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  • WoodShop Electrical Questions

    Okay, took the plunge and bought the HF DC along with the BS1400 and at the same time moved from the garage to the basement. More tools means more electricity demands. My question is around my circuit breaker box and how much I have available to run more outlets. Electricity is not this weekend woodworkers forte so hear goes.

    The label on the box lists it as a 200amp box. When I add up the amps on all the circuits that are installed currently, I'm looking at over 400 amps. I have 5 available slots for more circuits but my limited electrical knowledge sends up a warning signial telling me that my box is overloaded currently and adding any more would be an accident waiting to happen.

    I need at least two more 20 amp circuits to run the DC, BS and TS.

    What are my options?? Help!!!!

  • #2
    The 200A label indicates the size of your main breaker, which, in turn (assuming the electrician who wired your house followed Code) means that the drop wires from the utility pole will handle 200A of load without an out-of-spec voltage drop.

    It is not unusual to have breakers in your distribution panel(s) sum to more than the rating of your main disconnect, for the simple reason that not all of the circuits will be running at max load at the same time. Ponder, for instance, how seldom you actually draw 15A out of a common 15A outlet.

    The function of the distribution breakers is to protect to feed wires that connect to them. So long as they are adequately sized, you can add as many circuits as you like, bearing in mind that if you overload the panel, a breaker will trip. However, if the circuits are properly protected, that is all that will happen.

    What I would consider doing, if your shop is some distance from your main panel (and possibly even if it isn't) is dropping 30-50A 220V from your main panel to a sub-panel, and then dropping your shop circuits from the sub panel. This will give youi a lot of flexibility as your shop changes and power your tools with less voltage drop (over running multiple 110V circuits back to the main panel). If you do this yourself, just remember that the neutral and ground wires are never bonded in a sub-panel. And if you have any doubts, hire an electrician. What I'm talking about is not a big job.


    • #3
      You really only need 2 circuits- 1 for the saw that will be running and 1 for lights/dust collection (assuming the DC motor isn't very big, otherwise you'd need 3 circuits). There seems to be a common misconception that a separate circuit is needed for each piece of machinery, but unless you are running multiple tools simulataneously, you can have all power tools on one circuit. Keep it simple.


      • #4
        I am faaaaaarrrrrr from a woodworkin expert, but as luck wood have it, I can help out here since I am an electrical expert.

        Your panel is a good size. Some houses come with a 125amp and usually require upgrading for any doit-yourselfers, but a 200amp panel is great.

        What you need to do is find out the amp draw on the saw and DC and count how many lights you plan to run. Lights usually draw less than 1 amp. 1-100w bulb uses .8 amps.

        To find amp draw from Watts. Take Wattage divided by voltage.

        100 watt bulb divides by 120 volts equals .8333 amps

        Florecent bulbs are a whole nother animal, but they don'y pull much at all.

        Voltage drop is minimal normaly when it comes to the distance between the panel and the basement in most houses. Tom Cruise might have a long distance, but I sure don't.


        or VD=2*12.9*(amp draw)*(length to saw)/the circular mils of the wire you are using.

        You want to make sure you don't drop below 3% of voltage. So you could drop 7.2 volts at 240v without a problem.

        If you tell me the above numbers, I can tell you what wire size you need to run. I would also suggest you run anything you can at 240 volts. But of course, make sure your tool is capable of running at 240 volts.

        So Here goes. If you have a motor that draws 13 amps at 120volts and it is 200 feet worth of wire away from your panel, you would take

        2*12.9*13*200 which equals 67080

        Then you would need access to the circular mils of wire sizes and divide that into the above number.

        For instance. #12 gauge wire is 6530 cm.
        3% of 120v is 3.6volts

        So then you go to #10 and thats too small so then to #8 which is still too small so then to #6 to find out that you need some big wire to pull. That's at 200 feet away though. My saw is 10 feet away from my panel. So my number is 3354 and I can run #14 awg. That's a big difference. I would never run anything less than #12 though.

        If you run the motor at 240v, you will get half the amp draw on each wire. (2 hot wire's) Or around 6.5amps.

        At the 200 foot distance you would be able to run #12 awg wire due to 2 reasons. At 240volts you can drop 7.2 volts, but at 120v you can only drop 3.6v. So with the added volt drop and the 2 wires pulling half the load, you can save yourself some dough on wire costs. Your energy usage stays the same, but the #12 wire costs alot less than the #6 wire and you still need the exact same amount of wire.

        Any questions?

        I'm trying not to make this too long but, I have the 3650 and a shop vac. I am running the 3650 and jumping off the switch to fire a receptacle mounted to the saw that the shop vac is plugged into. So they both turn on from the saw switch. Both together wont even come close to breaking 1 circuit. I get 6.5 amps draw on one leg to the saw and another couple amps to the vac. 1 Double pole 20 amp breaker is more than enough to run them.

        [ 12-08-2003, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Paizan ]


        • #5

          Thanks very much for the valuable information. I could sure use your help. [img]smile.gif[/img] Here's my layout. My electrical box is right next to where my machines will be the farthest any one machine would be would be 10-14 feet (small shop).

          Here's the machinery and motor draw/amps
          BS 110/10 amps or 240/5amps
          TS 110/13amps (TS2412)
          Jointer 110/12amps or 240/6amps
          DC 110/18amps when starting it says

          Lights: Would like to install three regular 75watt fixtures

          I'll be running the DC whenever I'm running any of the other machines so I see one 20amp circuit and I would imagine one other for the TS. Can you help me out on what gauge to run? I'm not clear as to how to run the 240 either. How many slots does this take up, is there a specific wire gauge to use? I have a GC buddy who's more up to speed on this stuff and will be helping me but would appreciate your advice. Thanks


          • #6
            It's hard for me to really tell you how to do it since I don't know how you plan to run it.

