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Forum topic by jimmy J posted 11-21-2011 07:54 AM 1333 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jimmy J

229 posts in 2378 days

11-21-2011 07:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: electrical

I have an unfinished basement which will soon be the shop. any recommendations on how many circuits, and what type to add? An electrical will do the wiring for me, but if there are any electrical specific safety suggestions on i’ll take those too (to prevent kids from turning on machines).

10 replies so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3272 days

#1 posted 11-21-2011 08:13 AM

When I built a house with a basement shop, I planned for a 20amp 110v circuit for each of the four walls. This way, multiple machines could be run at the same time if necessary without tripping a circuit.

In the ceiling, I ran a 15amp 110v circuit for my lights and fans and another 20amp 110v circuit for overhead outlets. These came in really handy when working at my benches.

I also ran a 40amp 220v outlet in the floor before the concrete was poured for my table saw.

I also had all the circuits run inside conduit so that I could change any outlet to 220v at a later point without having to rip up drywall or run surface mounts at a later date. Might be a little overkill, but I never had a problem.

Lastly, I ran telephone, Cat V, and video lines in appropriate places for phone, computer, and TV.

Now that I have moved and am working out of a 2-car garage, I have done the same except for one wall that is “movable” – my garage door!

Good luck!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2427 days

#2 posted 11-21-2011 08:40 AM

Jimmy, I say yes to every single thing that Firehouse Woodworking has to say, conduit is a must have, it is all good advice.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 11-21-2011 06:14 PM

I planned out my electrical like I planned out my tool placement – figure out where the tools go, put the outlets there.

All my larger tools have dedicated outlets unless they are really close together and I share a duplex. I looked at cord length, and placed the outlets accordingly. Most of them are on a single 20 A circuit, because it’s a one man shop and one tool is all I can run at a time. I have another circuit for my DC and a two circuits for the wall outlets. I have two quads on each wall and every other quad is on the same circuit.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3272 days

#4 posted 11-21-2011 08:06 PM

One thing I forgot to add, Jimmy. Along the walls, all the outlets are mounted a little higher than waist high.

That way, no need to constantly bend over to plug and unplug cords. It also makes it easier to get to the plugs with machinery and benches against the walls.

Measure at the height of any benches that you might place against the wall. Add 6 or 8 inches to the height of the tallest bench and use that to establish the bottom of each electrical box.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2836 days

#5 posted 11-22-2011 06:22 AM

Although I like Firehouse’s advise, I’m in line with brtech. I’m also a one man show and have a dedicated 20A circuit for my tools and a dedicated 15A circuit for my lights and music. But I did place lots of plugs along the walls because you will never leave your shop set up the way you planed. There has always been room for another tool, even in my small cozy 24 X 24 shop. One last thing I did was to install a ground fault devise as the 1st devise in any and all lines I install.

As for 220 – I know lots of folks like them in their shop, but I never had a use for that much power. I have a smaller cabinet table saw I could convert to a 3HP 220 V saw, but I prefer the 1 3/4 HP version. Once in a while, I need to cut thicker slabs of hardwood and my cutting procedure is slowed down a tad, but for as often as I find myself in this situation, I can live with my less powerful saw. I feel I don’t have to worry about serious kick back predicaments. I like being stronger then my saw. I’ve even had to hit the rest button 3 times in the 10 years I’ve had my saw… somehow, I’ve managed! I’ve done every job I’ve wanted to do and my work is just fine.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 2394 days

#6 posted 11-22-2011 06:39 AM

+1 what Firehouse said. Most people recommend the lights on a separate circuit.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3139 days

#7 posted 11-22-2011 09:04 AM

You can look into what’s called a shared neutral circuit. It allows you to have 2 circuits on a 12-3 (instead of 12-2) line. This way you can wire a double gang box w/ two outlets and each outlet can be on its own circuit. If you do this, be sure to understand how to wire it correctly. Its probably safest to wire this using a double pole breaker so if one trips the other hot wire will trip too making the whole cable dead.

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3065 days

#8 posted 11-23-2011 03:41 AM

A few things that I did in my shop.

- I ran a 220 V circuit to each wall, and then split into two 110 V circuits, using alternating hots as I went along each wall. That way, I know that I can simultaneously run tools plugged into two outlets right next to each other without tripping a breaker. This is essentially what Sarit is describing, with the addition of configuring the first outlet in the circuit as 220V.
- I also put a 220V 20amp in the ceiling as I was planning to put my table saw in the middle of the shop but later changed my layout and don’t use it.
- In the area where I had planned to put my bench, I put an outlet on every other stud. In all other areas I put one on every third stud.
- I ran additional dedicated circuits for air compressor and dust collector. These were both 110V tools at the time, but by running a dedicated circuit with 12ga. wire I can change the circuit to 220V by simply swapping out the breaker.
- I put a wire in for exhaust fans in case I ever want to add these.

-- PaulMayer,

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2921 days

#9 posted 11-23-2011 04:52 AM

I recommend that wherever you plan to put a duplex outlet put in a fourplex instead. I have one every 4 feet on the walls of my, one man, shop.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3480 days

#10 posted 11-29-2011 01:29 AM

The way I did mine was I ran a separate 60 amp breaker box from the main house box so I had a box in the shop. I then ran a quad 120V 20 amp outlet (4 outlets in each box) every 6 ft, and then I ran one 220V 30 amp outlet every 12 ft. All outlets are about 4 ft off the floor. The lights are on a separate breaker as well has the heater. It seems to work fine. I run the table saw on the 220 but everything else in on 120. No breakers have blown and no flikering of lights.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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