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View AzChiefFan's profile

Lighting and electrical for your workshop?

by AzChiefFan
posted 04-24-2009 11:45 PM


23 replies so far

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2486 days


#1 posted 04-24-2009 11:48 PM

Call an electrician.

View doncd37's profile

doncd37

1 post in 2050 days


#2 posted 04-25-2009 12:17 AM

when i did my garage i put the lights on a seperrate circuits that way if you pop the braker to the outlet you still have lights to see with and for safty reasons to i have a 1 1/2 car garage and added 8 outlets 4 on each circuit but you would need to check your local codes first

-- Don Utah

View brunob's profile

brunob

2275 posts in 2891 days


#3 posted 04-25-2009 12:38 AM

I put outlets every four feet around the wall (I should have put more!). Every other one is on a separate circuit. I have two lighting circuits lighting 6 4’ fixtures. I also have two 220 outlets. Each on a separate circuit.

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15021 posts in 2398 days


#4 posted 04-25-2009 07:03 AM

Flourscent will be the most light for the buck. You’ll never have enough outlets no matter how many or where you put them. Use the existing circuit for your lights and add outlet circuits depending on the loads you anticipate.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1602 posts in 2184 days


#5 posted 04-25-2009 07:10 AM

I agree with Woodchuck on calling an electrician. Unless you are familiar with building and wiring codes for your area it is usually above the average person to add circuits. If you make a mistake you could cause a major problem that could affect the entire family and it may not be a positive experience. I would most definately call an expert.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2202 days


#6 posted 04-27-2009 09:45 PM

My shop is 22 X 22, its a garage under my car garage. I put in a separate breaker box with 60 amp service coming from the main box in the garage upstairs. I installed two rows of 5 florescent light fixures in each row. They have two 48” bulbs in each fixture. I also have outlets on the walls about 6 ft apart. The outlets for 120 V are quads and I have a couple of double outlets with 220 V, one on each of the side walls. This has worked great. I also have work lights mounted on the drill press and bandsaw with a 60 watt bulb in them. I have put a retractable power cord in the ceiling so I can hook up hand tools in the middle of the shop without having power cords draped across the stationary equipment.

The shop lights are off of a breaker in the main box upstairs. No lights blink or dim when running the largest of the stationary equipment.

I like a bright shop, and I have been very happy with the way it turned out…its bright just like an operating room.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 2450 days


#7 posted 04-27-2009 10:54 PM

it seems a popular way to do this is to have an electrician come in to install a subpanel on your exisitng breaker box and then wire out from there. I would add that if you aren’t already pretty sure of your overall plan, you probably should have an electrician come in. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable doing this stuff in my house. A fire in the place I live is just not worth the risk.

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 2450 days


#8 posted 04-27-2009 10:57 PM

another thing. you can rarely run two tools on one standard 15 amp circuit without pushing the circuits limits. That means a DC + any other bench tool will probably pop the circuit. Also, if you have the lights on that circuit, it would be pretty bad if they went out in the middle of using your tools so another circuit sounds like a good idea there. again though, I’d talk it over with an electrician.

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2202 days


#9 posted 04-28-2009 12:11 AM

One thing I might add is that you should decide if you are working in the shop primarily alone, or will you have others working there at the same time. In most cases in a hobby shop its just one person, so you most likely would have only yourself, and on rare occasions, two people working at one time and because of this you dont have to go whole hog and put in tons of power.

Any outlet should always be 20 amp. 15 amp circuits are primarily for lighting, so plan to use at least 20 amp circuits. I can use my bandsaw and have the dust collector and air filter all running off 20 amp circuits and it runs fine off the 60 amp breaker box. The table saw is on 220 V and it’s on the same box.

If you are not familiar with electric work, like many have said, its best to have someone wire it for you. You should be fine though in a hobby shop with about a 60 amp box with plenty of 20 amp circuits (about 4 to a breaker) and a couple of 220s at 30 amps if you need them for large equipment like the table saw or stationary planer etc.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15021 posts in 2398 days


#10 posted 04-28-2009 12:15 AM

Any motor of 2 hp or more should be connected to 220.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Durnik150's profile

Durnik150

647 posts in 2044 days


#11 posted 05-03-2009 12:11 PM

The guy who owned my house before me had installed a breaker box in the garage. That was about the only good thing he did. To keep a short story short, he installed the breaker box on one circuit (15 amp) that ran off the main panel. It was like using a funnel upside down.
When I started get serious about woodwrecking, I started flipping breakers left and right. I was lucky enough to have a tax refund coming in at the time so called up a good electrician and had them add several outlets around the garage and bolster all of the circuits to 20 amps. The first thing he did was upgrade the breaker on the main panel so the garage would have enough current.
While I paid a chunk to have it done, it was very reassuring to have it done by a professional. If you are confindent in your abilities, go for it and save some cash. If not, call a pro.
As far as lighting goes, I’ve noticed that lighting is kind of like clamps, you can never have enough. I have three flourescent fixtures hanging from the ceiling of my 2-car garage and I still use task lighting at almost every work station I have. As my eyes get older I need more and more light to make sure I am working safe.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112520 posts in 2299 days


#12 posted 05-18-2009 04:00 AM

I have 4 outlet boxs every 3’ and 220 every 6’ the lights should be on there own breaker and if you can have a seperate service if your doing woodworking as a business. I have wired every shop I’ve every had and even if your new to wiring you will be fine as long as you pull a permit.The inspector should not let you do it wrong.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15021 posts in 2398 days


