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Thread: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

  1. #1
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    Nathan

    Default Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    Due to lack of a garage, my shop is located in the basement. I have been able to get by without 240v thus far, but have a Grizzly 1023RLW en route. As such, I need to rectify the lack of 240v outlets.

    The panel is an "Amalgamated Electric Corporation Limited that uses GE TQP or TQL breakers. As those do not exist anymore, the GE THQP and THQL work in their stead. I have been unable to find these locally and may have to order online. Does anyone know of any breakers that are compatible with these type?

    THQP are thin breakers and THQL are thick. You can fit two THQP for one THQL.

    This house is not our forever house, but we will be here for the forseeable future. As such, I do not necessarily want to permanently make the basement a workshop. In fact, before we move, I will be taking down the fake wood paneling that covers the finished basement walls and put up drywall, most likely removing the 240 receptacles. If nothing else, I would like to make the 240v wiring removeable...

    Anyways, on to my point. My breaker has room for one THQP (thin) double pole breaker that would take up two slots. To use the thicker style, I would have to move a couple of circuits to the new sub-panel in order to get four slots. The following is how I propose to rearrange thins to use the thin breaker:

    drawn on options resize.jpg

    Looking at the top row, I would move the third from the left breakerall the way to the left as the green arrow shows. I could then put the feeder breaker into the second and third from the left slots (bluish circle), thus giving me access to both legs and getting 240v. This would provide for the subpanel. The red square illustrates how the placement of the 240v breaker needs to occupy and even and odd slot (ie 2 and 3, not 1 and 2).

    However, the thin breakers only go up to a maximum of 50A. This is more than I need right now, but for the future more may be needed. Does going to 60A from 50A gain much?

    Should I go with what I have outlines (move one circuit, use the 50A breaker), or should I rearrange more by moving some circuits from the main panel to the subpanel so that I can fit a 4-slot 60A (or greater) thick breaker? I suppose this second option provides much more future proofing...

    Thoughts? Opinions? What would you do?

    Thanks,
    Nate
    Last edited by Flawless Cowboy; 07-23-2012 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Clarification

  2. #2

    Default

    Hey Nate,
    When I put a sub panel in my garage I wanted a 60 amp but I could not find a breaker locally for it. I found my breaker at the coop. Have you tried there? They look pretty similar to mine.

    I've been running my entire shop on a 50 amp sub without any issues. This includes baseboard heating and a small 240v construction heater. You've seen my crammed shop.

    You should be ok with 50 amp. Plus the hassle of trying to find 4 slots free was not possible for me.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    I was at every big-box type store today except Coop - I'll have to check there tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion! I'm also going to pull a permit tomorrow and try calling some of the electrical wholesalers. I know they have what I need, but may not be willing to sell it to me...

    Failing that, ebay here I come!

    If I can find the breaker, I think I will go the 50A route. It will be easier to organize and should be enough for a tablesaw and perhaps a cyclone one day. I can't forsee any other combinations of machines that I could (easily) fit in the basement that would pull a higher load.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter in Maple Ridge View Post
    Hey Nate,
    When I put a sub panel in my garage I wanted a 60 amp but I could not find a breaker locally for it. I found my breaker at the coop. Have you tried there? They look pretty similar to mine.

    I've been running my entire shop on a 50 amp sub without any issues. This includes baseboard heating and a small 240v construction heater. You've seen my crammed shop.

    You should be ok with 50 amp. Plus the hassle of trying to find 4 slots free was not possible for me.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    Well, I never got around to checking Coop as GE's site mentions that only two places in town carry their breakers, both being wholesalers. Armed with my Timmy Tax and permit, I convinced one place to sell me a lone skinny 50A breaker. I wonder if the same trick would work at one of the wood wholesaler places...

    The sub panel is up and the two breakers I placed in each read as 240 volts. Needless to say, I did not install another GE panel (not that I could find one at any rate). I went with a Square D style panel for essentially arbitrary reasons.

