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  • 4 post 220 volt question

    I built a new home and knew I wanted 220 in the garage for. The builder asked if I wanted to maintain the old 3 post 220 or the new 4 post. His indication was the 4 post 220 is the new standard and all newer equipment will be going to this, so it made sense at the time to go with it. I now find very little that has switched over and there is no adapter available, that I can find. So, thanks to the “professional” contractor’s advice I now have basically unusable 220 power in my garage I paid extra for, Dang it! Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Re: 4 post 220 volt question

    Whoa, Whoa, Claugh,
    First off, welcome to the forum. Lot of great, great people on here, with lots of GOOD advice who are willing to share and listen.
    Now on to your new house and your 240 volt wiring in the garage. For starters, energy comes into your home as two legs of 120 volts each, so 120 plus 120 = the 240 volts you now have in your house, and your garage. What he is referring to is that new ranges, ovens, and new dryers all require 240 volts that have two hots, A NEUTRAL, and a ground. Previously, all that was required was two hots and a ground for any 240 volt appliance but not anymore. Lots of ranges use 120 v for low burners, and 240 volts when they're on high. The four wires for a dryer ensure a separate equipment ground in addition to the neutral (ground) back to the buss bar. If he has actually placed a 240 volt outlet in the garage, it will have all those four connections, as it should be. If you have an older appliance, or a welder, that you want to plug into that existing outlet, all you need to do is to get the correct plug for that outlet. (There are a number of different 4-prong configurations due to amperage differences.) Then connect that plug to your older appliance and simply disregard the terminal on the plug that would accept the NEUTRAL wire. You'll just need the two hots and the ground. You will be fine. If you were to place, say a clothes dryer, in your garage, you would need that 240 volt hookup with the neutral supplied, since that is how the new dryers are wired up. Your contractor did not do you any harm or cost you any money at all. If you've got a subpanel in the garage, he had to pull that neutral in anyway, no matter what. If he ran some 6-3 W Gr. to the garage, no biggie there either, just the cost of that white wire, which is required anyway. Sorry for the length of the post. Hope this helps clear things up for ya. Now, go buy that welder and get to makin' some sparks.
    Cheers,
    Jim Don

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    • #3
      Re: 4 post 220 volt question

      Caugh

      Welcome and good luck with this. Please see the pictures, click them to enlarge and let us know if that's the real problem. If yes, this has an easy and simple fix. I hope they are good enough so you can select from them. While I may be way off track here, can we assume that you have (A) but the welder needs (B) with regard to the pictures? If yes, then all you would need is to replace A with B and properly connect it. Whatever you do be 10000000% sure to have prower off on the circuit you're working with. Use a test light and/or AC Voltmeter. Don't become the test instrument as we really want you around in good health.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Woussko; 06-03-2008, 01:58 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: 4 post 220 volt question

        Great explanation Jim, thanks to all. Actually, I miss worded contractor and meant the super of the subdivision for the builder; the contractor did it right, and that is probably what the super meant even though I explained my purpose. There is no subpanel, it is pulled off the main. The receptacle is the L pic from Woussko. I did not realize I could leave the neutral disconnected. Awesome!

        There was a fee to run the 220 to the garage, but that is what I ordered. My issue was that I could not use my 3-prong shop equipment with that setup, or so I though. All righty then, there is another example of my misperception causing me grief...

        Oh well, did you notice my occupation?

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        • #5
          Re: 4 post 220 volt question

          Don't beat yourself up,
          I'd list all the mistakes I've made in life, but I couldn't do it on the forum. It would look like a 26 volume edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
          Jim Don

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          • #6
            Re: 4 post 220 volt question

            Caugh

            You can if you want do it another way. A NEMA 14-50 plug currently comes on power cords for electric ranges. Then you just buy a NEMA 6-50 connector like on the end of an extension cord (only huge sized) and do some simple wiring. Cut back the white wire. Green = ground, Black = line 1, Red = Line 2 and White is neutral. Just cut it off and not use it. This way you leave the current receptacle installed. You may later want to get what's called a spider box like used on job sites where you have a power cord with the correct plug. You plug it in and have many types of receptacles factory wired in a good size steel box. Now you have both 120 and 240 Volts. Good ones have mini breakers to protect the receptacles and loads. They don't come cheap, but they are super handy and especially where you don't have a sub-panel. Most of the time they are used with small trailer mount generators. I'll see what I can find on them. Good serious electrical supply houses sell them and I'm sure there are some online dealers. This way you don't have to get into loads of electrical work in your garage. The 15 or 20 Amp 120 Volt receptacles are GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) type for safety.

            Note: You'll need to get the female 6-50 connector from an electrical supply house and they have better quality range power cords than would Home Depot or Lowes.

            Check for another post soon where I should have some info on what I have in mind.
            Last edited by Woussko; 06-03-2008, 05:54 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: 4 post 220 volt question

              Woussko you beat me to it.
              I just came down to write a post telling him he could make himself a short
              adapter cord or jumper just like you described. Saves him from cutting off a plug or changing out a receptacle. Sometimes, you can even find a piece of returned SJ cord at Home Depot and such for cheap. Just make sure it is large enough gauge wire for whatever machinery you're going to plug in.
              Jim Don

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              • #8
                Re: 4 post 220 volt question

                Well what I do isn't totally legal but works for me.Since I've got stuff with 30 and 50 amp caps of both 3 and 4 wire configurations I made up a cord with all the different styles I use.I had a piece of 8/4 so cord laying around about 50' long I used.Then took a piece of 3/4'' ply mounted the boxes outlets etc to it and used some plastic cable clamps on the so to the board.Nope the 30 amp isn't protected properly but a person could add a little 2 space breaker panel for the 30amp outlets.Mostly I only use it for the big welder or the wood planer and always unplug it and hang it on the wall when not being used.
                Sam

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