How many outlets do I need?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by pesphoto, May 9, 2008.

  1. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    Im building my darkroom and and almost ready for an electricial to come in. I plan on having two enlargers of course each wiht a separate time, small light table, radio, safelights, etc. Also might like to use a warmer in the sink for chemicals in the winter. My question is how many outlets do you recommend without breaking the bank. Is three enough? Should they be on separate circuits? What kind of outlets, etc? Any advice welcome. Darkroom size is about 14ft X 7ft. thanks
     
  2. schwefel

    schwefel Member

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    From a minimalist perspective, put a outlet bo every 6 feet and one set on the ceiling. This may be adequate for now, but you will almost certainly outgrow it soon.

    Personally, I would rather have too many outlets. I plan on going for a quad every 4 feet on the dry side. A quad every 6 - 8 feet (depending on room size) on the wet side. At least one quad on each usable (i.e. not used as a doorway end wall. Do not forget the ceiling. I would go for 2 - 4 duplex recepacles on the ceiling. You can split a duplex receptable on to two circuits. doing so would allow one outlet to be always hot and one to be operated on a switch.

    I would also hardwire anything that can be hardwired, like ventilation, light fixtures, etc. Definately go for a sub-panel for your darkroom. It will make things a lot easier. 50 amp 220 feed from the main panel should be more than adequate. (While you are at it, add a 220/20 receptacle or two. It is A LOT cheaper to do it now than rip apart walls later.)

    You can NEVER have too many outlets. You may even want to consider having the sub-panel fed by a GFCI breaker. (I am not sure if a GFCI breakers will protect a sub-panel or not, check with a sparky.) Also consider magnetic breakers over cheaper thermal ones. They react faster.

    From a simplified perspective, pulling 4 circuits costs no more than pulling 1. (Yes, I knowyou have to factor in the cost of cable, but even at Cu's high prices, 12/4 Romex is cheap and you can run 2 circuits on the 12/4 as well. Put in as many as you reasonable can.



    Just more of my rambling $0.02.

    (Yeh, I am chomping at the bit to buy a new home so I can build my darkroom.)
     
  3. KenS

    KenS Member

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    I'm about ready to start building my benches... I have outlets every 4 feet around the 12 x 12 foot room. I have however, got each outlet where half is connected to a 'normal' switch such that I can plug in my DBI green safelight and control on/off with the switch rather than plugging risk shock when plugging and unplugging with wet, but gloved hands.

    Ken
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    It's likely a code requirement, but even if it isn't you'll want GFI outlets or a GFI protected circuit. Then the shock risk of wet hands and electricity will be much less.
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    It's code here if the outlet(s) are within 6 ft. of plumbing.
     
  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    More ... :wink:
     
  7. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I agree with Schwefel. I have the equivalent of 21 single outlets in my small crude darkroom. Sometimes it's not enough.
     
  8. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    wait! 21 outlets are not enough?! What are you doing in there?
     
  9. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    The more outlets the better as they are a safer alternative to extension cords, power strips and 1 to 3 adapters. A quick check of my wet darkroom reveals 28 outlets served by 4 20 amp circuits. The overhead lighting and exhaust system are on a separate circuit. This is over kill for most. I do strongly suggest that the enlarger get it's own dedicated 20 amp circuit, each of my enlargers have their own. All outlets should be GFI type.
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I'd have a minimum of 10 outlets, that gives you flexability for future expansion for things like processing machines.
     
  11. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    I am finally setting up a permanent darkroom at home. Power is existing duplex outlets plus 220V 30Amp (workshop is 220V 60Amp) which will give an additional 48 items and keep to building code. Then there are power bars. Lamp sockets are available with an insulator built in to the cord for the switch. A couple of dimmer switches are also a good idea. Running expensive bulbs at 90% of rated voltage probably at least doubles their life without too much change in colour. GFCI protection is totally necessary.
     
  12. schwefel

    schwefel Member

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    You can never have (in the darkroom):

    Too larger of a darkroom
    Too much counter space
    Too large of a sink
    Too many cabinets
    Too many outlets
    Too much cold storage
    Too much time


    Like everything else, it is all a matter of two factors:

    Time and Money. These are the two limiting factors, be it a darkroom, a house, any type of project. The general rule I use for capacity planning is:

    Estimate what you will need in 5 years, then double it. If it is something that is rapidly consumed/allocated then triple or quadruple it. This is your starting point. Now you can start cutting it down to fit within the time and money constraints.
     
  13. CBG

    CBG Member

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    A dream darkroom of modest size:

    2 regular safelights
    1 dbi safelight
    1 bright print inspection light by fix
    2 timers over the sink
    2 timers for contact printer - 1 blue one green
    2 enlarger outlets
    1 for flashing
    1 for radio
    1 for frig
    2 white lights for general illumination
    That's 15

    minimum of 20% extra just in case makes 18

    Best,

    C
     
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  15. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I'm with Davied Brown on this. Remember no matter how many you have the lead on the equipment is too short to reach. Good luck with the venture.
     
