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Old 05-19-2010, 02:21 PM
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Default Correct way to run power to dock?

Can anyone point me at code or helpful install tips for the correct way to run power to a dock? Any unique requirements when it comes to grounding, GFI breakers or outlets, etc?

Moving into a waterfront home, and the dock currently has 110 power that looks poorly done. Would like to upgrade to 220v for a future lift / shorepower connection, and possibly a second 20a 110 circuit for lighting/tools/etc. Is it reasonable to have a shared 220 lift/shorepower connection?

I'll be ripping up the yard right away, so prime opportunity to run conduit etc. Even if I don't hook anything up I may as well make the runs. Main breaker panel is about 50' away from the seawall, although there is currently a run for a swimming pool pump about 20' away that I could potentially repurpose.

Please no lectures, I do have the necessary skills - just not familiar with specifics for this application. I've hired enough "licensed" and/or "professional" tradesmen to know that with a few hours of research and some of my own time and I can do a much better job myself.

Legal notice: In case it wasn't clear, I am obviously only asking so I could double check the work of whichever licensed electrician I might be hiring.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:25 PM
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Hire a licensed electrician! (and your in Florida..."Licensed"!)

Make sure he pulls a permit too. Big Liability!
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:29 PM
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I've hired enough "licensed" and/or "professional" tradesmen to know that with a few hours of research and some of my own time and I can do a much better job myself.
Until you kill someone...Good luck!
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:30 PM
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Just run you a household extension cord from the closest box thing where you plug stuff in.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:31 PM
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Just run you a household extension cord from the closest box thing where you plug stuff in.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:37 PM
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Adam,
I'm sure if you google "installing a 220V circuit", there are many sites that will show you how to do it correctly, as you know if you ask on here, you'll get a thread a 100 pages long with a 1000 different ways to achieve the goal you're looking for...

Just make sure your conduit is WATERTIGHT! When I was at Stamas in Tarpon, the old wiring out to the dock on the bayou had issues with high tide. Tide came in and you did systems check on the AC side, you always got a reverse polarity issue. Tide went out, no prob...
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:37 PM
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Until you kill someone...Good luck!
Thanks.

Would you like photos of the "professional" A/C repairmen that "vented" the freon out of my HVAC system through a coke bottle filled with water, explaining that it was required by the EPA?

Or perhaps the impact window installer who caulked tapcons into place in the frames when there was nothing for them to bite into in the wall?

Maybe the outlets I found with pigtails from ground to neutral? Or the shared neutral in the attic connected to a pair of single breakers?

To clarify: I am looking with tips, tricks, or specific code items or gotchas that relate to running power to a dock. Yes I can consult the NEC and look for local addendums, but thought some people here might have unique insight. If nothing else, I want to have capped off conduit runs in place before grading and resodding the backyard - and want to make sure those are done appropriately.

Or I can leave the existing non-watertight non-code non-protected run in place where it has been for 10 years and pretend like it is fine.
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:04 PM
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Treat it the same as running wireing to a pool. Underground cable, GFI breakers/outlets and positive mechanical bonding. Don't rely on a wire nut to twist your wires together for you, do it with a pair of linemans pliers. Its those little things that a master electrician knows that make the difference in the job. That and the permit with an inspection guarentees the job and if something does happen you'll have insurance vs the homeowners policy being declared void because of no permit.
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:07 PM
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The way I would want it done
Start with a GFI breaker at the main panel to supply a sub panel at the dock
all wires in sealed conduit all the way
run 4 wires, hot, hot, neutral,ground.
depending on length of run I would want at least 50 amp sub circuit
this will require a much larger wire than a simple 20 amp but will give you plenty
of extra when you need a refer, fans,stereo,etc,etc.
An 8 circuit min. sub panel at the dock
all wires, switches, and devices in waterproof boxes and run in sealed conduit
One other thing if you can afford it is to go 1plus on all wire gauges
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:22 PM
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Hire a licensed electrician! (and your in Florida..."Licensed"!)

Make sure he pulls a permit too. Big Liability!
I second that.
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:25 PM
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Agree with everything mhg recommended except for the GFI breaker feeding the sub-panel. I would GFCI protect all of the branch circuits in the sub panel.

Use PVC everything - conduit, boxes, etc.

Leave a pull string in the conduit in case you need to replace the conductors

Install a 2nd conduit for future use with a pull string and cap it off on both ends - PVC is cheap

Oversize the the PVC conduits - makes pulling wire easier - PVC is cheap
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:37 PM
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Elusive said it right. The only thing I would add is to bury the conduit at least 6 inches deeper than you think you would ever dig/trench in your yard. Also, PVC is cheap but if there is a way to install a metallic marker on/in/around the PVC to help identify the conduit prior to digging/trenching you yard you should absolutely install this marker. The wires themselves will likely not be enough to be picked up with a "call before you dig" survey. Ask me how I know this one.