    Tomorrow I will be running the wire and outlets and will try Rod's 4" x 4" box thing. I didn't see any NEMA 6-20 outlets at Home Depot, but after belatedly checking their website, it tells me they have lots.

    As another aside, I am running 10/3 wire as I felt that it gives me as much wiggle room as I should need. Of course, I would not look forward to getting a machine that requires that much current down the stairs, but I can if the need is there.

    I must say, I did not necessarily enjoy the entire process of installing the panel. As my old panel is so full, I could not make the one simple switch I had originally outlined to fit the new breaker. I had failed to anticipate how stiff 6/3 wire is and how much room it would need. As it is, I ended up shuffling the entire top row and even re-wiring some breakers to get everything to sit nice and (relatively) tidy.

    Anywhoo, onwards! Everything should be done well before the saw arrives.

    -Nate

  5. #5
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    A.B. Normal

    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    Box Cover.jpg

    Hi, you sent me a PM asking about box covers, so I took a photo of a 4" square box cover for 2 duplex receptacles.

    That's what I used. (The photo has 2 120V receptacles, you would one 120V and one 240V receptacle for your shop)..........Rod.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    Thanks Rod.

    Both of those outlets are 120V, but are on the 240V circuit?

    Thanks,
    Nate

  7. #7

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    Here is what I was talking about Nate. I could not post a picture on the PM so I put it in here.



    image-1496466392.jpg

    Not pretty but functional.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    No, the photo was for illustration purposes only.

    You would put a 120V receptacle in and a 240V receptacle. You would either purchase 15 ampere receptacles or 20 ampere receptacles depending upon your circuit size...........Rod.

    P.S. Peter as posted a photo below showing a 120 and 240 receptacle (both 15 amperes).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    Yeah, Rod, I realize your photo had only 120V receptacles. From other posts, I thought you had 120V and 240V receptacles side by side in the same box. I ran 10/3 wire hoping I could get a couple of 120V receptacles off it in addition to the 240V receptacles on the same circuit due to having a neutral present, but the inspector kyboshed that over the phone. Ah well. I suppose I have plenty of 120V receptacles from the pre-existing basement circuits, and the 10/3 is decent future-proofing.

    This morning I got the tool circuit up and running. I tested it with the voltmeter, and everything read as it should. I re-wired my dust collector to 240V and she ran beautifully! I just need to finish running the cable for the dedicated dust collector circuit and things will be great.

    And Pete, I understand "not pretty but functional" exactly. As I am surface running AC-90 cable so that I can easily take it down one day, it is not the most aesthetically pleasing thing I have done. But that's okay - my wife gets say over the entire house, but the basement is the domain of the cats and myself.

    Thanks folks,
    -Nate

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    Yes I have 120 and 240 receptacles in the same box.

    The inspector would have no problems with that.

    Why did you run #10 wire?

    Regards, Rod.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan
    Yes I have 120 and 240 receptacles in the same box.

    The inspector would have no problems with that.

    Why did you run #10 wire?

    Regards, Rod.
    Rod, I think Nate was thinking of running both types of plugs on the same circuit. This is what the inspector had a problem with. If he ran two sets of wires into the box there would not be a problem as they would be on different circuits.

  12. #12
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    Mike Delyster

    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    I have the same setup as Peter in my shop except with 20 amp receptacles running off of 12/3 wire and 20 amp breaker. The inspector that looked at mine said that was a good way to wire a shop. I have a stand alone shop maybe the codes are different for wiring inside of a residence.
    Mike @ Buck Lake

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Adding Sub-Panel to Basement Workshop

    The deciding factor to use 10/3 wire was that the few places I checked into were out of 12/3 AC-90 wire. Impatience, really. When the inspector comes out, I'll perhaps ask him again about my original plan, this time with circuit diagrams.

    -Nate

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