Sub panel install for workshop machinery.

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  #1  
Old 01-10-17, 12:14 PM
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Sub panel install for workshop machinery.

I might have a little clue what I'm doing but I still need help. I've seen the common theme here of installing subpanels for workshop needs and that's the bucket I fall in.

I don't think my electric panel can accommodate another dual pole 20 amp/240v circuit breaker that's required to power the saw so I'm left with some choices.

1: Move some 15 amp circuits to the left side to free up the necessary space. Not sure if this is legal/up to code or smart.
2: Add a subpanel that will allow me to grow with my tools. This is the second most viable option if I cannot move circuits around.
3: Upgrade my electric panel. This is costly and I'm not going to tackle it myself.
4: Change out the power cord from my table saw with a longer cord and NEMA plug that will go into the dryer outlet. Also not sure if this is smart/legal/up to code. (Current plug on the table saw is 6-20.)

I owe pictures but cannot attach them at work. Aside from pictures, I also need to find out what size panel I have. I'll try to get that done tonight when I get home.

I need to identify any code that requires the sub panel to be a distance from the main panel or not. Ideally I would install it right next door but may be limited in space. I'm thinking a 60 amp panel will do the trick. That'll let me grow into a dust collector and maybe another tool but since I'm a hobbyist, I won't be using multiple tools at the same time.

That's as far as I am. I want to know about feasability before I start buying parts.

I will thank you all ahead of time for the help. The responses I've seen in other posts have been super helpful and I've already learned some new terms.

-Rob
 
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  #2  
Old 01-10-17, 12:33 PM
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#1 is okay if you have open spaces to move breakers around to get 2 open spaces together to add a 240V circuit.
#2 is a good option. Again, if you can get 2 open spaces together in the main panel.
#3 is okay if you are stuck and 1 or 2 won't work.
#4 is a poor choice, don't do it.
 
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Old 01-10-17, 01:41 PM
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Another option may be to swap out some of the standard width breakers for tandem "skinny" breakers to make room in the panel. Not all panels can abide this option, but let us know the make and model number of the panel when you upload the pictures and we can advise further on that option.
 
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Old 01-11-17, 06:37 AM
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Pictures are worth 1000 words.

Alrighty, I'll give this a stab.

Main panel overview
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Main panel location
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Circuit breakers
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What everything is (not 100% correct though)
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Panel details
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Guts of the machine
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With all of this being posted, I think a sub panel may be the way to go because I definitely want to add a dust collector in the future and not be in the same predicament of not having any more free circuit space.

Your turn! Annnnd all my pictures are sideways for some reason... Sorry guys/gals.

Edit: if you want the Google photos link where the pictures are, it may be easier to look at: https://goo.gl/photos/Zizt3nhTcc12Xw9r6
 

Last edited by mynamesrob; 01-11-17 at 06:38 AM. Reason: Add link.
  #5  
Old 01-11-17, 06:28 PM
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You have a 200 amp service. I'd go with your option #2.

2: Add a subpanel that will allow me to grow with my tools. This is the second most viable option if I cannot move circuits around.
I believe I'd make it a 100 amp subpanel adjacent to this main split bus panel. I'd remove the 30 amp dryer breaker and relocate it to the subpanel and install a 100 amp 2 pole breaker in place of the 30 amp breaker.
 
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Old 01-12-17, 09:52 AM
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Sub panel is the way to fly.

Casualjoe,

AHA!!! That's the thinking path I was on but confused how to do this!

So my parts list is updated:
1: 100 amp panel. Does it need to be GE to match the 200 amp GE panel already there? Or can the local Home Depot 100 amp box suffice?
2: 100 amp circuit breaker.
3: x number of 3-3-3-5 SER cable.
4: 20 amp circuit breaker, wire, outlet box, and outlet for the table saw.
5: Permits from the local office.

More questions:
How do I turn my panel off? Is it the 60 amp main breaker in the picture I posted? I don't see any other main breaker in the panel.
 
  #7  
Old 01-12-17, 12:08 PM
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1. The panel should be at least 100A rated (can be higher) and does not need to be GE unless you plan to swap breakers between the panels. A main breaker is not required, the subpanel can be main lugs style. The breakers in the new panel need to match that brand and line. If the panel does not come with a ground bar, buy a matching add-on ground bar kit and remove the neutral bond screw in the new subpanel.

2. Yes, GE.

3. You actually need #2 copper SER or #1/0 aluminum SER. If you used conduit and THHN #3 would be OK. Different temperature ratings for different wiring methods.

4 & 5. OK. If the NM cable is exposed below ceiling height in your workshop it needs to be protected by a conduit sleeve or suitable framing or wall covering.

I don't know the maximum size wire accepted on your neutral bus, but you may need an add-on neutral lug kit. You'll also need cable connectors for the box knock outs for the NM and SER, cable staples for each size, and noalox paste if you use aluminum wire.

With a split-bus panel you cannot turn it off without having the power company disconnect the service at the meter. The top 12 slots (6 double poles) are always hot.
 
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Old 01-12-17, 01:04 PM
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3: Is #2 copper SER the same thing as saying 2-2-2-4? I'm looking at it on the big box store and I think it's the same but want to make sure. I read somewhere that copper is easier to bend and manipulate for beginners than aluminum cable.

4/5: The box will be mounted to plywood between two studs and then covered with a plywood panel.

NM means non-metallic? And the panel I have is split-bus I'm assuming.
 
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Old 01-12-17, 01:24 PM
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Yes 2-2-2-4 means the two hots and neutral are #2 AWG and the ground is a #4 gauge. Copper is easier to work with for amateurs, but is more expensive. Won't be much different as you're only using a few feet.

