Depending on the installation, any number of
combinations of cable may be used.
For example, in a replacement/upgrade installation, the
well already has 160 feet of buried #10 cable between
the service entrance and the wellhead. A new 3 hp,
230-volt, single-phase motor is being installed to replace
a smaller motor. The question is: Since there is already
160 feet of #10 AWG installed, what size cable is
required in the well with a 3 hp, 230-volt, single-phase
motor setting at 310 feet?
From Tables 11 & 11A, a 3 hp motor can use up to 300
feet of #10 AWG cable.
The application has 160 feet of #10 AWG copper
Using the formula below, 160 feet (actual) ÷ 300 feet
(max allowable) is equal to 0.533. This means 53.3%
(0.533 x 100) of the allowable voltage drop or loss, which
is allowed between the service entrance and the motor,
occurs in this wire. This leaves us 46.7% (1.00 - 0.533
= 0.467) of some other wire size to use in the remaining
310 feet “down hole” wire run.
The table shows #8 AWG copper wire is good for 470
feet. Using the formula again, 310 feet (used) ÷ 470 feet
(allowed) = 0.660; adding this to the 0.533 determined
earlier; 0.533 + 0.660 = 1.193. This combination is
greater than 1.00, so the voltage drop will not meet US
National Electrical Code recommendations.
Tables 11 & 11A show #6 AWG copper wire is good
for 750 feet. Using the formula, 310 ÷ 750 = 0.413, and
using these numbers, 0.533 + 0.413 = 0.946, we find this
is less than one and will meet the NEC recommended
This works for 2, 3 or more combinations of wire
and it does not matter which size wire comes first in