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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Magellan
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/26/06

Loc: Enfield, NS Canada
Buried Extension chord? new
      #5603132 - 01/03/13 02:34 PM

I am trying to save money here as it won't be easy to run power to the observatory because I have an R2000 home and can't exactly drill holes so I was thinking about getting good quality extension chords, the locking kind and burying them in PVC topped with styrofoam (for frost)

What does the community think about this method?


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Sean Wood
super member


Reged: 04/19/11

Loc: North Carolina
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Magellan]
      #5603160 - 01/03/13 02:50 PM

How far are you planning on taking the cords and what would your current draw be? That'd be the determining factor. You'll loose voltage/amperage over distance, especially if you don't use a cord with a large enough wire. I might suggest using a solid wire rated for underground with a plug on the end or even fab up a weather proof switch box with a short pig tail to a plug end mounted near what ever exterior outlet you were planing on using, All GFCI compliant fixturing and hardware mind you OR better yet just tie into an exterior outlet if you have one. Ultimately this all would be highly unlikely to be up to code though.

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Magellan
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/26/06

Loc: Enfield, NS Canada
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Sean Wood]
      #5603188 - 01/03/13 03:05 PM

I might be able to use the external tube where the fibre comes into the home and the power, the panel is on that side of the house and I can run it to the GenBox in case I lose power, I wonder how much it would cost me to do that.

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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Magellan]
      #5603192 - 01/03/13 03:07 PM

Waste of time and money.......and dangerous.

You are saving nothing.....probably spending as much as you would if you do it right in the first place.

Let's think about it.

You have already dug a trench, run a section of pvc, etc.....then filled it in. Great. All that is the same whether you plan to put in an extension cord or regular wiring. So, expense is the same.

Now, you want to buy an extension cord and cut off the end (So that it can fit through the PVC). ANd buy a replacement end.

It would have been cheaper to buy wire rated to run through an underground conduit and the necessary end fittings.

Then you want to somehow seal it at both ends. You want to do this whether with code wiring or your jury rig. So, you save no money.

Then, you want to end it somehow. You might save some money here.....you simply have the end of an extension cord. But you have to get a multi--plug power strip to add. Compare that to a wall box mounted inside the observatory.

And when you want to use the invention, you have to plug into the wall outlet at the house. That means you always have an exposed cord running outside, even in the snow and rain......Do you really want that.

Here is something to worry about-- You should know that the conduit buried underground may be waterproof, but it is often filled with water!!!!!! It may be sealed well, and carry (or keep out) flowing water, but unless it is perfectly sealed (and nothing is perfect), air will get in. The air will be moist, and when it gets underground, the water vapor will condense out. Any air that does manage to get out, will not carry this liquid water back out. If you go back to those pvc pipes a couple of years from now, and run a vacuum on one end, you will get water--liquid water--perhaps gallons of it. THere is no consumer extension cord (that I know of) that is certified for long term underwater use like this.

The building code is there for a reason. Just go ahead and enjoy it.

The R2000 specifications will not stand in the way of doing things safely. More importantly, having that connection safe and permanent is not much more work or expense than getting by with your idea. You will be happier in the long run.

The biggest expense/work is the trenching and conduit.......and that is the same regardless of what you put in the conduit.

(By the way--when you dig that trench, put in two or three conduits----pvc is a lot cheaper than digging. You will want communication/ more power/all sorts of things later. )

Alex


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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5603226 - 01/03/13 03:23 PM

I'm with Alex. The cost of a LICENSED Electrician to do the job right the first time is actually cheaper.

Add in that if you have a short leading to a fire your Insurance Company may deny coverage...


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Magellan
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/26/06

Loc: Enfield, NS Canada
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5603231 - 01/03/13 03:28 PM

all very good points, I feel bad even asking now

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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Magellan]
      #5603381 - 01/03/13 05:05 PM

Quote:

all very good points, I feel bad even asking now


That's alright we've scheduled your hanging for tomorrow at sunrise. Later. Mike

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John P
sage


Reged: 01/27/04

Loc: Honeoye Falls, NY USA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5603410 - 01/03/13 05:35 PM

An electrician and direct burial cable with ground fault protection is least expensive, safest and your insurance will remain valid.

