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power supply questions

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  • power supply questions

    I have two circuits in my garage/shop that I use. One is a 20a single outlet circuit that I have all my benchtop/stationary tools run off, and the other is the 15a circuit that does the lights, my workbench, the garage doors, etc. I also run my shop vac off the 15a circuit to keep the big tools on their own.

    My question is this- which is the better way to run the stationary tools- right now I have a 15ft 12g extension cord with a couple of the orange 3 way splitters on the end giving me 5 usable outlets (I can only run one tool at a time off it) but between all my tools I have to rotate plugs constantly. And we all know that there are more tools out there to be bought. I found a "heavy duty" 8 outlet power strip- 12g 8' cord, 15a circuits, that would be attractive. even has dust covers for unused outlets. But all my manuals say "never" use a power strip- to me this one seems like it can handle it. What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Sounds heavy enough to work fine. The manual point may be for those with limited sense that attempt to run as many tools as there are outlets!


    • #3
      You stated that you only run one tool at a time so like WB said it should work fine. However, I have a question about doing what you propose to do as my knowledge of all things electrical would barely fill a small cup. I'm assuming that the power strip you're looking at has a built-in breaker so wouldn't you be downsizing that 20 amp circuit to a 15 amp line using the powerstrip?

      I had this same situation awhile back and tried to find a 20 amp powerstrip but had zero luck in finding one. I ended up doing what you're thinking of doing and sometimes if I don't let my DC get up to full speed before I turn on my TS the breaker in the powerstrip will trip. Occasionaly I've also tripped the powerstrips breaker when I've been ripping down 2x's but I'm sure that is as much a feeding technique error as it is an amp draw problem.
      I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


      • #4
        yea, it does downsize the circuit to 15a but the only 20a circuit breaker I could find was prohibitively expensive.

        to me, that's the upside of sticking with what I am doing, all outlets still have 20a available, but I'm only running one tool at a time- and I bet most of these tools are made to run on a standard 15a circuit. The only reason I have the 20a available is because I'm not using a drainage pump (not a sump pump) that was an upgrade option to add a bathroom to the basement that required a pump for the waste. In my case bathroom=no room for shop, and we didn't need another bathroom. So now I have this nice single outlet circuit for my tools.

        I may try to add the shopvac to the same circuit at the wall, not the powerstrip, so it should be able to tap into the 20a available. interestingly the strip has 2 15a circuits, 4 plugs each, so I wonder if I put the shop vac on one side and the [tool of choice] on the other how it would work.

        either way I'm probably gonna give the 8 outlet strip a chance, it's really a matter of the number of plugs and not how many things I can run at once and this is a more organized, easier system than what I'm using.


        • #5
          Is your the shop area in your basement finished? If not it won't be that hard to add some outlets from the gfci that should be under your panel. That is if it's a 20 circuit. IMHO, you'll have extension cords running all over the place will cause more problems than good. If it were my house I'd add another 20 amp circuit for just the shop. The first outlet will be a gfci since a 20 amp gfci breaker is not cheap. and the rest will feed through from there. most gfci's can feed through 20 amps, but the outlet is rated for 15. But if you are only running one tool at a time you won't have any problems.
          "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
          "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?


          • #6
            Starting a tool causes a 'spike' in the power requirement. Probibly if you fired up the vac and left it on, then use your '15 amp' tool you would be fine on the 20 amp circuit. Note: the power strip is all one circuit


            • #7
              the power strip actually has two individual circuit breakers, one for each side (4 outlets on each side). Each one is 15amps. So I can trip one breaker and the other 4 outlets are still live. it's a pretty nice setup.

              I have all my stationary tools lined up along one wall, I roll my table saw out to the middle when I'm using it and the shop vac sits where the table saw was parked- from there I can tap it into whichever tool needs dust collection at the time. I'll probably leave the shop vac on a different circuit just to be safe.


              • #8
                I have the same setup.

                In my shop I have 15 amp circuit for the garage door opener on the ceiling. I have a 20 amp circuit on the wall farthest from my garage door. I use most of my tools on the another wall. I have used power strips, but abandoned them because they were not really a full 15 amps. (my cheap ones anyway, yours are probably better). The power strip tripped constantly, I did not have the same problems with the outlets.

                To resolve this I extended both outlets with flexable conduit to a convienient location. I added a 4 outlet box and the end of each extension. This eliminated most of my cord shuffling. In this picture you can see the extensions, they are the blue conduits going to the far wall.



                • #9
                  looking back, I probably should have just added a box to the existing circuit. oh well. I've already used the strip, can't return it. at least now I have a good, heavy duty strip.


                  • #10
                    Power Supply

                    I use one of these;