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Do you have a electric power subpanel in your workshop?

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 06-01-2013 at 12:47 PM 1872 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DavidNJ

384 posts in 630 days


06-01-2013 at 12:47 PM

My workshop is in the basement…just setting it up. Right now there are 3 220v tools (table saw, bandsaw, dust collector) and a few 110v tools (planer, drill press, miter saw, belt/disc sander, router table) plus hand tools (handheld router, drills, sanders, jig and circular saws). In the future I expect to add a 220v jointer.

My plan was to run 4 220v/20a lines and 4-or-5 110v/20a lines from a subpanel next to the the main panel that has enough spare spots. The equipment is 70ft-100ft from the panel.

Did you have a similar issue? Did you run a subpanel? What amperage did you run to your subpanel? Is 50 amps with a 6/3 cable enough?

If you ran a subpanel or decided against it, was cost a factor? For me it seems to be about a draw. A panel with a 50amp breaker is about $70 at HD. The 6/3 is about $2/ft ($250/roll) while the 10/2 is 55¢-$1/ft ($107/100ft or $138/250ft and the 12/2 is 33¢-50¢/ft ($56/100ft, $72/250ft). So the wire would be about $400 either way but adding circuits in the future would be cheaper from the subpanel.

Thanks,

David


35 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1742 posts in 1130 days


#1 posted 06-01-2013 at 12:53 PM

But the subpanel will give you more options in the future. If the cost of the 2 options is close, I’d say it’s a no brainer. But also consider: if you choose to go with a subpanel, from there going to 100 amps (what i had in my last shop, as well as the current one) from 60 is only a slight increase in cost. You don’t know what you might add (or which tools you might upsize) in the future….for example, I didn’t see a DC on your list. Having the subpanel will just make life easier.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, we sent 'em to Washington.

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 675 days


#2 posted 06-01-2013 at 01:01 PM

My workshop is over 100 feet from the house. I ran an underground line to a 100 amp subpanel. I had to upgrade the house main panel at the same time since the house is old and the panel was only 100 amp. Cost didn’t matter – I wanted a panel in the workshop so I could easily add lines when/where I wanted.

If you’re running long lines you need to think about votage drop too. Longer runs means fatter wire. It might be cheaper now to run that one big fat wire to a subpanel, and then wire circuits off of that panel using lighter gage.

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View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1008 posts in 923 days


#3 posted 06-01-2013 at 01:02 PM

My shop is detached from the house so a little different configuration, but I have a sub panel. I only ran 60 amps but the wire (buried) is for 100 in case I want to upgrade it later. It’s just me out there. Most I have running is lights, dust collector, and table saw.

Wait… in winter is could also include a 1500 watt heater. But it’s still just me and I just don’t run a lot of stuff at the same time.

In a basement shop I would definitely run a sub panel. The cost for wire to run all those separate circuits is probably pretty near what it would cost to make one run with heavier wire to a sub panel location. And breakers aren’t expensive.

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DavidNJ

384 posts in 630 days


#4 posted 06-01-2013 at 01:44 PM

It seems the subpanel is preferred. However, 6/3 is a HD product at $2/ft. Lowes may even have been cheaper for that. However, no one lists 4/3 or 2/3 locally except in $2000 reels.

For 100amp service is 2/3 or 4/3 required? Where do you get it?

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1253 posts in 585 days


#5 posted 06-01-2013 at 01:53 PM

+1 on the sub panel. my setup is a #4 aluminum wire about 140’ long. I have a 60 amp service in the shop with a panel set in the front corner. I put in a 60 amp breaker in the main panel ran the wire and powered up the shop panel. 60 amps is more than enough. I have 5 machines that are 220. A 5 hp compressor, 3 hp TS, 3 hp DC, 10 hp rotary phase converter that supplies the power to a 5hp 3 phz planer. I have never had any problems with enough power. And to anyone out there advising against using aluminum wire take a look at the main service wire that feed your house, it probably isn’t copper.

