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Contained here is my opinion on how to wire your workshop. My workshop is fed from a separate 40A 220volt subpanel fed from the Main electrical panel. This has proven more than adequate for my needs. I have about 25 Fluorescent light fixtures, a number of portable power tools, and a Large Radial Arm saw, and a large Clausing engine lathe, and a couple 1 hp stationary tools (Bandsaw, drill press, Horizontal Bandsaw, etc). I also have a 220 volt 5hp air compressor. If you have a lot of large, stationary power tools, you may need a larger subpanel, but this has worked for me. Note alas, I have no allowance for a welder! Ah well. In my house, they had moved the Kitchen stove, and abandoned the old electrical wiring in place. Since this was close to the Shop, and the Electrical panel was at the other end of the house, this was used for my new sub-panel.

I want to stress right here that I can not make any assumptions about Electrical Code compliance. My installation passed inspection fine, but be sure to check before doing. It also helps to be on good terms with the local inspector, as they have some leeway in approval! Take this page as guidance, but always adhere to the Electrical Code!

On this page, I am going to address some specific issues first, and then describe my setup, why I did it that way, and how. I want to point out first, that my wiring is all in Conduit, and I highly recommend that. It solves some problems, looks better, is safer, and depending on where your shop is, it might be required. You may also find that once you get the hang of bending and installing conduit, it is a lot of fun! And, one bit of warning. Although I will address this below, be aware that just because a particular device or wire is at the Home Depot, does not mean it conforms to code! Make sure of what you are buying, and that it fits the application.

Finally, I want to make it clear, Make sure to get your work inspected, and make sure you do not have any (house) insurance issues if you do it yourself!! Check your policy and/or call your agent! Do not do electrical wiring if you are not familiar and comfortable with it. If you have any questions or doubts about how to do it, call in a licensed electrician. It is not worth your safety, and the safety of your family, friends, and house. You may be able to do the mechanical work, and let an electrician specify and hook it all up. You can consult your friendly electrician for that. Make no mistake, electrical wiring done improperly is a major, major safety and fire risk. I am going to focus on the layout and materials issues, not the techniques, if you are unsure, don't do it. And, remember, you are allowed to work on your own home, but not someone else's unless you are licensed.

Below are some specific topics. This is a big page!


Here are some book recommendations that may help you with wiring your shop, and learning about electrical wiring.


And a couple of videos on electrical wiring!