Planning on putting up a garage this fall, that I will use primarily for a
woodworking shop. size is 24x32. 2 car garage with separate smaller
"workshop" extension. will probably use it for storage and finishing.
question is approximatly how much electricity should I use for the shop,
will probably have to have a subpanel from the main house, or might need
separate panel from the pole. any pro con for either. I have a table saw
and lots of hand held tools, but dust collection, air cleaner, and other
stationary tools are in the future. also how many outlets, how close
together etc. of course money is always an issue. will try and do alot of
wiring myself, with electrician doing the actual hookups. any help would
be greatly appreciated..
On Sat, 04 Sep 2004 08:28:35 -0400, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
I don't have a sink in my shop and always wanted one. Got to have
water for cleaning brushes, steaming wood, water stones, tempering,
etc. I have a phone, but it is buried under a pile of sawdust.
Put in more outlets, and lots of them. Strange, but can't really have
too many. I put some in the ceiling that I use more than I
originally thought. I put in five 240v outlets (thinking I would need
two) and four are used up. I unexpectedly converted my 120v DC to
IME, a 12/24 sub-panel, with 60A c'bkr in main and 60A master c'bkr in
sub-panel, would likely do you well. I put fourplex 120v receptacles every
8' at waist height, two over each side of corner bench, 220v dedicated
circuits to locations as needed. Also put fourplex receptacles on ceiling
joists for flexibility in moving fluorescent light fixtures as equipment
locations change. Works well.
Hey you must have copied me . I did put a dedicated circuit in for the DC
system because it runs in conjunction with other machines ,also did the same
for the AC unit.
Outlets are like clamps - you can never have enough. I'd be inclined to put
lots of them on the walls at convenient heights to avoid any need for
extension cords. Get 4X4 boxes and put two duplex receptacles in each one
on 4 separate circuits so you can plug in 4 tools at once and run them all
simultaneously if you want to.
A 12 space panelboard will allow you to have upto 24 circuits using duplex
breakers and ought to be more than adequate unless you have a lot of 2 pole
(230V) stuff you need to power.
I'd get a 100A panelboard and make the main on it the same size as whatever
I fed it from in the main panelboard. Most homes have a 200A service these
days so probably the biggest branch breaker you could have is 60A to feed
your workshop. That's probably enough, but I'd be inclined to look closely
at just what you might need both in your house and in your shop down the
road, and if it might come close to whatever your current service is, it
might make sense to get a service installed just for the shop, which would
probably be cheaper than upgrading your existing service if its already
200A. If you get a new service, go with a 200A service even if they offer a
100A service, the cost difference is not much and if you are going to all
this trouble and expense you might as well get the 200A service.
Allow for lots of lighting - switched outlets on the ceiling is the easiest
solution. Fluorescent fixtures can be hung on chains and plugged in over
your work areas.
I just built a 30x36. I ran a 60 amp from main house panel into a subpanel
for the shop. I place a four outlet receptacle every 6 feet on the walls
and put everyother one on each wall on a separate breaker. This way if I
plugged heavy loads into one wall I had at least two separate circuits, plus
I never had to reach for hardly any extension cords to get power to the
work. If you are putting in electrical yourself the cost of wire and
outlets is cheap, and shop for the breaker panel. I found a slightly higher
priced panel ended up being cheaper by the time I filled it with breakers,
since the breaker type was a lot less cost than the breakers for the cheaper
panel. I also bought outlets etc. in bulk from an electrical supply house
and it was about 10% less than home depot. I was running a lot of 220 tools
so I placed a 220 outlet every 10 feet or so on the wall. Also dedicated
circuits for an 18000 btu ac and dustcollector. Even with all this running,
A/C tablesaw, dustcollector, air scrubber, and lights I never popped the 60
amp incoming breaker. More than enough power. Also, checkout the
flourescent lights. I think everyone has switched to the new smaller
diameter instant on lights. They are more initially, but come on instantly
and are brighter and cheaper to operate.
