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Thread: 220 Power Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    220 Power Question

    Hi there:

    LOML has his own shop that has 220. GlassMan asks if you can use an extension cord with 220?

    Also, the next time we have an electrician over to fix a few things (just moved in) is there any significant advantage to me having 220 in *my* shop?

    Thanks all.....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Cynthia the answer to both questions is Yes. Obviously you better off with your own 220V circuit but in a pinch you can use an extension cord as long as the wire size and plug types are up to sniff. Some folks get 220 to their shops from an extension cord run to their laundry.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    I would love my own 220 in the shop, as my tablesaw and compressor both use it. Fortunately, I never use them at the same time.

    I do, however, siphon the power from the dryer, so We do coordinate whether we are doing laundry, or woodworking, at any one point in time...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    I have a 220 outlet in my shop but have never used it. It's nice to have the option though.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post there any significant advantage to me having 220 in *my* shop?

    Thanks all.....
    Unless you have tools that require it, there's not a significant advantage. Some tools can be set up to run on either voltage, but any benefit from running on 220v instead of 110v is debatable. (And has been debated over and over.) My lathe and compressor require 220v, but my table saw and bandsaw can run on either voltage. When I added the 220v circuits to my shop, I changed the TS and BS from 110v to 220v -- mostly because I could -- but can't say that I see any difference in how they run.

    Your current tools, and the ones in your immediate future, can all run on 110v, so no, I don't see an advantage.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    When I had my box wired for 220 to run my new lathe I made and use an extension cord about 24' long from the box to the machine. This gives me versatility for other uses and future changes as well. Just be sure to use heavy enough wire.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    My DVR lathe picks up a significant amount of HP when switched from 100V to 200V, but it is the exception to the rule.

    What you really want is 200V three phase, then you can have ALL the toys.................. Yes, I have 200V three phase
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Cynthia i dont see why you cannot run 220v on an extension cord. We did it back in SA where all the power is 220V. Same for the UK.

    I would go as far as to say its probably safer than 110V for a simple reason.

    Here is a very simplified explanation of the issue.

    Machines motors require power to work. Power is measured in Watts.

    The basic formula (not precise for other more complicated reasons) for power is P= V X I where

    P is measured in watts
    V is the voltage
    I is the current drawn by the motor.

    (just remember what i listed this is simplied in fact its Direct Current Power but for illustration purposes it will do).

    so say you have a 1KW requirement. 1KW = 1000 watts


    1000 = V X I

    In the case of 110v

    I = 1000/110v = approx 9 amps of current

    In the case of 220v

    I = 1000/220v = approx 4.54 amps

    So the higher the voltage the lower the current for the same power requirement. When you come to running an extension cord the issue that always causes a problem is the fact that people tend to overload an extension cords ratings. Putting a higher current through a underated extension cord causes it to heat up and potentially start a fire when that heat gets to the point of softening the plastic insulating coating.

    But you also have to consider the quality of insulation. Typically these insulating materials will be way over the 220V rating.

    There is difference between powering a machine with 220v and 110v but it would take a lot of complicated calculations to determine and would be specific to each machines specific motors construction and in my view the differences would end up being pretty small.

    Something that does not come up often as a suggestion here is that you might consider is to install what i believe Americans call a pony panel. I call it a sub panel.

    Have a decent sized cable run from your main panel out to your shop with a main breaker installed in the sub panel. Then put all your shop circuits on that sub panel. That way you can have whatever you like in your shop. Not the 3 phase that Stu refers to but certainly 220V.

    The 220v in your shop is not complicated to do. Most houses are on at least 2 phases. Each phase is 110v. So all the electician does is run a wire from both phases.

    In my view Glassman should (with the help of the books available at the HD both their electrical book and the local code book) be able to do this electrical for you both. You are permited in Ontario to do your own electrical on your house provided you have it inspected by the ESA (electrical safety authority). I found my ESA guy to be very helpful. For the straight forward recepticles etc its not complicated. Just be weary of the HD guys for advice. I got a local electrician in but he advised me to do it myself. The job was not really big enough for him. But for a couple of hundred $$ he did provide me with some good general advice on things to ensure etc.

    The costly part is really all the materials but at the end of the day its not complicated to do. Its not as if you are putting in 3 way switches and wiring up switchgear.

    Its more just a matter of time. But i should mention i have had Electronics or Electrical Engineering education and worked with electricians both contractor types military types in my past in SA and Canada.

    I still dont see why people shy away from it. There are certain basics which are outlined very well in pictures in the HD books and you just have to read the codes and the basic code book for your region is pretty straight forward for what you want to do.

    Best of luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Decatur, Alabama
    It can be useful. The two things that come to mind: if you want over about 1.5hp induction motor on anything, it will have to be 220V. The other you might run across some used equpment that require it to run.

    Other than that, I would put it in if you were getting ready to finish the walls, or do something that would make installing it at a later date more difficult or expensive. If not, you can always wait until you need it to install. If the wiring route is very long, it gets pretty expensive to buy wire that will run a 3hp tool

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    What the difference in an extension cord and a long cord on he machine? An extra plug. Power has to come from your panel to the shop, or for that matter from the pole to the house or the power plant to....... It's all wire and electricity could care less. Just give it the proper size path and good connections it's no problem. I do it all the time so I can move my planner and shaper to near the door in the summer.
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 11-02-2010 at 01:43 PM.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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