Some help needed on wiring up a new 110VAC electrical outlet for relocating my ham shack.

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KC0BUS, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. KC0BUS

    KC0BUS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’m wishing to move my hamshack to a corner in my garage. The problem is, I don’t currently have any pre-existing 110 VAC electrical outlets plug-ins to plug in any kind of power strip or extension cord to power my station with. The most convenient option I have is the follow: On the outdoors side of the garage, near the garage door opening, about five foot up off the ground, there is an existing lamp light that automatically lights up at dusk when the sun goes down. On the inside of the garage, in the exact same spot on the opposite side where the lamp is mounted to the wall, is a small plastic electrical box with wiring coming out of it routed along the inner garage wall. This box has two screws that keep it closed. Yesterday, I took a screw driver and unscrewed the screws to reveal the contents of the lamp light wiring box. Inside I found the following: a separate black colored insulated wire coming from the wall routed wiring terminated in a plastic insulated wire nut and then more black colored insulated wire going into the lamp light on the outside of the wall through a hole in the wall. Also, there was a separate white colored insulate wire doing the same thing. Additionally, there was also one bare copper wire doing the same thing. In all, there were three wires different wires going into the lamp light through a hole on the opposite side of the wall. Is it possible for me to tap into that somehow and set up some sort of auxiliary power outlet or power lead for my shack, and if so, how would I do it? Sorry, I’m no house electrician so I don’t know how, so any help would be appreciated.

  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Then this really is a job for a professional.

    None of us can know what other items or outlets are on the branch circuit that is feeding your lamp. We don't know the rating of the breaker or fuse feeding the branch circuit. None of us knows the gauge of the wiring, nor the length of the wiring run. We don't know how many watts you will draw for all of your shack's equipment combined. You must know at least these things before you can determine whether it's safe to extend an existing branch circuit to support a new outlet. It's possible a new run will be needed from a panel or sub-panel. It's even possible that a new panel or a new service entrance will be required, if the wiring is already at capacity.

    An electrician can easily determine these and other relevant facts, and is trained, licensed, and bonded to install the wiring in a way that will be safe and meet all codes. Some of the codes are obvious to those who understand electricity, but others are more mechanical in nature -- for example, under what circumstances is conduit required as opposed to bare Romex? If using bare Romex, how far apart should staples be? There are many, many ways to get it wrong, but an electrician knows how to do it right.
    KA5RIO, K0UO, KLONDIKEMIKE and 7 others like this.
  3. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page


    1) In most jurisdictions in the USA, you will need an electrical permit and inspection to do what you have in mind.

    2) Given #1, and after determining what else is on that circuit and if it can support the new load, this is a simple project that almost any of us could do.

    3) In your case, however, based on your OP, you need to hire an electrician.
    K0UO likes this.
  4. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    YES! Don't try to D-I-Y! As above, there are just way too many things to be considered. For little more than the cost of getting an electrician out there you could most likely have a dedicated circuit installed just for your station. Considering your lack of knowledge, codes, and let's not forget the insurance company, it would be well worth your $$$. You might even have him install a 220-240 volt line for that amplifier of the future at the same time...but at least one 20 ampere circuit for your usual goodies. I hate to discourage anyone from doing what should be easy for a ham but in your case I must. By the way, watch the electrician closely, ask questions (not TOO many...don't want to slow him down too much) and you'll learn what we're telling you!
    K0UO, WA7PRC and KU3X like this.
  5. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll cast another vote for calling an electrician.
    K0UO likes this.
  6. KQ9J

    KQ9J Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I doubt somebody ran a dedicated circuit all the way from the breaker box just for that outdoor light. You'd have to figure out what else is on that branch before even thinking about it, what gauge wire it is, size of the breaker etc.

    Have an electrician come and look at it. Maybe you'll luck out and all he has to do is add an outlet. Or just have him do it right and run a dedicated 20 amp circuit for your shack equipment.

    I recently relocated my shack to an unused bedroom and it's a completely separate circuit with it's own breaker. I wish I had added another one for the amplifier BEFORE I patched the walls and re-painted, but that's another story... :p
    K0UO likes this.
  7. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    I think this is a textbook case of "If you're asking the questions you're asking, you shouldn't DIY the project."

    Note that most reputable electricians can take a look at the situation and tell you what needs to be done and a cost estimate.
    K0UO, WA8FOZ, WG8Z and 4 others like this.
  8. W1TRY

    W1TRY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is EXACTLY right!
    Do it right the first time. In this case, hire an electrician and pay to have it done correctly.
    I suggest having it overdone, installing more capacity that you expect you'll ever need.
    K0UO likes this.
  9. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    As the other posts I'd recommend having someone who -does- know about electrical wiring help you. Doesn't necessarily have to be to a professional electrician... $$$
    K0UO likes this.
  10. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    With all due respect, if you even have to ask, you NEED a qualified, licensed electrician.:mad: Chances are, he/she will NOT submit to your proposal; you at least need a dedicated line from the breaker box to wherever your new shack will be located. Do NOT try to D-I-Y. Your property (and possibly your life and that of your loved ones) may well depend upon it.

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