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Old 11-23-2019, 12:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Another dumb shop/wiring question

So, another dumb question.

Shop is a 2300sqft metal prefab. Starting to do the wiring (myself..RUN! )

Can I legally use Romex (NM-B 12/3) for the plug runs (6 circuits 3 plugs each, 20a + 2 circuits 20a to 6 each LED lightbars linked) Plus 4 independent circuits (240 50a using NM-B 10/3)

Or, does a open wall metal frame (insulated) have to be run in conduit? (and yes I know you don't run Romex inside Conduit)
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Old 11-23-2019, 12:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I can tell you that you should be using #6 wire for your 50amp runs, not #10.

I also know that if the Romex is to be left exposed, that it can only run in such a way that things cannot be hung on it. So, for example to go from plug to plug in a wall, you would have to run the Romex vertically up to the plate or attic, then over and back down.

Some local municipalities have stricter rules that require conduit where it would not normally be required by the electrical code. You'd have to call around and find that out for yourself.
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Old 11-23-2019, 01:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you run #10/3, use a 30A breaker instead of a 50. Or move down to 6-20R receptacles on a 20A breaker, where you can put several on a circuit.

NM cable may be able to be run without protection 5' above the floor (Canada rule; not sure about NEC). AC cable (also called BX) is another way to go.

You may be able to use a runner board or blocking to attach the cable to, so nothing can be hung off it.

20A is overkill and often a PITA for lighting circuits. Unless you're buying nothing but a monster roll of #12/3 to wire the whole shop, use #14.
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Old 11-23-2019, 02:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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MC or conduit. Conduit makes it easy to change things down the road as needed.
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Old 11-23-2019, 03:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I ran my garage in romex. No biggie.
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Old 11-23-2019, 03:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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MC or conduit. Conduit makes it easy to change things down the road as needed.
Conduit. Can pull a bunch of ciructs in one conduit and adapt it as your shop evolves. It's not much work or added expense to have it look professional and be better/safer.

Many times I've moved a machine or changed stuff up and it's easy as pulling a few wires to a box. And it looks great.
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Old 11-23-2019, 04:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I can tell you that you should be using #6 wire for your 50amp runs, not #10.
I believe he can if they're dedicated welder outlets and placarded as such. Or at least there was a time when the NEC allowed for that. Personally I would never do it and used #6 as you suggest.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Conduit. Can pull a bunch of ciructs in one conduit and adapt it as your shop evolves. It's not much work or added expense to have it look professional and be better/safer.
Am I mis-reading this? Code allows multiple circuits in a single conduit

I was under the impression that only a single circuit was allowed in a conduit.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The tire machine and beer fridge have to be on seperate circuits, past that you're good to go.

I did my shop with exposed wires but I used the armored metal clad wire... wasn't much more than normal wire and didn't have to mess with conduit.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The tire machine and beer fridge have to be on seperate circuits, past that you're good to go.

I did my shop with exposed wires but I used the armored metal clad wire... wasn't much more than normal wire and didn't have to mess with conduit.
I am leaning to that after reading all the stuff above and doing some checking.

I am going to go to 6/3 for the 240 runs, 2 for welders, 1 for the mill and 1 for the lathe.

I worry that 12/3 won't be enough for the run that has the chop saw, table saw, belt sander, and two grinder stands (1-1hp 1-3/4hp) if I have them all on the same run.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Am I mis-reading this? Code allows multiple circuits in a single conduit

I was under the impression that only a single circuit was allowed in a conduit.
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I am leaning to that after reading all the stuff above and doing some checking.

I am going to go to 6/3 for the 240 runs, 2 for welders, 1 for the mill and 1 for the lathe.

I worry that 12/3 won't be enough for the run that has the chop saw, table saw, belt sander, and two grinder stands (1-1hp 1-3/4hp) if I have them all on the same run.
You can run multiple circuits in a conduit, there are a few general rules, (simplified version) you can't exceed conduit fill based off the size of wires, and your neutral for that circuit should be in the same pipe.

Overbear, you need to base the circuit you want to run off the name plate rating of the tool. You are going to have inrush current which depending on the breaker size may be too much. Google 310.15.b.16 and that will give you a basic outline of the size of awg wire per amperage you need to run. If you run romex you are based of the 60 degree column. Wire in conduit or in MC can be based off 75 degree column (you are not suppose to go off the 90 degree column because the terminal connections on the breaker and recept are rated for 75 degrees normally.)

