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Multi-Conductor Cable Runs
In parallel cables, the phase current is divided
between two or more conductors. Typically in paralleling cables, the size and length of each
cable are the same, and the current flow is equally divided between the parallel conductors. If
the conductors (or lengths) are of unequal size, then the current will not be distributed evenly
(i.e. the conductors will carry different currents). Where currents in parallel conductors are
unbalanced, it may be necessary to provide separate overload protection for each conductor.
Parallel conductor installations are covered in NEC 310
or CEC 12-108 and are permitted for each phase, polarity, neutral, or grounded conductor in
sizes 1/0 AWG and larger. Joining conductors in parallel is like having two or more smaller
conductors connected at each end to make one larger conductor.
In order to install conductors in parallel, the
paralleled conductors in each phase, polarity, neutral, grounded circuit conductor, equipment
grounding conductor, or equipment bonding jumper must comply with all of the following:
The above rules ensure that each set of parallel
conductors carries the same ampacity. Where run in separate cables or raceways, the cables or
raceways must have the same number of conductors and must have the same “electrical
It is important to use the applicable national codes
for your specific installation.
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