Any electricians here?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by nukinfuts29, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Cuz I'm not one, the stuff scares me. So my buddy and I built a shop for him on his property. Nothing fancy just a 10 x 12 shed, insulated and all that good stuff. We want to run electric to it so he stops popping breakers.

    He lives in a mobile home, newer the kind like a modular style. Right now about 15ft from the shop, inside the skirting there is a dual outlet. One plug goes to the pipe warmer system that runs all year on a t-stat, it just plugs right into the outlet like an extension cord. The cold season is over, so we unplugged it.

    We made a temp solution by just running an extention cord from that one of the plugs to the shop, and he can run one tool at a time. But only during the day, can't have a light and a tool because he don't think a power strip is a good idea lol.

    He is scared to run his mini-tank air compressor for fear of burning down his house lol.

    How can we get him set up without running a whole new service from the electric company? He just needs like two outlets and the ability to run a light and a tool. Can he just use the extension cord (or two of them, one to each outlet on the house) to run the shop?
  2. gen4_G21

    gen4_G21 New Member

    Popping breakers bc it's a overloading that particular circuit. What I would do (but I'm NOT telling either one of you to do it) is take my breaker box apart and start a whole new circuit. Local hardware store would have all the supplies I would need.

    I'm not a certified electrician, however I was in the process of becoming certified. A couple years ago I work on the Little Rock Air Force Base. I wired up half of the new construction homes top to bottom.

    Maybe you guys could find a local handy man that wouldn't charge too much??

    The process isn't really hard/complex but can be dangerous.. I don't know if any of this helps you in anyway. Good luck!!

  3. Most likely, you can add a breaker to his breaker panel in the house and run a new line to his shop through underground conduit. That's how I'd do it at least.
  4. havasu

    havasu Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nic is correct. That is also the way I would do it. Keep in mind that code will dictate how deep to dig the underground conduit. In my area, it is 18".
  5. jonm61

    jonm61 New Member

    Considering the potential demand, to make sure it's up to code, and to make sure you don't ultimately burn anything down, I would hire an electrician.

    Also, if you didn't pull permits to build this shop, I would find out if you should have before calling the electrician, in case he has to pull one.
  6. Thats exactly what we needed to know. Thanks guys

    We didn't need anything, he just needed approval from the park manager. I'm betting he can toss a few bucks at him and get him to wire it.

    Thanks guys
  7. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    As an addendum to everything already said:

    I'd highly recommend the create-a-new branch circuit to the shed. It's really quite simple (in the sense that some things are simple to me and other things either leave me totally baffled or scare the bejezus outta me). Take a feed line off the main breaker panel (killing the main breaker first, of course!) install a new breaker (label it "SHOP"?) and use a GFCI breaker and run the cables out.

    You can go underground, or you can go aerial, depending on how far away the shed is (15 feet would be about an ideal distance, as long as no tall vehicles will ever, ever drive between them, otherwise go undergound and use metallic conduit or UG rated cable).

    A good source for electrical wiring information, and a general discussion on electrical building codes, is the book Home Electric available for like $12 at Home Depot. Also deals with wire color codes, installation and removal techniques, planning circuits and such.

    Good luck to your friend!
  8. The very FIRST thing you need to do is assess what power requirements the shop will need based on tools and lighting being used then get the proper rated cable/wire/outlets/breakers. I would suggest running another service to the shop and install a separate small panel and have two circuits in it. One low current for lighting and one higher current circuit for tools.
  9. Eye_Peeled

    Eye_Peeled 8th Gen. Fla Cracker (not creepy though)

    Yeah, what Mike said. When I built my 1200 sq ft shop this is what I did: I have a 200 amp service at my house (you are never using 200 amps at the same time). I ran wire from my main at the house to my shop, it was about a 200' run. I ran the wire to a sub-panel where I installed a 100 amp breaker that acted as the 'main' in the shop, from there I ran different circuits. My demands are likely more than what your friend needs. At any rate, you need to figure out the circuits you need in your friends shop and add them there. If it is a small shed where only some lighting and a couple circuits are needed, you may be able to wire some outlets directly adjacent to the sub-panel and run cords from there. Then run wiring overhead for lighting.

    This is very easy but you need to learn what gauge wire you will need to run from the main at the mobile home. This will be determinate on distance, and load at the new location. Your local electrical supplier should be able to tell you this after you determine distance and demands. I can't remember what gauge I used but it was very heavy due to the distance of the run. I buried it 3' deep and placed it in conduit (per local code). I didn't pull a permit but did everything per code at the direction of a licensed electrician.

    The bottom line is, you need to get the new shed service off of that circuit he is currently using and run a designated line for the new shed from the original main. I didn't read every post so you probably already know this.
  10. rivalarrival

    rivalarrival Are we there yet?

    If you're planning on using an air compressor, use a regular breaker, not a GFCI. The inductive load of an air compressor, large motor, or even some fluorescent lights can trip the GFCI circuitry, causing the breaker to pop without any real load on the circuit.

    Nukinfuts, if you pull the front panel off the breaker box and shoot some photos, we can talk you through the whole thing. It's really not difficult, and if you can use a gun safely, you can learn what's dangerous and what's safe.

