3-wire to a 4-wire electric dryer plug problem


Old 11-11-06, 06:20 PM
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3-wire to a 4-wire electric dryer plug problem

i recently moved into a new house...my dryer had a 3-prong plug, but the new house has the 4-prong outlet...

so, following the directions in the manual of the maytag dryer, i replaced the plug...

however, when i plugged it into the wall, nothing happened...no power...the light didn't come on or anything...so, i checked the circuit breaker for the dryer...it was showing on...

so, what could have happened in the process...am i missing something here....



***Moderator's note: Duplicate thread created in the Appliances-Electric forum has been deleted***

Last edited by DIYaddict; 11-11-06 at 06:26 PM. Reason: see note in post
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Old 11-11-06, 06:32 PM
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could be a lot of things. Do you have a voltage tester?

You need to check the voltage at the recep from each of the side terminals to wither of the 2 center terminals, You should get 120 volts. Then check one side term to the other isde term. You should get 240 volts.

If you have no voltage there,
check at the breaker. each terminal of the breaker to ground- 120 volts. one terminal to the other terminal- 240 votls.

check it out.

You could have misconnected the plug as well but I would check for voltage first. Then post back before plugging back in.
Old 11-11-06, 06:38 PM
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Explain Exactly how you wired the Plug.You did buy a 4 wire cable for the dryer. Right?
You also will have to seperate the ground and neutral on the dryer.

You did not touch the wireing on the rec..Correct?
Old 11-11-06, 07:50 PM
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how i wired it

i took a metal strap that connected the wiring block to the metal frame area of the dryer...the manual told me to fold that over and put it on the screw on the wiring block...i put the white wire on that and bolted it down...i connected the green wire to the screw where i took the metal strap off...that took care of neutral and ground...then the manual told me to connect the red and black wires to the other two posts...i did that and bolted those on...

plugged it in...nothing...

i don't know exactly what you meant by "touch the wire on the rec."
Old 11-11-06, 07:56 PM
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You will need a tester to see if the dryer receptacle on the wall is energized.
Old 11-11-06, 08:01 PM
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"touch the wire on the rec."

I just wanted to make sure you didn't jump the gun, and try to rewire the receptacle.

You may need a voltage tester to continue. Have you cycled (tuned off then on) The breaker? Double check YOUR connections.
Next, If you're comfortable with this, Open the panel and check to make sure that breaker is wired. Be very carefull there are always "Live" parts in there.

We have seen stranger things. Always worth a peak.
Old 11-12-06, 06:25 PM
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it looks like i have only 3 wires in the receptacle...

using a meter, two hot and one neutral or ground...i can't tell...

i did cycle the breaker on and off several times...

what would happen if i reconnected the ground strap on the wiring block back to the dryer...connect the neutral to the middle post, then the two hot wires on the two side posts on the wiring block on the dryer....basically, wire it like it was with the 3-prong plug???

it is a maytag dryer....
Old 11-12-06, 06:37 PM
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Slow down you're moving too fast.

What is the wiring method that supplies the plug? Is it conduit, armored cable, nonmetallic cable or what?
Old 11-12-06, 07:05 PM
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The strap has nothing to do with if you have power or not.
Go buy an AC voltage tester. They'r inexpensive, and you'll use it again.

The 4 prong recepticale only has 3 wires!? Thats wrong.
Your dryer plug (new from store has 4 prongs on it?thats good. You moved the ground strap to the frame. Thats good and correct.
Have you looked in the panel yet?
Are there wires on that breaker? Not to insult BUT, some have been known to disconnect and use something else,when they move they put it back.
Old 11-12-06, 07:15 PM
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I guess you are saying you have voltage at the receptacle??

If you have a 14-30R on a 3 wire branch circuit then this was installed incorrectly. A 4 wire circuit is needed to connect to a 14-30 dryer receptacle. Code does allow for 3 wire circuits to be used if already existing but some local codes require a 4-wire circuit to be ran and you have no choice but a 4 wire if a mobile home.

In order to use the existing 3 wire to share the neutral for ground it must have an insulated neutral. It can be bare if it is part of an SE cable. The neutral/ground must be 10 awg copper minimum or 8 awg aluminum.

As to your present problem....

It sounds like the neutral is open at the receptacle. Since you say there are only three wires on the receptacle my guess is that the neutral terminal of your 4 wire cords plug is plugged into the unused hole of the 14-30R receptacal and therefore you cannot have 120volts for the motor because the neutral is open. The previous homeowner has wired the incorrect receptacal to the existing wiring so he could use a 4 prong dryer cord. You have wired your cord correctly but I suspect the receptacle neutral and ground are opposite from how you have the cord wired.

EDIT: to add if your 3 wire is acceptable to the restrictions I listed you may use it but you will need to purchase a 10-30R 3 wire dryer receptacle and reconnect the bonding strap on the dryer. I also recommend that (if it isnt to difficult) you run a new 4 wire branch circuit.


Last edited by Roger; 11-12-06 at 07:29 PM.

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