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Off the Bike

Wire it up! : 79/100

Today was small projects day. We made a run over to my parents house in Durango and picked up a small fridge from them. Then we got paint at the Benjamin Moore store, and finally got a pickup order from Home Depot.

The big small project of the day was wiring up my shed with some electricity. It was one of those things that, when we were getting the solar setup for the cabin, we just ran out of time to do. I really wanted to get it done so I would have a light and a couple outlets for charging my batteries with.

A few years ago we replaced the 120v outlets in the trailer with Dual USB In Wall Outlets. They replace your regular electrical outlets and give you 2 USB outlets without having to use any adapters. Its great for charging our phones, mifi’s, and bike lights. I added 2 of them to the shed. One at the entrance with the light switch and another at my workbench.

The most challenging part of the job was running the wire through the conduit. It took me a few tries, but I finally got it after vacuuming a string through, tying that to the wire, taping the end up, and spreading grease over the first 6 feet of wire.

Naturally it started raining in the middle of the conduit operation. Once that passed I dug the 18 inch deep trench between the cabin and the shed to bury the conduit in. I added a 20 amp breaker to the panel and tied that end off. I started by turning off the main breaker, and also the inverter and the battery breaker to be extra safe. I was even sure to test the panel with my amp meter before getting started.

On the outside of the shed I added an external GFCI outlet to add some extra protection. If there is ever a ground fault, of 0.005 amps or more, at any of the outlets or light switch in the shed the GFCI breaker will trip and prevent anyone from being electrocuted. They are required in bathrooms and kitchens by code and are good things to have around.

Wiring a GFCI or USB outlet are pretty similar. Both outlets are much larger than a standard outlet and require wiring proficiency if you want things to sit nicely in the wall. Since I have a 20 amp breaker on this circuit I ran 12 gauge wire and it isn’t very forgiving. I probably need to revisit the first USB outlet in the shed tomorrow morning.

In the meantime: let there be light!

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