            With the distance you are running, #12 wire will be big enough for all your tools.

            The TS being 110 can be on it's own circuit or you can take a leg off the 240v with a nuetral for it. The benifit of taking a leg off the 240 is that you save a slot in your panel. If you don't care about that, then run it's own circuit. 20amp,110v single pole breaker.

            I would run the DC on it's own circuit since it will always be on with another tool. The 3 woodworking tools wont run at same time ever right?

            I would look into getting some florecent fixtures instead of 75w bulbs. Florecents give better light, last longer and are cheaper to run. I would add those to your light circuit that exists in the area you are in. If you dont have a light circuit in your area, then you would need to run another circuit.

            We need some more answers


            Do you already have lights in the area?

            Do you have receptacles in the area?

            If yes to either of the above, how many breakers feed the lights and recepts and what are the sizes?

            Do you ever plan to run any of the woodworking tools simultaniously?

            Will you be running behind a wall or on the surface?

            Is their any water that gets into the area?

            There are many different ways this can be done, and without seeing it, it's hard for me to really give you the best advise on how to run it.

            240v is run the exact same way as 120. The only real difference is you need a 2pole breaker that takes up 2 slots. But you get less heat. The wire size is the same. The number of wires is the same.

            If you run a 240v circuit to your BS and jointer.
            Another circuit for your TS.
            Another for your DC
            And another for your lights
            You will need 5 slots.

            Answer my questions and we can narrow this down a bit.


            • #7
              Paizan, Many thanks for the feedback. Here's more information:

              Do you already have lights in the area? Yes, a couple of flourescents hooked to old incadenscent outlets the previous owner hooked up.

              Do you have receptacles in the area? One that is partnered with another on the other side of the room and appears to be hooked into the lights.

              If yes to either of the above, how many breakers feed the lights and recepts and what are the sizes? 15amps and when I plug the TS in they dim slightly when starting then the TS runs fine, but when I plug in the DC it usually trips the circuit breaker.

              Do you ever plan to run any of the woodworking tools simultaniously? No, as you mentioned only the DC with each woodworking tool

              Will you be running behind a wall or on the surface? On surface, the basement walls are not finished or I can run the wires through the ceiling joists above.

              Is their any water that gets into the area? Yes, like last night, but since it's an unfished basement the water trickles into the floor drain in the center of the room (Water table was raised in my area with the hard WET spring we had). The water comes from the opposite end of the basement but flows toward my work area but stops short because of the drain being in the center of the room. Bottom line is that the drain will be a minimum of three feet from where I'll be standing when operating any machine and I would dry it out before using any machinery.

              Thanks again for your help!


              • #8
                Okay, here's what I would suggest. Get some 12-3 romex wire and staple it to your unfinished studs. Run it over to the existing receptacles. Hook one receptacle to 240v and add another one next to the table saw for 110v. If you can use the existing receptacle, do it. If not, then put in new ones.

                Hook the new lights to the existing light circuit.

                Run a new circuit to the DC receptacle.

                If you can use any of the existing recepts it will save you some time. Make sure you get 240v recepts for your 240 circuit.

                I will post you a diagram on how to do this when I get to a scanner. Easier to see the pic.

                This will give you 1 240v circuit and one 110v circuit for the DC taking up only 3 slots. The table saw can run off 1 leg of the 240v circuit so you wont have to run another for it.


                • #9
                  Might I suggest that you get some rubber anti-fatigue mats to stand on when operating your machines. They not only save wear and tear on your legs and knees, but will provide insulation since you have water in the area, even if you just get your shoes wet. (or am I just being an overly cautious fuddy-duddy?)
                  "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06


                  • #10
                    Alright, Here it is. Let me know if you need any more info. Sorry it took so long.


                    Go to the electric pics (2 of them)

                    [ 12-15-2003, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Paizan ]


                    • #11

                      [ 12-16-2003, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: Paizan ]


                      • #12

                        Thanks very much for your help. I'm a picture person so seeing is believing and making it easier for me as well. I'll tackle this over the holidays as soon as I get the area cleaned up and let you know how it works.

                        Lorax, thanks for the suggestion and I've gone ahead and purchased the lockable rubber mats to put in front of the machines, as well as when I'm working with the electrical panel.

                        Thanks, you all are awesome.



                        • #13
                          I would not use exposed Romex stapled to the face of studs in an occupied space (such as a basement) if you intend to have the wiring inspector in your basement at any time. Romex not enclosed in conduit is only permissible behind walls and in other inaccessible spaces.


                          • #14
                            Yeah, if you plan to have a building inspector in your basement, don't run Romex. If not, it will be fine. It's no different than running an extension cord. I remember my basement in NY. It didn't have any conduit. As long as you attach it to the stud, it will be adaquately protected. If it was running on the face of drywall, I wouldn't suggest it.

                            It also depends on how much time and money you wish to invest. Conduit is better than Romex. But I would just run Romex, if it was me. What is existing now?


                            • #15
                              Since you admitted in your first post that electrical work isn't your forte I hope you will not be insulted by what I am going to suggest. I think you need professional help. Oops [img]tongue.gif[/img] That didn't come out quite right What I meant to say is I think you should get some professional (or at least semi-professional) electrical help. [img]redface.gif[/img]
                              Electricity is nothing to fool around with if you're not sure of what you're doing. Don't you know anyone with experience who would be willing to give you a hand?
                              I apologize if I have underestimated your abilities and wish you luck with your project.
                              By the way. HAPPY HOLIDAYS [img]smile.gif[/img]

                              [ 12-22-2003, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: Lorax ]
                              "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06