NM is non-metallic cable -- the generic name for Romex brand cable.

Your old panel is a split bus style, meaning the top 6 double pole breakers which power the large appliances in the home are collectively considered the service disconnect. One of those 6 is then the "main" breaker for the lower half of the panel where there are breakers for general purpose lights and receptacle circuits. It's an older design not used anymore.
 
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Old 01-12-17, 01:32 PM
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Good advice so far. Just a word of warning. With all this new power capability in the new sub panel, you will have to BUY MORE TOOLS !! But that's none of my business
 
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Old 01-13-17, 05:10 PM
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Is #2 copper SER the same thing as saying 2-2-2-4? I'm looking at it on the big box store and I think it's the same but want to make sure.
Be careful what you purchase from Big Box and be sure it is copper, they usually sell aluminumSER.
 
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Old 01-14-17, 04:05 AM
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And the price difference is notable. Aluminum 2-2-2-4 SER runs about $2 per foot, while CU will be closer to $5.50 per foot.
 
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Old 01-23-17, 08:05 PM
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Update: I've got most parts purchased except cable (the local big box store only does aluminum) and cable connections for cables coming into the box.

Next set of questions
1: When I secure subpanel plywood to the studs, do I need to remove the insulation between the studs? I'm going to try and get the plywood and subpanel mounted tomorrow. (Night shift sucks and doesn't leave much time for house projects...)

2: I bought a 100 amp GE circuit breaker to replace the 30 amp dryer; is that right? Can it be any GE circuit breaker? This is the one I bought.

3: Need to buy Noalox for the cable connections.

-Rob
 
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Old 01-24-17, 06:42 AM
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Dang it; for some reason I cannot edit my last post!

1: Panel mounted. I asked a really stupid question regarding the insulation behind the panel. I'd appreciate it if there is no response and we just press on.

2: Still stands. Not sure I have the right style of breaker.

3: Look at aluminum cable this morning; didn't buy it because I don't know how much I need. I'll measure and go back for it.

-Rob
 
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Old 01-24-17, 07:21 AM
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I can't read the actual text in your picture, but the panel label in the upper right area lists the types of breakers you can use -- "Use only with GE type...". It looks like it allows breaker types THQL, THQP, maybe some others. Forgive me I don't work with GE panels very often so I don't know these off the top of my head. As long as your new breaker matches one of these types it is OK to use in your panel.

You can use some insulation behind the panel. A piece of rigid foam works pretty well.

Is that a SawStop PCS? How do you like it?
 
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Old 01-24-17, 10:55 AM
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2: I bought a 100 amp GE circuit breaker to replace the 30 amp dryer; is that right? Can it be any GE circuit breaker?
That is a THQL breaker, it'll fit just fine. There are only two types of plug-in breakers manufactured for GE loadcenters today, Types THQL and THQP. THQP is this thin style.
 
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Old 01-25-17, 09:34 PM
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Ibpooks - It's a Grizzly 0690. I was looking at a SawStop but the price difference for the safety mechanism is outrageous. I've already run the tip of my thumb through a tablesaw once before and learned a pretty good lesson.

New picture. The panel is mounted on plywood. I'll build a fancy enclosure to go around it but I'm more concerned with getting all the wiring going before anything else. The hole in the wall will be where the power cable is routed through to the main panel.

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-Rob
 

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Old 01-26-17, 03:31 AM
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You need to leave 30" of side-to-side space around the panel and the door must be able to open 90 degrees, so make sure you have that clearance with your enclosure.
 
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Old 01-26-17, 06:39 AM
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You need to leave 30" of side-to-side space around the panel
To clarify this does not mean 30 inches on each side of the panel. It needs to be 30 inches of clear space in front of the panel, but the panel does not need to be centered within that 30 inches.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]76369[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 01-27-17, 07:19 PM
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Hmm. That confused me. So the 30" means from wall to wall? 30" on either side of the panel? Or merely 30" of working space overall. If I had 2" on the right, the 14" panel, and another 14" on the left side, I would be good. So the panel right now is butted against a wall that contains the main panel. I will measure when I get home. 36" in front of the panel and 90 degree door swing is no problem.

-Rob
 
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Old 01-27-17, 08:39 PM
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You will need to make room for the #2 neutral wire on the old ground/neutral bar. The middle big lug on the left looks like it has two large copper grounds that could be moved to two of the holes on the right.

If you can't re-arrange on the old neutral/ground bar plan on buying a larger lug for your old panel. For the #2 neutral (technically listed only for grounds): GE Power Mark Plus Grounding Lug for Load Centers-TGL20CP. The #4 ground should fit in one of the open large ground holes but you could add GE PowerMark Plus Equipment Ground Kit for General Electric Load Centers-TGL2P or GE Industrial TGL8 Equipment Ground Kit
 
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Old 01-28-17, 07:30 PM
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Astuff - Ooooh! I was ahead of the game and bought one of the grounding lugs like you pointed out!!!! Booyah!

Still haven't had time to get this going the way I want; night shift is murder.

-Rob
 
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Old 01-28-17, 08:38 PM
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Huh. 1/0 SER aluminum not sold in stores; must be bought online. No sweat; it'll be here next week then. This is the right stuff, right? Southwire (By-the-Foot) 1/0-1/0-1/0-2 Gray Stranded Al SER Cable-13104599 - The Home Depot

-Rob
 
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Old 01-30-17, 06:22 AM
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Yeah that cable will do fine.
 
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