Providing power to outdoor workshop

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Old 12-27-17, 09:47 AM
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Providing power to outdoor workshop

I want to have power run to a 10'x12' storage shed that I will use as a workshop. I want sufficient power for a radial arm saw, miter saw, ac window unit, approx 10 outlets and 4-6 overhead shop lights.

I have the confidence to run the interior wiring and receptacles, but that's about it. I don't know what size wire to run from the house meter box, or how many breakers needed for the shop. I am leaning toward installing the shop breaker box and running the wire from the shop to the house myself, then paying an electrician to complete the installation. The distance from the home breaker box to the shop is about 100'.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 12-27-17, 01:11 PM
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Are you able to install a complete run of 1" conduit from house panel to shop panel?
 
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Old 12-27-17, 06:43 PM
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Yes, but I don't know how to tie it into the panels.
 
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Old 12-27-17, 06:44 PM
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40-60 amps @ 120/240 volts would be plenty of power for what you need. You could run conduit or use UF cable. PVC conduit will need to be buried 18" while UF needs to be 24" down.

PVC will connect to the panels using connectors (sometimes called male adapters) and lock nuts. Conduit will need to be installed as a complete run with no more then 360 degrees worth of bends. (no more then 4 - 90's)
 
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Old 12-28-17, 07:10 AM
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If you can install the 1" conduit then use individual aluminum thhn or xhhw wires. You need four conductors, so use #6 for the two hots and one neutral and a #8 for the ground, this will give you up to 50A which should be plenty of power. You can have more than 360 deg of bends in one conduit run but there needs to be a pull point after every 360 deg of bends. In other words you could have four 90 deg bends and then have a LB body or a box for a pull point and then have more bends up to 360 deg and then have a second pull point, and so on. Using PVC conduit will be the easiest to install for a DIY'er. Using aluminum wire will save you a good amount of money being a 100' run. Using copper thhn in the same sizes will give you up to 65A.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 07:39 AM
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So I see at big bix stores 6/3 wire- does that mean 3 pieces of #6 wire, and a ground wore is assumed? Is pvc an acceptable alternative to metal conduit for underground?

How about the breaker box for the shop; should I use 3 breakers (one for lights and the window unit, and one for each wall of outlets) or is that overkill? I'd only be using one power tool at a time, but wonder if having a window ac, lights, and a radial saw on the same circuit would stress the load.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 08:42 AM
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When you see wire listed as 6/3 it is a cable such as Romex with three #6 and a bare ground. That kind of wire (Romex) is not to be placed underground, even in conduit. The only cable you'll see that can be placed underground is UF which will be also listed as 6/3. When using conduit you will use individual strands of wire. You would buy as an example 300' of #6 THHN or XHHW and cut it into three 100' pieces and buy 100' of #8 for the ground. Having three circuits is not overkill. You will have a 50A breaker in the house panel and you can use a 100A subpanel with a 100A main breaker if you like in the shed. You'll find that the 100A main breaker panels are common and fairly cheap or you can use a small main lug panel as long as you don't have over six breakers to turn off all the power in the shed. When you have a subpanel in the shed you will also need ground rods at the shed for that subpanel.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pattenp View Post
When you see wire listed as 6/3 it is a cable such as Romex with three #6 and a bare ground. That kind of wire (Romex) is not to be placed underground, even in conduit. The only cable you'll see that can be placed underground is UF which will be also listed as 6/3. When using conduit you will use individual strands of wire. You would buy as an example 300' of #6 THHN or XHHW and cut it into three 100' pieces and buy 100' of #8 for the ground. Having three circuits is not overkill. You will have a 50A breaker in the house panel and you can use a 100A subpanel with a 100A main breaker if you like in the shed. You'll find that the 100A main breaker panels are common and fairly cheap or you can use a small main lug panel as long as you don't have over six breakers to turn off all the power in the shed. When you have a subpanel in the shed you will also need ground rods at the shed for that subpanel.
Ok, good info, thank you. Next up: there is a 20a breaker in my home panel that is dedicated to an old kids playhouse that still stands about 20' from where I will build the shop. The playhiuse had 4 outlets and at one time a window ac unit . It was used by the prior owner, but we have had the breaker off and never utilized power in it since we moved here 4 years ago. I hoped the 20a might be close enough for what I needed and I could splice into the existing buried line (have no idea what was used; but I'll have to replace that with a 50a by your suggestion.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 05:52 PM
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Your playhouse is likely only fed with a single pole 20 amp breaker. This will give you a single 20 amp, 120 volt circuit. IF you want a 50 amp 120/240 volt circuit you will need two openings in your panel and need to run new, larger feeders to your shed. The #12 wire is too small for 50 amps.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 08:20 PM
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Ok, so quick search led me to this

https://www.nassaunationalcable.com/6-xhhw.html?utm_source=google_shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiAyZLSBRDpARIsAH66VQKDHF3iTis0_CPUstCrR0WkUvivv_cdyGisit_0knJKgV6S85fSWiYaAi7YEALw_wcB

