Shop power shut off.

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Forum topic by Mario posted 11-28-2007 04:34 PM 1249 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4015 days

11-28-2007 04:34 PM

I went to visit a friends shop and he put a panel by his door that all of his tools are wired to. He shuts it off when he leaves the shop and that cuts power to every tool in the shop. He says that most production shops do this and that it is an Indstry standard?

Is this true? do any of your shops have this setup?

-- Hope Never fails

7 replies so far

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 3877 days

#1 posted 11-28-2007 06:22 PM


My shop is in the basement of my home. I wires a 50 amp sub-panel for the shop. All of the outlets inthe shop are fed from this sub-panel. I shut it off at the main every day after I leave the shop. This gives me piece of mind that the little fingers of my kids will not go exploring the green on buttons of dangerous shop tools when I’m not around (the panel is high enough up on the wall that it’s difficult for them to reach). The only thing that is fed outside of the sub-panel is the shop lights – this is so that if any circuit breaker for some reason were to trip I would not be in mid cut with the lights out!

I have no idea if this is common practice in industry, but I think it is a good idea. One added benefit is that it shortens the runs to individual tools so that there is not an issue with lights dimming etc. when a tool is started due to losses in the long runs of wire from a main breaker panel.

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3921 days

#2 posted 11-28-2007 08:00 PM

When I worked in a professional cabinet shop we had an entry/exit ritual that involved once entering the building you went straight to the electrical panel and threw breakers for certain pieces of equipment (CNC machine, wide belt sander, compressor/air dryer) but not the whole shop. Personally, I think it is a great idea to have a master cut off for all your equipment…that would give me alot of piece of mind when away from the shop. And to place it right by the door is very smart, although that would be a little tricky to do if you wern’t wiring from scratch.


View rockom's profile


134 posts in 3835 days

#3 posted 11-28-2007 08:28 PM

I like the idea especially if little kids are around. I like the idea of a locking sub-panel for the ones that are a little older….tall enough to use a table saw but not old enough to use it unsupervised.


-- -> Malta, IL -<

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3838 days

#4 posted 11-28-2007 08:36 PM

I did that in my shop. The wiring is old and I don’t want to worry about electrical fires. So it all goes cold before I leave.

One thing that you want to be careful of is using breakers as switches. They are not made to be turned “on” and “off” all the time. It is hard on the breaker and it will not hold up after years of regular use like that. If you compromise the breaker it may not do it’s job some day, which is to prevent fire.

If you want to be able to turn off the circuit you should actually wire in a master shut-off switch. Make sure it is rated at least to the amps of the entire circuit, and put it after the breaker.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3955 days

#5 posted 11-29-2007 05:51 AM

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Did I get that right? Anyhoo, it’s a great safety idea but like Blake said, breakers don’t last as switches.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View LONGHAIR's profile


94 posts in 3779 days

#6 posted 12-29-2007 10:19 PM

Blake is absolutely right about breakers as switches. There was an incident several years ago in the bodyshop where I worked. One morning when turning everything on, there was a “pop” and a few sparks….then nothing from the compressor. It turns out that the entire connection lug in the breaker box just disintegrated. The electrician, that came in to fix it, added the proper switches for both compressors. He said that it should have never been done like that.

As far as the original question, no. The shop where I work does not cut power at the end of the day. The lights are on banks of switches in two different locations. The compressor, a huge screw type, has its own magnetic switch. All of the 220 stuff has magnetic switches, including the dust collection system. The biggest problem is with heating element type tools that don’t make any noise. Hot melt guns being the most common there.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3839 days

#7 posted 12-30-2007 12:59 AM

I think there are switch-rated breakers. Probably expensive.

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