Making use of abandoned dryer circuit

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Old 11-26-02, 04:50 PM
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Making use of abandoned dryer circuit

I recently converted from an electric dryer to a gas one. The electrical dryer was supplied by a seperate cicuit off its own subpanel. The rating on the subpanel is 60A/240 volts. I shut the breaker but left the wires conduit/intact. I could use additional outlets in the dryer area. Is there a way I could convert this 60A/240 volt circuit into a "more standard" 120 volt one?

There are 3 wires in the conduit 1 black, 1 Red, 1 white. Am I correct assuming the black & red wire each carry 120volts? Could I simply use one of these "hot" wires along with the white "neutral" and have a "standard" 120v circuit? or do I have to change the subpanel/breakers/etc and rewire it with different cable?

What are my options?
 
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Old 11-26-02, 05:29 PM
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I think you may be mistaking a 30-amp circuit for a 60-amp one. Are you looking at a double-pole breaker with "30" on each of two handles? If so, that's a 30-amp circuit, not a 60-amp one.

There's no legal way to convert this because you don't have a grounding wire. You can't make a new circuit without a grounding wire (unless you have conduit and your city allows you to use the conduit as a ground). You are not allowed to convert the white wire to a ground. And even if you had a ground, you couldn't put a common receptacle on a breaker that large (you'd have to reduce the breaker to no more than 20 amps).

I suggest that you forget this idea.
 
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Old 11-26-02, 08:40 PM
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After reading your reply I went back & re-examined my serice panel.

The seperate subpanel dedicated to the dryer is indeed 60Amps not 30AMps. When I opened up this subpanel I saw the following:

Each Hot wire from the main service panel supplied its own seperate 30Amp fuse. The white neutral went to the neutral bar. If I removed one of the 30 Amp fuses would I not be rendering that hot wire dead? This being done I would think I would be left with one 120V hot wire on a 30Amp fuse and my neutral white wire. Why would this not be the exact equivalent of a 120v/30Amp circuit? I understand there is no ground but being that the wiring in my house is from the 1950's none of the cables have grounds. The only grounded circuits I have are new ones I added in which the cable has a grounding wire which I then attached to a grounding bar that I installed. If lack of a grounding wire is an issue simply because its not "legal" on newer circuits could I not simply run a new cable with ground to this subpanel & install a grounding bar within it to make it "legal"?


Second Issue:

You make reference to a "Double Pole" 30 amp breaker. I noticed in my main service panel several of the breakers appear "bridged" - that is the breaker on the left side is connected to the one on the right side so that by pushing a single button you shut both breakers. This confuses me somewhat. For example my main circuit breaker is like this & each side of the breaker is listed at 50Amps. Is this a 50Amp Double pole breaker or a 100AMp breaker? The circuit for my AC works the same way except it has a single button controlling what looks like two 20Amp breakers. Again is this a 40 amp breaker or a double pole 20Amp breaker? Further confusing the issue is that there is two empty side by side 30Amp breakers which used to control an electric range. The cable which used to supply this range had one of its hot wires connected to the left 30Amp breaker & one connected to the right 30Amp breaker (Thus supplying 240volts) yet these breakers are not bridged - you can shut them individually. Are these two seperate 30 Amp breakers or some form of double pole breaker?:
 
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Old 11-27-02, 12:08 AM
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re:bvgas

I would have to agree with Johns recomendation that you forget this idea. How ever as for the legality of converting a previously installed ckt into a recepacle ckt, this is possible. The nec allows extensions of knob and tube wiring and older nmb cable, and also allows instaling grounding receptacles on non grounded ckts. This can only be done on existing instalations only. You can accomplish this by re sizing the fuse size to a twenty amp ckt. The next thing you would have to do would be to installl a ground wire to be attached to the new devices, or install an afci or gfci outlet fot protection depending on where the outlets are installed. But please realize your best bet would be to run a new ckt back to the subpanel and remove all of the old wiring. It is not in your best interest to do a poor electrical instalation regardless of it's legality.

As for installing a ground bar in your subpanel and running the ckt back to this panel:

Now your on the right track, This is acceptable if your subpanel is grounded and would be the correct way to do the job.

