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Old 01-09-2006, 05:20 PM   #1
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Carpenter Needs Electrical HELP


Greetings and Happy New Year.

I am a residential contractor who specializes in large decks. I have had the following problem for years and would like some suggestions from pro electricians.

The average 15 amp outlet on customers' houses will only handle a circ. saw and a drill (if the planets are aligned) without blowing the breaker. Forget about trying to hook up a decent sized compressor. Since I often have 7-8 guys using power tools at once, this is a problem. So I use generators.

I have 4 of them(from 4000 watts to 12,000 watts) and 4 compressors to combat this issue. But DAMN these generators are a pain in the arse and EXPENSIVE to keep running all the time. Not to mention the noise and constantly running to the gas station to fill up our 5 gallon cans.

My largest gen. cost $2500. It has no problems powering a 3 HP compressor, 10" table saw, 2 circ. saws and whatever else may be running. But the damned thing needs to be rebuilt every year. The generator head also has been replaced once.

The smaller generators can't run a compressor that is capable of handling 2 framing nailers. The 7000 watt unit is fine running a small pancake compressor (good enough for 1 framing nailer) and a saw. But it can't start up the larger compressors.

I guess my question is: Is there any way to temporarily wire up a 30 or 40 amp breaker at the panel? Would I have to carry around numerous brands of breakers? What gauge would the wire have to be? Does anyone make a universal type temporary thingie like I am describing that can pop into any panel??

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Old 01-10-2006, 06:40 AM   #2
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You can not use 15 or 20 amp recepitcles on any breaker other than 15 or 20 amps. To do it the way you want, you would have to have a subpanel fed from the 30/40 amp breaker, the you would have to split them out to 15/20 amp breakers. It is just not feasible to do what you want. I have never seen anything that would fit just any panel.

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Old 01-10-2006, 05:32 PM   #3
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I would do as JB said and make a job site sub panel with receptacles mounted underneath.

Yes, you will need breakers to fit different panels. If you come across homes with fuse services you may be in trouble. Your best bet would be to scope out the electrical before hand.

I have made these panels for school and church bazaars. I normally use #8 SO cord and install the cord into the main panel on a 2p40 breaker. The SO cord is not legal for permanent wiring but thse panels are temporary and the SO cord is necessary for flexibility. I use an 8-space outdoor panel with quad-plex receptacle boxes. Usually four quads with each duplex receptacle on it's own 20 amp breaker. And I use all GFIs.

ONE THIING! You better be damn well comfortable working in electrical panels as you can get seriously killed if you are not careful!!!
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:39 PM   #4
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deckpros, I have the same exact problem virtually everywhere I have to build a deck. I did have one customer, and only one, that wired a dedicated 30A circuit just for me to build his deck and fence. I don't run as large a crew as you but after too many tripped circuits and the accompanying frustration, I have switched as many tools as possible to cordless. The only corded tools I use are my mitre saw and table saw. I switched my nailers to Paslode to fix the compressor problem and a cordless finishing nailer for finishing nails. I realize you have a lot invested in the generators but that's the only solution I can suggest.
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Old 01-10-2006, 07:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DecksEtc
deckpros, I have the same exact problem virtually everywhere I have to build a deck. I did have one customer, and only one, that wired a dedicated 30A circuit just for me to build his deck and fence. I don't run as large a crew as you but after too many tripped circuits and the accompanying frustration, I have switched as many tools as possible to cordless. The only corded tools I use are my mitre saw and table saw. I switched my nailers to Paslode to fix the compressor problem and a cordless finishing nailer for finishing nails. I realize you have a lot invested in the generators but that's the only solution I can suggest.



If i were you i would get a plug that can fit into a dryer recepticle or stove.
Then i would wire this into a 50 amp panel , then i would take as may breakers that i can fit into that panel . Please read VeryImportant ........remember that coming from the dryer or stove recepticle will be
240 volts. So you want to only take one side of the live line on either line to the right of the panel or to the left of the panel. You will require a neutral wire coming to the stove or dryer recepticle for this to work.If you talk to an electrician on the job he will know exactly what to do. This is not a job for a carpentor. Please use a qualified electrician with lots of experience. I seen this done on many renovation jobbs .
Once it is fabricated it just takes a few minutes to hook up.
Once again use qualified people
I hope i have explained this properly.
Also remember to size your wiring or gauge of wire no larger than what is coming from the stove or dryer recepticle.

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