If the link doesn't work, it is listed as "Aluminum XHHW, SER, SEU, RHH RHW-2 XLP USE-2 /6 XHHW ALUMINUM CABLE 600V".

At. $0.18 per foot, that is mich cheaper than I expected. So I buy 300' of this, cut into 3 100' sections, and run a 100' section of #8 ground with it? All in 1" pvc conduit 18" deep with four or fewer bends. Then install a four breaker box in the shop with a 100a main and 3 20a breakers (with a ground Rod). I'll have an electrician do the tie INS. Am I getting warmer?
 
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Old 12-29-17, 03:40 AM
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That wire would require a minimum of 2 inch conduit.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 05:19 AM
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You do not want to use SER or SEU cable, it can't be placed under ground. This is what you can use.... https://www.wireandcableyourway.com/XHHW-2/ . I see they don't have #8 for the ground, but you can get a roll of 500' of #6 cheaper than have them cut 400' and use #6 for all four conductors. Remember the #6 Al is good to a max of 50A and the four #6 will fit in 1" conduit. If you have a local electrical supply go there to check on the XHHW-2.

I see now the wire you linked to is not SER. That is the single XHHW wire and I see they do also have #8 even though it's more expensive than the #6.

I don't know why Furd says it needs 2" conduit.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 01:45 PM
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"I don't know why Furd says it needs 2" conduit."

I forgot to convert the O.D. of the conductor to area. Running the new numbers shows that one inch schedule 80 PVC is adequate. My mistake.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 02:17 PM
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For the above ground exposed conduit Sch 40 PVC conduit is okay, if subject to possible damage then Sch 80 is needed. For the underground portion Sch 40 will do.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:10 PM
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I want to have power run to a 10'x12' storage shed that I will use as a workshop. I want sufficient power for a radial arm saw, miter saw, ac window unit, approx 10 outlets and 4-6 overhead shop lights. ...
.
Far be it from me to say you don't need a 50A subpanel, but that's a lot of power for a little space. That's a lot of receptacles and a lot of light, too.

Surely you will be the only one working in there? So lights and one tool at a time?

If the saws are both 120V, you'd probably be well served with a 20A multi-wire circuit doing everything without a subpanel. That's two 20A "circuits" of 120V, but is actually one circuit with two hots and a true neutral carrying the unbalanced current only. You could do the whole thing in conduit or with a 12/3 UF cable. You would save a lot of money and power everything.

Modern lights are low in power and provide lots of light. I'll bet three good fixtures would light that place up quite nicely.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 06:08 AM
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MC702 makes a very valid point even though space is not the total determining factor. You know what you may be running at one time so just don't cut yourself short. My experience has been when just enough power is supplied later they always wish they had supplied more. Using LED lights is a big power saver so you may find a 20A MWBC is adequate.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 11:37 AM
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Yes, I want to save money, thus the reason coming here for ideas before I pay an electrician. I will be the only one working. 2 overhead fluorescent shop lights (4 bulbs) may be sufficient. I think the largest power draw would be if I had the lights on while running the radial arm saw with an electric heater or a window unit on. I also thought 50a seemed like a lot, as the shop at my last house had a 20a breaker feed the shop with 12/2 line... I did experience minor power dip (lights would dim) when using the saw with ac on, but everything was on the same circuit (so sub panel in the old shop.

After checking my main panel again, I noticed a 50a breaker that fed a hot tub for the previous owner. This is unused now,. So I have a 50a double pole breaker and a 20a single pole breaker available in the house main panel. I also envision having a small chest freezer/kegerator in the shop at some point. So to prepare for long term use, the max load of service would be a chest freezer, fluorescent lights, an electric heater or ac window unit, and one power tool (radial arm saw, miter saw, router, etc). None of my tools are industrial sized.

Thank you all for the tips, keep them coming!
 
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Old 12-30-17, 11:49 AM
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Check to make sure that 50 amp circuit has a neutral wire available.
 
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