evenprimes

Electric woes in my new basement shop, what's your advice?

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Today I was finally able to start making sawdust in the basement shop.... only to find that my current wiring won't cut it.  

 

Just running my SawStop and shop vac for dust collection, I was tripping the circuit.  I checked the box and the circuits are all 15 amp circuits.  While I was able to reset and continue, the circuit sometimes tripped with just the saw running and not cutting anything.

 

Right now, the saw stop is my only power tool, but I expect to add a planer very soon.  I'll be hand flattening until next year when I hope to get a planer/jointer combo machine.  For dust collection I have a shop vac with a rockler dust vortex.  

 

The basement is mostly finished, meaning all walls are sheet rocked.  (I ripped up the carpet that was there to make my shop.)  Lighting is actually pretty good.

 

Depending on cost, my initial thoughts are 2 20 amp circuits and a 220v outlet on a dedicated circuit.

 

What do you think?

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I suggest a conversation with a licensed electrician. I can do my own electric in my state, but one thing you said concerns me. The saw will draw heavily on startup, that is normal. If the saw starts, and then pops a breaker while not cutting, that is not as normal. You can go about running your own circuit, this is wise. I still suspect a problem with the old circuit.

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If the saw is tripping while just running it makes me think you have a cord problem, if you are using extension cords they must be of good quality and rated to carry the load. The breakers trip when heat builds up, if the cords are not big enough heat will continue to build while it is running even with no load.

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Take a look at the power requirements of your saw.  I'm pretty sure a 20 amp breaker is the manufacturer's recommendation.

 

Upgrading breakers isn't difficult but, agree with C that consulting an electrician would be wise.

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Here in Indiana you can use 14 gauge wire for outlets and lighting (10-15 amp breakers) 12 guage is preferred. I don't think you want to upgrade to a 20 amp breaker until you know for sure there is no 14 guage wire involved.

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Good point Raefco..  Not sure where the OP is from..  You rarely see 14 guage where I'm at..  12 is pretty standard.

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Here in Indiana you can use 14 gauge wire for outlets and lighting (10-15 amp breakers) 12 guage is preferred. I don't think you want to upgrade to a 20 amp breaker until you know for sure there is no 14 guage wire involved.

I'm in MD, but my house was built in the late 80's.  Something tells me that the builders went with the minimum code requirements.  

 

I'm more than a little hesitant to just update the circuits since I do have doubts about the wiring.  That's why I think 2 new circuits with new wiring will be my best option.  I'll have to cleanup the drywall later, but that's better than burning the house down.

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Depending on where your main service panel is and the direction of the floor joist's, you may be farther ahead to run heavier wire over to the shop set a sub panel and from it use conduit and run surface out lets to where you want them

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I'm more than a little hesitant to just update the circuits since I do have doubts about the wiring.  That's why I think 2 new circuits with new wiring will be my best option.  I'll have to cleanup the drywall later, but that's better than burning the house down.

 

I think it is a pretty reasonable assumption that if you have 15a breakers they didn't use #12 wire, but it is easy enough to check so I'd have a look first anyway.  If you need 20a circuits and have #14, which seems very likely, you will need to run new wire or have an electrician do it.

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Easy enough to find out..  Take a look at the romex and see what it is..  It's written on the sheathing.

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Depending on where your main service panel is and the direction of the floor joist's, you may be farther ahead to run heavier wire over to the shop set a sub panel and from it use conduit and run surface out lets to where you want them

 

I'd go that route.  Running surface conduit will give you more flexibility in the future.  

 

I just did my garage.  I had a 100amp sub panel installed with two 220v outlets (each on their own circuit) and 2 20amp 110v outlets (also on their own circuits).  I had a couple existing outlets and so far this is enough power for me.  the key thing is to keep your shop vac and dust collector on a different circuit than your machines.  They suck power and those are the things you run contemporaneously.   It cost me $1400 to hire a licensed electrician.  Most of the $ was installing the sub panel in my garage and installing a run of conduit from my basement to my garage.  Running the actual outlets to the sub was not too expensive.  

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I'd go that route.  Running surface conduit will give you more flexibility in the future.  

 

I just did my garage.  I had a 100amp sub panel installed with two 220v outlets (each on their own circuit) and 2 20amp 110v outlets (also on their own circuits).  I had a couple existing outlets and so far this is enough power for me.  the key thing is to keep your shop vac and dust collector on a different circuit than your machines.  They suck power and those are the things you run contemporaneously.   It cost me $1400 to hire a licensed electrician.  Most of the $ was installing the sub panel in my garage and installing a run of conduit from my basement to my garage.  Running the actual outlets to the sub was not too expensive.

Hmmm.... This is interesting.

My box is in the basement already. I'll take a look at the romex and check out the wire gauge. I'm thinking I can install conduit and wiring myself and just get the electrician check my work and do the final hookup. I hadn't considered the conduit before, but that could really simplify things. (I can't believe I was only considering ripping up the walls!)

This is great stuff! Thanks for the ideas!

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If the breaker pops with no load already running it may just be a bad breaker. Run down to the hardware store and get a new one. They are cheap and breakers go bad all the time.

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I checked and I do have 14 gauge wiring. So I think that's going to be a big part of my issue.

I've done my research and I think I'll go with some of the wall mounted wiring options. There are several out there and I think that will make my life simplest.

I'm debating how many outlets and circuits I need to add now.

For those that suggested a subpanel, my existing panel is in the basement already, so I think I'll be ok with my current setup. Plus, I want to be mindful of how this looks. The basement is finished, except for carpeting, and when I want to sell I don't want it to look too "industrial".

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Gunna be easier to feed conduit to a sub panel and probably look better than trying to feed into the finished main. You will only need one connection to the main for the sub and will look better if the main is already wrapped in drywall.

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Gunna be easier to feed conduit to a sub panel and probably look better than trying to feed into the finished main. You will only need one connection to the main for the sub and will look better if the main is already wrapped in drywall.

 

Yes and your sub does not need to sit next to your main.  You can put it in your shop area and have easy access to your breakers.  Plus you will have more space for more breakers.   

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If the breaker pops with no load already running it may just be a bad breaker. Run down to the hardware store and get a new one. They are cheap and breakers go bad all the time.

^^ This AND get a slow-blow or time-delayed breakers, it will allow a little extra current flow for things like motors that take more current to start them then it does to keep running.

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Before i converted my old garage electrical I used to run a table saw and lights all on one 15 amp circuit without tripping the breaker.

 

If your house was built in the 80's you could have aluminum wiring or a mix of both. And thats bad.

 

Sub panel is the best way to go. I put in a 60 amp sub in my garage and ran all 20 amp circuits never had a problem.

 

As a footnote we just have completed a rebuild on our house, when I was doing the demo on the old house I found several circuit conections that had been done improperly that had burn marks. You could have this from bad DIY from previous owners as i discovered.

 

And yes circuit breakers do fail and there are crap ones out there to so don't cheap out. It's not worth it.

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