Wire my Garage like a Boat? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

Yes, when I posted my response I was thinking the OP wanted to use AC power tools. I was thinking he wanted to run a drill press, grinder, saw, etc from batteries. For what I had in mind there is no good alternative to putting in a drop panel (circuit breaker box).

I respect the OP's intent. If his goal is to use a few portable cordless tools and have some light, his plan would work okay. Where I see the real challenge is lighting. In my own experience, it's damned hard to ever have enough light when you are working in a garage, and the light is never where you need it. Working with flashlights truly sucks. A retractable drop cord with a proper light is a lifesaver.

From a cost perspective, by the time you purchase enough solar to charge enough batteries to make good light- I don't know if you will ever get a return on your investment. Lighting a boat is MUCH easier than lighting a workshop that is far bigger and has all sorts of dark corners and dull colors that will absolutely gobble up all of your light.

Of course there are always extension cords. But for $100 you can bury a proper cable and put in a small, safe, circuit protected distribution box that you can plug all your stuff into and not have to roll up several cords every time you want to lock up the shop and go inside for the night. You don't even have to mount the box if you don't want to. Mount it to a board along with outlets and mount that board to a saw horse. Now you can move it around to where you are working or move it out of the way, etc. If the box is powered by a pigtail you can even unplug it from the single outlet that is hardwired to the house via your buried cable.
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post #12 of Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

These are great ideas for working around the rules, but remember when your garage and house burns down, and the insurance company finds this non-code electrical installation, you will get to start over without their money.
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post #13 of Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

Yeah, I have the small solar panel and battery to provide lights in a shed. You can run the calculations to determine how much lights and how long you want them to last. For me I was able to get a couple hours out of a 40 watt flourescent a couple times a week with just a 10 watt panel and a small battery. A 35ah battery can provide about 5 hours at 40 watts draining to 50% capacity and a 10 watt panel is enough to fully recharge it in a couple days.

If you are talking lights alone it is pretty feasible to size that up, for tools it gets to the point that a little honda generator is a better choice fiscally.
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post #14 of Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

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These are great ideas for working around the rules, but remember when your garage and house burns down, and the insurance company finds this non-code electrical installation, you will get to start over without their money.

Very true. However, you are about a million times more likely to burn your house down by using extension cords or a generator in the first place.

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post #15 of Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

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I am building a detached garage with no electric. This makes it easier to get through permits. Any way when I finish with all the permits I was thinking what if I used solar to charge batteries. There is no problem having enough power to turn on the lights but how much do I need to run power tools. Would I need special batteries and inverters?

To help people understand the issue there is a BIG PROBLEM in my area with people turning detached garages into living spaces

If you think the electric is a problem freaking try and do a sink to wash your hands and some insulation and sheetrock to make it a reasonable hobby spot in the winter

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post #16 of Old 05-04-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

If you are going to do a serious shop with all the tools, you need real power. I wired my own house in Wyoming, ya you can do that there. In the process of building the house my garage turned into a workshop and has never seen a car inside it. I thought I added sufficient power initially but have had to add multiple 240V runs to accommodate a number all the tools.

Unless it is a very troublesome process I suggest pulling a large sub panel (60 amps) to the garage to future-proof it. Besides insurance claims, and resale value anything else will limit the shop. Real table saws, compressors and big tools run better on 240V even better on 3 phase. One other factor is voltage drop. Voltage Drop Calculator
If you want a garage/shop for small projects you can use some solar panels, extension cords and generators. If you want a shop to do some real work, get a permit and wire it right, water is good to have also.

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post #17 of Old 05-04-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

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These are great ideas for working around the rules, but remember when your garage and house burns down, and the insurance company finds this non-code electrical installation, you will get to start over without their money.
Drama! DC current is safer then AC. Also my shop would more likely burn down from some one smoking near a gas can. I deal with the permit office all the time I'm not paying electrician to run a few solar lights. Do you pull permits when sticking garden lights in the ground?
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post #18 of Old 05-04-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

It is pretty easy to add electrical once the barn is signed off on... I wired mine after the fact then pulled an electrical permit and had a buddy who is an electrician "bless" my work and sign off on it... I mailed him $150.00 which he ten mailed back to me.. Easy, and wiring the entire barn was less than $600.00 including the permit, panel, breakers etc...

Its pretty hard to run many power tools like table saws, compressors, jointers, drill presses, band saws etc. off DC...

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post #19 of Old 05-04-2013
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

DC is not necessarily safer then AC. It's one of the reasons Edison's AC push won over Tesla's DC push for power back in it's infancy. Sure if you are just using low voltage wiring and lights it is safe. But as soon as you put an inverter on it amp up the voltage it is not. You now have enough voltage to push the electricity through you. And it is ungrounded.
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post #20 of Old 05-04-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Wire my Garage like a Boat?

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DC is not necessarily safer then AC. It's one of the reasons Edison's AC push won over Tesla's DC push for power back in it's infancy. Sure if you are just using low voltage wiring and lights it is safe. But as soon as you put an inverter on it amp up the voltage it is not. You now have enough voltage to push the electricity through you. And it is ungrounded.
If you use an Inverter you just changed to AC. If you ever used an Arc welder you would see the difference between DC straight, DC reverse an AC. In most cases when you switch DC to AC you lower the amps because AC runs hotter. Edison won because it takes less amps or power to turn the lights on.
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