Distance of GFCI Breaker

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by hagler, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. hagler

    hagler New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY
    Installing Direct-Wired waterers in horse barn (breaker to waterer directly)....
    I want to install GFCI breakers, but I'm concerned about the distance with 1 waterer.

    2 waterers will be about 75' from subpanel.
    1 waterer will be about 350'

    Do I need to install a second subpanel for the waterer 350' away?
    What is the distance the GFCI breaker will correctly protect without false tripping/issues?

    Thanks again!
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,561
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I very highly recommend that you get a copy of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers before going any future in your endeavors for the sake of your livestock.

    To answer your question, it doesn’t matter the distance as to the tripping of the GFCI device. What distance will do is cause a voltage drop which will lead to failure of the equipment which leads to shock to the animal or even death. The installation of remote panels will have no effect on voltage drop therefore they are not needed. What is needed if a calculation for voltage drop.

    One thing to keep in mind is the fact that I have been in the electrical field for more than 40 years and have been raising horses all my life. I have had as many as 26 at one time and now own 6. I have tried every trick known to mankind and have always come back to the old way of filling the tanks and breaking ice by hand. Once you lose a couple of animals you will learn.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,237
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You can plug directly into a GFCI outlet and get false tripping, so distance is not a consideration. What is a consideration is how far you want to walk to reset the GFCI when you discover the waterer is not working, and WILL you have anything to tell you the waterers are not functioning, such as a "pilot light", unless you check them periodically?
  4. hagler

    hagler New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NY
    JW...I can figure for voltage drop....I have a question for you --- would a junction box make sense here? and forget about a subpanel.....Run #6 or #8 wire from main panel to an outdoor junction box? and then wire to two more junction boxes for each waterer?
    I have three separate fenced in areas for the horses...where would you install/mount the box if you think this is an option?
    Also, would you install inline GFCIs for this configuration (or 1 inline GFCI at the first junction)...and how/where would you mount them? (would have to be outdoor inline GFCIs obviously)
    Thanks for the input
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Should be able to open ice with a little aquarium bubbler brought in on rubber hose. No electrical in tank issues.
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,561
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Horses are curious by nature. Anything strange they will eventually start messing with it even chewing on it if they like the taste.

    However I wired the circuit I would ensure that no part is within their reach. Should you have a wind sucker and it can reach the post, box, or panel you are guaranteed a dead horse.

    You seem to be dead set on installing these but I come once again trying to convince you to think of other methods. When new these things work great but they age at a very fast rate and become damaged. You will spend endless hours resetting the GFCI device to the point they start to fail. At this point the horse has already been hit and it takes little current to train the horse to not use them. One horse minus water equals a vet bill.

    The ones I installed were removed in less than 6 months. I then tried the ball cock and it failed quickly. All I had was a big mud hole in front to the tub where the failures let water flow all day.
    It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was feeding the horse twice daily so he got water twice daily. His tub was emptied and washed twice daily, he like that a lot better than standing in mud or jagged ice to drink.
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