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Forum topic by USCJeff posted 2516 days ago 1064 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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USCJeff

1044 posts in 2569 days


2516 days ago

I didn’t get to make much sawdust this weekend because I was installing some shop upgrades. I have worked in a cave like garage with no windows and a 60W bulb for too long. I went to Walmart and bought three fluorescent light fixtures. I was surprised how cheap they are. The fixtures were about $8 each. The two 48” bulb packs were $4 each. So all three fixture with the 6 bulbs was a little over $30! None of the fixtures had hanging on/off chains. I attached all of them to the ceiling joists. My plan was to plug all three plugs into a power strip that is plugged into the outlet on the ceiling for my nonexistent garage door opener. I mounted a 2’ board perpendicular to the ceiling. I mounted the power strip to that and plugged all the lights in. This setup allows me to just power the strip on/off and is overhead high enough that it is out of the way, but low enough that it is reachable. I turned it on, tripped the circuit. I reset it and they didn’t trip it the next time. I turned on my miter saw and learned that they share the same circuit, tripped again. Looks like I’ll be doing some wiring of a new circuit in the near future. On the “bright” side, I am amazed at how much the lights make a difference. Waited way too long for this purchase.

-- Jeff, South Carolina


27 replies so far

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2537 days


#1 posted 2516 days ago

Ahhh shop wiring. I rewired my shop two years ago for the same reasons. I turned on the lights, turned on the dust collector, hit the tablesaw switch and blackout. I ended up running 100A to the shop and putting 110 and 220 all over the place with most tools on dedicated circuits. If you have the time and the power, it’s not a bad idea to run a 30 or 40A breaker off your main panel to a subpanel in the shop, then run individual circuits to major tools. It’s tough to use up 40A all at once in a home shop.

Cheers!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2662 days


#2 posted 2516 days ago

Yes Jeff, that is a problem for those of us who have converted our garages into shops. They are generally not wired for heavy use. All the plugs and lights are often on the same circuit, since most people do not have that many things plugged in and running at the same time.

I will need to upgrade mine as well before I do the heavy work in it. Last summer I had one fluorescent light, my lathe, a box fan, and a radio on. Things were going fine and then poof. I had to reset the circuit and then back to work. I see I need to add both some 220 and 110v outlets, as well as new amps to the garage. Least I am able to use a shop that has better wiring than mine.

Let us know how you go about wiring it up. It might make a nice blog for many of us to read, so we can follow along the path on upgrades as well.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

11996 posts in 2598 days


#3 posted 2516 days ago

A neighbor of mine was an electrician who out of work for a period of time. I comissioned him to rewire my shop. We added a 100A sub panel, rewiring the lights (12 4’ florecents) adding 110 and 220 outlets. I have a number of overhead outlets with cord reels that can be pulled out.

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

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2662 days


#4 posted 2516 days ago

A great thing Wayne, help both of you out at the same time. Sounds like you now have all the electricity you need.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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WayneC

11996 posts in 2598 days


#5 posted 2516 days ago

Lol. Actually thinking about adding one more 220 Outlet.

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

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2569 days


#6 posted 2516 days ago

I’m not much of an electrician, so I get nervous messing with it. I know enough to not electrecute myself, but not enough that I’m sure that I’m not about to fry everything plugged in or burn it down for that matter. We had the house built about 6 months before I got the woodworking bug. Too bad. It would have been great to wire without the drywall up. I could’ve install piping to easily add wiring in the future. As it is I have 3 outlets on 2 circuits. One is a freezer circuit, one on the opposite wall, and one in the ceiling. Good news is that the fuse box is in the shop. Makes life a little easier. My father in law installed the 220V outlet for my tablesaw. All my other tools run on normal household voltage. Bill made a good point in that normally there is only one tool running with the exception of dust collection/filtering. We have an electrician in the local club that has done a lot of work for the members. He wired an unfinished large attic that had no electrical for my brother in law. He traded him for 50BF of red oak plus the cost of materials. Another good reason to join your local club!

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Zuki's profile

Zuki

1402 posts in 2578 days


#7 posted 2516 days ago

My father retired as an Electrician back in 91. All through high school and sometimes in university I would be dragged along to drill holes, run wire and “tie in” lights and plugs. After getting numerous “roots” . . . I have come to respect, but not fear elactricity.

My experience came in real handy when da missus and I built our current house and garage\shop. I too initially ran one circuit of plugs in the shop (off a dedicated panel fed from the house) and POP . . . tripped the breaker.

Anyway . . . I now have 3 circuits of plugs and one for lights . . . and a couple of feet of wire and a spare circuit the panel just in case.

