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Mark Wilson

Shop Electricity Issue

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Well for a few weeks now I've been having a issue with my electrical wiring in my shop. When I used my table saw I could use it . But if I turned on the dust collector with it the breaker with flip off. If I used more than one thing at a time same effect. So I needed to have someone to come and put in a 220 outlet anyways so that I could use my new band saw. The guy I hired found that some of my old wiring was going bad and shorting out. So we ran a line from the house into my shop and installed a breaker box in my shop . Replaced most of the wiring because the guy who lived here before didn't have them grounded and some were really old and bad. So now hopefully I can get some woodworking done without tripping the breaker. Only thing is I probably don't want to see the bill from the electrician .

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Getting someone that knows what they are doing is worth the price. It might seem expensive now, but what could have happened could have cost a lot more.

 

Glad you got it cleared up.

 

I had to re-wire my shop when I bought my place. The person that ran the circuits used black as the hot sometimes and white as the hot others. The best thing was pull it all out and start over.

 

Now you can really enjoy those new tools.

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I had a house in MASS that was still wired with Peg and Post. There was a really bad ground fault in it somewhere that made a large hanging loop of wire heat up to glowing in the attic. Over the years the heat had caused it to hang lower and lower and of course as the loads increased over the years the heat increased too.

 

Imagine my surprise when I was in the attic one evening and I saw a reddish stripe looping in the dimly lit space.

 

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Talk about electrical problems.... I'm an electrician and WOW did I have 

a problem... While I was wiring my wood work shop I bumped my arm 

along side of my pallet racking and I got a shock. I stopped working and

got my meter out. I had 63 volts between the receptacle and my pallet

racking. The wire that went from my receptacle to the breaker box was

not even hooked up...? After two weeks of tracing down what the problem 

was I found out my pallet racking was producing the 63 volts. Some how

the pallet racking's working like a large antenna and pulling in the voltage.

It's been 5 years now and I still have free electric from the racking. Who

knows where it's coming from. The racking is on the second floor of the

shop and it's touching but the old wood floor. It's got a lot of other electricians 

scratching there heads. Never seen anything like it...

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16 hours ago, Kevin Beitz said:

Talk about electrical problems.... I'm an electrician and WOW did I have 

a problem... While I was wiring my wood work shop I bumped my arm 

along side of my pallet racking and I got a shock. I stopped working and

got my meter out. I had 63 volts between the receptacle and my pallet

racking. The wire that went from my receptacle to the breaker box was

not even hooked up...? After two weeks of tracing down what the problem 

was I found out my pallet racking was producing the 63 volts. Some how

the pallet racking's working like a large antenna and pulling in the voltage.

It's been 5 years now and I still have free electric from the racking. Who

knows where it's coming from. The racking is on the second floor of the

shop and it's touching but the old wood floor. It's got a lot of other electricians 

scratching there heads. Never seen anything like it...

I believe your somehow getting the electricity through a nail in the floor that is in contact with wiring from below, and the pallet racking. Possibly a ground loop condition. 

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That was my thought exactly... That's why and how it took me two weeks to find 

where the electric was coming from. At the end I had unhooked the power source

that was 1000 ft away coming from another building. I took the feed wires all the way 

out of the breaker box so it was not even touching anything. I then drove a ground

bar in the ground under the barn under the pallet racks and ran a wire up to the

pallet racking and got my 62 volt reading from that wire off the pallet racking.

No electric was hooked up to the barn. ???

 

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@Kevin Beitz,

That would have been my next suggestion. 

Do you have nearby high tension power lines?

Is the electricity AC, or DC?

Was this barn used to house animals in the past?

Could be an electro-chemical reaction between the acids/salts in urine, and other items.

 

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63 volts is half of line voltage. Had similar issue and found a pinched wire at the metal box connection. Seems someone cranked down on it alot!!  Now this box was across the room from where I had been working on a new outlet.  Had same 63 volt reading. Fixed issue no more problems.

 

Might never have gone noticed but I had hooked up the ground wire at new duplex. Former a single outlet. Someone was lazy and never hooked up.

 

I'd keep looking. Maybe a wire is hidden you don't know about that supplies power to shop. Or underground and goes elsewhere.

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Not knowing your situation, I’m just speculating. I would start by turning off my main breaker/disconnect and then seeing if I still had the 63 volts. The known facts would say it would have to go away if there was no electricity entering the building. If there is no electricity entering building and 63 volts is still there, contact MIT and get them to discover new energy source. Make sure you get 50%. If 63 volts goes away, turn main/disconnect back on, and start turning off sub panels/individual breakers until the single circuit source can be identified. Then the real fun stuff starts, as you try to trace out the circuit and see how it is getting there. Pallet rack is ?? Is this just a wooden support that empty pallets are stacked on? Be interesting to see how much capacity this power has. Can it keep a light bulb lit? Are you in a rural area? Power lines overhead? Ungrounded metal piping in building? This is very interesting, I hope you don’t mind keeping us posted on developments.

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I looked it up, your town is a little less than a 6 hour ride from my town. If I gotta take that trip in the interests of science, than so be it. LOL I don’t believe in ghosts, goblins, or free electricity. There’s gotta be an answer.

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There is no main breaker/disconnect... All electric was remover from the building...

The electrical supply started from my home down under the highway to my shop.

Out of the shop under ground to my barn wood shop. I took the wire all the way out of the main breaker box and also shut off the main at the house. Like I said I have been an electrician for 50 years. I worked with industrial 3 phase electric. Playing with electric is also one of my hobbies. This is one of the last toys that I built.

 

 

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