It’s Electric: Return of the Electric

Alright alright, I get it, the title sucks. But this is the third and (hopefully) final chapter in the workshop electrical series (part 1 and part 2). The workshop electrical has been run and is ready to be hooked up, all that was left to do was install the exterior plugs on our house from which I will run the power. This meant putting three new circuits in the electrical box and installing multiple exterior outlets in the area of the recently fixed stucco.

As always, with my electrical work I tried to plan out exactly what I wanted to do ahead of time. This meant I spent a decent amount of time in Home Depot looking at the different conduit connectors and eventually building a contraption that would fit right next to my electrical box. 

I put the tape in place to protect against debris while drilling through the stucco and brick. Ended up being a fantastic decision.

As you can see, I ended up going with a relatively simple layout for the electrical outlets. When running conduit, THHN wires are typically used, as they are rated for the higher heat environment that can occur in conduit. In this case, I ran 3 circuits worth of THHN wire through the conduit, resulting in 9 total wires through the bottom set of conduit piping (3x hot/neutral/ground). For the 30A circuit, I used 10 gauge wire, and for the 15A and 20A circuits I used 12 gauge wire. I began by running all of the wire through the conduit and installing the outlets. 

The thicker wire and larger outlet means I will only have 1 30A outlet, plenty for my workshop needs.

It was definitely key to keep the wires grouped together and labeled here, especially since I used the same gauge wire for both the 15A and 20A circuit. After installing the outlets, I turned my focus on adding the new circuit breakers. Making sure that the main power to the box was off (I tend to check this constantly, as I’ve made mistakes with electrical before), I installed the new circuits. For the 15A and 20A circuits I used Arc Fault Circuit Breakers, which is slightly above what the code requires. It’s not too much more expensive to get the Arc Fault Breakers, and now I have additional protection against one of the leading causes of electrical fires, arc faults. The 30A circuit is protected by a conventional circuit breaker, with GFCI protection at the workshop outlets. 

Taping each set of hot and neutral wires together with electrical tape helps keep the box clean and makes future troubleshooting/updating simpler.

You can see all of the new wires coming in from the left side of the box. I really try to keep everything organized within my panel, taping together the hot and neutral lines for each circuit and being organized when I connect the ground or neutral wires to the bus bar on the right side. 

After testing each outlet carefully using a multimeter, I installed the outlet covers and then the all weather boxes. These will allow me to use the workshop electrical in all weather conditions.

Something about the finished outlets makes me feel accomplished inside.
It is always key to keep the electric panel well labeled. Last thing you want is to be confused about which breaker goes where.
All finished and ready for all of the future building to occur in the workshop.

I think in another life I would have liked to be an electrician. I’ve always enjoyed the relatively straightforward problem solving associated with the electrical work I’ve done. Of course, being an electrician would have meant years and years of working in small crawl spaces full of spiders, and after doing that for a week in my own house I think I’ve met my lifetime quota. 

Coffee World Tour

As I said previously, each week for the next 17 weeks, I will post a quick review of the coffee style from around the world that I made. This week was the Austrian Einspänner. A relatively simple drink of espresso and vanilla whipped cream, the Einspänner was delicious. This is one of those drinks where it is hard to go wrong and should probably be classified as a dessert. My only complaint this week regarding the recipe in the original blog that inspired this journey is that it called for a bit too much whipped cream. You can probably cut the whipped cream serving in half, unless you love eating vanilla whipped cream on its own (who wouldn’t love that?). I am going to put this in the category of delicious, but a one time treat. The whipped cream and espresso don’t truly mix, so you end up drinking espresso through the whipped cream (which is great) and then eating the whipped cream at the end (also great). The flavor profile is one that I can get more completely and simply by making a latte with a little bit of vanilla and sugar added, so that will remain my go to drink over the Einspänner. 

Beautiful and delicious.

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