Help with power to compressor in 100+ year old home

by Jim K.
(York, NE)

My question is not so much brand specific or even a problem at the moment. I am seeking advice/suggestions regarding the installation of a new Central Pneumatic 61454; 21 gallon, 2.5 hp; 125psi compressor into my garage. Our home is 100+ years old and the garage is not much younger. The garage has one 12/2 Romex wire run underground from the house to it. I'm not sure to which circuit its attached to off of the box in the basement. No breakers; all fuses; old home. Pretty sure it cant handle the addition of the compressor out there. I dont want to pay for an electrician if I can help it. I have changed out breakers; added additional breakers in a previous home....but fused setups are new to me. So help me out here guys...what are my options? What would you do/suggest..

Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge!!


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Nov 03, 2016
Success! (?)
by: Doug in

Sounds good.

Have fun with your engine re-install...

Nov 02, 2016
Garage Power
by: Jim

Just finished up in the garage.

As the wire is run its about 50 feet or so from the box to the garage. The fuse box is in a utility room off of my finished basement that has the water heater; heater and blower system for the heat/air and of course the fuse box. Its the only room in the basement that is not finished.

I'm fairly confident that the previous owner used it as a "workshop" as there is pegboard on 2 walls that shows use.

the room is approx 10' x 15'...anyways, i've spent more time down there these last few days than i have in the 4 yrs we have owned this house and I found a 20' piece of 12/2 w/ground wire in there that was just what I needed.

I tied into a junction box in the ceiling and ran the wire to where I wanted the compressor and hooked it up to a 20 amp GFCI outlet. I ran the compressor thru a couple of 30 min "break in" periods and changed out the oil after each run.

So it ran out there for an hour with no load and then i got out the impact and rotated the tires on the car.

Lights did not dim; compressor ran fine and i'm fairly confident that I will be ok. Time will tell...have next week off from work and on Monday i pick up my motor from the machine shop for my blazer. Gotta put it all back together and then install it.

thnx for your help/advice!!


Nov 01, 2016
Garage power
by: Doug in

Couple things:

You don't say what the length of the run to the garage is,

and if the outlets aren't where you need them, I'd suggest adding a small distribution box (if there's not one) and run a circuit off that to a new outlet for the compressor, and maybe one or two others for the outlets and outside lamp.

It sort of complicates things, in a way, but is really handy of you run into problems with shorts and such in equipment out there...

Oh, and good luck.

Nov 01, 2016
by: Jim

Hey Doug,

Lol...I to know the set up you described; us poor dirt farmers here in Nebraska just recently got us some indoor plumbing to go along with those fancy light bulb do hickies..

But seriously; pissed off the wife last night when I went thru and started unscrewing fuses; running upstairs to see if garage lights were still on when she was trying to do something upstairs that required power.

Got to get this figured out...rebuilt motor gets picked up from machine shop in 3 days and gonna need compressor to put it back into my Blazer and besides i was able to label a few of the fuses till i hit the right one...and I may just be ok....garage is on dedicated 30 amp fuse...nothing in house went dark when garage that means that typically whats running on that 30 am is an outside security light at night and a fluorescent shop light and 2 other bulbs.

Only have 2 outlets in garage and both are not ideal for compressor placement...both on same wall that has workbench running entire length of it. I have a 10/3 25' extension cord that should work for this.

If i have problems with extension cord will just have to "work around" the table and compressor and put it away after use. Heading off to work now...will test things out tonight...wish me luck and thnx for input/help.


Oct 31, 2016
Fused power to compressor
by: Doug in

Surprise! I was expecting something like was in my house - where the power came into a wooden box and screw-in fuses for the mains, like you have on the branch circuits. With knob and tube wiring and braided cotton covered rubber insulated wires.

It was only 60 amp, but that was in 1960...

So, that panel is fine unless you need more circuits. (or can't get fuses any longer)

I can't say I actually see the open fuse slot, but sure, you can use that, if you need to.

So how long is the run to the garage? What's on it now? It *may* be able to handle it as-is.

(With this website you can only post pix with a new post, so you were correct, no *user* option for pix here now. Start a new post and ask them to move the photos here )

Oct 31, 2016
Info & pix requested
by: Jim

Hey Doug,

Thnx for reply ling!

Power is stable....does not flicker/fluctuate when appliances kick on or off.

The mains for lights and the range are dual 3" 50 amp fuses and the dryer & a/c are dual 1" 30 amp fuses.

Couldn't see any way to upload photos here so I set up a link to my amazon accnt with photos of panel.

I have one open/unused slot (just visible on bottom of shot with cover removed) that is probably my best option for getting power out to the garage for the compressor.


Oct 30, 2016
Old fuse panel - new compressor
by: Doug in

Been there. Done that.

You'll probably want to bring in an electrician to replace that fuse panel on general safety grounds.

But maybe not. Lights dim much when the refrigerator comes on?

Mainly, though, what is the rating of the main fuse(s)? Is it 120 or 240 coming in?

We can go from there. I'd like pictures of the panel if you can get them.

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