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Garage Workshop Settup

by TaySC
posted 07-24-2017 04:57 AM

11 replies so far

View fivecodys's profile


1657 posts in 2512 days

#1 posted 07-24-2017 08:47 PM

I kind of went the same way as you.
Only on a smaller scale.
I had a friend who was a licensed electrician come by and basically tell what to do and then he came back and made sure it was right before he made the connection to the panel.
This save me a nice chunk of change as was fun to boot!

I added several outlets in the rafters for my shop lights.
No 220v for me. All my equipment is 110v and it is all on mobile bases. It all moves at night to make room for SWMBO’s car.

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View firefighterontheside's profile


21219 posts in 2733 days

#2 posted 07-24-2017 08:54 PM

Most things that you use that use 220 will not be ran at the same time. The exception that i can think of is a dust collector if you have a large enough one. So most of your 220 plugs can be on the same breaker as they will not be on at the same time.

I would use the 10/2 for the shed. Invariably youll want to run a saw or some other portable tool out there.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View TungOil's profile


1383 posts in 1371 days

#3 posted 07-24-2017 09:55 PM

Most things that you use that use 220 will not be ran at the same time. The exception that i can think of is a dust collector if you have a large enough one. So most of your 220 plugs can be on the same breaker as they will not be on at the same time.

- firefighterontheside

i thought that too until my electrician strongly advised against it. mine are all run on individual circuits.

I run the 220v outlets only when I get the equipment and have it placed. that way I can put the outlet in exactly the right position in the ceiling or on the wall. most 220v equipment will not come with a chord, so I have the electrician run the outlet and install the chord and plug all at the same time.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View jonah's profile


2129 posts in 4175 days

#4 posted 07-24-2017 10:36 PM

You’ll find some people advocating for 10AWG for everything, but if it’s me doing the work, I only use 10AWG when I have to. The stuff is an absolute PITA to work with. I’d plan on one or two 10 gauge circuits to feed the mini split system (though I don’t know how much current those typically draw), and possibly one to feed a dust collector if you have a 5+ HP system. Otherwise you’ll be fine with 20amp circuits fed by 12 gauge wire.

There’s a small amount of future proofing with 10 gauge wire and 30amp circuits. Whether or not that’s worth anything to you is a question only you can answer.

View TaySC's profile


270 posts in 1209 days

#5 posted 07-24-2017 10:39 PM

Honestly, since I have the space in my subpanel, it really doesn’t make sense not to put them on separate breakers IMO. The cost difference isn’t going to be that much.

As for the waiting to get the equipment…. that’s an interesting concept. The problem is, I want the electrician coming here to be a one time fee since they are pretty expensive.

Everything I am getting will be on casters, so even the bigger equipment will be able to be pushed to one side so I can use one side of the garage for parking in the rare event that I actually need to.

View Mosquito's profile


10457 posts in 3168 days

#6 posted 07-24-2017 10:47 PM

Your intention (run everything, have an electrician make the panel connections) is what I did with my shop.

What I did was ran 10/2 for my 220v outlets, but had them put in 20amp breakers for now. If I need larger I’ll swap out breakers and outlets. For now, I only have 1 outlet installed on the 220v circuits (I ran 2 circuits of 220v, for much the same reason many say, only running probably a pair of 220v machines at once). I didn’t run anything for a mini split, or any heat/air conditioning yet. Mainly, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do on that front, and it’s not terribly difficult to just have them run that when they install it either.

If you’ve got the space, might as well go separate circuits on the 220v. Regular breakers aren’t THAT expensive.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1796 days

#7 posted 07-25-2017 05:44 PM


Sorry for the long post, but then you asked a lot of questions and I tried to address each one.

Since you will have an electrician install your circuits and wish to avoid future visits from the electrician as the shop grows, it seems to me that a shop layout plan would be an extremely helpful first step in answering your questions. Ideally the shop layout would be drawn to scale. Once the shop layout sketch is developed, locations for the placement of the various machines would be known.

Determining the power requirements for the machines you now have and for the machines you plan to acquire would be helpful. For example, planers range widely in power requirements from 120V 15A to 240V 30A (5 hp). With the machines located and their power requirements known, locating and specifying power requirements would be straightforward.

