Why does my 50 amp circuit have AWG 8?

eleenaOctober 1, 2012

It says so on the breaker.

Everything I have read said it had to be 6, not 8.

I might be totally missing the point, though. :-)

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kurto

In general, 50A circuits must have 6 AWG copper conductors (or 4 AWG AL conductors). As with many parts of the NEC, there are exceptions to this rule. Is there a compressor or a welder involved with that circuit? They fall under a different part of the NEC.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Ron Natalie

Sorry, Kurto's first statement is wrong (either because he doesn't know what ampacity ratings are or he doesn't understand what generally means or both). 75 and 90 degree C 8 AWG Copper conductors has sufficient ampacity for 50A.

Even #8 aluminum (if 90 degree rated) can be connected to a 50 A breaker.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:16PM
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eleena

It said 65/75 degree C. Is that OK?

The wiring was for a wall oven.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Ron Natalie

Probably 60/75? What else is stamped on the sheething (should be a type).
There are some special rules for things like type NM.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:26AM
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eleena

Yes, you are right.

It says "60/75", HACR type, CU/AL wire.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Ron Natalie

Are you reading the breaker or the wire?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:54AM
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eleena

The breaker, as far as I know.

How would read the wire?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Ron Natalie

There should be writing on the outside of the wire. Roughly the same place you found out what the gauge was.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:06PM
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eleena

There is another "label" that says:

0250 Type: QP (or OP, I cannot be sure as it is scratched and there is no way to read it clearly).

Underneath, it specifies 2-pole breaker. 10,000 120V/240V and has a bunch of other stuff.

Does it make sense?

TX!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 1:33PM
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eleena

Oh, and it says it is Siemens.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 1:35PM
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weedmeister

The information is printed on the wire itself, on the insulation. I think you're looking at the panel or the breaker.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:25PM
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eleena

Here is a picture of the panel.
I cannot see the wire.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:38PM
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eleena

And here is the outlet itself (where the appliance should be plugged).

BTW, does this box have a name other than "outlet"? I did Google image search using several key words but couldn't find it.

I see no wire. :-(

Help!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:05PM
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yosemitebill

What you are looking at on the right side of the circuit breaker is a small chart that indicates the torque to tighten the connections to based on the wire sized used. AWG 8 to 40 inch pounds. AWG 6-4 to 45 inch pounds.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 4:46PM
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eleena

It said AWG 8, that was my question.

Unless I am not understanding you.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Ron Natalie

Ah, so, despite your initial question, you have NO IDEA what size wire you have on your circuit. As pointed out, you're just looking at the specs for tightening the allowed wire sizes which we've already established could very well allow #10 for certain types of conductors.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 5:05PM
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eleena

That is very possible. :-)

The breaker I am asking about is the lower one (on the picture) with 50 stamped on the handle.

The label on its upper pole, says:

Use 60/75 degree C
CU/AL wire
AWG 8 44 (?)

I am not sure about the last number (44). I am reading it from the pix as it is too dark outside to go look again.

So, you are saying that it does not mean that it has AWG 8 wire and it could be 6?

Where should I look to figure out what wire is there?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Ron Natalie

Again, it's not telling you squat about the wire you have...it's just telling if you use that gauge how much force you need to tighten the screw down with.

Why do you think you have a problem? If you want to find out what gauge wire you have, you're going to have to take the panel cover off so you can see what's actually connected to the breaker.

However, I seriously recommend you don't do so. Inside live electrical panels is not a place for those who don't know what they are doing.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:48AM
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eleena

I guess I don't have a problem.

I was confused by the label that said AWG 8, that's all.

I really need to take Electric Wiring 101, LOL.

See, I would have never bothered with this before. It is just that I have heard so much cr*p from contractors here in the last 6 years that I do not trust anything they say anymore. But that is an area-specific problem. I had never had it when I lived in other parts of the country.

So, thank you very much for your help!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:19AM
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brickeyee

'Wiring Simplified' might be a good place to start.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:54PM
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