One other thing I saw posted before on the Wreck is to keep the
outlets a little over 4 ft off the floor so sheet stock leaning on the
wall doesn't cover them. Wish I had thought of that.
John, in Minnesota
My situation was similar, just a bit bigger (24'x36'). Due to the layout of
the house and location of the main panel there it would have been damn near
impossible to run a sub-panel off the main and thence underground to the
When I called the electric company to get a second line in they said, in
effect, "No problem. We'll trench in the second line and you'll be billed
at the commercial rate!" Argued that it was a garage with hobby shop and
nothing more. "Sorry, second meter on residential property is commercial.
I solved this by having a neighbor who worked for the utility company and
was familiar with the whole routine. He disconnected my entire residence
from the grid, cracked open the meter pedestal at the rear of the house and
connected the appropriate underground cable to the lugs on MY side of the
meter (no attempt to shortchange the power company, I'm paying for every
watt<g>) and sealed the pedestal back up and "locked" it with one of their
I mention this only in the event that you may run into a similar line when
you ask for a second line drop at your place. There IS an alternative.
My UF runs to garage and connects to a 100AMP main panel there. I've got
more circuits than I need, including two 240v runs and still have a couple
of spare breaker slots left in spite of the fact that two of the breakers
are GFI breakers.
The breaker is in my shop which is insulated and finished. The only thing
that I didn't do (and, while not a major problem, it's certainly
inconvenient) was stub out the remaining circuits through the finished wall
and up into the overhead where I could easily tap into them to add
additional circuits. To do so now, I'll have to cut out a couple square
feet of drywall, do the wiring and then patch. Inasmuch as I've made do
quite well with what I have for the past 22 years, it probably is not that
muich of a problem but it's still one of those "why the hell didn't I's...?"
I installed a 100A 240V 40 breaker panel in my ship that is only
shilghtly larger than yours. I have always found that the incremental
cost to go too large is very small, compared to either the initial
cost, or the cost of upgrading later.
My amperage calculations (if I get it equiped in my dream
20A dust collection
30A planer (hogging wide rough stock)
10A lights (fluorescent + incandesent/halogen task lighting)
15A air compressor (kicking on unexpectedly)
60A just wouldn't have cut it....
I used 12-3 wire to dual duplex boxes every 4' and split the phases.
I leapfrogged the outlets so I would have 4 20A circuits every 4' down
the wall. By color coding the outlets (Brown and white) I can easily
verify I didn't plug the band saw into the same circuit as the dust
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND IMPUT. I THINK IF NOT TOO MUCH OF A PROBLEM,
WILL PROBABLY GO FOR A 100 AMP SERVICE, PROBABLY FROM THE POLE DIRECTLY, WE
HAVE AN OLD HOUSE, AND DONT HAVE THE TYPICAL 200 AMP PANEL TO FEED OFF OF.
THANKS FOR THE TIP ABOUT THE HIGHT OF THE OUTLETS, WILL DEFINATLY SITUATE
ABOVE THE 4 FOOT MARK.
WILL SEND MORE INFO AS THE PROJECT COMMENCES
just did same. put in a meter base and 200 amp panel. outlets are
around 5 feet apart and a few in the ceiling.for drops to machinery in
the middle of the shop. not set up yet. thinking i need to run a few
more circuits later as i get stuff set up. here in N.C. you can do it
yourself. i knew very little about electric but when i found out the
price to have it done for me i decided a book was a cheep investment!I
set my own meter base and subpanel and wired up what i thought would
be enough. got a permit and passed all the inspections then found i
needed more. dont forget that outlets in a garage need to be GFCI at
least here! the inspecter told me after i had made them all GFCI that
only the common outlets had to be GFCI. over the bench outlets do not.
they are concidered dedicated circuits for machinery. i used all 20
amp ciruits and 12-2 wire exept for the 220 stuff. i used 10-2 for
that.. also there are limits on how many outlets you can do on a sigle
circuit. check your local codes before you make any decisions about
wiring.and do get a permit and get the inspecter to look it over. have
fun in the new shop.
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