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I want to wire a circuit breaker and switch to a GFCI and some other outlets. This is for power outlets on a work bench.

Something like: Mock-up

I have this for a circuit breaker:

circuit breaker

and this for a switch:

switch

How would I go about connecting these and where would each wire go on the circuit breaker and switch. In other words, where does the load wire go and the line wire go.

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Why? These are non standard components in a conventional power line setup. If this is a 15AMP line, the circuit breaker adds nothing. Why try to use an non-standard switch, why not a conventional toggle (or other code rated switch)? –  bib Jun 22 '13 at 1:16
    
@bib as stated, this is for power outlets on a work bench. Normally this would go to a 20AMP line, but I want to hook it up to a 15AMP line. This is what was already on the workbench. –  Matt Jun 22 '13 at 1:27
    
Is the first connection to the outlet on the left a conventional three prong plug, or is it going to be hard wired in? –  bib Jun 24 '13 at 13:35
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I agree with the general sentiment that you shouldn't do it this way. Why not just use a normal switch (that meets code for this situation) in a handy box (aka surface-mount junction box)? Also, what is the point of having another circuit breaker beyond the one in the main panel? The only danger is in wiring it for 15 amps and then connecting to a 20 amp breaker, and the easy fix is don't do that. Either wire it for 20 amp, or only plug it into a 15 amp circuit. Adding a chinsy circuit breaker to allow you to use 15 amp wiring/fixtures on a 20amp circuit is a terrible idea. –  gregmac Oct 20 '13 at 19:34
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3 Answers 3

Why not rig a conventional AC line switch downstream from the existing outlet, then the GFCI outlet. Then you can plug a 15 AMP circuit breaker outlet tap into the GFCI?

circuit breaker tap.

This allows you to use standard line components in standard boxes. Rigging non-code based switches in non standard boxes followed by what looks like "standard" a GFCI and outlets just seems like a very bad idea, and it is probably a code violation.

Obviously, despite the multiple outlet ports, you need to be sure not to overload the circuit.

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The outlets are on the workbench. It's a metal workbench with wiring inside that goes to each outlet. Then a plug comes out the back. It would be difficult and unnecessary to bend under the bench to plug it in and also unsafe if dealing with tools like a saw. So, I just need to know how to wire this setup and not how to use a different setup. Thanks. –  Matt Jun 23 '13 at 16:18
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I agree with @bib, this seems like an unusual set of requirements. I don't have an overall answer but let me offer some suggestions:

  • It sounds like you want to have a bunch of tools plugged into the outlets and left on, and then power on/off all the workbench outlets with a single switch? If that's what you're asking about, I think that will cause confusion and potentially a dangerous situation if a tool is left on. Why can't you just use the switches on each tool?
  • What is the purpose of having the circuit breaker? Presumably there is already a breaker on this circuit back at the panel. Adding a duplicate just complicates the installation.
  • I would not recommend using a GFCI on a workbench unless there is water nearby or you don't have a dedicated ground connector. AC motors can trip GFCIs and you may get nuisance trips.
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The trivial way to do this is to buy an off-the-shelf power strip with a switch and 15A circuit breaker, and plug that into a 15A-or-more GFCI outlet.

If you don't want to replace the existing outlet, you can do what I did: Buy a standard 15A 3-prong power cord, a GFCI, a box with an outlet faceplate, and a strain relief. Knock out an appropriate size hole in the box, install the strain relief, run the power cord through that into the box, wire the power cord to the GFCI (with ground to the box as well as to the GFCI), close the patient. Bingo, portable GFCI that can be plugged into any 3-prong outlet.

Or you can look for a power strip that includes its own GFCI. Some do exist.

Yes, you can wire this up from scratch. But if you have to ask how to do so, it's safer AND not significantly more expensive to just plug together parts that are already UL-certified.

.....

Having said all that, the answer is that there are several possible arrangements that would work but the one I'd set up for you would probably be:

Hot from wall to switch, other side of switch to breaker, other side or breaker to GFCI Hot In.

GFCI Controlled Hot Out to hot of other outlets. NOTE THAT THIS IS A DIFFERENT CONNECTION FROM GFCI HOT IN. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. DO NOT!!!! GET THIS WRONG.

Neutral from wall to GFCI Neutral In.

GFCI Controlled Neutral Out to hot of other outlets. NOTE THAT THIS IS A DIFFERENT CONNECTION FROM GFCI NEUTRAL IN. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. DO NOT!!!! GET THIS WRONG.

Ground from wall to ground connections of GFCI and all other outlets.

If the reasons for doing it this way aren't obvious, STOP and get someone more experienced to work with you.

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