ask the electrician
Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Wire a Vacuum System for Workshop Tools

How to Wire 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

Electrical Video #1

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit For Backup Power

NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
Will Display at the End of This Video
So Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

Check out my YouTube Channel:
» AskTheElectrician «
and Subscribe!

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

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.

See More about Wiring Control Relay

Types of Electric Control Relays

The following may also be helpful for you:

Electrical Video #2

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet

without a Ground Wire

NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
Will Display at the End of This Video
Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

Check out my YouTube Channel:
» AskTheElectrician «
and Subscribe!

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Electrical Wiring and Home Electrical Wiring:
« Previous Next »
Outlet Wiring for Garage Freezers and Refrigerators How to Wire a Range Hood Exhaust Fan

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

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?