when we wired my buddies shop he set a sub-panel at the other end of the 40×70 building. there was a dividing wall to make shop space and garage space for wrenching. it saved a lot of time and wire to have each room on a panel. if you are using aluminum take it up 1 size over what you would use for copper also you need to use a 4 wire 2 hots, 1 neutral, and 1 ground. the only way a 3 wire works is if you set a ground rod for the sub panel. 3 wire is more likely to be used with an unattached building and set a rod for the ground to save on wire cost. In a sub-panel the grounds and neutrals have to be in separate bars.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1742 posts in 1130 days


#6 posted 06-01-2013 at 02:16 PM

For 100 amps, I think you’ll need #2 copper, or 1/0 aluminum. I had to go to an electric supply house for mine.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, we sent 'em to Washington.

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

384 posts in 630 days


#7 posted 06-01-2013 at 02:23 PM

I’ve never used aluminum wire. I understand it is used from the service to the meter and from the meter to the master panel. Is it ok and within code to use it indoors to a subpanel? Is the ground a separate wire or is it a shield mesh around the other wires? Is the ground also aluminum?

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

465 posts in 1224 days


#8 posted 06-01-2013 at 02:29 PM

I have detached garage. I put in a separate 200amp service. I was lucky the pole was only five feet away. 40’ of service entrance wire and I was hooked up ready to go. I purchased the wire at a contractor’s discount because my brother inlaw is an electrician. It always helps to know the right person. In your case a 100amp sub panel is the only way to go.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1253 posts in 585 days


#9 posted 06-01-2013 at 02:33 PM

in mine there are 4 wires 3 of them are #4 and 1 is #6. The #6 is the ground and in my case the other 3 were numbered in the casing 1,2,3. I used 1 and 2 for the hot and 3 for the neutral. if you are using romex (10/3)the bare wire is the ground, white is neutral, and red and black are hot, this also applies for some larger wires. the ground will be a wire. I don’t know what you mean by shield mesh.

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 675 days


#10 posted 06-01-2013 at 03:44 PM

Before you buy your wire at the big box store, go down to your local electrical supply store and get their price. They’ll cut it to whatever size you need and since they just pay for a small building with two guys in overalls instead of a giant warehouse with two dozen guys in uniform, the cost is usually quite a bit less.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1253 posts in 585 days


#11 posted 06-01-2013 at 03:46 PM

+1 for just joe. supply houses are often a wealth of knowledge

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

384 posts in 630 days


#12 posted 06-01-2013 at 08:22 PM

Virtually all of the local electrical supply places are parts of chains. I’ll give them a call.

I found this 25 year old document: HOW TO SELECT AND PROPERLY USE WIRE . It says that 1/3 aluminum SER wire is the correct wire to connect a 100 amp subpanel.

I found an online website ($50 shipping) that lists 1/3 SER for $1.19/ft (currently out of stock). They also have the 10/2 for 55¢/ft in 250ft rolls and 12/2 for 36¢/ft in 250ft rolls. That would make it a lot cheaper. They don’t list a brand for the wire.This is the website: Wire and Cable to Go

I don’t want to drill into the poured concrete foundation. Can I just drop some 2×4s from the rafters to hold the subpanel?

Do you run conduit on the floor up to the machines?

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3350 posts in 1831 days


#13 posted 06-01-2013 at 09:38 PM

I have a 200 amp panel in my detatched shop, which is a 40×50…..It handles everything I throw at it, including central heat and air, 72 walland floor plugs, 16 8’ T8 lights, all my machines, and I still have some left over….....

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 1014 days


#14 posted 06-09-2013 at 10:08 PM

I ran a 60 amp sub panel to my garage/shop. Even with 220v and 110v machines the most i’ll ever have on is a dust collector and one other machine. Do you really need 4 220v lines? i ran 2-20 amp 220v lines. then you need 1 15amp 110v for the lights and i ran 3 separate 20 amp 110v lines. No issues with not having enough power in my shop but i don’t leave machines running when i’m not using them either.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View DavidNJ's profile

DavidNJ

384 posts in 630 days


#15 posted 06-09-2013 at 10:32 PM

You are suggesting just multiple drops on the same circuit? Possible…what are the pros and cons?

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