Hoped that helped a bit but i'm sauced up and it might not make much sense.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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12/2 should be fine for the 120v 20amp plugs, you won't be running all those machines at once. 12/3 is for 240v, edit: I run 10/3 for my 3hp compressor and I ran 14/2 for the shop lights just to save a few bucks.

just set your breakers accordingly to your wires. 15A-14ga 20A-12ga 30A-10ga 50A-6ga

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Old 11-24-2019, 06:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You can run multiple circuits in a conduit, there are a few general rules, (simplified version) you can't exceed conduit fill based off the size of wires, and your neutral for that circuit should be in the same pipe.
Cool. I ran conduit for three lights up the driveway and began thinking about electric gate after it all got buried under concrete
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Am I mis-reading this? Code allows multiple circuits in a single conduit

I was under the impression that only a single circuit was allowed in a conduit.
Don't mix control or low voltage in the same pipe as your higher voltage stuff, and don't over fill the conduit. I like to keep some other things separate. My lighting circuits and welding outlets are in different pipes. Makes it easier to make changes later and not need to disconnect for example the lights to put a box in for a plasma cutter outlet.
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I ran my garage in romex. No biggie.
Was it for your track lighting?
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Don't mix control or low voltage in the same pipe as your higher voltage stuff, and don't over fill the conduit. I like to keep some other things separate. My lighting circuits and welding outlets are in different pipes. Makes it easier to make changes later and not need to disconnect for example the lights to put a box in for a plasma cutter outlet.
I ran a shit load of conduit around the yard: one setup for upper three driveway lights, one setup for lower driveway lights, one for upper driveway network run(camera), one for lower driveway network run(camera/future shop).

It wasn't until I had buried all that and had the driveway poured that the wife said "were you thinking about an electric gate at top?" I wasn't thinking of any control of the gate from the house for the gate just a power run.
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:13 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You can run multiple circuits in a conduit, there are a few general rules, (simplified version) you can't exceed conduit fill based off the size of wires, and your neutral for that circuit should be in the same pipe.
Also need to consider the derating factor for having more than three current carrying conductors in a single conduit.
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:00 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Was it for your track lighting?
LOL... NO. I have 6 2 bulb t-12's with led's in them. and one t-8 4 bulb fixture over the work bench.

Garage is 24x24, 10 foot ceilings, 8' x 16' door and a 300 sq. foot loft above.

I ran everything in romex. 100A sub panel. Feeds the upstairs unit above the garage also. I did run 6/2 over to the dedicated weld plug though.

All of my branch circuits are distributed the typical way.

1 15A circuit for garage lighting/ outside lighting
1 15A circuit for upstairs lighting/ outside lighting
1 20A circuit for outside
3 20A circuits for garage plugs
2 20A circuits for upstairs
2 20A 2 pole circuits for some heat
1 50A 2 pole for the weld plug

Couple of left over spaces for expansion.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I am leaning to that after reading all the stuff above and doing some checking.

I am going to go to 6/3 for the 240 runs, 2 for welders, 1 for the mill and 1 for the lathe.

I worry that 12/3 won't be enough for the run that has the chop saw, table saw, belt sander, and two grinder stands (1-1hp 1-3/4hp) if I have them all on the same run.
Realistically, you only need as many circuits as tools you can physically run/operate at the same time. Your biggest circuit need not be larger than your hungriest machine.

#6 copper isn't cheap, hard to work with, and limits you to one outlet per circuit. The Code people must have stocks in copper, or Home Depot.

3-wire cable will support two 120V circuits, or one 240V circuit. Or even both at the same time. (Dunno about Code, but its safe and practical.) The usual 6-50R works fine on smaller circuits - its not a hazard. I went the other way; using 6-20R outlets and made a cheater/adapter cord for my welder.

If any of your larger 120V loads can be made to run on 240V, you may save a circuit or two.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Holy fuck there is some silly shit in here.


First thing, is it a residential zoned "car storage garage" or a business, and what state?
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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if your question is about legality, then you'd need to check local laws.

When i lived in a Chicago suburb, we had to follow chicago rules. this meant conduit for everything and no romex whips longer than 5'. didn't matter for new construction or remodel. was a real pain in the ass.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:08 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Holy fuck there is some silly shit in here.
I'll bite... where is the silly shit?

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First thing, is it a residential zoned "car storage garage" or a business, and what state?
I'm not OP. My question was with regards to residential driveway lights in Calif. One run is ~100ft with three lights. The other run is ~150ft with three lights. The 150ft conduit run is the one I'd like to stuff power for an electric gate. The lights are rated at 120watt but I'll probably be running 60 to 80watt bulbs since I'm in BFE and wish to avoid high levels of light pollution.

Fire off your input.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:35 AM   #23 (permalink)
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When you get your permit, you will have access to the inspector/agency to bounce these questions off of.

I wired(and built) my whole 30x36 shop, complete with its own 200 amp service(off a 400(320) drop( I have room for an additional 200 off this drop for future stuff.

I was afraid if the process before I went through it, but it wasn’t difficult nor was it expensive.

The inspector was fairly easy to work with and clear about when I needed to do something different.



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Old 11-26-2019, 10:02 AM   #24 (permalink)
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When you get your permit, you will have access to the inspector/agency to bounce these questions off of.

I wired(and built) my whole 30x36 shop, complete with its own 200 amp service(off a 400(320) drop( I have room for an additional 200 off this drop for future stuff.

I was afraid if the process before I went through it, but it wasn’t difficult nor was it expensive.

The inspector was fairly easy to work with and clear about when I needed to do something different.



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Most inspectors have a complete different attitude when dealing with owner/builder vs. contractor/builder. The ego is way down and they are almost helpful.


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Old 11-26-2019, 10:51 AM   #25 (permalink)
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First thing, is it a residential zoned "car storage garage" or a business, and what state?
Zoned farm/commercial. Has a 400a service stand alone from the house, 2300sqft prefab metal building.

I would have thought state was obvious
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