Power for the shop

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Take heart that the comparison is not really a fair one. Most home owners doing their own wiring are not knowing throwing caution to the wind.
Now if you knew that what you were doing was going to cause problems, that would be a different matter.
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On Tue, 17 Mar 2009 07:55:11 -0500, "Leon"

Most will do a better job than a licensed electrician. The electrical inspector I had when I built my garage told me that homeowners did a much better job than the average electrician, primarily because it is theirs, they have more time, and tend to overbuild to compensate for any lack of knowledge.

Right, it would have to be intentional (i.e. arson) for a claim to be denied.
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Yeah I know, but I "think" a home owner can do what he wants, although he will probably have to make it right if he plans on selling the house. If I move I simply plan to remove the extra outlet.
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Run a disconnect. It is a separate switched fuse or breaker box, connected directly to the main buss. From there you can run an "expansion panel"
Or remove one of the 220 brekers and replace it with the largest you can get and wire the "expansion panel" to that breaker, installing a breaker for the original 220 volt load in that panel.
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The building trades are available, why not ask an electrician? Probably, if you dislike the 'old style' breakers, a new breaker box (or even an upgraded service) would be an option to consider.
It doesn't take a full work day to replace an existing box, just some prudence and skills, and a licensed electrician can get your situation sorted relatively easily. Building permit required, usually.
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Back in Nov. I did just that. It cost me about $375 for a new panel, breakers, plus a 12ft run for my 220v space heater. It took about half a day. The electrician was happy to get the work and I was happy to have someone else do it. Now I've got two additional 110 runs and room for 5 (or 2 plus 1) more in my box -- just in case I want to expand and/or upgrade.
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Pushmatic breakers? Probably from the 50's or 60's. FWIW, my electrician friend who likes to go overboard on everything says they are a fire waiting to happen. I'd go with a new, upgraded breaker panel with a sub-panel in the shop. Then you can go out and buy some BIG tools!
Mike wrote:

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Replacing the main breaker box at this time isn't an option, unless I want to skip getting a new saw, then there is no point to this little exercise! (well, except for having a new, possibly safer main breaker box)
At this point I'm really leaning towards putting a sub-panel in the shop. I want to relocate the wire running to the dryer out to the shop and use it as the feeder cable. The new sub panel would have a 50 amp breaker for a main disconnect, a 30 amp breaker feeding new wire run to the dryer, a 20 amp breaker feeding new wire to run the table saw, and possibly a few 110v circuits for various outlets throughout the shop. Any major problems with this plan? I've looked at the cable that currently feeds the dryer, it is about 3/4" thick, round, grey and not labeled - how best to identify it for sure? Would this plan require any changes inside the main breaker box?
Just as a disclaimer, I would have everything checked out with an electrician and so on, at this point I'm just trying to determine if this plan is feasible so I have a rough idea of the cost.
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[...snip...]

I think it is a good plan, except you might consider getting a subpanel with more expansion room, so that you don't have to go back in a few years and increase the size of the subpanel.
In my case I had an electrician replace my old fuse box with a modern 200 amp panel about 15 years back. In my ignorance, I didn't specify that we should spend a few extra dollars for a panel with plenty of expansion room.
Since the house is older, I have added a lot of new circuits over the years, often to reduce the load on the old wiring or to add outside lights, dedicated circuits for things like the refrigerator, washer, microwave, etc.
Anyway, I quickly maxed out the panel. When I ripped down my old garage/utility room and replaced it with a shop worthy space, I got the biggest Siemens type panel I could (Siemens breakers are widely available and relatively inexpensive), took that old panel and put it in the garage as a subpanel. It is nearly full now.

