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Old 08-25-2008, 08:42 AM   #1
LDO
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Wired workshop


Need some advice, I just bought a house built in 2004. Due to my military status, I pretty much bought the house sight unseen. Cool bonus was a detached workshop which has been wired and a sub panel installed. Looks like the original owner had it built (I'm the 3rd owner) and it appears to be professionally built. All the outlets and switch boxes are installed and wired. The subpanel has no breakers installed and it looks like the incomming wire is there but no power according to my circuit tester. There is no breaker in the master panel in my home either.

I understand that I should contact an electrician and have him get this sorted out but what can I do to see how much work (how expensive) it's going to take to get the workshop powered?

Where would the wiring be terminated where I can look for it?

Thanks for any info you folks can provide.

Also have drywall questions but I'll post those in the proper section

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:54 AM   #2
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like the incomming wire is there but no power according to my circuit tester. There is no breaker in the master panel in my home either.
Are you sure the wire to the house is installed yet?

If so, look for where the wire exits the subpanel and garage. I imagine that it goes underground, and there is usually a PVC conduit coming out of the ground and entering through an LB fitting. The same at the house end; take a look around and try to find out where the wire enters.

How big is the panel in the garage? What gauge of wire is ran? How many wires are in the cable? I imagine that the cable is not connected at the main panel yet, because the work is incomplete.

Pictures always help...

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I understand that I should contact an electrician and have him get this sorted out but what can I do to see how much work (how expensive) it's going to take to get the workshop powered?
Yah, that is a good idea, however, I would still poke around and figure out what needs to be done first like you say. We probably cannot quote you a price because it differs greatly from place to place.

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:55 AM   #3
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Perhaps the other end is in the main panel but not terminated.

An on-site estimate from a licensed pro would be the best way to get an idea on price. Prices through the web are fairly useless due to the number of variables.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:23 AM   #4
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If you have incoming wires, they are coming from somewhere. Like Jim said they are most likely in the main service panel or sub panel "if you have one". They will be tucked in and may be hard to see. Look at the ones in the workshop to help you identify them. They will most likely have the ends taped.
If you can find out where they originate and what size they are we can help you. Lets us know if the wires are in PVC conduit or direct burial cable.
Lets hope the previous owner pulled or buried the correct amount of wires to feed this panel. 4 to be exact.
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:34 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the recommendations. As soon as the weather breaks, I'll take a look, take some pictures and let you all know what I find.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
take some pictures
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:37 PM   #7
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Here is a picture of the panel inside the shop. The rest of the outlets/light switches are just 'roughed in'. It looks like I still need to dig a trench and feed power to the building from my house.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:31 PM   #8
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Before you go any further with this i would like to point out that the cables entering the panel should have some sort of cable connector used.


There are plastic snap-in connectors or metal connectors with locknuts. Most are only listed for use with 2 cables so more knockouts will need to be used.

There is no feed to this panel from the appearence of things. It just looks like the branch circuit wires going out to switches and receptacles. You could confirm this using a toner or short the black and the white together on one end and check at the device boxes until you find continuity using a multimeter.

I am not sure I am seeing a auxillary ground bar installed either, but I am unfamiliar with this brand panel.
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:07 AM   #9
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Thanks Jim,
I believe the auxilary ground bar is uninstalled sitting inside the box not seen in the picture. There is another strip just like the one on the left sitting inside the panel. Could that be it?
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:44 AM   #10
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Just a thought, is maybe the reason it wasn't finished because the guy never pulled a permit and got "caught"?
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:49 AM   #11
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Jim is correct and you must put connectors on those NM cables before you go any further. Do this first. The terminal strip on the left. Is that a grounding terminal or a neutral? Check and make sure it is insulated from the panel enclosure. This will be the neutral terminal. The other terminal strip will mount directly to the enclosure and be in contact with the enclosure. This will be your grounding terminal strip.

Frankly why is there no feeder in that panel? That is what is usually done first. Now it is recessed and it will be much more difficult to access. Good Luck.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:51 AM   #12
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The picture is helpful- Since that drywall is unfinished, you should be able to remove it easily and continue with the wiring such as separating out the 12-2 cables into individual or 2 cable holes. The ground bar you have is most likely the one from the panel, not too hard to find that out by matching up the screwholes in the back of the panel with the bar. Unfortunately a major part of the operation is undone- adding the supply feeders.

It is possible that the garage building was constructed by a outside company (like a prefab shed or garage builder) and may have included the internal wiring (prewired) for the owner to have connected at his expense and leisure. That would be my initial guess to why feeders were not installed.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:12 AM   #13
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Just a thought, is maybe the reason it wasn't finished because the guy never pulled a permit and got "caught"?
I'm with daxinarian on this one, better find out first if the existing work was done legally.
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:27 PM   #14
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I'm with daxinarian on this one, better find out first if the existing work was done legally.
I don't see how it could have been done legally unless a permit is not required in your area. The rough in inspection would have to be done before the drywall went up. And the feeder wire would have to be there for the rough in inspection. I'd start with your local building department to see what would be needed to make it right. You might end up having to remove some of the drywall in areas so the inspector can inspect. If they are really hardnosed they might want all the drywall removed.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:52 PM   #15
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This is probably a dumb question but can a realty company sell a property if a structure on it is not done to code? Or is some loophole there because it's detached from the house?

I'm having an electrician come out next week and check everything out.

Unfortunately, the previous owners don't know squat about the shop (they used it as is for extra storage) and the original owners cannot be found/located.

Guess I'm on my own on this deal. Thanks for the help/advice!

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