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A journey into the workshop. #83: I REALLY need a sub panel in my shop!

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 05-10-2011 02:54 AM 3035 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 82: I should have rested today, but I couldn't just sit idle.... Part 83 of A journey into the workshop. series Part 84: The weekend plans, that I am aware of... »

Okay I admit it, I am electrically challenged. I simply do not have enough electrons moving through sufficient gauge wire at the correct voltages, and amperages to properly provide for all my shop’s needs….

Tonight was yet another rude reminder of that.

It’s just stinking hot today, so in goes the A/C, there’s 15 amps.

Next, i am using the 3/4 HP drill press. 7.5 amps. Ooops to much…

Drag extension cord to the laundry room’s dedicated 20 amp circuit for the washer.

Now where on earth do I plug the *#$! dust collector in?

Okay step inside, blog about it a bit, wait for the shop to cool off some more, and swap the A/C for the DC (pun intended)....

Complete cutting disks (for wide drum sander).

Drool over all the shops with sufficient power…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com



18 comments so far

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1167 posts in 1515 days


#1 posted 05-10-2011 03:33 AM

db,

How far is it to your main electrical panel? You should seriously evaluate the cost/difficulty in getting a subpanel installed in your shop area.

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View cranesgonewild's profile

cranesgonewild

344 posts in 1564 days


#2 posted 05-10-2011 03:55 AM

I feel your pain brother.
My entire garage is on a 15 amp circuit along with the living room.
I run a long extention cord to the kitchen for the shop vac, so I can use it with other tools at the same time.
However, I did buy a subpanel box and all the wires. I just have to wire it all up.
Let’s make a pact. You wire up yours and I’ll wire up mine.

-- I'm a Fungi --

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1888 days


#3 posted 05-10-2011 03:56 AM

It’s on the list for projects this summer. Unfortunately the IRS has put a pinch in that or it would be done already…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View rsladdwoodworks's profile

rsladdwoodworks

311 posts in 1825 days


#4 posted 05-10-2011 03:09 PM

for your and your family’s safety you need to run new power to your shop this a good way to burn down the house

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1489 posts in 2417 days


#5 posted 05-10-2011 03:23 PM

Older homes often are limited to 100 amp service. When we moved to an early 50’s vintage house in Gainesville the first thing I did was to upgrade to 200 amp service and put a 60 amp sub panel in the garage. Even newer homes seldom have more than two circuits in the garage, often shared with recepticles in the house. If you’re going to have a shop in the house, an electrical upgrade is necessary or you could suddenly be “in the dark” (been there myself).

When you install a new subpanel, it’s a good idea to include a couple of 240V circuits as well. Some single phase motors can be wired for both 120 and 240 volt. This cuts down on your total amperage draw.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Stormin's profile

Stormin

192 posts in 1445 days


#6 posted 05-10-2011 03:27 PM

I have been in the electrical business for 40 + years IMHO sometimes you can’t afford not to go without proper power. You can save money by doing most of the work yourself. Get a competent electrician to show you how to do the grunt work and then have him come in a hook it up for you.

Good Luck
Norm

-- I started off with nothing I have most of it left

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1888 days


#7 posted 05-10-2011 03:51 PM

Stormin,

That’s my plan.

The long and the short of it is that according to the electrician, I have 200 amp service coming in to the house, with 150 of it being called for in breakers, 2 of those breakers are 40 amps each, one for A/C, the other for the furnace, and guess what… They never run at the same time… (All electric home, an oddity in coastal Texas I know… And FWIW it is a 1984 vintage home. Not exactly the heyday of home construction).

I have a main panel problem though. It’s completely full. All the slots that can have dual breakers in them already do. We are talking about putting in a pre-panel kind of rig. I don’t know what he called it. But it goes in line BEFORE the main, and splits the power, has a 200 amp breaker, and then a 150 and a 60 to feed the sub panels. (not sure why I can get away with 210 amps on a 200 amp breaker. Can some body explain that to me?)

The other, MUCH more expensive option, and one that would need to be done in the off season, would be to run the sub panel and all, up to the main, leave it free, and then swap the main panel for a bigger one so that I can feed off of it.

Yes, the electrician is pending… We’ll see how it goes…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Stormin's profile

Stormin

192 posts in 1445 days


#8 posted 05-10-2011 04:03 PM

When you do a load calculation on a building all the appliances etc are calculated along with a factor for the square footage If you added up the ampacity on all the breakers most places would be well over the current rating of the main breaker In the real world not everything would be on a 100 % all the time so this way the service size is derated Your electrician I’m sure will give you the best advice about your subpanels

-- I started off with nothing I have most of it left

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1167 posts in 1515 days


#9 posted 05-10-2011 04:19 PM

db,

Are there circuit breakers in your main panel that could be replaced by half-height (thin) breakers, freeing up enough space for the breakers needed for the new subpanel feed?

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1888 days


#10 posted 05-10-2011 05:01 PM

That is an excellent question for me to ask the electrician. I have a Square D panel, and several “double height” breakers. (The A/C and furnace breakers leap to mind). If they can be swapped for single height, I can get it all in the existing panel…

Just FWIW, the electrician is the BIL of a coworker of mine. He is licensed, bonded, insured etc… I was asking for the best reference. Funny thing is, I got this guy’s number from not only my coworker, but a neighbor that is in the remodeling biz… So he has a good reputation in the industry, or he has a lot of friends. And if he does bad work, I can make his BIL’s job miserable… (insert evil laugh here…). The idea is, he spec’s what I need, tells me where to put it, I install and run everything, he checks it, we get our pre-hookup inspection, and then he connects it to the main panel IF possible. Again, that is the big concern…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3663 posts in 1820 days


#11 posted 05-10-2011 05:02 PM

Yup, have the electrian put in a subpanel. It sounds like you have dual breakers everywhere you can. That was my trick in La Conner. Put in dual breakers, in two spaces, freeing up two circuits, so that I could then install those.

Hope a new panel fits in your tight budget…....you know an electrician you could barter something with?

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1888 days


#12 posted 05-10-2011 05:23 PM

Yeah, sort of… The electrician in question actually has a small office of his own, and needs a server rebuilt… We are likely going to work out some trade. Just wish he wasn’t using Windows, but oh well…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3663 posts in 1820 days


#13 posted 05-10-2011 06:26 PM

You are a Linux man, yes? Seems to me lots of people interface open source servers with Windows, or am I reading things wrong? The electrician probably could care less what is running on his server as long as he doesn’t have to deal with it. At my office, our main server is IBM, but we have windows PCs everywhere, very cheap and effective. Think David Craig knows a lot about that business, wing him a PM.

Gotta get you a new panel…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5385 posts in 1888 days


#14 posted 05-10-2011 06:42 PM

He’s already got a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine. Most likely foundation. It’s a hardware upgrade he is wanting done. Basically I need to upgrade a RAID 5 of 300GB SATA2 disks with a RAID of 1.5TB SATA2 disks. Thankfully the system disk is a separate RAID group, but he has MS-SQL databases on here… Ick…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3663 posts in 1820 days


#15 posted 05-10-2011 07:01 PM

Pass it by David Craig…....it is out of my realm of expertise, which is limited in the first place…..(-:

I think David Craig does more MS stuff, but I may be wrong there.

SATA 2 and RAID 5, can’t you hot swap disks, and let the server software figure it out? Or does he not have the proper hardware setup?

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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