Wiring outbuilding

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wrote:

While installing a ground rod(s) is not required if you use the ground (bare) wire from the house, I'd highly suggest you install at least one rod. The main reason is that if lightning hits near that shed, the force will have to travel back to your main panel in the house, and do damage in there. It's not that hard or costly to drive a ground rod and connect it. You could save your computer and other stuff in the house if lightning hits near the shed.
You should NOT be using the neutral for grounding. But the ground bar for your box, or considering that you probably have 5 at most bare wires, you could just wirenut them together including the one from the house. But if you use a gound rod, that #6 wire would be hard to wirenut into the bundle. Ground bars are only a few $$.
Why did you use a 12-2 wire for FOUR 20A circuits. If you have not yet buried the cable, I'd replace it with at least 10-2, or preferably 10-3, which would give you 220 availablity. Otherwise, you are running a 20A circuit to four 20A breakers. Rather pointless. You may as well have just relied on the house breaker and skipped the breaker box in the shed.
Mark
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The 12-2 may not be very good if you add any power tools. Most table saws should be on a 20S by themselves and not with lights.
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wrote in message

Thanks for the advice, everybody. I gather that there was really no need to install a breaker box in the outbuilding. I was wondering about that since the main panel in the house would offer circuit protection. So when exactly would you need to install a subpanel or additional box in a separate structure?
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B. Adams wrote:

You put a subpanel (service panel) in the outbuilding when you *really* want more than one circuit out there. A building can only have one electric circuit coming in (with a few very specific and odd exceptions.) So you run a *big* circuit into the building and then use the panel to split it up into multiple small circuits.
In your case, maybe you would run 10/3 cable with a 2-pole (240v) 30A breaker in the panel at the house, then have several 15A or 20A breakers in the garage panel, and have the capability of later adding a 20A 240V breaker for an air compressor or 3500W electric heater without needing to add any new wire from the house. Another good thing about that is, if you overload a circuit, the smaller breaker in the outbuilding usually trips rather than the big one in the house.
Best regards, Bob
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B. Adams wrote:

Bob nailed it so see his answer. -- Tom Horne
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