#13 posted 05-18-2009 04:07 AM

You’re right Jim, they shouldn’t. But I’ve known a number of inspectors that were not qualified to look, let alone do!! :-((

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 2618 days


#14 posted 05-18-2009 06:15 AM

When I rebuilt my shop, I went a little silly with the lighting and power. I wanted to get 100 ft candles of light everywhere, so I put three rows of three 4-tube commercial fixtures on the ceiling. They are on two separate circuits, so I can control the amount of light. One circuit is the corners and center, and the other powers the remaining fixtures.
For power, I have 5 20A circuits of 110v and 5 of 220v. I also have a dedicated 220v circuit for my Clearvue dust collector, and another one in the crawlspace under the shop for my compressor if I ever get one that big. There’s also an outlet in the ceiling for a cord reel.
Haven’t blown a breaker yet!

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View BethMartin's profile

BethMartin

111 posts in 2100 days


#15 posted 05-18-2009 05:54 PM

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but around here the inspectors are very nice and helpful. I recently rewired our entire basement and added 5 new circuits. Here the inspectors will come out for a consultation before you start work and let you know what you have to do to keep it all to code. We can call them up during the project anytime and have them come out and answer questions – all covered under the price of the original permit. They always come the day after we call. It’s very handy and I learned so much. And then you have the peace of mind that it was all done right.

Good luck!

-- Beth

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15021 posts in 2398 days


#16 posted 05-19-2009 04:42 AM

Beth, The city of Bellevue is sort of an exception. The state just laid off about half of their inspectors. I don’t think they ever had that kind of service. BTW, looks like your builtins are coming along just fine.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2809 days


#17 posted 05-19-2009 04:51 AM

I cannot recommend highly enough that you use T8 fluorescent lights.
They have an electronic ballast and are virtually instant on.
They are also about 3x the cost of the T12 shop lights but the bulbs last 10 times as long.

Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View kerflesss's profile

kerflesss

182 posts in 2090 days


#18 posted 05-26-2009 07:30 AM

If you feel comfortable working with electricity and have a good understanding of it would I consider wiring your own shop. I +1 what a1Jim mentioned, a permit is a good idea. But here are some tips:
Lighting and outlets should be kept separate. You don’t want to be in the dark if you trip a breaker.
Pulling a 60amp subpanel from your main will allow for adding circuits as you grow as well as have access to your breaker in the shop (especially when you are working on equipment) and don’t have to go out side. You might first do a little planning and research what your future requirements (amperage) might be (a floor plan is a good starting point). This would save you dollars as electricians love to charge you their minimums ($$$$). You might even contract with one to do the rough in and have him do the final connections which again is a savings.
On Lighting: +1 Sawdust2; T8’s are energy effiecent (with the proper ballast). In my shop I have pull chains on different banks (4 banks). I can then turn off individual banks if their not needed and use the wall switch to turn off everything. Tube sleeves are a must in the shop. Breaking one of these is a real mess not to mention saving putting out an eye. Wish you luck on your new shop…

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15021 posts in 2398 days


#19 posted 05-26-2009 07:45 AM

The T-8 tubes with the proper enegery saving electronic ballast will use about 25% of power an old T-12 F40CW bi-pin lamp with a copper and iron ballast will use. Just using the T-8 lamps in the older fixtures with the older ballasts will not save you a nickel!! Matter of fact it will cost you money in the long run. The T-8 lamps are more expensive and will have a shorter life. The older ballasts will use about 75% of their rated full load power even if they do not have a lamp in them!!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View kerflesss's profile

kerflesss

182 posts in 2090 days


#20 posted 05-26-2009 08:24 AM

Thanks TopamaxSurvivor!! You’er right on the money. I corrected my omission…

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15021 posts in 2398 days


#21 posted 05-26-2009 08:41 AM

I wasn’t being critical of your plan. I was just throwing out some info in case someone thought they might just change to the new lamps. I have seen lots of commercial building that left out half the bulbs in a 4 lamp 2 ballast fixture. They weren’t saving any money, just cutting their light in half ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View AzChiefFan's profile

AzChiefFan

19 posts in 2049 days


#22 posted 05-26-2009 11:05 PM

Thank you for all the info!!! I have a friend that is an electrician and will definately involve/bribe him to help me. The garage to workshop conversion has slowed as it has been steadily hitting around 100 degrees or above now in AZ and it’s not too comfortable to work in the garage. Being that I work mornings it’s basically the hottest point of the day when I get home in the early afternoon. I will probably work on some small projects thru the summer and really concentrate on the shop building as it cools down, when ever that happens. I did make one small addition which was a good find on craigslist I got a mobile cart with about 25 pipe clamps ranging from 12 inches to six feet for $100 (very happy about that find).

Also if anyone out there has any suggestions on cooling a garage on a budget it would be appreciated. Regular fans just seem to move the dry hot air around ok if you like a nice hot breeze blowing on you but I’m looking for something on the cheap side that may help cool down the area at least 10 degrees or so for when it gets even hotter.

Thanks again for all the information, ideas, and insight on the lighting its greatly appreciated,

Todd

-- AzChiefFan "Measure Once, Curse Twice"

View kerflesss's profile

kerflesss

182 posts in 2090 days


#23 posted 05-31-2009 01:34 AM

Hey Todd, try evaporative cooler, there are a wide selection to choose from on craigslist. Mind the fact that it works on only really hot and dry days. There is plumbing and wiring involved if you choose a unit thats out side of the garage. Here in LV it works fine during the summer.

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