    Home wiring is a good skill to have - once you know how it should be done, you'll start to see how badly a lot of DIY'ers **** it up.
  11. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    Wired up my garage with two 20A circuits off of my main panel box, both GFCI breakers (by D-Square). Never had a hiccup.

    Over here, building codes require GFCI for all outdoor connections and all outlets that can be exposed to water.

    Power company OKd my wiring plan and building permit when I had the service upgraded from 100A service to 180A service.
  12. If I do it for him I will kill the main breaker switch and black the house out lol.

    His shop is literally 8 feet from the exterior wall, even if I burry it a foot will do. Theres barely even lawn there.

    He needs one show light, will be a florescent one, the two bulb white ones, that will have it;s own outlet it plugs into. Then we need one more outlet, because he uses small tools like dremels. biggest thing he has is a skill grinder, which he almost never uses.

    The compressor is small, 3.5 gallon 1/3HP.

    The compressor will never run when any other tool is except the light, which again is on its own outlet. The only thing that may ever run with the compressor is a fan.

    I'm thinking we will do this ourselves and just run two standard breakers in the box in the home labeled shed and one compressor, wires underground (winds get bad here) to the shed running to one outlet and two outlets.

    One breaker will run an outlet box for the light, and another for the misc bench tools.

    The other breaker will be dedicated to the air compressor.

    Thoughts? We just need to make sure everything is safe, a fire would be tragic.
  13. Glockin27gen4

    Glockin27gen4 New Member

    Make sure you bury that in conduit and at least 18", you will save someones life, I have to bury cable with my job sometimes and ive seen people hit power in trailor parks (where no codes are folllowed) and light you up, it could kill someone very easily if they are digging with something that is not insulated
  14. Yea conduit is a must. The ground is easy to dig in, and we will flag it somehow.
  15. Eye_Peeled

    Eye_Peeled 8th Gen. Fla Cracker (not creepy though)

    If I'm understanding you correctly, you are going to run multiple wires from the existing main. The only thing with that is, it could be more cost effective to run a (one) heavier gauge wire to the shed to run everything as opposed to two (or more). Then branch off once inside the shed with 10 &12 gauge wire (or whatever is required) and breakers. Also, by running one heavier wire, you will be able to add a circuit or two later if you realize you need something additional (in the shed). Provided your one wire is heavy enough to add more later.

    This way, you will connect the heavier wire at the existing main to a 50 or 75 amp breaker (or whatever is required). Then, run that one larger wire to a very small sub-panel that will accommodate a few circuits in the shed. This is much better IMO than running wire from the existing main for each circuit. I would definitely want breakers that could be disconnected immediately if needed.

    I know that may sound redundant to my previous comment but it may be worth looking into running one larger wire instead of separate wires from the existing main. And as I said it could be more cost effective as well. As a contractor, shaving cost while providing quality is always in my head. Not to mention, just a better way of doing it.
  16. I like this, the idea of a breaker box in the shed just makes more sense.

    Is there any disadvantage to running off a 75amp in the home as opposed to a 50? Seems the more amps going out the better.
  17. rivalarrival

    rivalarrival Are we there yet?

    Breakers are rated in amps. To convert from watts to amps, divide by 120. (or, drop two zeroes off the watt rating and say it's a conservative estimate)

    A 1/3hp air compressor should draw somewhere around 4 amps. A pair of 20-watt CFLs will draw under 0.4 amp. Most of those hand tools will be well under 120 watts, or 1 amp each. From what you've described, you should be able to use a single, 15-amp breaker. There's no real advantage to installing a second circuit just for an air compressor that small with that short of a wiring run. Unless, of course, he's planning on upgrading to bigger tools in the future.

    The purpose of the breakers is to prevent overheated wires from melting and presenting a fire hazard. That breaker stops the major danger. The only real danger of fire left in the wiring itself is from a spark being thrown from a short circuit, which is why ALL wire junctions MUST be done inside an electrical box, and all boxes must be covered with a proper faceplate - to prevent that spark from falling outside the box and into something flammable.

    With all that in mind, I'd suggest using 12/2 cable rated for direct burial for the run from the electrical panel to the first box in the shed, then daisy chain the rest of the outlets starting from that box. You want to daisy chain to minimize the number of splices per box, rather than trying to splice together every last outlet in the shed from that first box.

    If he's planning on upgrading to 220 in the future, use 12/3 (or 10/3) for the initial run and just leave the third conductor unconnected. Use 12/2 for the 110v circuits.

    12awg is rated to 20 amps. You can install a 15 amp breaker, and if it pops, you can upgrade to a 20 amp without having to rewire anything.

    Take a bunch of pictures; if you ****-up, a bunch of folks will jump all over it. :)
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  18. rivalarrival

    rivalarrival Are we there yet?

    You talking about the main breaker? As long as the existing wiring before the breaker panel is rated to 75 amps, there's no real disadvantage. If that wire is only rated to 50 amp, the disadvantage is that you'll have to replace the service wiring to do it.
  19. Ok how do I know what it's rated for?
  20. havasu

    havasu Well-Known Member Supporter

    I put a 60 amp sub in my garage and it has the ability to run my 12 can lights, 30 gallon air compressor, 14 plugs, 220v outlet, and dedicated circuits for my washer/dryer and the garage fridge.

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