-- BLOG - http://www.colorfulcanary.com/search/label/Zuki

View Karson's profile

Karson

34796 posts in 2902 days


#8 posted 2516 days ago

My shop has a 200 Amp service for just the shop, another meter for the house. Anyway almost all of the circuits breakers slots were full. An office, a bathroom, electric heat in each of them. The well pump for the house and shop, The security lights. All of them take slots.

So when I bought the house I had to put in additional box for my tools. I’ve got 5 220V circuits for electric welder, table saw, air compressor, jointer, planer, bandsaw. That’s six, I guess one of them made it into the original box.

It turns out the seller never did the final electrical inspection. So I called the original electrition who would have to request the city inspection. He came over to check out the work one last time before he called the city. He saw my box and checked it over. and it all passed the city inspection.

I wish I had more outlets, every 5 feet. no matter where I want to plug in a tool it won’t require an extension cord.

But I’m not there yet. But I’d like air every 10’ also so it’s never completed. The wish list gets longer all the time.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2662 days


#9 posted 2516 days ago

I was thinking of just running conduit through the garage, adding plugs every 5 to six feet, adding some fluorescent lights, and then a couple of 220v services. No need to drill out the sheetrock or anything else until it needs to connect to the breaker box. But that will have to wait for a few more sales first.

I also want to add air outlets too, but that is longer down the road. I know what you mean Karson.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18614 posts in 2662 days


#10 posted 2516 days ago

when we built our addition we had a friend do some of the wiring and then brought an electrician in to finish it off.. he shook his head and said (as he fixed things up right) “you know, by the time I get my discounts on supplies for being a professional, the end result for bringing in a pro isn’t that much more than doing it yourself – and then you know it is done right”. Point taken.

When we got the basement wired, the electrician put plugs about every 5-6 feet, with 2 circuits running along the main workbench (top plug on one circuit and bottom plug on another so that same plug could run two items without worrying).. We then had lights put up where we thought we’d need them—should have just put lights throughout the entire shop. We now work in places that are rather dark.

I also wish that I had a master switch at the door to shut everything off to make sure we don’t have “phantom power” being wasted when we are not down there.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2812 days


#11 posted 2515 days ago

MsDebbie, you look aweful cold in that picture!

I’ve got 3, 220 circuits with 30 amp breakers and two are wired with 50 amp cable ( I wasn’t sure what I needed, but made sure it would be enough). I put all outlets at 50” above the floor so that if a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood was laid against the wall, it wouldn’t cover up the outlets. I spaced them every six feet, but in hind sight it would have been better to know where I needed them. The six feet distance was almost too far apart for my WoodMaster which uses both 220 volts and 110 volts power. I would suggest that you draw up a plan of where you want service and for what and have an electrician look it over and advise you as to what it will take and maybe even give you an estimate, so you know what you getting into.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2569 days


#12 posted 2515 days ago

Os makes a good point in that you need to have a plan of where your tools are going to be. In my case, I have not acquired all the tools I consider essential for a decent shop. I more or less know what I want down the road so I can plan accordingly for the future toys. The tip about putting the outlets high enough so that sheet goods won’t cover them is great. Haven’t even thought about that. I only thought about tool height.

One good thing in my case is that the breaker is in my shop and to my surprise, it has more capacity and power than the standard box. My builder must have known I was going to start woodworking! I can fit a few 220’s and a couple more normal circuits without compromising the household outlets. My club’s electrician has agreed to help me out at cost if I help him with some accounting systems for his business.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2662 days


#13 posted 2515 days ago

Way to go Jeff! That sounds like a fair trade to me. That should move you along to getting that shop wired.

One thing you may want is a couple of those drop extension cords as well. Then you are not tied to a wall or a specific spot with something. Any you can switch items or plug in more than one if necessary.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2569 days


#14 posted 2515 days ago

I WAS WONDERING: My new shop lights are excellent for the overall lighting of the shop. However, I often need more light on the countertop that spans one wall. The wall cabinets and my body cast shadows on it. There are numerous light fixtures designed for under cabinet lighting. I like the idea of having rope lights. It looks like a long transparent extension cord with bulbs inside it. I like that they will mount to the corner made by the wall cabinets and the wall which means they take up no room. They also can be removed easily. How much light do these put out? It would be about 36” above the surface. I currently have a couple of the cheap aluminum clamp lights that I move around as needed. They work fine, but would the rope lights give at least as much light as what I got now? What about the battery powered touch light discs?

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2537 days


#15 posted 2515 days ago

I’ve used those battery powered lights for the kids bedrooms so I can go in and check on them. They use led’s and though bright for their size, they aren’t THAT bright. They also cast shadows like crazy. I’m not sure you’d like them. As for the rope lights, I’m only familiar with them in the Christmas light context.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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