How many circuits should I include in a sub-panel for workshop?


I am looking to run a sub panel for a basement workshop approx 60 feet from the main panel, all inside. I have a table saw, jointer, band saw, planer, and dust vacuum, as well as routers and such. I was going to run a 60 amp breaker to a 100 amp sub with 6/3 cable. I wanted to run a higher breaker but then I am getting into much more money in the wiring.

My table saw draws 13 amps, and the planer draws 15. At some point down the road I plan on upgrading to larger tools, but for now they are more consumer grade.

In the panel I can run 3 20 amp breakers... lighting is actually run on another panel. Will 2 circuits be enough, or should I do 3? Any other ideas and recommendations are greatly...

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It's all about Volt Amperes.

NEC 2008 gives us an easy way to do things in residential.

220.82 Dwelling Unit.

(A) Feeder and Service Load. This section applies to a dwelling unit having the total connected load served by a single 120/240-volt or 208Y/120-volt set of 3-wire service or feeder conductors with an ampacity of 100 or greater. It shall be permissible to calculate the feeder and service loads in accordance with this section instead of the method specified in Part III of this article. The calculated load shall be the result of adding the loads from 220.82(B) and (C). Feeder and service-entrance conductors whose calculated load is determined by this optional calculation shall be permitted to have the neutral load determined by 220.61.

(B) General Loads. The general calculated load shall be not less than 100 percent of the first 10 kVA plus 40 percent of the remainder of the following loads:

(1) 33 volt-amperes/m2 or 3...

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A multiwire branch circuit would work well for this. You'll install a double pole 20 ampere breaker, or two 20 ampere breakers with the handles tied together. Then you'll pull 12/3 with ground cable from the panel, to the first box. And 12/3 with ground cable between each box.

In the panel

In the panel you'll connect the black conductor to one of the breaker terminals, and the red conductor to the other breaker terminal. You'll connect the white conductor to the neutral bar, and the bare ground to the grounding bar.

At the first box:

Connect the black wire from the feeder cable to the brass colored screw on the receptacle. Connect the black wire from the cable leading to the next box, to the other brass terminal. Connect the red wires together. Connect the white wires together and include a short bit of scrap wire for a pigtail. Connect the white pigtail wire to a silver screw terminal on the receptacle. Connect the grounding wires together and include a...
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Remove all sub panel covers or doors.


Measure about 5 feet (1.5 m) from the floor to mark the spot where you will mount the panel. This is a good height that is within comfortable reach of most adults.


Remove the lowest amp rated double pole circuit breaker or 2 low rated single pole circuit breakers from the main panel to make room for the new double pole circuit breaker that will supply the new sub panel.

The 2 circuits you removed will need to be re-fed from the new sub panel. If the sub panel is the same brand, you might be able to reinstall the original circuit breakers in it to re-feed those 2 circuits.

If you have breakers terminal screws that are serving more than one conductor, called double-lugging; consider moving circuits to the sub panel so that none are double-lugged - or combine the them with a short length of the same size wire (called a "pigtail") in a wirenut and use the pigtail to feed them.



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Safety rules for a workshop can be summed up in one sentence. Treat your tools with understanding and respect.

1. Read instructions carefully, practice, and proceed slowly.

2. Do not be afraid of tools. If tools are correctly used, they will greatly increase your workmanship qualities.

3. Always concentrate completely on the task at hand.

4. Keep your shop neat and dry. A messy shop quickly becomes a hazardous area for accidents.

5. Always unplug power tools when not in use. Always unplug tools when changing bits or blades.

6. Most high-speed operations such as cutting with a tablesaw and routing produce wood chips and are very noisy. Safety glasses and hearing protectors protect against these hazards.

7. Do not remove or bypass the safety devices added to machinery such as tablesaws and jointers. Blade guards and splitters are there for a reason.

8. Keep a fire extinguisher in the workshop. There are different classes of fire...

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When you're planning the wiring for you basement keep in mind that you may need to install a sub-panel. How much will it cost? Should you install it yourself? What should you buy? Do you really need one?

Lucky for you, you have a friend who's finished a basement before... me! In this post I'll go over what I did and why I made the decisions I made.

An electrical sub-panel is basically an extension of your primary electrical panel. Or as I like to call it, the "main" panel.

If you're adding new electrical circuits to your basement (lights and plugs) then you may not have enough slots on your main panel to hook them all up.

You probably have enough power, just not enough room.

When I was finishing my basement I really wasn’t sure if I needed a sub-panel or not. Well, actually I was sure I needed one but I didn't want to admit that I did because that meant I would have to spend more money. It wasn't as bad as I thought though.

