Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image of a 6 AWG wire
When handling electrical projects, it is compulsory to choose the right size of wire. The size should be able to relay the electricity current safely from the source to the load. The wire should not be too big as this can hinder its efficiency. At the same time, a small wire will be a major safety risk.
Other than the size, you also have to consider the distance. It should match with the amps being transmitted. So, which is the rite wire size to transmit 50 amps over 150 feet?
6AWG is considered to be the perfect wire size for a 150 feet wire carrying 50 Amps.
But there is more to these numbers. For instance, the wire material, temperature and application areas are likely to affect the size of the wire that you will use with respect to the 150 meters.
NEC 80% rule for the 50 amp
One of the ways in which we have concluded that 6AWG is the perfect wire size for the 50 amps is by using the National Electric Code (NEC) 80% rule for continuous loads. NEC recommends that the size of the wire should be 80% maximum capacity of the circuit. This is to avoid the overheating issues that are likely to arise due to the large amounts of current being drawn.
In our case, we are dealing with a 50 amp circuit meaning that your wire should have the minimum capacity of 60 amps.
How have we obtained this?
Well, simply divide 50amp/0.8 and we end up with 62.
The perfect wire size will then be 6AWG for copper wire and 4 AWG for the aluminum wire.
While recommending these sizes, we are fully aware of the voltage drop that occurs depending on the length of the wire. The figures stated above are ideal for the 150 feet.
Even though the NEC’s 80% rule tends to be applicable worldwide, there are different rules for different regions. It will be prudent to familiarize yourself with the electrical wiring rules of your area.
Size of the wire vs length of the wire
The fact that we have chosen the 6AWG wire size means that we have considered the relationship between the size of the wire and the distance it should cover. This is the distance that the electric current will flow through from the power source to the load.
The length will always mater due to one major factor: voltage drop. This is the gradual reduction of voltage as current flows through the wire. The reduction is mainly due to the internal resistance of the wire. The longer the wire the more the electric resistance.
One major disadvantage of voltage drop is it can affect the amount of current that reaches the load. In most cases, the load will be underpowered.
The general rule of thumb assumes that every 100 feet attracts voltage drop of 20%. To counter this problem, NEC provides clear guidelines for the size of wire that you should use on 50 amps circuit considering that it will cover 150 feet.
What wire gauge for 50 amp 240V
Whether it is a 110 volts or 220 volts, you will still need the same wire size for your 50 amps circuit.
The ideal size of wire should be between 4 AWG and 6 AWG.
But you have to consider the voltage drop factor. The amount of voltage drop in circuit is directly proportional to the source.
We can’t expect the voltage drop to be the same in a 120-volt source and 240V source. So, the design of the circuit should be in a way to curb the voltage drop in both circumstances.
How do I identify a 6 gauge wire
Now that you know the right wire size for a 50 amps circuit at 150 feet, the next step entails identifying it. You simply need to check the markings or labels of the insulator of the wire. It is usually labeled as 6 AWG or “6 though sometimes it ls labeled 6 GA.
The markings also state other details of the wire such as the type of insulation and the manufacturer. When buying a 6 gauge wire, ensure that you get its full specs from the supplier or manufacturer.
Does the type of material matter?
When it comes to choosing the perfect wire size for a 50 amps circuit at 150 feet, you also have to consider the type of material to be used. Copper and aluminum are the two main materials used for making conductive wires. However, the difference in the electric properties makes it necessary to be careful when choosing their gauges.
Copper is generally a better conductor than aluminum. So, you are likely to experience minimal voltage drop when using it in a circuit. So, when it comes to choosing the wire gauge, go for the 4 AWG for the aluminum wire and 6AWG for the copper wire.
But when it comes to the material, you should compare the pros and cons of each. For example, aluminum is cheaper than copper but still inferior when it comes to electrical conductivity. On the other hand, copper wires are relatively costlier but come with an array of more advantages than the aluminum wires.
Now you know that 6AWG size wire will be perfect for your 50 amps application. If you want to extend the wire for more than 150 feet, then you should consider adjusting your options to a bigger wire. A 4 AWG may work perfectly for you.
You should also be in contact with a licensed electrician who is fully aware of the NEC regulations or any other wiring rules about your jurisdiction.
In doing all these, ensure that you use high-quality wires for the best results. Fake wires, even if they are of the right size can easily compromise on your safety. And the surest place to get the best wires is from reliable electronic components suppliers. They will also guide you on the perfect wire size depending on your application.
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