Spent some time trolling the archives and Google, and couldn't really
find what I was looking for. I suspect in part it's because I'm
suffering from a Language Gap - there's a specific term for what I'm
looking for, and I don't know what it is.
So, I apologize in advance if this has been talked to death before, but
I can't find it, if it is.
First of all, my knee has recovered enough from surgery in the past week
that I've been spending my free time in the new shop (18' 6" x 19' fully
detached garage) emptying all the boxes that don't belong there,
emptying the boxes that do belong there into the hideous cabinetry out
there, running boxes to recycling, giving things to Goodwill, etc. Very
exciting! I expect to be able to set the tablesaw back up by this
weekend! February of last year was the last time I made sawdust.
The walls and ceiling in the shop are exposed studs (16" centers) right
now. I'm planning on putting drywall up on the ceiling and plywood on
the walls. But that's not what I want to talk about (THAT is easy to
find in the archives) - before I can do that, I have to get some wiring
done. To get the wiring done, I have to make some key decisions.
I'm a bit of a safety freak, and I have two small children (4 & 2).
Short term I want to keep them out of the shop entirely without
supervision, and the lock on the garage door will do well with that.
Long term, I want to let them in the shop, but not let them do anything
really dangerous without supervision (i.e., anything involving power
tools). I'm also interested in emergency power cutoffs, mostly for my
own use. Right now the garage is fed by a 240v 40 amp circuit that
terminates in a sub panel in the garage. I recognize I may need more in
the future, but it's enough for now.
Without any thought whatsoever to the practicality or cost, the two big
things I want are:
A lockout box. I want to be able to leave lights and battery chargers
on, but throw a switch, put a lock on it, and have no power tools operate.
Several Big Red Buttons. I want to be able to hit a quick disconnect
from one of several places in the shop, and have it kill the power to
all the power tools (but not the lights or the battery chargers). Part
of my problem is that I do not know what the industry Term of Art is for
Of course, we don't live in a world where practicality and cost aren't
concerns, so if any requirement I list above is too much work or too
much expense, I'm willing to rethink. If it's gonna cost me $2000, I
can lose the emergency cutoffs and just put a lock on the subpanel I
have and be done with it.
So, here are my questions, and thanks in advance for anyone with the
knowledge to answer, the inclination to help and the patience to read
through my long-winded explanation:
1) What are Big Red Buttons called?
2) How do they work? Can I wire three circuits through one without
needing a second subpanel?
3) What are the lockout box things called? Googling for "lockout box"
gives me a bunch of storage boxes to store my lockout/tagout keys in. I
think maybe a "safety switch" is what I want, something like this:
4) How do *they*
work? Can I wire three circuits through one without
needing a second subpanel?
5) If you held a gun to my head and said "Do it right now with what you
know," I'd drop the emergency cutoff switches for now, install a new
subpanel on a 30A breaker, and put a "safety switch" between the two of
them. Is this, in fact, the best plan, or am I artificially limiting
myself by my lack of knowledge?
6) Stupid question - I have this kooky idea to hook up a 50 ampish
inline AC ammeter prior to the first subpanel. Is this stupid, or just
geeky? I think it'd be pretty cool to always know how much juice I'm
Thanks in advance...