The posted layout plan for a 2 car garage (with no provision for a car) shows placement of the tools, the power requirements for each tool, and the approximate location of the 240V and 120V receptacles. The single 240V 30A receptacle shown between the planer and table saw services the table saw, surface planer, bandsaw, and drum sander. It is a one-person shop and therefore only one machine is ever operated on this one circuit. The remaining 240V receptacles are dedicated circuits. The mortiser is on the only dedicated 120V circuit. Hopefully the sketch is helpful.

- how many 220v outlets would make sense for my situation?
For one trip of the electrician; the answer seems to depend on the power requirements of the tools you now have and expect to acquire in the future and whether more than one tool will operate on a single circuit at the same time. In my shop, I get by with five 240V outlets, but four machines operate on the same circuit in my one-person shop. Since the dust collector operates while another machine is in use, ensuring the dust collector is on a dedicated circuit makes sense to me.

You could load up the shop with dedicated circuits but I suspect that will add a fair amount to the cost of completing the electrical work.

- would you use 10/2 wire to run the 220v outlets or 12/2?
Running 10-2 cable rather than 12-2 would support a typical 5 hp motor. But 10-2 cable will cost almost twice that of 12-2 cable. But as Jonah commented, it is difficult cable to run and connect. That could possibly translate to a higher labor cost.

I ran circuits that are sized to meet the requirements of the machine/circuit, but then I did all the electrical work as I received a new machine.

- what is commonly needed for the AC/heat mini-split units?
Since I know little about HVAC equipment, I am unable to answer the question definitively. But my understanding is that the mini-split systems tend to be heat pumps and operate similar to air conditioning. If correct then as a rough guess 240V 30A may be the power requirement (based on the power required by my A/C compression). But then if you ultimately require a 240V 50A circuit and only ran 10 gauge copper to the mini-split location, the electrician will have to return. If the mini-split uses electronics and/or operates a blower motor at 120V, the power requirement may be two line conductors, a neutral conductor, and an equipment grounding conductor (for example 10-3 w/ ground rather than 10-2 w/ground).

Therefore, it may be worthwhile to discuss the heating and cooling requirements for the garage with an HVAC contractor. They should be about to perform a load calculation based on the size of the garage, number of windows, and on the insulation. From the load calculation, the proper size of the unit and its power requirements can be found.

In my case, I sweat in the summer but stay comfortable in the winter with three 1000 watt Infrared lamps installed on the ceiling.

- do the 220v outlets each need their own breaker? (I assume so.) If so, 30 amp?
Obviously a dedicated circuit would require its own breaker. I am not certain whether it is safe (for person and/or equipment) to operate a 15A tool on a 30A circuit. Therefore, I try to match the circuit size to the power requirements stated by the machine’s manufacturer.

- if I do the ceiling outlets, what type of retractable outlet/cord should I get?
Several 240V 30A circuits are ceiling-mounted in my shop. The receptacle matches the NEMA L14-30P configuration and is a locking plug (twist the plug and it locks into the receptacle).

I have few 120V ceiling mounted receptacles. They seem to hold the plug well enough, but a locking plug and corresponding receptacle could be used. Here is a NEMA configuration chart.

I have used rubber jacketed stranded copper Type SJOOW power cord to connect machines to receptacles. I found it at Lowe’s in various sizes sold by the foot.

- would you use 10/2 or 12/2 to run underground to the shed when it is built?
Running the largest cable you can afford would maximize the power available in the shed while reducing voltage drop across the distance from the subpanel to the shed. Since trenching and laying new cable is laborious, expensive, and tears up the yard, I believe paying extra for the larger sized wire makes sense when first wiring the shed.

- anything else that I’m forgetting?
At this point in preparing the 2 car garage as a workshop, there is a good chance that there may be unforeseen electrical requirements at some time in the future. Therefore, considering how any new circuits would be run could save time and money down the road. Anything done now to make getting an electrical cable from the subpanel to a new power-requiring location could make any future electrical upgrades easier.

