220 Installation?

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Forum topic by MikeInPenetanguishene posted 02-05-2010 06:08 AM 1563 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile


57 posts in 2479 days

02-05-2010 06:08 AM

Just setting up shop in my basement. I have a 200 AMP service and now need to have an electrician in to install a 220v outlet. Other than placement, is there anything else I should be aware of or any recommendations I should consider?

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

22 replies so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3155 days

#1 posted 02-05-2010 06:31 AM

How many amps are the machines going to need? Also, it might be a good idea to run a couple of them in different areas of the shop. That way you will be more flexible as far as shop layout goes. It is not uncommon to rearrange the shop.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Jeison's profile


951 posts in 2526 days

#2 posted 02-05-2010 06:34 AM

bah I have YET to rearrange MY shop….
...this week…

lol :D

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile


57 posts in 2479 days

#3 posted 02-05-2010 06:35 AM

I’m not sure of the amps, but the first machine is a 3HP planer. Everything else I have, so far, is 110. A couple of outlets does sound like a good idea though.

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2487 days

#4 posted 02-05-2010 07:10 AM

Last fall, we replaced our 30 year old furnace with a new furnace and AC system. Part of the job included running a 220v circuit for the condensing unit and I had my electrician buddy run two more 220v circuits into the shop.

We switched the TS and DC system to 220v, and I can add more 220v tools if I ever need to.

Size your 220v for at least a couple of your most-used tools. It’s worth it.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View MedicKen's profile


1610 posts in 2881 days

#5 posted 02-05-2010 07:42 AM

On the motor of the planer there should be a tag that will tell you the amp requirements. I agree that extra outlets will be agood idea. You never seem to have enough. I would also install the new outlets at least 48” off the floor to clear a sheet of plywood that mat be leaned against the wall.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5101 posts in 2613 days

#6 posted 02-05-2010 08:28 AM

Greetings Mike: As it is with clamps, you can never have too many outlets. In my shop, I have 82 wall, floor, and ceiling plugs…..110 and 220. Just like the size of a shop…. too much is not enough…. lol.
You have to be ready for anything that comes along in the way of tools and machines…....... later.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile


57 posts in 2479 days

#7 posted 02-05-2010 03:01 PM

Thanks guys.

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3516 days

#8 posted 02-05-2010 03:26 PM

I would pre-position a couple with a tablesaw in mind. In the event you upgrade… Also, if your bringing the electrician in, take a hard look at your 110 outlets and lighting.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View JohnnyVee's profile


43 posts in 2817 days

#9 posted 02-05-2010 07:24 PM

All great advice. Especially getting the Electrician to look at the equipment you want to install. Machines vary quite a bit when it comes to starting and running loads (irrelevant of the 110/220 issue). For instance, a table-saw will have more load on it when it is cutting through dense hardwood than on startup when only the blade is spinning but a dust collector has a huge initial surge to get it going but then the load drops so you need to have both the wiring and the breaker to handle these situations…

One other thing, for your plugs, even the 110v, upgrade the receptacle to spec rated ones. They are stronger than the usual ones installed in residential (these ones have a full metal bracket running along the back so they can handle a lot of pluging and unplugging…not to mention the rest of their innards are better built.) usually this is a difference of a +/-$1 per outlet… it’s more than worth it. Just ask the Electrician what he/she would put into an industrial install… hey, it’s your play area so go with the best you can afford.

Good luck with it all.

-- John ..."Measure twice, cut once and always do a finger count right after that..."

View Bothus's profile


439 posts in 2595 days

#10 posted 02-05-2010 07:57 PM

Hi Mike,

When we were having electrical done in a new lab in an electronics shop I worked at years ago the boss had the electrician do something I had never thought of but will do in my own shop when I rewire it.

He had 4 wires run to every outlet box (2 hot legs, neutral and ground). Then he broke the tab on the standard 110V duplex receptacle (electrically separating the two plugs) and had one hot leg connected to the top plug and the other hot leg connected to the bottom plug.

Then he wired up and adapter box that had a 220V receptacle and two 110V pigtails. We could plug those two pigtails into any duplex box and get 220V.

Now in my own shop I won’t actually use the adapter I will hardwire a 220V receptacle wherever I need it. But if things change later on it will be easy enough for me to add another 220V receptacle or replace a 220V receptacle with a duplex receptacle without needing to call an electrician.

