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Thread: Electrical question

  1. #1
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    Electrical question

    Since Ned's Woodshop is about to set sail, it is time for assessing the electrical situation.

    I plead near total ignorance as to the Capacity of the house electrical system. To my untrained eye, it looks like I'll be getting separate service for the shop. what do you experts think?




    the house is a modular trucked in and assembled just about 20 years ago.

    the overall view of the panel is cut off just a bit, but that last space below the blue breaker is it, no more space beyond that.

    the Range is a curiosity, because we have gas for cooking, hot water and clothes drier. I am going to build the shop using extension cords from the utility room, but obviously I'll need to do some upgrading in a hurry once I have the structure up and dried in.
    -Ned

  2. #2
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    No problem Mahn!

    Just add another larger breaker and run a large wire out to the shop. Well have your electrician do that. Then install a subpanel out in the shop. All you need is two spaces free and you have that. You could probably use the space for the range probably, but you have plenty of space.

    I installed a 100 amp breaker and subpanel in the lab from my main panel. It's overkill but now that I am going with RPC I am glad I did. Start up load on the RPC could be 60 - 80 amps. But I would guess 60 amps would be plenty for your shop.
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 05-31-2007 at 12:51 AM.
    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.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  3. #3
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    really? that's all it will take? (all he says... laughing on the verge of nervousness) trench a conduit 130' and put in a second panel? won't I be taxing the service if I do that? I'll need 220 out there, won't that draw too much from the house?
    -Ned

  4. #4
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    Yup, thats about it. (laughs at how easy that is say compared to actually doing it)

    No you won't tax it. The only load is when something is actually running and your not going to pull that much of a load with any typical tools.

    Check with you power company of course. Their rules may vary. We can't (Legally) run power to an outbuilding. It has to be separate service and then they charge commercial rates on that service!!
    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.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  5. #5
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    Ned,

    You have enough room for a 220V Breaker. You could probably run a 60amp breaker. I am not sure of the wire size you will need. This can get expensive.

    Then out in the shop install a small box which would give you enought for a 220v breaker and several 110v breakers.

    You big expense will be the cost of the 130' of wire from the house to the shop.

    Some one else needs to step in here about the 60 amp 220v and what wire size.

    Since you are using gas for as many things as you say then I think you have plenty of capcity for a breaker out to the shop.

    how do you heat ?? Electric ?

  6. #6
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    here's my 'plan'.

    quick and dirty tonight: 110 outlets along each wall 4' apart 50" up from the floor.

    that works out to three on each long wall, one on either side of the door and two on the far wall, plus two up in the loft.

    Add a couple near my benches on the north wall, plug mold for small tool usage and a charging center near the storage cabinet for cordless tool charging etc... (three varieties at the present moment)

    220: 6 or 7 outlets: one for the TS, one for the bandsaw, DC and compressor plus one extra on the end wall in case I move things around (works out to two on each long wall, located roughly near the center of the shop). Possibly one in the center of the floor, or a ceiling drop, not sure yet. The DC will be out in the 'bumpout' where I'm going to scale down Marty's chip separator and bin and compressor space, so one outlet out there, but under cover. (enclosed lean to against the outer wall).

    Lighting, I'll have two 8' under the loft, two mounted up near the ceiling in the full height area. One ceiling fan w/ lights in the tall area, a couple of incadescent fixtures under the loft. two sets of task lights above the bench area. (making this up as I go, but I've tried to 'take notes' when others build their shops)

    AC... going to go with a midrange wall unit, someday.
    Heat... i'll get back to you on that one this fall.

    still think that'll work on that sub panel? I realize I won't ever turn 'everything' on, but lights plus one or two tools plus DC at one time would happen on a regular basis.
    Last edited by Ned Bulken; 05-31-2007 at 01:48 AM.
    -Ned

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartee Lamar View Post
    Ned,

    You have enough room for a 220V Breaker. You could probably run a 60amp breaker. I am not sure of the wire size you will need. This can get expensive.

    Then out in the shop install a small box which would give you enought for a 220v breaker and several 110v breakers.

    You big expense will be the cost of the 130' of wire from the house to the shop.

    Some one else needs to step in here about the 60 amp 220v and what wire size.

    Since you are using gas for as many things as you say then I think you have plenty of capcity for a breaker out to the shop.

    how do you heat ?? Electric ?

    Oh trust me the electrical to the shop is a large factor of the budget, though one that will come 'down the road' I'm going to rough it for a few weeks with just 'construction' mode (extension cord until budget recovers)

    As for heat, in the house, forced air, gas fired furnace. Shop... TBD at a later date. Might just shiver the first winter. BTDT got the t-shirt.
    -Ned

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Bulken View Post
    here's my 'plan'.
    ...
    AC... going to go with a midrange wall unit, someday.
    Heat... i'll get back to you on that one this fall.

    still think that'll work on that sub panel? I realize I won't ever turn 'everything' on, but lights plus one or two tools plus DC at one time would happen on a regular basis.
    Ned,

    (Not an electrician, just a well-read handyman...)

    If your stove, dryer, Furnace and HWH are all gas, then your house really does not have a large electric load on it. The biggest load, I think, would be your A/C in the summer time. Other than that, your fridge will be a modest constant drain, not sure what else.

    I can't tell, how large is the main breaker on the house? I'm betting it is at minimum 100a. I don't know the formula off the top of my head but you can figure out the amp draw for the A/C, fridge, freezer, and add some cushion, and you'll have a pretty good idea of the amp-load that your house uses. This'll tell you if you have "room" for a 60amp breaker to feed the shop.

    As for the "still think that'll work on the sub-panel"... Ned, the physical size of your sub-panel will determine how many breakers you can cram into it. The amp rating of your sub-panel main breaker, on the other hand, will determine how many amps you can run at once. The two are not necessarily connected, AFAIK.

    In the shop, at any one time you'd have a main tool on (ie: TS) as well as the DC, and possibly the A/C unit. figure out their amps, add it up, and you'll know if a 60amp sub-panel will do the trick. I think it will.

  9. #9
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    Ned,

    I won't comment on your ability to run your shop from one breaker off that subpanel...since I'm from the school of over-kill when it comes to electrical. I will, however, advise you to carefully think through what will typically be on at the same time. Do the math...figure out the actual current draw from your list of what'll be running...and go from there.

    If possible, make the outlets on the walls come from different breakers, to allow you to power more than one breaker's worth from them.

    I also add a word of advise on you plans "for the time being". Running an 'extension cord' for 130' to power tools is going to be HARD on your tools...even if you do what I did...run that 100'+ extension cord as 12/2 Romex. It's going to shorten the life of anything you run for any length of time. There's no getting around that...the drop across that much wire WILL adversly affect your tools! So keep that in mind as you plan how long the "for the time being" stage will last...and use tools accordingly.

    Good luck...and keep planning and asking questions!

    - Marty -
    Fivebraids, Inc.
    When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there’s no end to what you can’t do…

  10. #10
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    Art,
    other than the kids leaving lights on, we're running a stand-alone upright freezer, the new fridge, plus various tv's, computers and what not.
    AC, we only use window units, small ones, and we only cut the humidity if truth be told.

    OK, sounds like electrical will be something that can be done without breaking the bank, so to speak. Just a matter of budget budget and more budget. Thanks for reminding me that it is the load that is the key. I was adding up amps on the breakers and getting way too high a number, since not all of them are running at the same time (normally), we should have capacity to spare for me to run a couple of tools every now and then.
    -Ned

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