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extension chord powered shop best practices

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Forum topic by treesner posted 06-05-2016 05:36 AM 654 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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treesner

166 posts in 427 days


06-05-2016 05:36 AM

I’ve got a small shed shop with table saw, compressor, band saw, LED light, belt sander and some hand power tools. I think the land lord said they weren’t supposed to run power to it but we’ve been running an extension chord. connected to the extension chord I have this mini extension chord with outlets every few feet and on the end is a 3 way splitter

This sort of feels sketchy running all the machines off one power source. Is there any thing I should be aware of to be safer about this? Is running a splitter worse than just plugging/unplugging one at a time?

I only run one tool at a time, although at night i use the light while running the tools. and in the summer I might run a fan


5 replies so far

View ohtimberwolf's profile

ohtimberwolf

634 posts in 1815 days


#1 posted 06-05-2016 11:22 AM

I think you will get some suggestions if you give more details.
What is the distance from where you have your cord plugged into, to the inside of the shed?
What is the amps rating of the breaker on the circuit?
Is the proper breaker used in the panel for the size of the feed wire?
All these and much more are needed to know before anyone would want to begin to respond with a useful solution.

I personally would not use an extension cord unless it was something like SJ cord rated for at least 20 or 30 amps. UF cable would be fine also in my opinion but there are experts here who can help you a lot more than I can.

However, I would suggest that you not do much of anything with the setup that I picture in my mind that you are using at the time. larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View CyberDyneSystems's profile

CyberDyneSystems

220 posts in 1651 days


#2 posted 06-05-2016 08:19 PM

Number of outlets/splitter makes no difference, it’s all about the amount of draw at one time.
In my basement I have limited outlets, so I have a power strip with 8 outlets, (heavy duty, similar to this)
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Inland-8-ft-8-Outlet-Heavy-Duty-Outdoor-Steel-Power-Strip-03209/206857984

...and 6 machines plugged in at once, BUT I only use one machine at a time! (well maybe two on occasion)

As ohtimerwolf points out, you should make sure the main cord running out to the shed is a very big one! Most utility cords are only 16 gauge. Get at least 14 gauge, (depending on the length, might need even larger for a long run)

If your not tripping a circuit, you are likely doing something right.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View treesner's profile

treesner

166 posts in 427 days


#3 posted 06-05-2016 08:25 PM



I think you will get some suggestions if you give more details.
What is the distance from where you have your cord plugged into, to the inside of the shed?
What is the amps rating of the breaker on the circuit?
Is the proper breaker used in the panel for the size of the feed wire?
All these and much more are needed to know before anyone would want to begin to respond with a useful solution.

I personally would not use an extension cord unless it was something like SJ cord rated for at least 20 or 30 amps. UF cable would be fine also in my opinion but there are experts here who can help you a lot more than I can.

However, I would suggest that you not do much of anything with the setup that I picture in my mind that you are using at the time. larry

- ohtimberwolf

I’m not even sure how I’d figure out the answers to those questions, I don’t know much about electrical. The shed is only 20ft from the house/outlet but just using a normal outdoor extension chord, sounds like I should upgrade to a larger guage extension chord. I’ve never blown any fuses or tripped a breaker

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 949 days


#4 posted 06-05-2016 08:49 PM

14ga at the minimum but a 12ga cord definitely wouldn’t hurt.

Realistically you won’t be running any of the bigger tools at once so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 588 days


#5 posted 06-05-2016 09:18 PM



I m not even sure how I d figure out the answers to those questions, I don t know much about electrical. The shed is only 20ft from the house/outlet but just using a normal outdoor extension chord, sounds like I should upgrade to a larger guage extension chord. I ve never blown any fuses or tripped a breaker

- treesner

Like most electrical stuff you start at the source…what are you plugging into on the house side? Guessing 15a (20a if you are lucky). Every tool I have bought lately will discuss extension cord wire sizes depending on length of run (the longer you run the heavier wire ga). Many extension cords are now color coded I think…10/12ga yellow, 14ga orange, 16ga blue. In my shop I run an industrial yellow cord that has 4 heavy duty taps spaced about 10’ apart (3 in the run and one on the end). I look for heavy insulation because it is in my foot pattern. Your cord looks like something akin to a computer set-up…you might want to beef it up a little.

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