What you have when two breakers are connected by "breaker Ties" is in essence a two-pole breaker, if you have two 20 amp breakers tied together you have a 20 amp two-pole breaker not a forty amp 2 pole breaker.

As for the instalation of your old range: This would be an example of an inappropriate and unsafe instalation. Do not hook up your new range in the same manner.

Good luck, if you are unsure of anything please consult a local electrical contractor.
 
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Old 11-27-02, 05:47 AM
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Regarding the two 30 Amp breakers which controlled the former electric range circuit. I no longer have need for an electric range. Could I use these 30A breakers to create two new seperate 120v/30Amp circuits?
 
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Old 11-27-02, 06:20 AM
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It would be the same as what was discussed in trying to convert the dryer circuit.They are wired the same.
 
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Old 11-27-02, 07:17 AM
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(1) It is very dangerous and not legal to have an ordinary duplex receptacle protected by a 30-amp fuse. It just does not provide sufficient protection.

(2) I doubt that any inspector would consider these changes to fit under the classification of putting a receptacle on an existing circuit.
 
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Old 11-27-02, 08:26 AM
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You can conver either a 30 amp, 220/110 volt 3-wire branch-circuit or a 60 amp 220/110 volt 3-wire branch-circuit to a "feeder" by connecting the end of the cable to a circuit-breaker sub-panel. Either 220 volt or 120 volt circuits can be connected to the sub- panel.A 30 amp feeder can supply 30 X 220 =6600 watts. The Neutral terminal bar in the sub-panel must be isolated from Ground,i.e., the metal of the enclosure. If the cable is amored cable the cable armor must be "bonded" to the metal of the enclosure with an approved cable-connector in firm contact with the metal of the enclosure. The rating of the sub-panel (ex. 60 amps.)can exceed the rating of the breaker at the panel (30 amps) but the rating of the breaker must ALWAYS match the rating of the cable.-----Good Luck!!!
 
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Old 11-27-02, 08:42 AM
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Clear something up - I've read and seen that you can put 15Amp receptacles on 20Amp breakers. Why can you not do this on a 30Amp breaker? As long as the voltage is 120 what is the danger? If you plugged a standard thing into a circuit protected by a 30 Amp breaker on a 120v circuit would it damage the appliance? It seems somewhat contradictory that its ok for the 20Amp circuit but not a 30 Amp.
 
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Old 11-27-02, 09:49 AM
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The breakers protect the wire (and your house)--not the appliance. Let's assume something unexpected occurs and you get 25A running through your circuit. A 15 or 20A breaker would trip due to this overcurrent. A 30A breaker would not.

If your wire were only rated for 15A (14awg ) or 20A (12awg) and your 30A breaker did not trip, your wiring could burn then whatever is next to your wiring that is combustible could burn. Considering that much of this wiring is behind walls, you probably wouldn't notice until fire had burned through. Not a position I would want to be in myself.

NEC allows you to put a 15A receptacle on a 20A breaker if you have 12awg wire running the entire length of that circuit. If you have 14awg wire, you would have to use a 15A breaker.
 
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Old 11-27-02, 11:37 AM
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So if sounds like your saying its not the receptacle or appliances that we need to worry about but its the wiring. That being the case if you used the proper gauge cable for 30 Amps (?10G ?8G) would it be acceptable to then use regular receptacles? If you wired it this way & for some reason the breaker didnot trip the wire should be able to carry that current. However would this pose a danger to the appliances connected to this circuit?
 
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Old 11-28-02, 05:45 AM
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He's got enough wires for a single 120v circuit. This assumes those wires are 10 AWG.

Why can't he:

1. Use the black and white wires for the hot and return;

2. Use the red wire as the grounding wire and mark it as such with green tape or a marker;

3. Use the old dryer panel as a junction box to connect those wires to the main panel. (And bond the green-marked red grounding wire to the old panel junction box, of course.)

4. Replace the existing 240v double-pole breaker in the main panel with a single-pole 20-amp;

5. Put a combination 15/20-amp duplex receptacle where the dryer receptacle was, wired to the screws, of course.

Seems to me that when he changed the old dryer receptacle box, he could even replace it with a 2-gang box and have two duplex 15/20-amp receptacles there.

????????
 
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Old 11-28-02, 07:10 AM
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I believe the ground conductor must be continuously green, not reidentified.
 
