Not enough power - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-05-2011, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Not enough power

I have had to move my shop recently to a temporary location for the next few months. The power supply there seems weak. The lights go dim when I power up some of my tools. I am thinking of buying a voltage regulator or a transformer if that would fix the problem. I don't know much about electricity and need to make sure I do the right thing. Any help here would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 6 Old 11-05-2011, 09:25 AM
where's my table saw?
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Look at it this way

You have a garden hose with one sprinkler on it, it works fine.
You add another sprinkler, then the first one only works 1/2 as good as it did. The more sprinklers you add the less well each one works. Electricity is similar.
You need to know what appliances or lights are on your circuit already before running power tools which take a lot of current generally speaking as opposed to other things like a TV or computer.
Any appliance that has a heater will take more current. Electric motors on larger power tools take a lot of current to start up then run on less. A corded electric drill will not take much current, but a table saw may take all the available current and trip the breaker. Generally speaking avoid extension cords...period.
A lighting circuit (no. 14 wire and 15 amps)will not have as much available current as an appliance circuit (no 12 wire and 20 amps). Power tools should be run on 20 amp circuits when possible.
If your lights dim, they are on the same circuit as the power tools, which is not recommended. bill

You can shut off the breaker to see what's on the circuit by plugging in a noisy appliance like a vacuum or radio turned up loud or have a helper tell you what went off. You can generally hear them vacuum from the basement if you are working alone.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 11-05-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-05-2011, 10:46 AM
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Ya gotta trace circuits.
If lights dim, it would lead me to also believe the lights are on the power circuit.
Current code says they should be separate breakers, and in a shop area it's wise. If you blow a breaker due to a tool drawing too much juice, you don't lose lights at the same second and are left fumbling around.

Agree w/ woodnthings.

Oh, and welcome.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-05-2011, 03:54 PM
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Neither a transformer nor a voltage regulator will do you any good for your problem.

Follow the above advise and determine what all is on the same circuit. Then, hopefully, you can keep something turned off.

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post #5 of 6 Old 11-07-2011, 09:59 PM
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Welcome Mitch! Like mentioned above, trace the circuits to the various outlets. You might be able to tweak something here and there, but I'd strongly suggest to consult with a Sparky before pulling wire or drastically changing anything.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-08-2011, 09:55 PM
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Could be a bad neutral.

Put a 120v, 10A load, like a toaster or hair dryer, on the circuit under test.
For #14 copper you should have around a 5v drop in the voltage but this number depends on the wire gauge and distance back to the panel.

Or maybe you could rent Ideal's 65-165 tester.
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