View Nezzerscape's profile


32 posts in 1739 days

#8 posted 07-25-2017 06:32 PM

I am not an electrician; that said I have designed enough data centers (measured in KW/foot) to make a few suggestions. I would only run 10AWG for lights and 12AWG for everything else (it is common to forget and run a space heater from a random plug). AC/Heat and DC should be on their own individual circuits, for you will be running those while otherings are running. A agree with running 12AWG to the shed (separate circuit). It never hurts to have the wire in place; you can always change the breaker if you need to.

I agree that the 220 circuits be on their own breakers. Just have fewer of them. You can add 220 cords to equipment and 220 outlets. You can even get 220 “extension cords”. Just make sure you settle on a standard plug/receptacle, and make them all the same, there are several to choose from.

I would alternate outlets for breakers. Chances the “big” equipment you want to plug in will not be sitting right next to each other.

Watch the electrician connect the wire to the panel, you will see that its really no different than from wiring an outlet. IMHO, I would not have an electrician out. Watch some videos and you will see it really is nothing.

If you are wiring your own box, keep in mind each breaker alternates between the 2 legs (2×110v). This allows for a 220v breaker to be put in (taking up 2 breaker positions). That in mind think about what you will be using at the same time and try to put them on alternate legs (another reason why I suggest “alternate outlets for breakers”).


View TaySC's profile


270 posts in 1209 days

#9 posted 07-25-2017 09:35 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys! I have a lot to think about for sure.

The wiring the breakers isn’t really a case of not being able to do it on my own, but more of a case of wanting a licensed electrician to be able to put the sticker in the box just in case something was to ever happen.

View Mosquito's profile


10457 posts in 3168 days

#10 posted 07-26-2017 01:32 PM

The wiring the breakers isn t really a case of not being able to do it on my own, but more of a case of wanting a licensed electrician to be able to put the sticker in the box just in case something was to ever happen.

- TaySC

That was exactly my reasoning too. I also had them replace my panel with a flush mount rather than surface mount, so had ‘em hook it all up when they did. Also had an electrical inspection for everything else too.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View bigJohninvegas's profile


804 posts in 2338 days

#11 posted 07-27-2017 02:03 AM

So I have a 3 car garage shop. Everything is on castors so I can move things to work on a car, but I never park in the shop anymore.
I did the same thing that you are planning. I had electrician friend help to make sure I bought the right supplies. Did all the work myself, then had the electrician come back and do all the finish work. As for as wire choices. I used what I was told to use by my friend. He is a pro and knew.what the codes were.
I ran 2, 20amp 110v circuits into my shop to start with.
I put both circuits into a two gang box, and have 1 circuit on the left and one on the right. One box on each wall.
Since both are together, local code allowed for the 2 circuits to share a neutral, and ground wire. Saved a bunch on wire. And three years now works fine.
I am only ever using one tool at a time, but I ran two circuits so that I can run my dust collector and any tool on separate circuits.
I just added 220v last year. New 17” band saw was first 220v tool. And had table saw switched to 220v at same time.
Local code says only 1 outlet on a 220v circuit. So since I will never be using both saws at the same time I only added the 1.
My garage was already finished, so all the conduit is exposed inside the shop.
This makes adding to the 110v system very easy if I ever choose too. And I may add a box on two walls some day. Also my shop has totally changed how it is laid out as my tool inventory has grown. Soon to be 4 times. So having an outlet for every tool would have been a waste for me. Plus I no longer have room to give every tool a dedicated spot. I now have a corner to store tools that are not in use at the moment.
Keep shop layout in mind as you get going. I never thought I would be rearranging the layout like I have.
As I get ready to move again. My table saw, bench, and dust collector are on casters, but never move.
My lathe, band saw, and miter saw only move when absolutely must. The rest, jointer, planer, drill press, etc. Get pushed to a corner to be moved as needed.
Almost forgot, two separate outlets in the ceiling for the air filter, and retractable extension cord reel. I used a cord reel that has 12g. Wire. Look for that, most are 16g.
Mini split a/c will be added this fall/winter. And will be wired at time of install.
My shop is not 100% woodworking either. I have about a 3rd of my wall space as storage for the house. I also added a shop sink, and room for all my automotive tools.
Good luck,

-- John

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