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Old 11-28-02, 07:47 AM
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I read 250.119 (B) as permitting it, following one of the methods as described in (1) (2) (3).

I'm not saying there absolutely isn't, but I can't find anything in the 2002 NEC that would disallow that change-over as described.
 
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Old 11-28-02, 04:05 PM
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Run a new wire if you need circuit there. Re-designing a sub panel is not a very good DIY project. Those one arm bandits never were designed as subs anyway,, they were for disconnect.
 
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Old 11-29-02, 04:21 PM
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And just who is the qualified person?

Originally posted by HBB
"I read 250.119 (B) as permitting it, following one of the methods as described in (1) (2) (3).

I'm not saying there absolutely isn't, but I can't find anything in the 2002 NEC that would disallow that change-over as described."

Were you could get the idea that a single family home would qualify under language that reads "Where the conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the installation" when the installation itself is being done by a DIY is beyond me. The reason that remarking of multiconductor cable is not permitted in such installations is that the homeowner that comes along behind will have no clue what was done or why. The language in 250.119 B is universally reserved to facilities that maintain in house electrical staff that are fully qualified electricians and are also intimately familiar with the electrical plant. Such facilities would include hospitals, military installations, and larger industrial plants. There is simply no way that this section applies to a single family home.

250.119 Identification of Equipment Grounding Conductors.
Unless required elsewhere in this Code, equipment grounding conductors shall be permitted to be bare, covered, or insulated. Individually covered or insulated equipment grounding conductors shall have a continuous outer finish that is either green or green with one or more yellow stripes except as permitted in this section.
(B) Multiconductor Cable. Where the conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the installation, one or more insulated conductors in a multiconductor cable, at the time of installation, shall be permitted to be permanently identified as equipment grounding conductors at each end and at every point where the conductors are accessible by one of the following means:
(1) Stripping the insulation from the entire exposed length
(2) Coloring the exposed insulation green
(3) Marking the exposed insulation with green tape or green adhesive labels
--
Tom
 
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Old 11-29-02, 05:26 PM
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Nonsense.

There's nothing unsafe at all about using those wires.

Why should he rip into a wall and run a whole new circuit when he's got three perfectly good wires for one already there.

If he's got sense enough to do it to begin with then he ought to have sense enough to mark a wire so it's obviously reidentified as a grounding wire.

If he doesn't have sense enough to do it in the first place then he won't have sense enough to run a new circuit and he might as well just hire an electrician to begin with.

And anybody who comes along later and doesn't have sense enough to recognize a conductor clearly reidentified as a grounding wire wouldn't know one wire from another anyway and shouldn't be messing around with electrical wiring to begin with.

If most of you NEC-thumping "electricians" on this board were to be believed, 99% of everyone asking questions ought to forget this forum and just go out and hire an electrician.

The NEC is neither a bible nor is it law -- and it's still subject to a degree of interpretation.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of conductors out there carrying electrons safely to and fro in wiring configurations that would be unacceptable to the NEC.

The fact that they may not be in strict conformance with the NEC doesn't make them unsafe.

If the "experts" on this forum are going to be so hidebound to the NEC that common sense can never enter into the solution to a problem, then this forum is useless.

And don't waste any of your valuable "professional" time replying to this on my account because I'm outta here.

If you were so damned smart you'd be out making big bucks overcharging people for electrical work instead of wasting your time giving pompous advice on this board.
 
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Old 11-29-02, 07:41 PM
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To HBB and BVGAS,, I dont think he meant to PYO,,, and you made a good point of using the sub as a JUNCTION box. What we didnt want to see happen was the sub get wired wrong and Patbaa eluded to it. BV sort of hit on the thing we didnt want see happen. That just adding a grounding bar wasnt going to be right. Hbb,, your idea was good,, bond the box, tie the whites and blacks together and you good to go. We didnt want to see BV using this settup with the neutral bonded to the box. People use those one arm bandits all the time but really dont realize they were meant to be a disconnect and not for branch circuits.
 
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Old 11-29-02, 08:35 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback. My Question has been answered.
 
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Old 11-30-02, 09:26 AM
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Originally posted by HBB
"Nonsense.

There's nothing unsafe at all about using those wires.

