many devices(switches or recepticals) you need in each location.

    I would wait to knock out the boxes until you have the romex ran to the box. Any holes you may knock out and not use must have a K.O. seal installed to plug the holes.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Jena, tell the counterperson what you want to use the utility boxes for. There are a great range of boxes. Some are common, cheap; others are dust proof, some are explosion proof, etc. The price of the boxes escalate with the features. Hospital type are totally cost prohibitive. I suggest that you use the plastic boxes as they are more dust proof and they insulate themselves due to the material used. The metal boxes will rust in time in the amonia atmosphere. I suggest that you actually run the pvc conduit to the boxes to give protection to the wiring and to reduce access into the boxes by insects. There are hinged covers that will protect the receptacles when a plug is not inserted. These are cheap and also help with protection the contacts inside the receptacles. Grounding the system adequately is a precaution that you will want to take also, particularly if you have heated waterers. You do not want to have a chance of having different ground potentials as this can shock animals and cause them stress resulting in unthrifty growth. This occurs mostly with dairy farmers and their milking equipment.
     
  4. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    You will see the difference in opinions here.

    I don't like the plastic boxes. Don't trust them in an electrical fire situation. They make a fiberglass type box that is far better if you don't like metal. Personally I always prefer metal because they are going to be the best to absorb a potential fire situation. All depends on what you are trying to protect against.

    You can buy the sealed outdoor type enclosures. Those are the ones with the little doors or flaps that cover the receptacles when not in use. It is all about something called NEMA ratings. NEMA 4 is the best for you. Is weather tight and spray proof for indirect spray. They have gaskets and seals. Those enclosures come in aluminum or a good quality plastic PVC. Cost a little more but in your case probably worth.

    Can use either conduit, BX cable or just plain Romex and electrical tape the connector to seal the box.
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............I won't duplicate the accurate advise you've already been given . In addition , you might familiarize yourself with how to wire Alternate switches , whereby you have (2) switches to control a...Single... light\receptacle which makes it convenient , in some circumstances , when it keeps you from having to walk all the way across a room to turn off a machine\light . Also , educate yourself about the difference between a Home Run and the normal multiple receptacle circuit . Amps x volts = watts . This is the basic formula for calculating a "load" which dictates the size of the wire(gauge) needed as well as the Size of the Circuit breaker .
    ................Rule...The Smaller the # , the Bigger the Size(diameter) of the wire !! .
    ................BUY yourself the Best set of Wire cutters you can afford , your forearms will thank You ! And , same thing for Wire strippers :eek: ! fordy.. :)
     
  6. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Hope this doesn't confuse anyone... Romex will withstand poop & such reasonably well but it won't stand up to teeth. It's a good idea to sleeve the romex through a piece of metal conduit down into the box. You don't have to have all of the romex in conduit, just enough to keep curious critters from chewing on the covering. Make sure the exposed end of the conduit (not the box end) doesn't cut into the romex sheath. Conduit takes a little longer to install and cost a bit more, but it will keep the critters from chewing through the wire.

    Also, consider mounting the boxes on the side of the stud rather than the face. A box that sticks out creates a hazard to both you and the animals, plus gives the critters something to rub on if they have an itch.

    I use both these techniques regardless of where in the barn the electric is run as the critters never stay where they are suppose to. Hope this helps.
     
  7. aaatraker

    aaatraker Well-Known Member

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    first go to home depot or lowes or the bookstore get the black and decker electrical home wiring book. study it. learn the correct terms for electrical parts, learn how to run circuits and hook up wires to receptacles, how to determine loads and wire size, learn the correct way to ground your circuits. then you can plan your project correctly. it has lots of color pictures and good info, so you will easily understand it.

    as far as buying at a electrical supply house or home depot or lowes, i see no difference in the parts if you buy spec grade as i do they both come in the same box both ul listed and both made in mexico. supply houses are for contractors who get a wholesale price not a retail price you'll pay more at the supply house for the same thing. put gfic outlet at your work bench area run it on a seperate circuit so it won't trip out your heat lamps. get a gfic that you plug a extension cord into for when you use tools away from your bench, gfic are to protect you, not equipment. run all the circuits up higher then your animals can reach, then come down the sides of the 2x4s, running the romexor uf cable in pvc conduit where they can reach. run #12 wire and 20 amp circuits i'd run uf cable instead of plain romex for the moisture protection it gives, barns never seem to be dry

    kurt
     
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I have found that conduits cause problems more than just romex. I have one spot in the feed shed where there is conduit and it is a constant battle to keep mice out of there. The conduit gives mice a place to squeeze into and start chewing wires. I guess it either has to be totally in conduit or not at all and I'm going to go with not at all.

    I have never had a problem with all the romex that is just stapled to the walls. This barn only has birds in it and they never bother it as long as it is run along the walls, or top of the walls, bottom of the beams or whatever so it's out of the way.

    I will go to Lowe's tonight and look for the book.

    Jena
     
  9. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    Jena - you might try filling the end of the conduit with either automotive "Form-A-Gasket" or household caulk to combat your mice problem. It works for me.
     
  10. aaatraker

    aaatraker Well-Known Member

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    the conduit suggestion was if you needed it for protection from chewing animals, if not don't. you can use the closed cell spray foam insulation thats used around doors and windows to seal that conduit. why is the conduit open? maybe repairing it is better, if it pvc conduit, you could get a pvc coulping cut it in half and glue the halves over the break.

    if you don't have a electrical tester, get one. buy a digital meter. the reason i suggest this is because the solenoid type testers like wiggy's and the ones that have a series of lights can light up from 100-120volts on the 120volt mark or light, unless you use it enough you won't be able to tell the difference. i know others won't agree with me but your better off seeing numbers, plus you can use the meter to troubleshoot broken wires switches, blown fuses, troubleshoot the car electrical etc. you can get a greenlee brand at lowes for $40-60 i think, its a good brand, ideal is another good brand. can't recommend any radio shack or sears meters never used them nor would i.

    kurt
     
  11. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Kurt,

    Got the book. Very clear, great pictures! Thanks!

    Jena
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To code & to prevent such problems, conduit should have a box on each end of it, you use a clamp for just the Romex going out, run the wire from box to box. Don't just run the Romex out the end of a conduit, that lets critters & moisture in & the wire can chaff on the edge of the tube.

    --->Paul
     
  13. Steve in Ohio

    Steve in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree at all,unless you have a meter with true RMS which most low end digital meters don't.............you can and will get false readings of up to 50%.No thanks..............when working with AC I'll take a load type tester anyday.DC and 12volt DC automotive circuits a low end meter will do.
     
  14. aaatraker

    aaatraker Well-Known Member

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    15 to 20 % difference, and thats with harmonics involved
    home/ homestead power systems have almost no harmonic componet that would matter in the reading, an avg. sensing meter will work just fine. you need large amounts of harmonic producing componets such as florescent lights on every floor, laser printers, copy machines, ac drives, switching power supplies found in computers, the large amounts needed are found in office buildings, commerical buildings and industrail plants, not in the home.
    kurt
     
  15. Steve in Ohio

    Steve in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Better try again Ace,how much time do you spend on residential power distribution???do you do this for a living????do you really understand AC phase angles?????
     
  16. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It wasn't clear from the original question, but it sounds like this might be barn wiring that you are asking about.
    The National Electrical Code requires non-metallic boxes in barns and other damp locations due to corrosion concerns.

    Jim
     
  17. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Steve, Kurt you guys are both great contributers here but please keep your personal disagreements limited to PM messages.
     
  18. aaatraker

    aaatraker Well-Known Member

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    your right, won't happen again.

    kurt