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DGB
member
*****

Reged: 05/12/08

Loc: Reva, Virginia USA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Magellan]
      #5603421 - 01/03/13 05:49 PM

By no means, don't feel bad! It was a learning experience without a single $ being spent. I'm not a licensed electrician but ran a 60amp 240v line feed (four wire) from my house power panel to my outside observatory. I made sure I asked the inspectors of EVERY detailed requirement (size wire, type, rating, conduit type, egress, power box, gfci, breakers, EVERYTHING!). They better know local code and I acted as my own general contractor for my home. Perfectly legal where I live. I paid for the proper permit, picked their brains, bought and installed the materiel according to their guidance, they inspected and approved it. I'm comfortable knowing it is done right and covered by my homeowners insurance! You should check with your local permit process, code, and inspection process to see if you can do the same. Insurance companies know how to legally NOT pay out if you don't follow code!

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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05

Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: DGB]
      #5607334 - 01/05/13 09:33 PM

I ran a heavy duty construction-grade orange electric cord from my garage to my roll off observatory for several years. I buried it inside a garden hose. Worked just fine for a temporary setup. I eventually got an electrician mount several ceiling fans in the house whereby I upgraded the observatory electric...hardwired to the garage circuit and buried in conduit. Works fine also.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: bluestar]
      #5607346 - 01/05/13 09:42 PM

I also just run a heavy duty drop cord to my observatory on top of the ground, not buried. Scott from BYO was kind enough to leave his cord for this use. It would cost an arm & a leg to get someone up here to trench it, and then an electrician to hardwire. I simply unplug it from the house when not in use.

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Andre Cruz
member
*****

Reged: 09/12/10

Loc: FL, US
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5607411 - 01/05/13 10:28 PM

I did the exact thing... ran 40 feet in buried PVC from my screened patio. The patio end plugs into a GFCI outlet. In the observatory I cut the end of the extension cord and terminated it on a standard outlet. I have an APC UPS plugged into that and all the equipment plugs into the UPS. All that took less than two hours and has been working fine for two or three years.

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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Andre Cruz]
      #5607983 - 01/06/13 09:55 AM

I have no real problem with using an extension cord to plug the facility into a properly functioning GFCI circuit. Did it myself for a while.

I would say though, that the cord has to be disconnected and picked up when not in use, that it be plugged into a GFCI circuit, that it be properly routed to avoid damage, etc., that it be rated for outdoor use, and not be left out in the rain even though it says its okay to do so, and all those usual caveats......

My earlier answer is simply one of "you save no big money, and put your self in a dangerous situation burying an extension cord in PVC conduit."

Alex


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JR#8
sage


Reged: 08/31/04

Loc: Edison, NJ
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5609185 - 01/06/13 08:29 PM

Since you already have the ditch dug. I would run the PVc Gray pipe. What is the amps your drawing, and the distance from the panel. If your only running a scope and and PC/laptop. You could use 12 ga. THHN wire. try to figure the amps. remember you only want to use 80% of the amps. So if your running at 15-18 amps you should use 12 ga. wire 18-23 amps 10 ga. wire. Not sure if you would need a permit. But here in the states the homeowner is allowed to do any/all electrical work as long as it has a permit and gets inspected but the town inspecter, as long as it passes inspection. is there was to be a problem the insurance co. would cover it.

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SkipW
sage


Reged: 02/03/11

Loc: Oklahoma, USA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: JR#8]
      #5609427 - 01/06/13 11:09 PM

Quote:

Since you already have the ditch dug. I would run the PVc Gray pipe. What is the amps your drawing, and the distance from the panel. If your only running a scope and and PC/laptop. You could use 12 ga. THHN wire. try to figure the amps. remember you only want to use 80% of the amps. So if your running at 15-18 amps you should use 12 ga. wire 18-23 amps 10 ga. wire. Not sure if you would need a permit. But here in the states the homeowner is allowed to do any/all electrical work as long as it has a permit and gets inspected but the town inspecter, as long as it passes inspection. is there was to be a problem the insurance co. would cover it.