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting you or anyone else do their own electrical. You should ALWAYS hire a professional.

Take care,


JohnnyVee: Good call on upgrading the receptacles.

-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17573 posts in 3094 days

#11 posted 02-05-2010 09:56 PM

Then he broke the tab on the standard 110V duplex receptacle (electrically separating the two plugs) and had one hot leg connected to the top plug and the other hot leg connected to the bottom plug. Unfortunately, that is not legal. The city of Seattle used to require kichen applicance circuits to be wired that way. The state made them stop because it is putting 220 v on a device rated for 110 v, a violation of the UL listing. You could put 2 duplex outlets in one 2 gang box on 2 circuits.

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

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

192 posts in 2821 days

#12 posted 02-05-2010 10:27 PM

1hp= 746 watts. 3 hp=2238 watts
amps=watts/volts so at 220, ~ 10 amps.

Then all you have to be sure of is that you’re using the correct gauge wire to handle whatever amperage breaker you use.

What I did was run 220v 20amps to my table saw and dust collector. Everything else runs at 110. Both the saw and collector were on their own circuit.

The rule of thumb is: Outlet rating >= wire rating >= breaker size.

Generally you don’t want to use a wire that’s higher rated than the breaker purely for cost reasons.

It’s not difficult at all, and I learned the proper techniques from one of Home Depot’s books. About the most “difficult” thing is getting the right size electrical box to fit all of those stiff wires into.

-- --Bob

View Bothus's profile


439 posts in 2595 days

#13 posted 02-05-2010 11:33 PM


Thanks for correcting me. Now that I think of it that is exactly what the guy did I just remembered it wrong (hey it was over 20 years ago).

Jeff: this is why you should ALWAYS hire a professional.

Take care,


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View Planeman's profile


97 posts in 2996 days

#14 posted 02-06-2010 01:09 AM

If this is a basement or garage workshop for your own personal use you should be able to do the work yourself with a little understanding of 220 volt current and how it is made up. I have wired up all of the 110 and 220 volt circuits in my shop including a large arc welding circuit.

You need to know:

(1)The amperage of your circuit (for a basement shop it should be at least 30 amps) and the amperage of the largest tool you will install. No tool should require more than the amperage of the circuit. Also be aware that some tools that have heavy starting loads like an air compressor may instantly draw a little more amperage on startup.
(2)The amperage ability of the wire you will install. It should be able to carry the amperage of your circuit. If the amperage ability of the wire is more it is O.K.
(3)No tool motor for a home workshop should be a three phase motor. Only single phase motors can run in a home. Three phase is only supplied to industrial areas. Three phase motors can be run on single phase with a phase converter, however these converters are expensive and you really need to know what you are doing to get the match up correct.
(4) Only run one tool at a time and you shouldn’t overload your circuit.

Now here is a simple primer on 220 volt single phase wiring. The concept is very easy to understand once the little light bulb comes on in your head. Once you “get it” you’ll never forget it and say “Its so simple!”

First of all, a 220 volt single phase circuit is simply made up of two 110 volt single phase circuits that are 180 degrees out of phase. REMEMBER THIS!

Phase can best be described with a simple drawing but I will try to do it in words. ALTERNATING current passes through a wire from one end to the other first in one direction, then the current reverses and runs in the opposite direction. This happens over and over again 60 times (cycles)per second. I am only speaking of the USA. Other countries have different arrangements and voltages.

I will try to verbally describe what happens in this current reversal. Due to the way the electricity is generated, the current runs in one direction in a wire and begins at zero current, then rises to full current, then declines to zero current. Then the current changes polarity(from positive to negative and changes direction and runs in the other direction within the wire) and does the same thing – begins at zero current, then rises to full current, then declines to zero current. If you were to chart this it would appear as a sine curve with the zero point of the current vertically in the center of the sine curve chart. Read and re-read this until you are sure about it.

As mentioned above, the current you are receiving from this circuit starts at zero (the center line of the sine curve) and rises on the chart in an arc ABOVE the center line to full current and falls back down the arc to zero (Draw this out. You can make your own chart. It will help immensely.). Then the current continues on the chart in an arc BELOW the center line exactly like it did above the center line only the arc is flipped upside down. Above the center line the current is POSITIVE, below the center line the current is NEGATIVE. THE AMOUNT OF VOLTAGE AVAILABLE IS THE DISTANCE MEASURED FROM THE CENTER LINE TO THE TOP (OR BOTTOM) OF AN ARC. Understand this. Above the center line the current is running in one direction in the wire, below the center line the current is running in the opposite direction in the wire. The polarity (positive/negative) of the current is constantly flipping back and forth from positive to negative at a constant 60 times (cycles) per second.

