How to Wire a Vacuum System for Workshop Tools


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Procedure for Wiring an Automatic Vacuum Control for Shop Tools: Power Tools and a Shop Vac or a House Vacuum System, Automating a Whole House Vacuum System for Shop Tools


Make a Shop Vacuum Turn On with Your Power Tools

Electrical Question: I’m building a cart that has a 12″ DeWalt chop saw, a 12″ Craftsman table saw, a DeWalt router, and a Husky 4 gallon wet and dry vacuum.

Dave, I am in no means an electrician by trade and have an immense amount of respect for the knowledge that you and all of your electrical bothers encompass There is much to know and if done incorrectly, the end result could very well be catastrophic. In advance I’d like to say thanks for taking a look at this and doing your best to help me.

This home electrical wiring question came from: Paul, in Thousand Oaks, California.

Additional Comments: I really enjoyed reading the website because it was informative. There are many other websites to submit questions similar to yours, only thing is that this one was the only one I wanted to spend the time writing this novel to due to the previous questions and answers provided by others. Thanks for providing this service to me and everyone who is electrically challenged as myself.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Paul.
I have wired a few workshops and I think I know exactly what you are looking for, and I will describe this process below.

Procedure for Wiring an Automatic Vacuum Control for Shop Tools

  1. Power Tools and a Shop Vac or a House Vacuum System

    • If the tools are being supplied with power from one circuit and you would like the vacuum unit to automatically turn on when any tool is being used then you should be able to use a “CT” with a set of contacts for this function.
  2. Current Transformer Controlled Vacuum System

    • A CT is a Current Transformer which clamps over the hot wire of the circuit and will close the contacts when a set parameter is met, in this case a minimum level of amperage for the smallest tool.
    • The CTs come in a variety of sizes and you will most likely need to wire a low voltage control circuit through the CT contacts because the contacts may not be rated for the current draw of your shop vac.
  3. Automatic Vacuum System Control Circuit for a Shop Vac

    • The control circuit could be 24 volts consisting of a 24 volt transformer, low voltage wire, 24 volt relay with contacts rated for  a 120 volt shop vac rated at 15 to 20 amps.
    • This control circuit would be used turn the shop vac system on and off when a shop tool is turned on which has circuit power that is monitored by the CT.
  4. Automating a Whole House Vacuum System for Shop Tools

    • A whole house vacuum system operates using the same basic design where a low voltage relay is used to activate the vacuum motor except the system turns on when the metal end of the vacuum hose is inserted into a vacuum receptacle.
    • To connect into the whole house vacuum system  just intercept the low voltage control  wiring and connect it through the CT contact.
  5. An Alternative Power Tool and Shop Vacuum Control System

    • If you don’t want to use CTs then consider using a double pole switch to activate each power tool.
    • One side or pole of the switch can be used for the 120 volt power to the tool, and the other pole or side of the switch can be used for the 24 volt control circuit or the 120 volt circuit wiring to the receptacle for the shop vac.
  6. Vacuum System Vent Control

    • The only thing left to work out is how to open and close the vents for the vacuum system so you will maintain a good level of vacuum. Possibly using the same method only using one CT for each tool, the CTs may be wired so any one will turn on the vacuum, however a port switcher may be positioned for the correct port for the vacuum. (that’s just a thought off the top of my head)
    • With control sensors and devices you can make just about anything work, that’s why I love working with automation and controls.

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One Response to “How to Wire a Vacuum System for Workshop Tools”
  1. Ron Angone says:

    Where can I obtain a parts list and wiring diagram?
    Thanks,
    Ron