For the first...

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In this how to install a sub panel installation I will guide you through the complete installation of a subpanel step by step.

The first question is why are you installing a sub panel. There are either one or two reasons to do this. One because you need more room in your existing panel and in that case if your existing panel is old this would be a great time to just upgrade your current service. Newer 200 amp main panels hold a lot more circuits/breakers.

Two, because you need to bring more power somewhere else like a garage you just built or an addition or even in some cases a finished basement. Either way, you want to install a sub panel. Ok. So let’s get going.

First: Where do you plan on placing the new sub panel? If it’s right next to you main panel that’s one thing, but further away like in that new garage you just built 100 feet away you will certainly want to figure in voltage drop. I can’t get too much into that because ever setup would be...

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Originally Posted by

Carson Saunders

This may be slightly out of place in this thread but it is somewhat related. I have a lack of outlets in my garage and need to add more. I have 150 AMP service (yes...kind of lacking) to my main breaker panel, which is completely full. What are my steps to add more outlets to my garage and incorporate the master shutoff switch concept? Do I have have my service upgraded to 200 AMPs before I can add a sub-panel for re-wiring the garage? I would just talk to an electrician but since this topic came up....maybe someone here would know?


I actually only have 100 AMP service to our house, yet have 60 amp service to my sub-panel out in the shop. We do not have any room to expand in the main panel also.

The first thing you need to do is a load calculation to determine whether or not you need to upgrade the service. In our case, since the majority of our major appliances are gas and our house is small, 100 AMP service was...

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Depending on your area there are many variables that could drastically affect the cost of the installation. But an average cost for a 100amp upgrade with new meter, mast, service head, 20 circuit panel w/main breaker, grounding and local permit fees is typically around $800.00, homes larger than 2000 square feet would require a 200amp service upgrade per the NEC. This would be approximately double the cost. As for the grounding, you should be able to change out the device to a three prong double duplex receptacle and connect the common bare copper ground already installed to the green ground terminal (Not the neutral wire, which is usually colored white). If your home is in conduit your ground path is the metal conduit therefore the screw which holds the receptacle in place also bonds the 3rd prong to ground.

Source(s): I am a licenced electrical contractor within the City of Chicago, IL....

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A Electrical Service Panel, also known as a load center, service panel, breaker box or electrical panel, is a steel box that holds multiple circuit breakers wired to circuits that distribute power throughout your home. Circuit breakers turn the power to your home on and off to protect your wiring from damage by "tripping" when an electrical short or overcurrent occurs. You may consider replacing your electrical panel or adding a sub-panel if your need for additional circuit breakers exceeds the capacity of your current breaker panel or if you want to upgrade from fuses to circuit breakers. It's important to note that a new breaker panel will not provide more power to your home. If your home needs more power overall, Call our team of State Certified Top Quality Electrical Service Specialists to upgrade the power, a process that will include a new breaker panel as well as other accessories, such as new cables and a new electrical meter. Standards generally recognize that the life...

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The circuit breakers in the electrical panel in your house are safety devices. Each one is designed to disconnect power when the current passing through the circuit exceeds its rating. This prevents overheated wires, electrical power surges and fires. Electrical outlets don't draw power until you plug something in, so a 20-amp circuit should theoretically be able to handle as many outlets as you want without overloading the breaker. There are practical limits, though.

Allowable Breaker Load

The National Electrical Code doesn't limit the number of receptacles you can place on a 20-amp circuit, but you'll overload the breaker if you run appliances that draw more current than the breaker can handle. The NEC does specify that a circuit breaker shouldn't handle more than 80 percent of the load for which it is rated unless the breaker is labeled otherwise. By this standard, the total current draw on a 20-amp circuit shouldn't exceed 16 amps. This allows the breaker to...

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Neutral and equipment ground need to be separated in a sub panel, so if you want 240/120 volt service you need 4 wire cable, two hots, one neutral, and an independent equipment ground. You need to make sure the neutral bar and the ground bar are separated on the subpanel, the panel manufacturer should include a description of how to do this in their installation instructions.

As to whether you need armor cable, check with your local wiring inspector. You will probably need a permit to do this work, if you need a permit and fail to pull one, it could impact your insurance. As to the size of wire, that depends on how much current you plan to supply to the subpanel. If you are using a main breaker subpanel, you can only install a main breaker less than or equal to the rating of the subpanel, and you would size your feed wire appropriate to the main breaker.

Not to be rude, but based on your questions, you may want to get some help from a neighbor or electrician who has...

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