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220v outlet only 2 hots and a ground but need a 110v for a light (well house)

220v outlet only 2 hots and a ground but need a 110v for a light (well house)

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  #1  
Old 12-23-10, 11:23 AM
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220v outlet only 2 hots and a ground but need a 110v for a light (well house)

Have a older house and the well house pump is 220v but plugs into a outlet that is a regular 110 style outlet and is a 2 wire (hot) with ground so no neutral (guess back then that was legal as long as wire was re-marked with the proper color to indicate this?) would like a way to hook up a light for heat to help aid in keeping pipes from freezing will be 100 watts or so so wont be a high power draw or any thing.

i know best way would be to replace wire with a 4 wire and pull 110 from it but right now its out of the question and I recall my grandfather had a friend make up a a light years ago that had 2 110 light build on it but its long gone now. Any ideas? Thanks
 

Last edited by recountryman; 12-23-10 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:45 AM
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I guess you know this but what you have going on is not code compliant and needs to be addressed ASAP.
That being said it sounds like a bit of an emergency situation so what you could do is check with an electrical or lighting supplier in your area and purchase a 240v bulb from them (not as hard to get as you might think) or you could purchase two pigtail lamp holders (seen here) Cooper Wiring Devices BP145 Rubber Pigtail Lampholder 660 Watt.
wire them in series and use two 120 v bulbs. This is most likely what your Grandfather had.
 
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Old 12-23-10, 11:45 AM
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If your receptacle (outlet) does not have a neutral then they are boot legging the ground to get 120 volts. This is not safe in any way and is putting current on the ground and any grounded parts in the well house. This was never legal at any time. Your only option is to correct this by pulling a neutral or getting something that runs off 240 volts such as an electric heater. A heater would be more reliable anyway.
 
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Old 12-23-10, 11:48 AM
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Guys I am reading it differently.
the well house pump is 220v but plugs into a outlet that is a regular 110 style outlet and is a 2 wire (hot) with ground so no neutral
The OP just has thw wrong receptacle for the pump. Changing the receptacle and cord cap would make it code compliant.

I recall my grandfather had a friend make up a a light years ago that had 2 110 light build on it but its long gone now.
I'm not sure on the safety of that. The shells would be hot so you would have to be sure the lights were off before changing bulbs. You could use a small portable 240v heater. Another idea would be an auxiliary transformer with 240 in 120 out. Still no grounded conductor to the shell of the lamp but it would increase safety by acting as an isolation transformer. You could run the output through a faceless GFCI and make it even safer.
 
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Old 12-23-10, 11:49 AM
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did you measure the voltage across this 110v outlet? If it's 110v, then 2 wires would be all that you need (both may be black from dirt and age making them appear hot. If the pump is 220, you'd have to run a 220 circuit somewhere.

Measure the voltage across the outlet, and post back.
 

Last edited by tacticaltal; 12-23-10 at 11:49 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-23-10, 12:13 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the reply, let me clear this up some . It is a 220v circuit for a pump but wire from breaker to outlet is 12/2 with ground so both wires are hot carrying 110 each as I understand it was permitted back then as long as it was marked indicating that the normally white wire,neutral is hot.Yes it is using a 110 style outlet for this.

Buzz the pic of the light socket does look like I recall seeing and most likely was 2 of them wired in series.

Ironhead, ther is no 110 being used ..yet thats what I want to get. Guess I could just get a 2240v heater but wouldn't I still run into a issue due to only having 2 hots a and a ground?

ray2047, seems like I do recall the bulbs hot as grandpa was wearing gloves when I saw him changing one once.

OK I do have in my possession now a TODD STEPDOWN AUTO-TRANSFORMER SD-11 SCTC 500V INPUT: 220/240 - OUTPUT: 110/120

it has well "had" European plugs but I cut the end of and installed a regular plug 110v style to allow me to plug it in the outlet it works but my checker says neutral /hot switched but its not as I have swapped them around just in case but still shows that they are backwards... is this a issue due to the way its being used with the 2 wire with ground with no neutral? Is it safe/ good to use this for my purpose/ Thanks
 
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Old 12-23-10, 12:33 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the reply, let me clear this up some . It is a 220v circuit for a pump but wire from breaker to outlet is 12/2 with ground
That would be code compliant even today in the US. The white wire would need to be remarked black or red or any color but white, green, or gray.
so both wires are hot carrying 110 each
No, each wire is carrying 240v.

ray2047, seems like I do recall the bulbs hot as grandpa was wearing gloves when I saw him changing one once.
Not thermally hot electrically hot. Sorry I was not clear. Normally the screw shell of a lamp holder is connected to the neutral so if the light is on and you touch the screw base of the bulb while removing it and or grounded you are not likely to get a shock. The 240 you have has no neutral so you can't connect neutral to the shell. Same problem if you used a single lamp holder and a 240v bulb.

do have in my possession now a TODD STEPDOWN AUTO-TRANSFORMER SD-11 SCTC 500V INPUT: 220/240 - OUTPUT: 110/120
That would work but it will not work as an isolation transformer. You might be able to use it with a faceless GFCI to increase safety. Not sure a GFCI is needed or would work but my gut says yes. Let the pros weigh in on that.
 
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Old 12-24-10, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for the info and all advice taken and being considered. Have a Merry Christmas everyone looks like it may snow here tomorrow!!!
 
