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Importance of Quality Electrical Installation


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  1. #1
    ReeferRob - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default Importance of Quality Electrical Installation

    This thread can hopefully be used as a learning tool for everyone and anyone.

    I have something to admit, and I am a bit embarrassed.
    But I have never learned or researched the importance of a quality electrical installation on a tank. Sure I've done my best to keep it clean and simple with few wires being seen and to make sure I have drip loops and plugs above water.

    But Ive never had anything on a dedicated breaker switch.
    I have never had anything on a GFCI.
    I actually have everything running through one industrial size extension cord that is about 4 feet long in to a single outlet.
    All my tanks over the years have been this sketchy.

    So yes rip me a new one, be nice.

    But please tell me the important stuff. The why's are probably the most important now that I am a family man. And the what's, so I know exactly what to do! Pro's and Con's yadadada

    Thanks
    "We shouldn't think of an environment where livestock can survive, we should ensure an environment where livestock can thrive."-Rabidgoose
    "If it's gonna be that kinda party, Ima stick my ........ in the mashed potatoes!"-Beastie Boys

  2. #2
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    I think the biggest reason for the separate and multiple separate circuits from other things in the house is for protection of the tank from being on an overloaded circuit which would be prone to tripping. That is, it is less about "safety" and more about reliability. (Unless to large of a breaker is installed on a circuit with too small of wire.)

    I don't have a dedicated circuit. My system is not as large and complex as some. However, I have two circuits available in the room my tank is set up and I have the load split between the two. I have it setup so the return pump is on one circuit and the powerhead is on another. This assures that if one of the breakers blows, there will be some flow until the problem can be discovered and corrected.

    GFCI's are obviously for safety. But again, I think you want to go with two separate circuits in the event one trips you will still have some flow being provided to the tank. This is what I have done with the two outlets in my fish room that are on different circuits.

  3. #3
    ReeferRob - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimsflies View Post
    I think the biggest reason for the separate and multiple separate circuits from other things in the house is for protection of the tank from being on an overloaded circuit which would be prone to tripping. That is, it is less about "safety" and more about reliability. (Unless to large of a breaker is installed on a circuit with too small of wire.)

    I don't have a dedicated circuit. My system is not as large and complex as some. However, I have two circuits available in the room my tank is set up and I have the load split between the two. I have it setup so the return pump is on one circuit and the powerhead is on another. This assures that if one of the breakers blows, there will be some flow until the problem can be discovered and corrected.

    GFCI's are obviously for safety. But again, I think you want to go with two separate circuits in the event one trips you will still have some flow being provided to the tank. This is what I have done with the two outlets in my fish room that are on different circuits.

    Thanks Jim, that makes complete sense.

    Maybe you could explain how GFCI's work?
    "We shouldn't think of an environment where livestock can survive, we should ensure an environment where livestock can thrive."-Rabidgoose
    "If it's gonna be that kinda party, Ima stick my ........ in the mashed potatoes!"-Beastie Boys

  4. #4
    stunreefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    GFCI = Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

    Basically it senses when a ground is faulted, and shuts off the circuit... more: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/99.html

    I have two (20amp) direct lines for my tank, each has a four plug outlet box on GFCI's. I had them installed for my AGE, and it's currently totally overkill for my ELOS Mini

  5. #5

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    A commonly overlooked item in the electrical chain is the plugs themselves. I cheap or loose fitting plug can lead to disaster.

  6. #6
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Quote Originally Posted by stunreefer View Post
    GFCI = Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

    Basically it senses when a ground is faulted, and shuts off the circuit... more: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/99.html

    I have two (20amp) direct lines for my tank, each has a four plug outlet box on GFCI's. I had them installed for my AGE, and it's currently totally overkill for my ELOS Mini
    Your outlet box is almost as big as your tank!

  7. #7
    thefishgirl - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Electricity is my biggest fear right now. It's one of the reasons I am downsizing the 180g in my home office.

    Some things not to do (all of which I am pretty much doing right now...LOL..BUT I am in the process of changing slowly but surely)

    • Don't put your tank in the room above the breaker box... especially if it's 180g
    • Don't lay your power strips on the floor next to your sump on the bottom of the stand...elevate them slightly in case you overfill your sump...see Drip Loops 101
    • Don't have everything on one circuit (like Jim said)
    • Don't hang your power strips on the wall over your open-top tank


    Rob...when you come over on Wednesday.. you are gonna die! If my insurance people would ever come inspect my house... *cough* ... anyway!

    I had an electrician come over and give me a quote on doing things the right way. This included having 2 breakers feeding a sub-panel for my fish room and feeding up to my home office where the 180g currently resides. Material-wise, I'm looking at $400 or less. Why would I not spend that to make things right??!!?? Right now, I can't run my 180g and my 90g FW turtle tank at the same time because I trip the breakers.

    One thing I found too is that those temporary little things you do in a hurry become permanent or pesky 2 year temporary things (like the power strips on the wall..over the 300g). I firmly believe that not doing things in a hurry and making sure you've done the appropriate prep work is key. And in all cases, it is not something I did. Now I have to go back and pay someone to retrofit. Ohhh the joys of working with electricity around saltwater. Not that I'm complaining that I had the world of saltwater thrust on me before I was ready. But I dived right in and I'm doing OK. Just need to now go back and take care of the electricity.

    I refuse to do any serious fish breeding until the electricity is done the right way so that I can do an appropriate build.

  8. #8
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Becky - Got any pictures of your tank after the fire?

  9. #9
    thefishgirl - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    LOL ... SHHHHHHH ... No. Thankfully, it was just the cover/lid..and not the tank itself. That was just @$^#^@#!$ DUMB on my part. HUA syndrome.

  10. #10
    Cash - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Lots of good ideals here. And if anyone ever does need electrical work Pm/Email me. I am a state licensed Electrician and have been doing it for 9 years now. Or just need advise on electrical issue's don't hesitate to ask

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