Jun 28 2015

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Color Coded Shop Outlets


A few years ago I remembered reading on the Penultimate Workshop that Dyami Plotke color coded his outlets to avoid putting to many machines on the same circuit. I always thought this was a great idea, but never got around to implementing it.¬†While I don’t blow a lot of breakers anymore because from experience I more or less know which tools don’t play well together, it’d still be handy to know which breaker was blown. Breakers don’t always flip like they are supposed to.

I finally got the opportunity to color code the breakers in my shop as part of a lager project that I’m working on. I’m mapping the breaker panels for my entire house while reviewing a circuit breaker finder. I have too many circuits to color code them all, and I don’t think mismatched outlet plates scattered around the house will make anybody but me happy. Fortunately my shop is a nice isolated area with only a few circuits.

After I figured out which outlets belong to which circuits, I colored the breakers red, yellow, and blue. The red and blue breakers run around the perimeter of my shop and the yellow breakers runs the switched outlets on the ceiling (and one lone outlet along the back wall.)

I turned off the red circuit and pulled all the cover plates on that branch. Then I spray painted the plates with some old red spray paint I had in my cabinet. After I re-installed them I found that the paint was really easy to scratch. I guess I should have scuffed up the galvanized metal first.

I did the same for the blue cover plates, this time I used Rust Oleum’s 2x paint and primer and it seemed to stick to the galvanized cover plates much better. For the yellow plates I actually remembered to scuff them up.

If must be the primer part that made the paint more scratch resistance. With the Rust Oleum 2x paint it didn’t seem to matter whether I scuffed the plates of not. It stuck much better than the first can of red paint.

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