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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:37 pm 
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Location: Chatham, NJ, USA
Hi people.

I have a wall box with two dedicated 15 amp circuits going to my studio rooms.
I want to upgrade one of them to 20 amps to put a 20 amp conditioner/regulator on it (and provide power to the entire audio side of the studio).

Can I use the existing cable from the switch box to the socket- basically replace the circuit in the switch box and the sockets at the wall, or do I have to replace the lot?

Pics enclosed...

Is the cabling that is already there dangerous (fyi, it wasn't done by my- I inherited these rooms)

James


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:41 pm 
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Can I use the existing cable from the switch box to the socket- basically replace the circuit in the switch box and the sockets at the wall, or do I have to replace the lot?


You will have to make sure all cable in that circuit (run) is capable of carrying 20 amp load which would be 12 gauge wire (12-2 or 12-3=romex). What you have there is 14 (14-2) gauge wire for 15 amp load (presuming wire in pic is newer... what is sold at most stores and may even be code: 14 gauge is in a white sleeve, 12 gauge is in a yellow sleeve) HD and Lowe's have charts on wall in electrical department to help you out.

Saying it another way... all of the wire which comes from that new 20 amp breaker needs to be 12 gauge, you can not even have 14 gauge at the end of the run, which would be a fire hazard and not to code.

There are a few online DIY's that explain wiring and wire gauge. Might be worth it to do a search and read (maybe re-read :D ) a few, simply because if your asking the above question, for safety sake you should be well informed about what you are going to do. There are also codes for cable length inside receptacles, proper connection methods, how to run the wire through walls, etc... which you should be familiar with for a safe and secure install so that you will feel confident you've done the job correctly, no worries of house burning down.

FYI all of that exposed wire should be run in conduit pipe OR be placed behind drywall (eventually)

Marc

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:16 am 
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Great response, Marc.

Breakers (or fuses) protect the WIRE from overheating, melting, and then shorting and/or catching fire.

FYI, a few years ago, Romex's 12 guage wire came in white jackets, just like 14 guage stuff.

Buy a DIY electrical book to get a good education. And remember: all chages to your electrical system probably require a permit.

--Keith :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:38 am 
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Yeah, what they said.

20 amp requires 12 AWG wire.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:09 am 
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...and to answer the second part of the question, I don't like the looks of that wiring. Piecing the story together from your other posts, that wiring should be either (1) in conduit or (2) behind drywall or something.

Also, please tell me that the protective panel of that breaker box was removed only for the sake of taking the photo, and that it has been carefully replaced! :shock:

What's the story with the box below the outlet in this pic?

Image

Is that a junction box, or an outlet facing the other way? That's probably be a code violation.

If I were you, given that you have a learning curve ahead of you and that stuff is live now, I would have a licensed electrician come in and evaluate the situation. You should pay a pro to fix all of that to make it safe.

--Keith :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:11 am 
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Location: Chatham, NJ, USA
Hi ppl- thanks for the responses.

Yes, the cover for the junction box was removed for the photos and carefully replaced.

The box below the outlet is a second outlet on a separate circuit.

The gauge of the wire is 12:2 - at least that is what the wire cover says.
The outlets are usually covered with drywall- I have removed this as it was all banged up so I am relaying it.

I definitely will not be doing the electrical work myself- I am just trying to get an idea of what to ask for before I call a sparkie.
Being new to the US I am not sure of some of your terminology - (what you call drywall we call gyprock, I think in metric, not imperial, voltage is different- lots of stuff to get up to speed on).

I have a bunch of 2 pin connections in the house that need to be converted to 3 pin so I'll get the sparkie to do the lot.

Any idea of what a sparkie costs in NJ?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:51 am 
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12:2 (or 12-2) means it's 12 guage wire, two conductor (plus ground)... So, in theory, the wire is OK for that being a 20 amp circuit.

Ah, OK -- I see it now... At first that second box looked like there was a wire connecting them. I see now upon closer examination that is not the case. Although, I think there are modern codes that may prohibit "back to back" outlets in the same stud bay... :roll:

octatonic wrote:
Being new to the US I am not sure of some of your terminology - (what you call drywall we call gyprock, I think in metric, not imperial, voltage is different- lots of stuff to get up to speed on). . . Any idea of what a sparkie costs in NJ?

:D And what you call a "sparkie," we call an electrician! ;-) I've never heard them called "sparkies" before... But I like it! 8)

I have no idea of the costs... :roll: ...But hopefully you can get some free estimates and quick consultations.

Welcome to our side of the pond! :)

--Keith :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:56 am 
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Honestly, IF all the wire in your circuit runs is 12 gauge (12 AWG wire)... you can do that work yourself. It's not that hard, just make sure to be safe!!!

As far as the 2 pin receptacles go... you may as well pull the covers off those boxes and check to see if there is a ground wire in there. Hopefully you should have black=hot, white= neutral and a bare wire coming from the end of every wire. The bare wire should be tied/attached to the handy boxes (metal box receptacle sits in). Wires should be staples to studs inside wall making it really hard to pull an excess slack through box.