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Old 05-19-2010, 05:42 PM
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Only thing I can add is that mine has a breaker box mounted on a pole about 2 feet high on land about 10 feet from the dock. I can kill power to everything at the dock and turn it back in without having to go back into the house and trip a breaker. Nice to have in bad weather.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flot View Post
Can anyone point me at code or helpful install tips for the correct way to run power to a dock? Any unique requirements when it comes to grounding, GFI breakers or outlets, etc?

....................... I do have the necessary skills - just not familiar with specifics for this application. I've hired enough "licensed" and/or "professional" tradesmen to know that with a few hours of research and some of my own time and I can do a much better job myself.
Let me see if I have this straight - You can do a better job than a licensed electrician, yet you are asking on a boating forum how to do electrical wiring?

I don't know what you do for a living, but don't you do it better than someone who doesn't do it for a living? Don't you think the years of training and experience the electrician has counts for anything?

To answer your question (and to be honest, I'm not a licensed electrician but I have more than a working knowledge of the trade), I would recommend that you run 1" PVC conduit from the building to the dock or pedestal. That way, you can put whatever wires you need in the conduit and change them out if you ever change your mind without digging. PVC conduit is cheap and you will offset most of the cost by using individual wires instead of UF cable. If it's a floating dock, use a section of flexible conduit and stranded wires.

While you have the ditch open, lay in an extra conduit. That way you can run telephone, television, computer network, or intercom cables to the dock for just the cost of the cable. Don't install them in the same conduit as the electrical cables.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:22 PM
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Let me see if I have this straight - You can do a better job than a licensed electrician, yet you are asking on a boating forum how to do electrical wiring?

I don't know what you do for a living, but don't you do it better than someone who doesn't do it for a living? Don't you think the years of training and experience the electrician has counts for anything?

To answer your question (and to be honest, I'm not a licensed electrician but I have more than a working knowledge of the trade), I would recommend that you run 1" PVC conduit from the building to the dock or pedestal. That way, you can put whatever wires you need in the conduit and change them out if you ever change your mind without digging. PVC conduit is cheap and you will offset most of the cost by using individual wires instead of UF cable. If it's a floating dock, use a section of flexible conduit and stranded wires.

While you have the ditch open, lay in an extra conduit. That way you can run telephone, television, computer network, or intercom cables to the dock for just the cost of the cable. Don't install them in the same conduit as the electrical cables.








Ron,
Anybody that recommends pulling wire through a 1" conduit for any length at all has never tried it
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:55 PM
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Bite the bullet and get a NEMA 12 enclosure( its pricey, but not imperative) designed for corrosive atmospheres for the breaker panel outside especially if it's saltwater.

The wire you buy should have a "W" in the designation such THWN for use in wet areas, not THHN. Always buy stranded just because it is easier to pull.

Always go one size up in whatever size conduit you think you will need like the other said. Trust me on this one, for I know how many wires can fit into a conduit without bursting it.

An aux disconnect at the distro panel is a good idea if others will possibly be using this equipment. Otherwise a main breaker in the panel will suffice for the odd occassion to shut the panel down.

Circuit breakers are not designed to be used as switches although you will see a lot of people doing just that.

Ground the distro panel and the door. Door hinges can be poor conductors.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:10 PM
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Ron, he is in Flor-a-duh , the only work I have seen worse than that was done in mexico.

To the OP , you answered your own question . Use the NEC , look up , Pools,Spas and wet locations and it will also tell you about boat houses and water.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:41 AM
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I would think the first question would be is how big is the service and panel into the house? Will it handle a 50 amp branch?
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:42 AM
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Ron. your claim about licensed professional , only describes t he guy who owns the electical contracting company, and the ones that still pull their own wire are hard to come by. Now it's easier and cheaper to "Hire a Hispanic" and that's like Buying from China,,,it's really cheap, but you have no idea what the he@@ you're getting! To the OP, some good advise on here so far, just think about "worse case scenarios. does the dock float if so, how will it affect the conduit and cable, especially on higher and lower than normal tides during the year.
Liability and permits are your biggest "to do's on the list. Good luck and post some pics when you are finished. You might even look on here for some posts about electricity leaking into the water and causing boat zincs to wear out quicker,, seems like I read it here somewhere?
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:08 AM
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If your handy you should be able to get it done but an electrician will do it better
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