The New Shop – It’s Electric!

With the doors and windows squared away except for trim, and waiting to see what the roof is going to do, the time is right to start working on power. This is about the time in the project where things slow down again for a bit. Money, schedule, and diligence demand this. I get one shot to get all the power locations set up the way I want it. Once the walls are up, it becomes much harder to adjust.

The power will come in at the corner to the left of the door, closest to the house. There will be two inlets to run two different circuits – one for the high draw tools, one for low draw tools. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s close. The theory is that all the tools that I would use one at a time would be on one circuit, the high draw circuit. These are tools that have high draw amperage, at least on startup. The table saw, miter saw, etc. The other circuit would be for smaller, more numerous needs. Lights, battery charging, etc. The goal is to have both circuits available around the shop so that anything can plug in to anywhere. Both runs of Romex will go from this entry point to the left of the door, all around the shop, to the right side of the door. The two different circuits will have outlets together, about three sets per wall.

I based this on the above layout, but it should work with any layout. The first pair of outlets will be behind the drill press and bandsaw. The second pair will be above the MFT, and the third pair on that wall will be below the far window. This set, and the first two on the back wall, are a bit superfluous, really installed for any future purposes. More for hooking up on occasional use if needed around the MFT or workbench. The third set on the back wall will be used for battery charging, accessory use, or the TV and computer.

The right wall is the huge power need. The miter saw, router table, and table saw are all hooked up permanently to the high draw outlets. The jointer gets hooked up when it gets pulled out for use. The planer will probably get hooked up to the MFT outlet when in use. There will also be some accessories or such plugged into the low draw outlets at the back corner. In the front right corner will be the air conditioner/heater (depending on season) and air cleaner.

The light circuit will be controlled by a switch to the left of the door (as you were looking in) and the circuit will immediately go up and through the floor joists to two, three, or four outlets in the ceiling. This will allow me to use plug-in or hardwired lights and have even coverage along the joists. There will also be a switch either to the left or right of the door to control the dust extractor. I may eventually use a remote, but this will serve as a master switch for it. It will be located above the door, as my dust needs are at the front of the shop. The air compressor will be in a TBD location in the attic, and there will be a branch going up where I need it. There will also be a branch going up that will handle a single outlet and light. The outlet will be for using the grinder, and a future CNC if I go in that direction.

With the plan worked out, I started putting up outlets and pulling wire this weekend. I imagine this will probably take a week or more of pulling more wire and doing the actual wiring. I’m also going to use this time to do some cleaning of both shops, and hopefully getting a bit closer to moving some stuff between shops.

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