Two years ago a home center when out of business and I bought everything at
200ft of 16/3 extension cord, electrical tape, a plug, outdoor box, and GFCI
I cut the cable in half and twisted all the insulated conductors together;
so I could use one length as the hot and the other as the neutral. I then
taped them together to act as one cable. Wired one end to the plug and the
other to the outlet.
Seems to work fine. I doubt I will ever run more than 6 amps over it, but
wanted to reduce the voltage drop since it is pretty long. Sadly, 16/3 was
the largest stuff they had left.
Why would I do this? I have a dock at the bottom of a 75' cliff. I don't
have any power there, and carrying a generator up and down 105 stairs when I
need power is unpleasant. Now I can plug the generator in at the top and
run whatever I need at the bottom. Tried it yesterday and it works fine.
The GFCI outlet is probably excessive, since there is already one on the
generator, but at 80% off...
I would like to run a lighting circuit off the outlet to my boat house so I
can put some lights on it. Can I use UF cable for that (it will simply be
exposed to the elements) or must I use do something more elaborate? I will
rarely use it, so I don't want to put a lot of money into it.
Any major safety issues I am ignoring in the whole scheme?
The power company wants $2,000 to run power to a the top of the cliff; the
breaker box and getting it down would all be my responsibility. That, and
the $40 monthly minimum, make my alternative seem reasonable.
Yep -- UV degradation of the insulation. Definitely a Code violation unless
the cable is specifically approved for sunlight exposure:
"Type UF cable shall not be used as follows: [...] where exposed to direct
rays of the sun, unless identified as sunlight resistant" [2005 NEC, Article
It's also possible that installation in a boat house would be considered as a
location "subject to physical damage" which is also prohibited for UF cable
under 340.12(10). But your biggest concern is that under exposure to sunlight,
the insulation may turn dry and brittle, and flake off.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
No, he clearly says it was extension _cord_ and he also noted he cut it
in two and is using both conductors in each as the hot/neutral. A
pretty cobbed up job to save a few bucks, certainly, but for no more
load than he's talking, it's not really kosher but not actually dangerous.
Or at least not exposed to UV as direct sunlight unless so rated.
Neither strictly meets code but don't imo present a clear and present
immediate hazard. Cheap, but not dangerous....
imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc., etc., ...
As I understand, the grey UF is fine outdoors. The grey stuff is
UV resistant. Just on general principles, I'd try to bury it at
least a couple inches if possible. Or feed the wire through the
grey tubing they sell for that kind of thing. Though, I realize
that might not be practical. I'm thinking of physical damage to
the wire. Critters chewing, etc.
Does your 105 steps have a railing, where you could staple the
wire on the side? or run the grey tubing which is made for
outdoor weather proof applications?
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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