Electrical wiring in the home shop.

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Patio
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Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by Patio » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:18 am

This is the world according to Patio, YMMV. (It is way I see things).

About me personally.
I went to school to learn electronics. I graduated in 1998 and got a job in a shop that serviced 21 different brands. I did consumer electronics for 5 years, right out of trade school, which was just long enough to start to get a grasp on things, before disposable electronics became the norm. I then got a job with an electrical contractor and did an apprenticeship until I got my “02” license (Residential electrician). One day I ended up buying the company that I was working for, at the time. The guy that owned it, was ready to retire and made me a sweet heart deal that I could not refuse. He passed away, earlier this year. I then made my twin brother my partner in 1998 and we have been at it since. During that time I taught myself to become a journeyman electrician. I have been eligible to be a Master Electrician for many years, but for complicated reasons in how the regulations in Washington state, where I live, I have not taken the test. There is no benefit for me financially, to take it. And there would have been an increased risk, if I had. I am about to retire, and intend on going for it at the beginning of 2020 so I can retire as a “Master Electrician”. All that is required, is to pass a test, similar to the one I took to get my Administrators license, 20+ years ago.

We, as a company, do a lot of Residential, (custom homes), a good amount of Commercial and some Industrial. The field of being an electrician, is a lot like being a machinist. They are very wide and deep fields scope. One can not learn all there is to learn in a lifetime, so most people specialize. I guess those are my credentials.


This board has been good to me while I have tried to learn a little about machining. There are some people on here that know a lot more about the electrical industry and electronics, than I do. I am still learning in both fields. The other disclaimer I would like to make, and it applies to most things. This is the way I do it! I might not be doing things the most efficient way, but I am willing to listen to anyone that has an intelligent comment, about a different approach. That is how I learn, too.

I am starting this thread so that “proper information”, in regards to home shop wiring, methods and practices, can be discussed.

If you do not understand the basics of electricity, or don’t have basic fabrication skills, hire a professional or get some kind of qualified help.

Each state, county and city will have their own set of statues, regulations or laws. Some may have none at all. They are there for the reason, to keeping people, and the community as a whole, safe! There is not one set of rules, or guides, that one can follow to be able to accomplish all the many different needs for electrical wiring.. There are some examples that I use to teach people, and help them understand some simple principles, about wiring. Some of what I am going to talk about here, applies to Washington state only. The NEC (National Electric Code) NFPA 70, is the bible for the United States as a whole. It is the minimum, electrical code requirement for most places. If you learn every thing in that book, you should be good to go. The 2020 NEC code book was just released, and cost just over $100 US dollars.

Some simple principles, that may help one understand, if they are doing it right.

1. If you don’t get anything else out of this, understand this! The equipment bonding system and the grounding system, are the most important wires!
They are the safety valves, of an electrical system and may save your equipment, your home, or your life. “Ground is ground, the world round”. Connect all the ground wires together in all boxes and to all metal parts and devices. Some times this is done by connecting a ground wire to a metal part, and then “properly” connecting all the other metal parts to that part. There are rules for that too!

2.If you can put a fork in your hand, and stab a wire, the job is probably not done properly. There are some exceptions, but not many.

3.Breakers and fuses, protect the wire that is down steam of them, not the device or load, that is on the end of the wire.

4.There are simple calculations for how much space, wires are allowed to fill, in boxes and conduit. Conduit fill is simple, it is only 40% fill by area. With box fill, there many things that must be taken into consideration.

5.When a bundle of wires (three or more) run next to each other, for longer that two feet, their ability to carry a load diminishes. As an example, if you have a wire rated for 20 amps and you put it in a conduit with 10 other “current carrying conductor, the wire is no longer rated at 20 amps and must be derated. There are calculations for that too.

6.As a general rule, Romex must be “secured”, inside the box, within a foot of the box and every 4.5 feet there after that, for it’s entire length. There are some exceptions.


I believe that when one is installing a new electrical feeder to a shop, one should install the largest wire that the existing system or you pocket book allows. The ditch may cost more than the wire, upgrading wire size may be pennies to the foot and once buried, you are not likely to dig it back up again for just a little more power. You usually will never use any less electricity, than the day you move in.

I will be happy to discuss your project, if someone needs some guidance. Just PM me. I will not be able to tell you everything you need to know, to complete a project. If you don’t know where to begin, get help! If you find some of the information that I post is not correct, let me know.

I hope this helps a little.
Live for the moment!
Prepare for tomorrow!
Forgive the past!

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tornitore45
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by tornitore45 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:17 am

Nice, thanks.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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SteveM
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by SteveM » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:20 am

Patio wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:18 am
I believe that when one is installing a new electrical feeder to a shop, one should install the largest wire that the existing system or you pocket book allows. The ditch may cost more than the wire, upgrading wire size may be pennies to the foot and once buried, you are not likely to dig it back up again for just a little more power. You usually will never use any less electricity, than the day you move in.
We had a wall open and I used that opportunity to run a wire from the panel to the garage for the generator.

I used 6 gauge wire. My electrician looked at me like I was out of my mind. He said that 10 would have been fine. I picked up the wire off craigslist for less than what 10 would have cost, and if I ever decide to upgrade, I don't have to rip the wall open.