The above describes what is going on in a 110 volt electrical circuit at all times.

Now early on someone, probably Nicola Tesla, realized the amount of voltage in an alternating current circuit could be easily doubled by using TWO 110 volt circuits together. The trick is to have the circuits 180 DEGREES OUT OF PHASE!

Don’t have your eyes glaze over and give up now. Keep working at understanding the concept. Here we go.

Refer to the little sine chart we just drew out. Take a piece of tissue paper you can see through and trace the curve on the chart you drew onto the tissue. When you have done that, lay the traced curve over the original drawn curve and slide the traced curve to the left or right keeping the center line lined up. When you have the top of an upper arc directly above the top of a bottom arc, stop.

You should see an arc above the centerline(which is zero current) directly over an arc that is below the centerline. Above the center line the current is positive, below the center line the current is negative. Now THE AMOUNT OF VOLTAGE IS MEASURED FROM THE TOP OF THE TOP ARC TO THE BOTTOM OF THE BOTTOM ARC. The voltage is DOUBLED over using only one 110 volt circuit.

This shift of “phase” enables the combination of two 110 volt ALTERNATING current lines to produce 220 volts.

So much for the theory of 220 volts using two 110 volt alternating current lines whose phase is 180 degrees out of phase.

How to wire up a household 220 volt circuit

Rule number one! Make sure the current is OFF in the circuit you intend to connect to. Do this at the home’s electrical panel. Check with a voltage checker or a meter. Then check it again. If all is O.K. proceed on.

Most of you have wired up a household 110 volt circuit and know there are only TWO wires involved (often plus a separate ground (safety) wire which is always coded as a green wire). These two wires are always two different colors, usually black and white.

A 220 volt line will have THREE wires plus a green ground wire. For our purposes at the moment we need only concern ourselves with the three wires and not the green ground wire. We need to relate our three wires back to the little sine chart we drew. One wire will be the “center line” and will serve as the common ground (not the safety ground of the green wire) for both 110 volt circuits. A second wire will be the 110 volt line for one of the out-of-phase circuits (the top arc in our chart), the other wire will be the other 120 volt line for the other out-of-phase circuits (the bottom arc in our chart).

The only real job is to identify the “common ground” wire mentioned in the paragraph above. According to standards (as I recall – you had better check) this common ground is always the same color in a 220 volt circuit. Thus connect these two same colored wires first.

Next, locate the other two wires and connect them up. Match color to color to keep within correct practice. Should the colors somehow not match, just connect them. It doesn’t make any difference.

Now locate the green safety ground wires and connect them.

At this point you are wired up and ready to go.

Now is the time to see if you did it right or screwed up. Move any flammable materials away from the wired connections and make sure no one is standing close to the connection. Go to the main electrical panel where you turned your power off, say a little prayer, and switch the current for the circuit back on. If the circuit breaker in your electrical panel doesn’t blow and there is no problem at your connection you just made, you are ready to go. If there is a problem you will need to check your connections for error and reset your circuit breaker. If all else fails, there is always an electrician you can call.

Now I must say I am not an electrician nor do I hold an engineering degree. I just kept trying to learn. Like the TV ads say “I’m not an electrician but I play one on the Lumberjocks BBS”. Go on the Internet and learn more about wiring before you start. And please don’t take my little tutorial as the last word in electrical wiring. I’m only a self-taught amateur.


-- Always remember half of the people in this country are below average.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17573 posts in 3094 days

#15 posted 02-06-2010 02:23 AM

Sorry to say we have some interesting ideas here :-)) I wished you guys would forget you ever heard that 746 watts = 1 hp. A 1 hp motor at 220 v requires 8 amps, 14 wire and 15 amp breaker. 3 hp motor on 220 v requires 17 amps, #10 wire and a 35 amp circuit breaker. You motor may have a full load amps rating of slightly less. Those are the code requirements for those sizes of motors. 3 hp motor may start and run on 30 amp breaker, if not you need to use the next standard size up that is available no matter what the wire size is per article 430 of the National Electrical Code.

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

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