You could open up the outlet box the dryer plugs into and check out the wires themselves.
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"Jim Weisgram" wrote:

Lowest cost solution is to install a 125 MLO(Main lug only) 12/24 (12-1" or 24-1/2") panel with a 2P-60A main CB kit, a 2P-50A branch breaker for the dryer and a 2P-30A breaker for the T/S.
Feed the new sub panel from the existing 2P-50A branch breaker(existing dryer circuit) and move the dryer wiring to the sub panel.
Buy what ever brand of equipment that is popular in your area.
A 12/24 panel will provide all the shop capacity you will need for a typical home shop including an additional 2P-50A for a 5HP air compressor if you need one.
The above based on many years in the electrical business designing electrical distribution systems and selling the above equipment.
YMMV.
Lew
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I spent some time looking at the existing dryer line - the dryer plug is a 3 prong plug, which has 2 hot wires, and one ground - but does not have a neutral wire. So it doesn't look like I'd be able to use this line to feed my new sub-panel. An electrician I spoke with at work told me that this setup is common for large appliances such as dryers - 2 hot wires, 1 ground and no common.
Now it looks like I will have to pull new wire from the main breaker box out to the shop - this new line would have 2 hot wires, 1 common and 1 ground. Does that sound correct? If so, then I would want to disconnect the existing dryer line from the 50 amp breaker in the main panel and connect the new line to that breaker.
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"Mike" wrote:

is a 3 prong plug, which has 2 hot wires, and one ground - but does not have a neutral wire. <snip>
NBD.
The existing main panel will have L1, L2, N & Gnd.
Pull the N & G from the existing pnl.
Pull L1 & L2 from the existing 2P-50 presently used to feed dryer.
You now feed dryer from new sub pnl.
N & G will also come from sub pnl..
Not sure about your area, but usually when you work on something, you have to bring it up to current code.
Probably means you will need to replace existing dryer receptacle with a 4 wire unit and replace the dryer plug to match.
Sounds like the dryer is old enough it may not require any 120V service.
Lew
So it doesn't look like I'd be able to use this line to feed my new sub-panel. An electrician I spoke with at work told me that this setup is common for large appliances such as dryers - 2 hot wires, 1 ground and no common.
Now it looks like I will have to pull new wire from the main breaker box out to the shop - this new line would have 2 hot wires, 1 common and 1 ground. Does that sound correct? If so, then I would want to disconnect the existing dryer line from the 50 amp breaker in the main panel and connect the new line to that breaker.
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There are 1/2 width breakers available for most breaker types that allow 2 breakers to reside in the place of one standard breaker. You might be able to get some breaker space by using the 1/2 size ones in enough breaker positions in your box to "free up" breaker slots for your additional circuit breakers.

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LOL. I have lots that need to be done.
After having explained what I was doing, with the house next door, the electrician gave me some tips and advice before he came out. Once he was here, he inspected what I had done, recommended leaving some things "live" in the garage and old shop, explained several aspects of code, etc. in relation to what I did and in assisting me with subequent wiring-related work to be done, later, in the rest of the shop. He was as dedicated to my concerns as I was.... going the extra step in doing a good job with me in mind. That warrants a gratuity. And, surely, he had to have been a professional, since he wore an impressive-looking tool belt!
The house had partially burned, so I was able to purchase it cheap. I've been remodeling it, since then, as a shop. I need help with heavy lifting, sometimes. I'm doing a little interior work, at the moment, and will be doing more exterior work, soon, as the weather is warming up, nicely. I always give a token of appreciation to those who give an extra hand in assistance.
On another note, I've discovered the property, as a residence, itself, has a higher tax assessed to it than if I would have the property enjoined to my home property, creating one larger single residence. I've learned this is not hard to get done, in my particular circumstance, and a one-time fee of about $800, for surveying and legal filing, would result in an overall tax assessment/bill of about $500 per year less than I am presently paying. And one doesn't have to be an electrician, impressive tool belt or not, to figure that one out.
Sonny
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Sonny wrote:

:) It was a rhetorical question - and I like how you show appreciation.

Sounds like a "keeper". Hmm - I wonder if a good tool belt would do anything for my (lack of) plumbing and electrical skills... probably not.

Agreed.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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