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Anyone put a whole new breaker box in just for your theater?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Price, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. Jason Price

    Jason Price Second Unit

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    I'm going to be wiring up my basement for electrical soon, and the guy who's helping me brought up an interesting proposition. My house circuit breaker box is located in the garage, and to get runs into the basement is mildly difficult/annoying, but certainly doable. Because I'm going to be wiring my entire basement (1000+ sq ft) as well as 2 dedicated 20A runs for my equipment, he thought it might be a good idea to run a 50A (or so) run from the main breaker panel to a new one in the basement, then just run the basement runs from there. Do you guys think this would be a good idea? The primary drawback I see to this is cost (how much does a new breaker box cost?) and just having a box in my basement that I now have to work around...
    What do you guys think?
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    -Jason
    If at first you don't succeed, see if the loser gets anything...
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Jason,
    Breaker boxes don’t cost much, especially a small one that would suit this application. In addition to the two 20A circuits for the equipment, I expect you will need two other 15A circuits in the room, one for lights and one for wall outlets around the room.
    I really can’t see any reason to go with the dedicated breaker box. At least one feed will have to get to the basement, despite the difficulty. However, any competent electrician could pull four feeds, simultaneously, just as easily as the one.
    Ultimately it all depends on the skill of your electrician, and just how difficult the pull really is.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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    My Equipment List
    [Edited last by Wayne A. Pflughaupt on October 08, 2001 at 09:05 PM]
     
  3. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    That's exactly what I did for my basement. Granted, I would have had to pull more circuits than just the HT....I've still got a laundry room and bathroom to finish down there, but I found it a much less daunting task to run one wire to the basement than 8. Granted, the wire you'd have to pull from your main box is going to be very large. I think I had to use #6(?) wire. The stuff is a good inch thick (or more) and pulling it from the main box to the basement was a bit of a task.
    That's the first thing to look at is how "clear" the path is from your main box to the basement. Since yours is in your garage, you won't be able to just drop it out of the bottom of the panel and run it through the floor like I did, but it shouldn't be that big a deal.
    Too, even as large as the cable you'll have to use, it won't take up as much space as 4, 5 or 6 runs of 12/2 cable.
    What I did is put a 100 amp breaker in my main panel and ran the #6 wire from that (it also helped to run only one wire from my main panel because I was very short on spare ground screws in that panel) and put a 100 amp panel in my utility closet downstairs. I used the mini-breakers so you can fit 2 breakers in one slot and made my runs from there.
    Doing it this way also makes it easier to make electrical add-ons in the future.
     
  4. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    That's exactly what I did in my basement, too. It was work pulling that #6 (I think) wire down to the basement from the garage, but it was worth it. It makes it so much easier to run your circuits to your HT once it is in.
    I put the breaker box in a storage/wiring room which contains the backside of the built-in eq rack. That way I didn't have to drywall around it and it is hidden from people's view.
    Good luck with your project!
    Ace
     
  5. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    I also ended up with a separate box (100 Amp) for my HT. Originally, this box was going to serve the HT and a new kitchen, but when it came time to wire the kitchen (the HT and the kitchen were done 1 year apart) we found it easier to set up a third box in the kitchen. Thus, my second box became totally dedicated to the HT with a huge amount of growth built in for any future power needs. And a side bonus to all this is that there are no issues to worry about regarding isolating some of the power-hungry kitchen stuff from the power-hungry HT stuff.
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
    My HT (latest update 02/05/01)
     
  6. Jason Price

    Jason Price Second Unit

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    Wow, guess this is more common than I thought it would be. Thanks for all the info so far. I'm going to have to investigate the cost of doing this (I hear the wire can be expensive), but would like to pursue this route. Here's another question for you guys:
    If I put the new box in the same closet as all my equipment (backside of wall recessed rack), would I be risking any kind of electrical interference? I'd like to keep the box out of the way, and putting it in that closet would be the easiest way to do that.
     
  7. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    It may be fine, but personally, I'd try to keep it away from my equipment.
    With 6 or 8 runs of wire (plus the main run from upstairs) criss-crossing the walls next to your speaker wire and interconnects, I doubt you'd be able to seperate them enough to guarantee no interferance.
    Also, the wire you'll need for the main run isn't all that expensive. Plan to pay about a dollar a foot.
     
  8. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Since you could run two #6 wires for the different parts of the basement, for the one going to the home theater, have you considered a fully balanced power box? It's more professional and the electricity created is much cleaner.
    Of course, that would probably pump up the price considerably. However, if the HT equipment is of high enough quality, it might be worth it to have "pin drop silent," clean electrical current like the pros.
    Dan
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    Stop HDCP and 5C-- Your rights are at risk!
     
  9. Martin Stoehr

    Martin Stoehr Auditioning

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    My first post, hope I help. I'm working on finishing my basement also (~1000 sq'). I dropped a new sub panel down there, it was already set up with conduit from my main [​IMG] The sub is 125 amp, came with a number of breakers and only cost $50 (Home Depot). I would put the breaker as close to the main panel as possible and keep in mind that there may be restrictions on the placement. I would not put it in with the equipment, especially the back wall. My local code says that I needed 3' of clearance around the panel. Check your codes before you start that kind of project. If your electrician is local he/she should know the codes well enough to help you out. And if your wondering, I would recommend getting all your work inspected.
    My HT is coming along. I just passed the electrical inspection and should finish all my low-voltage this weekend. Drywall soon!
    Good luck,
    Marty
     

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