Marc

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:05 am 
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Location: Chatham, NJ, USA
sharward wrote:
12:2 (or 12-2) means it's 12 guage wire, two conductor (plus ground)... So, in theory, the wire is OK for that being a 20 amp circuit.

Ah, OK -- I see it now... At first that second box looked like there was a wire connecting them. I see now upon closer examination that is not the case. Although, I think there are modern codes that may prohibit "back to back" outlets in the same stud bay... :roll:

octatonic wrote:
Being new to the US I am not sure of some of your terminology - (what you call drywall we call gyprock, I think in metric, not imperial, voltage is different- lots of stuff to get up to speed on). . . Any idea of what a sparkie costs in NJ?

:D And what you call a "sparkie," we call an electrician! ;-) I've never heard them called "sparkies" before... But I like it! 8)

I have no idea of the costs... :roll: ...But hopefully you can get some free estimates and quick consultations.

Welcome to our side of the pond! :)

--Keith :mrgreen:

--


Hi Keith,

I am actually Australian by birth- but have lived in Europe for the last decade- it gets a bit confusing :-)

Yup- Sparkies, Chippies and Gyppies for Electricians, Carpenters and Gyprockers.

I can move one of the outlets to a different stud easily enough- given they are on their own circuits, is it "completely safe" to do so if the circuits are turned to off on the junction box?

Should that wire be in a conduit- ir is it fine and safe the way it is?

If I was to change to the 20amp circuit myself should I flix the 100 amp switch to OFF before doing so (cutting the power totally to the house).
Is removing the 15amp circuit simple- do I have to connect the ground separately?

I am just looking for information at this stage- I am not intending to do ANYTHING right now, until I know a lot more- perhaps not even then.

Many thanks for this btw...

James

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:13 am 
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Quote:
If I was to change to the 20amp circuit myself should I flix the 100 amp switch to OFF before doing so (cutting the power totally to the house).
Is removing the 15amp circuit simple- do I have to connect the ground separately?


Changing the breaker in the box is simple. However, if you've never done one before, I would definately recommend turning off the "Main" breaker. This is usually the 100 or 200 amp breaker at the top of the box. Keep in mind, the 2 large lugnuts on the top, are still hot, even with the breaker off.

The breakers just pop out from the center, outward. Usually you'll need a flat head screwdriver to pop it out.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:14 am 
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If I can chime in here,,,,if you want to work on a circuit yourself, it might be advisable to buy (or make) a simple inexpensive test light and have it plugged into the outlet you want to work on. Then simply turn off the breaker for that circuit (you'll know obviously when the test light goes off). then its safe to work on that circuit. (then you dont have to turn off the whole house breaker, just to work on 1 circuit) Then use the test light everywhere your going to work to make sure that outlet is on the circuit thats turned off.

As far as installing breakers, do so as advised above, but when you install the new breaker, install it with the breaker in the OFF position, then click it on once its in place. (This is if your putting in a breaker in a live panel).

And remember simply,,,,its 14 Ga Wire for 15 Amp circuits,,,and 12 ga Wire for 20 Amp Circuits.

And if your going to move an outlet, remember some codes require if you use the plastic boxes to house the outlet (without the metal screw clamps inside the box), that you have the romex (wire, cable) stapled within a certain number of inches outside the box (to the stud) to secure the wire. I think it has to be within 3" here. And BE CAREFUL NOT to run the staple into the romex.

Octatonic,,, my In-Laws live in Chatham NJ. Wonder how close you are to them?? :)

Peace
AJ


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:45 pm 
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romex (wire, cable) stapled within a certain number of inches outside the box (to the stud) to secure the wire. I think it has to be within 3" here.


National Electric Code is 6" from the box and every 6' there after for normal 14 or 12 wire, code does vary for different wire and region. Running through a stud, joist, top plate or any other lumber via drilling a hole for the wire counts as a fastener or staple.

Running wire in an attic, above ceiling joists/bottom chord is either a different story OR inspectors in my area don't care. On same note there is either no code or my inspectors do not care about low voltage wire.

Just bought a book, Black & Decker " The Complete Guide to Home Wiring"... it's all in there with pics. Also hunted found and downloaded a copy of NEC 2005 which is just coming into effect in my area, even though NEC 2006 has already been written and for sale.

Marc

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As of Jun 2011, have not finished studio. But working as The One Man Band Marc Dobson which hopefully will continue up my career to a point where I can afford to finish my build.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:20 am 
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A Sparkie is a constuction trade worker lingo. Heating and Cooling guys are known as tin-knockers,carpenters are sometimes called woodbutchers, every trade has a different nickname. :D I have the plesure of working with all of them. 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:22 am 
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Location: Chatham, NJ, USA
studio911 wrote:
Octatonic,,, my In-Laws live in Chatham NJ. Wonder how close you are to them?? :)

Peace
AJ


Thanks for the help AJ.
I live in Green Village, just near chatham.

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James Richmond


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