  16. climbabout

    climbabout Member

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    outlets

    Most advice given is right on - I'll add from my own experience. Add up how many outlets you think you need and at least double it. After building my darkroom, I ended up adding a power strip and a quad outlet on the dry side counter top and even that is occasionally full. Here's what I have plugged in on my dry side:
    Enlarger #1
    Enlarger #2 - 2 outlets
    Timer
    Contact printing light for azo
    2 safelights
    undercabinet light
    stereo
    battery charger
    tacking iron
    drymount press
    2 task lights
    densitometer
    fan
    microwave for drying prints
    small portable baseboard heater
    Thats 18 outlets on just the dry side!

    Sink area has:
    inspection light
    safelight
    outlet for motorbase.

    They add up quicker that you think.
    Have at least 3 separate circuits as well - the heat generating devices draw a lot of current. My dry mount press is on it's own circuit as well.
    Tim
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    paul

    you might consider outlets every 2 or 3 feet ( if you are putting them in yourself )
    have the last one in "the string" should always be ground faulted ( GFI ) ...
    or a two or 4 "gang plugs" that each have a handful of outlets if you are not installing them yourself.
    (you still want a GFI plug.)

    electricians charge a small fortune / plug ( as high as 100$ / each ).

    i couldn't afford to hire an electrican to do everything ( he checked my work and hook me to the power box ) ...
    they sell how-too books at the home stores, but how too sites help too

    good luck!

    john
     
  18. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    My experience is that you will need about two more than you think and plan to install.

    I built my own darkroom, so the incremental cost of receptacles was material cost, or less than US$5 per receptacle. I went overboard, and haven't been sorry.

    Our house is relatively new, and we had the opportunity to specify to the builder where we wanted receptacles. The real estate person thought I was a bit crazy in calling for receptacles (which cost US$50 each from the builder), but again I'm not sorry. Unfortunately, I did find that I underestimated the need and have had to add a few since we moved in. Such is life.
     
  19. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    wow, thanks everyone. Im hitting Home Depot today and looking for a wiring book. I may need to do some of hte work myself to cut costs. Luckily I do have a handy Uncle-in-law who knows his electrical stuff. i need to make a list of everything I will need to plug in and count it up. From some of your lists it does add up fast.

    here are some pics on my website of my slow progress. Remember Im not a carpenter so be nice, Im doing htis on a very small budget. Craigslist is a great thing, Free sink and countertop.
    http://www.paulshelaskyphotography.com/Pages/darkroombuild.html
     
  20. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Electrical demands vary from time to time. At the moment these are plugged in.

    circuit #1 - baseboard heater

    circuit #2 (wet side with GFI)
    clock
    bullseye safelight for clock
    print tray safelight
    drop light
    LED safelight
    three task lights for mounting, matting, etc.
    cassette player

    circuit #3 (dry side)
    gooseneck light
    small high intensity light
    radio
    two safelights, one with dimmer
    timer with two enlargers
    voltage regulator

    Some of the other items used on demand:
    dry mount press
    tacking iron
    battery charger
    tools
    fan
    foot warmer

    In addition are several battery operated items.
     
  21. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Put in at least one 240v circuit with multiple outlets.

    Consider foot-switches. I've wired some in permanently, to control lights above the sink.

    Place several outlets in the ceiling, switched to different switches, to control safelights.
     
  22. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Personal opinion - count the number of plug-in gadgets youd like to have in your darkroom. Take this number and add 5 or ten to it.

    Receps are relatively cheap initially compared to getting them installed later.
     
  23. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Do it yourself if you can. An electrician friend (?) offered to wire my new lab when I was moving and gave me the bargain price of $5000. I did it myself for $700 and 3 days. $400 was for one length of wire.
     
  24. Troy Hamon

    Troy Hamon Member

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    Just adding my two cents to the chorus. I agree with the earlier posts. I wish I had put in twice as many as I did. And I actually do have enough, haven't had to split them or anything. Just not always where I want them. So if you take the number as adequate, my approach was to add up everything I could imagine plugging in at any time, and putting in twice that number of sockets.
     
  25. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    Thanks again guys! UG, I just finished mopping and washing the floor of the darkroom. Lets just say I dont think that cement floor has been mopped since the house was built in 1928. Wore a mask and rubber gloves. IM sure its gonna need another mopping or two before I can kilz the sucker. Im Kilzing because my silly cat went and peed in there and after mopping with white vinegar and baking soda Im gonna seal the cement. Fun times........
     
  26. bobwysiwyg

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    Rather than just painting the floor (Kilz) have you considered one of those two-part floor sealing kits? Folks usually use them in garages, but I've used it on two sections of the basement floor. Comes in either a light tan, or gray color. The kit includes some "sprinkles" that you scatter about while it is still "wet" which not only makes it somewhat more attractive, but adds a non-skid quality to the surface. A bit pricier than just paint, but very durable.