THHN is *NOT* rated for wet locations. Buried conduit outdoors is a wet location. THWN is rated for wet locations; sometimes wire is dual rated THHN/THWN, but not always, so check. If you want to pass local inspection, you'd best know this stuff or hire a licensed electrician that does. It does matter.

If the run is long, consider overrating your wire (i.e. use 10 AWG instead of 12 AWG for a 20A circuit, even though code requires only 12). This reduces voltage drop, which may or may not cause problems, for a small increase in material cost. If you're going to dig a trench and bury conduit, spend a few extra cents on the materials.

And, no, I'm not a licensed electrician (although I did do electrical work in a previous life).


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: SkipW]
      #5609494 - 01/06/13 11:55 PM

.....I'm not a licensed electrician (although I did do electrical work in a previous life).

I hope that previous life did not come to a shocking end.

Alex


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SkipW
sage


Reged: 02/03/11

Loc: Oklahoma, USA
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #5610741 - 01/07/13 07:02 PM

Worse... I turned 20 and wasn't a teenager any more.

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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Buried Extension chord? [Re: SkipW]
      #5612426 - 01/08/13 06:11 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Since you already have the ditch dug. I would run the PVc Gray pipe. What is the amps your drawing, and the distance from the panel. If your only running a scope and and PC/laptop. You could use 12 ga. THHN wire. try to figure the amps. remember you only want to use 80% of the amps. So if your running at 15-18 amps you should use 12 ga. wire 18-23 amps 10 ga. wire. Not sure if you would need a permit. But here in the states the homeowner is allowed to do any/all electrical work as long as it has a permit and gets inspected but the town inspecter, as long as it passes inspection. is there was to be a problem the insurance co. would cover it.



THHN is *NOT* rated for wet locations. Buried conduit outdoors is a wet location. THWN is rated for wet locations; sometimes wire is dual rated THHN/THWN, but not always, so check. If you want to pass local inspection, you'd best know this stuff or hire a licensed electrician that does. It does matter.

If the run is long, consider overrating your wire (i.e. use 10 AWG instead of 12 AWG for a 20A circuit, even though code requires only 12). This reduces voltage drop, which may or may not cause problems, for a small increase in material cost. If you're going to dig a trench and bury conduit, spend a few extra cents on the materials.

And, no, I'm not a licensed electrician (although I did do electrical work in a previous life).




Neither is galvanized but I find it all over the place.. old old run..

it will be cheaper to buy the proper gauge wire and three prong plug ends than an extension cord with the proper gauge wire in it. The depot can help. Just run some pvc sch 40 or better.. it will be fine...

You'll never get the pipes totally sealed. Water is not an issue as long as the run is grounded properly. we run wire through water all the time.. (see pool lights) it's long term rust that's evil..


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northernontario
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/01/09

Loc: Porcupine, Ontario Canada
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5614350 - 01/09/13 07:29 PM

Tech Cable!!!

Good for direct earth burial. Nice thick black hi grade rubberized outer sheath, aluminum armor wrapped around another layer of rubberized sheath in which the insulated individual conductors reside. A bare ground wire.

Water tight connectors complete the installation.

Sold by the foot. ie: Teck/12/3 (number 12 AWG, 3 conductor)

I have used miles and miles of the stuff for lots of years. Everything I ever wired is still powered up. Inside, outside, underground,under buildings....etc.

Tech Cable is very for permanent installations.

(it is against the Ontario Electrical code (and probably many US States) to use extension cord wires for permanent installations....for good reasons)


jake


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Buried Extension chord? new [Re: northernontario]
      #5615046 - 01/10/13 08:38 AM

When I buried a new 400' black plastic pipe water line to my spring (I live in an old farmhouse, and the water comes from a spring up on the hill beside it), I also put in an extra 100' piece of 3/4" plastic pipe, and pulled a set of wires through it to put an outside outlet on that side of the roadway. I used the wire that is used normally for power to the pumps in drilled wells, and inside, I plugged it in to a dryer-type outlet I installed near where the water tank and all is. The black plastic pipe is cheap, easy to work with, and comes in long lengths, so no joints to cause trouble.

My new obs site is almost 500 feet away from the house, a battery and solar charger and eventually inverter if I need it will power it.

Russ


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