And whenever you are running wires, run extra wires. Run cat-6, phone, speaker, video, whatever you may need in the future. There are rules about what wires can be run in a conduit with other wires (you don't want to run speaker wires in a conduit with house voltage).

After the wall got closed up, I was thinking about welding and thought that if I had 220 in the garage, I could use a welder in the driveway. Oh, crap, the wall's already closed up!

Steve

Patio
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Location: Centralia Wa

Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by Patio » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:39 am

When running wire to an out building, a 4 wire feeder, minimum of #10 is required to place a panel for distribution. If one just wants some lights and outlets, a 4 wire #12 can be used to create two circuits. Once it reaches the building a disconnect must be installed where it enters, before it splits into the two circuits. The bang for buck, in my opinion is to run a direct burial. 2/2/4/4 al. feeder with out conduit. That will allow 90 amps into a panel. If running direct burial wire, it must be a minimum of 2' below grade. If it is installed in conduit, the conduit must be a minimum of 18" below grade. There are exceptions, like when installed under a 4" of concrete. Always run 4 wires. (Two colors, one white, and one ground).
Live for the moment!
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RONALD
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by RONALD » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:52 am

When I was about 9, a long tyme ago, I wanted to fix an old clock that was missing part of the wire, I took two wires wound them together, put rubber tape and friction tape over, and plugged it in. The sparks flew, the fuse blew, and at that point I learned it took two separate wires to conduct electricity.

In high school, on the Stage Crew, I would remove and repair those big round, pizza like, dimmers from Hub Electric while the rest of the lighting board was hot, a practice that could have got me killed, and of course the sponsor never knew about it.

As a Physics major, I took extra courses in electrical theory at IIT, and learned a lot about AC., but it was just reading and watching that allowed me to wire up two homes, several shops, etc. On the run out to the foundry I used Double Zero cable, good for more amps than was available, but it gave little voltage drop

Of course, being in an unincorporated section of the county, they have no requirements to be a licensed electrician, but my work did pass their inspection.

Today, with the internet and sites like this, the learning curve should be much faster.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:25 am

Thanks for helping us out. Today I'm trying to figure out how to get up a ladder with 125 feet of 6/2 Romex rolled up in a heavy coil.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

John Evans
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by John Evans » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:37 pm

SteveHGraham wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:25 am
Thanks for helping us out. Today I'm trying to figure out how to get up a ladder with 125 feet of 6/2 Romex rolled up in a heavy coil.
Rope a dope ! :lol: Rope and pulley ,pull it up to the height you need -tie off rope -climb up ladder.
www.chaski.com

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:16 pm

3.Breakers and fuses, protect the wire that is down steam of them, not the device or load, that is on the end of the wire.
I am really glad to see someone point that out. No one seems to understand it. A lot of people preach that you should never put a relatively low-current device on a circuit with heavy wire and a big breaker. They say you have to protect the power cord and so on.

If I had to evaluate the actual draw of everything I use and then make sure the breakers were barely adequate, I would have a lot of problems when I decided to put machines in various locations. I could not make people understand that the breakers were there to protect the wiring and building, not the machinery or cords. Breakers don't even protect human beings. Every day, people kill themselves without tripping 15-amp breakers.

To avoid putting small draws on oversized circuits, I'd have to have a collection of breakers in a box, and I'd have to change breakers whenever I felt like plugging something new in. No one does that.

I don't know why manufacturers don't put fuses and breakers in more tools. Maybe because a fried cord or machine is less dangerous than a red-hot wire in a wall or ceiling.

Far as I know, the only big tool I have that has fuses built in is my lathe. Some of my tools are on VFD's and magnetic starters. I like to think there is some protection in there somewhere, but I don't actually know.

Something else that sticks in my craw: people saying you should always use a big breaker "to play it safe." What? The bigger a breaker gets, the less safe it is, because it sends more current through the wiring before it trips. If you want safety, put 20-amp breakers on your 50-amp circuits. You'll spend a lot of time resetting breakers, but you'll never have a fire. Or a finished weld.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by warmstrong1955 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:16 pm

John Evans wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:37 pm
SteveHGraham wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:25 am
Thanks for helping us out. Today I'm trying to figure out how to get up a ladder with 125 feet of 6/2 Romex rolled up in a heavy coil.
Rope a dope ! :lol: Rope and pulley ,pull it up to the height you need -tie off rope -climb up ladder.
Like puttin' bales of hay up in the loft!

;)
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by warmstrong1955 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:22 pm

SteveM wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:20 am

After the wall got closed up, I was thinking about welding and thought that if I had 220 in the garage, I could use a welder in the driveway. Oh, crap, the wall's already closed up!

Steve
I did the same thing. My plug for the welder, is on the back wall, and does have enough power cable to go out the door, but that's about it. At the time, I figured that would do it, and for stick welding, it does. Mig at the end of the slab....no chance, even with a 20' Tweco

I cheated, and bought an extension cord on fleaBay. Handy for the plasma cutter too.

Bill
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by warmstrong1955 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:27 pm

All the 120V breakers I have, are 20 amp, with the exception of one in the garage, which is a 30 amp, for my noise-o-matic compressor.....that I don't use much anymore sine I electrified my T30.
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Electrical wiring in the home shop.

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:03 pm

Let's try to minimize the "dope" references!
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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