Why should he rip into a wall and run a whole new circuit when he's got three perfectly good wires for one already there.

If he's got sense enough to do it to begin with then he ought to have sense enough to mark a wire so it's obviously reidentified as a grounding wire.

If he doesn't have sense enough to do it in the first place then he won't have sense enough to run a new circuit and he might as well just hire an electrician to begin with.

And anybody who comes along later and doesn't have sense enough to recognize a conductor clearly reidentified as a grounding wire wouldn't know one wire from another anyway and shouldn't be messing around with electrical wiring to begin with.

If most of you NEC-thumping "electricians" on this board were to be believed, 99% of everyone asking questions ought to forget this forum and just go out and hire an electrician.

The NEC is neither a bible nor is it law -- and it's still subject to a degree of interpretation.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of conductors out there carrying electrons safely to and fro in wiring configurations that would be unacceptable to the NEC.

The fact that they may not be in strict conformance with the NEC doesn't make them unsafe.

If the "experts" on this forum are going to be so hidebound to the NEC that common sense can never enter into the solution to a problem, then this forum is useless.

And don't waste any of your valuable "professional" time replying to this on my account because I'm outta here.

If you were so damned smart you'd be out making big bucks overcharging people for electrical work instead of wasting your time giving pompous advice on this board. "

I have absolutely no quarrel with those DIYs who will take the time to understand the problem and then do the job correctly and it is certainly not my intent to set a hostile tone on a do it your self sight. The diatribe I have quoted above implies several things about the motives of some of the persons who responded to the original poster that may be true in the case of some of the replies that were offered but not in all or even most. This poster obviously believes that the only motivation that an electrician could have for discouraging an apparently unqualified homeowner from doing their own work is to avoid the loss of business that DIY work might cause. That may be the reason that some try to discourage DIYs but it is certainly not the only one. Some may be acting out of a genuine concern for the safety of fellow tradespeople, utility workers, the public, the DIYs family, and yes even the DIYer themselves. Others of us may believe that the poster will be better served if they learn the code compliant, and therefore safest, method of doing the task. And then there are galls/guys like me.

In addition to being an electrician I am a volunteer fire fighter rescuer who has served my community for over thirty years. If I did not enjoy helping others I would not have stayed in the fire service this long. My problem is that being both an electrician and a firefighter I have seen the horrible injuries and even deaths caused by electrical work that was done by unqualified persons. The worst example was the fellow who finished his own basement using 1/4" wood paneling. He used the cheapest boxes and receptacles he could find. The boxes were so shallow that he could not set them flush and did not try. The receptacles were two wire polarized marked "for replacement use only." He had used an adapter to connect a freezer to one of these outlets.

Two and a half years later I stood in dress uniform in the freezing rain while the bagpipes played a hauntingly beautiful rendition of amazing graze. The bell tolled the all out signal, The warning was called out "ladies and gentlemen prepare your self for the firing of arms", nine shots rang out, a flag was folded and given to a heart broken mother, and a twenty year old volunteer firefighter was laid to rest. Trapped by a falling book shelf while searching for the seat of the fire in the thick smoke off the burning paneling he had run out of air and died.

The fire marshall determined the cause to be the failure of the adapter leading to overheating and arching in the outlet box set back behind the paneling. The set back exposed the paneling to the arching fault and caused ignition. The county prosecutor declined to charge the home owner with manslaughter rightly concluding that a conviction would be very difficult to obtain. I brought the fire marshal's cause and origin report to the attention of the insurance adjuster. If you think I was angry and looking for a little pay back you are right. The insurance company declined the claim and successfully defended that in court. The suit against the insurance company did not get past the preliminary hearing. Being unable to deny having done the work the plaintiff had to admit to violating the terms of his insurance contract. The home owner only lost his basement but a brave young fire fighter lost his life. Every electrical fire is completely avoidable but we are a nation of risk takers. I only wish that the consequence of those risk could be limited to the people who choose to take them.
--
Firefighter Rescuer Thomas D. Horne speaking only for himself.

Well, we aren't no thin blue heroes. Yet we aren't no blackguards to.
Just working men and women most remarkable like you.
 
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Old 11-30-02, 09:51 PM
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In many cases, I don't know why an NEC rule exists. And that's exactly why I follow it.
 
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