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Old 12-24-10, 02:26 PM
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Well after getting a good nights sleep last night and having a cleared head now just occurred to me that the stepdown transformer I have (Todd System SD-11 SCTC) even though has a input 220-240 50/60hz output 110-120v had a European European Schuko plug which means one hot and one neutral wire in pigtail going to it and that's why I got hot/neutral switched with my tester (?)....had power on both hot and what the transformer is using as a neutral

well opened up transformer no wiring diagram but it has on the input side one hot lug (brown wire and a neutral (blue wire) but since i have no source in for a neutral (remember I have 2 hots coming in a and a ground) looks like that plan is defiantly a nogo as the neutral wire in it is also soldered together with the nuetral wire for the ouput voltage directly onto lug on transformer.

Figure for a quick fix might go and get to lamp sockets and wire in series as what was mentioned prior for the time being and next year going to get a ditchwitch and replace the entire run with a 4 wire and do it right.
 

Last edited by recountryman; 12-24-10 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 12-24-10, 05:24 PM
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Buzz had a good solution if you are satisfied that light bulbs will provide the heat you need, just buy 240 volt rated bulbs. You'd have to order them most likely, but they are available. I wouldn't use fewer than two bulbs though because bulbs do burn out somewhat frequently compared to a heater. At least with two bulbs, it wouldn't be likely that both bulbs would burn out at the same time. Ideally, I would use a radiant or baseboard heater with a thermostat set on low.
 
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Old 12-24-10, 09:59 PM
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1950s style outlets were rated 120 or 20 and had T slots on both the left and right allowing 15 amp 120 20 amp 120 15 amp 240 or 20 amp 240 plugs to be inserted

I would presume this is what the OP has
 
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Old 12-25-10, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by braether3 View Post
1950s style outlets were rated 120 or 20 and had T slots on both the left and right allowing 15 amp 120 20 amp 120 15 amp 240 or 20 amp 240 plugs to be inserted

I would presume this is what the OP has
I saw them well into the sixties where I live, considering my neighbor's boxes all have a ground wire, but one-for-all receptacles.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by recountryman View Post
Thanks for the info and all advice taken and being considered. Have a Merry Christmas everyone looks like it may snow here tomorrow!!!
Yeah, we were going to my sister's house in Commerce, today, but we are already getting snow, and they predict up to 5 inches for the mountains. Have a Merry Christmas!!
 
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Old 12-25-10, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by braether3 View Post
1950s style outlets were rated 120 or 20 and had T slots on both the left and right allowing 15 amp 120 20 amp 120 15 amp 240 or 20 amp 240 plugs to be inserted

I would presume this is what the OP has

Nah, had those in the house when first bought but at least the house its self has been updated...except for the one line going to the pump house but it was replaced back in the early 80's but like stated its 12/2 wire with ground and its using a 110v outlet but its 20amp as is the breaker.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Yeah, we were going to my sister's house in Commerce, today, but we are already getting snow, and they predict up to 5 inches for the mountains. Have a Merry Christmas!!
Commerce huh I'm 7 ins from Commerce. Your getting snow already? Nothing but rain in Homer right now. Merry Christmas!!!
 
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Old 12-25-10, 01:14 PM
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like stated its 12/2 wire with ground and its using a 110v outlet but its 20amp as is the breaker.
You didn't happen to mention what kind of cable the 12-2/G is. Is it typical NM romex or is it UF cable direct buried? Is it in underground conduit or is it strung overhead?
 
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Old 12-25-10, 02:26 PM
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You don't need a transformer. Just wire two 120V light fixtures in series to the 240V line. Make sure you use a 240V rated switch.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
You didn't happen to mention what kind of cable the 12-2/G is. Is it typical NM romex or is it UF cable direct buried? Is it in underground conduit or is it strung overhead?
UF direct buried...wish it was in conduit. Next time it will be done right and future proof
 
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Old 12-25-10, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DIYMaster View Post
You don't need a transformer. Just wire two 120V light fixtures in series to the 240V line. Make sure you use a 240V rated switch.
Still debating with either using the lights in series or buy a cheap small baseboard heater for 240v as I have seen those on ebay for about 30 doallars but since it is a small area and doesn't have to be warm just above freezing and my grandparents used lights in the past with no issue I might just go with the lights ..I already had the transformer and thought it would work but forgot about it being European voltage which has a single hot and a neutral.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 02:51 PM
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UF direct buried...wish it was in conduit
General practice is to not use conduit for UF. If you use conduit you can use single conductor THWN.

but forgot about it being European voltage which has a single hot and a neutral.
It should be fine on two 240 ungrounded legs. A neutral just means a grounded conductor. Its a personal safety issue not a functional issue. It will be just as safe as using a 240v bulb on a circuit with no neutral or two 120v series wired bulbs on a circuit with out a neutral.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 03:29 PM
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Itís seems to me the only thing not code compliant with your current installation (as much as one can tell over the internet any ways) is the receptacle. Would hate to think you thought you needed to replace all of your wiring when it is possibly just fine.

Also as a side not if you are thinking of a electric heater make sure you have the capacity for this. In my initial post my thought was that this was a bit of an emergency situation not a permanent install.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 05:16 PM
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Itís seems to me the only thing not code compliant with your current installation (as much as one can tell over the internet any ways) is the receptacle.
Good point buzz. I mentioned it earlier but the comment got buried. I would suggest for safety the receptacle be replaced with a NEMA 6-20R and the cord cap be changed to NEMA 6-20P. Safer because no chance of someone accidentally plugging in a 120v device.

The one gotcha there is it is not going to be available in duplex so if you plan to plug something else in you will need to install two of them.

Above assumes #12 or larger on a 20a breaker.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 06:01 PM
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You know talking about someone plugging in a 120 device in the outlet we had a contractor re-doing the roof and plugged his air compressor in it but luckily it tripped a built in breaker and my wife plugged her laptop into it and guess the dual voltage power adapter saved it. Guess some poeple do not read as it states 240v in orange letter right above the faceplate.
 
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