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Converting Hot Tub wiring to standard 110 Outdoor Receptacle

Converting Hot Tub wiring to standard 110 Outdoor Receptacle

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  #1  
Old 09-05-11, 03:36 PM
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Converting Hot Tub wiring to standard 110 Outdoor Receptacle

I'm just tossing an idea I had out there. I didn't want to go make a large project of this, so I wanted to see if it was "bigger than a breadbox" or something that really is much simpler than it looks.

The previous owners of our home had a hot tub and removed it when we bought the house. My wife doesn't like hot tubs and plans to never own one (not to mention my other renovations have pretty much made it impossible to install a future hot tub in a similar location of the house.

So with that said, the line coming out of the house from that former hot tub setup is simply some 4-wire 240V (red, black, white, green) in some flex conduit. The wire is extremely thick braided (except for the green ground of course that is solid #12), the lettering is faded somewhat, but appears to read 6 AWG THHN 600 volt VW-1 (I'll admit, I don't really know what all that means, but it looks big for typical 220).

Coming into the service panel as a typical double-pole breaker, it is a 50 amp breaker.

My question is how difficult would it be to simply cap the one of the hot wires on each end (red), then pigtail the thick braided black and white wires down to a more managable solid #12 size and hook up to a 20 amp breaker and a standard outdoor wall receptacle? I'm piping in some natural gas right near there for an outdoor gas grill and that grill will have lights and a rotisserie, so I was planning to just run an extention cord when I used it, but this hot tub conduit is laying 3 feet away and seems like an awfully temping option to provide power there, but I'm just not sure if my simple solution of pig-tailing down to smaller wires and changing out the double-pole 50 amp breaker with a standard single-pole is as easy as it really sounds.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-05-11, 03:53 PM
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It would be possible but for only a few dollars more you could put a 60a subpanel where the hot tub was and not touch the existing breaker or wiring in the main panel. You'd just put a 20 amp breaker in the subpanel for the receptacle. You could even run a hot tub off the subpanel should you decide to get another. Neater too considering all the reducing of wire sizes and capping of unused wires you would have to do otherwise.
 
  #3  
Old 09-05-11, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
It would be possible but for only a few dollars more you could put a 60a subpanel where the hot tub was and not touch the existing breaker or wiring in the main panel. You'd just put a 20 amp breaker in the subpanel for the receptacle. You could even run a hot tub off the subpanel should you decide to get another. Neater too considering all the reducing of wire sizes and capping of unused wires you would have to do otherwise.
Hadn't even crossed my mind.

So it is really just a "box" as far as a subpanel goes. The 4-wire coming in as a conduit out of the back and are joined and black-taped with the corresponding wires going out the bottom conduit.

So if I'm hearing you right, I could get some type of 20 amp breaker that can just sit freely in this subpanel? IE - splice into the 120v black and add the neutral and ground and hook up to a self-contained 20 amp breaker inside the panel, then have that wire going out to my exterior outlet. Something like that?

Thanks again. Great idea to save to the wiring at the main breaker.
 
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Old 09-05-11, 04:28 PM
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No. You would buy a small main-lug outdoor rated subpanel and a 20A breaker of the same brand. If you buy one of the same brand as your mai panel, hte brakers will be interchangeable.
 
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Old 09-05-11, 04:28 PM
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  #6  
Old 09-05-11, 04:38 PM
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My question is how difficult would it be to simply cap the one of the hot wires on each end (red), then pigtail the thick braided black and white wires down to a more managable solid #12 size and hook up to a 20 amp breaker and a standard outdoor wall receptacle?
In theory your idea sounds good, but realistically it's not that simple. The connections you would have to make to adapt to the #12 wire will not fit in a typical weatherproof outlet box so you'd need a larger NEMA 3R outdoor junction box ahead of a weatherproof outlet box. It would be simpler to put in a small outdoor subpanel like was suggested and it would also give you more future flexibility as well.

Ooops! I see you posted pictures now and you have a NEMA 3R box. I still like the subpanel as was suggested better. I also notice you have 3 red conductors, no black or white neutral. This was not done by a professional and was probably not inspected when it was installed. I'd want to look the entire circuit over carefully before recommending that it be used.
 

Last edited by CasualJoe; 09-05-11 at 04:47 PM. Reason: pictures posted
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Old 09-05-11, 05:02 PM
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the line coming out of the house from that former hot tub setup is simply some 4-wire 240V (red, black, white, green) in some flex conduit.
Your picture does not match this description. Please explain.
 
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Old 09-05-11, 05:39 PM
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Sorry. I was looking at the setup of wiring coming OUT of the sub-panel. That picture only shows the setup coming out of the house INTO the panel (black, black, white, bare). So the colors look different in the picture of the main wire coming in off the main panel. Should have just started there and not with the hot tub wires laying on the ground in conduit coming out of this box. My mistake.
 
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Old 09-05-11, 05:47 PM
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Coming into the box, you have ALUMINUM Type SE. You have a black, a black with a red stripe and gray. Is it the same in the main panel? Can you trace th cable back to the main panel?
 
  #10  
Old 09-05-11, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
Coming into the box, you have ALUMINUM Type SE. You have a black, a black with a red stripe and gray. Is it the same in the main panel? Can you trace th cable back to the main panel?
Yes, upon further looking, it is black, black/red, and gray. I'm assuming it is the same as the main panel. Can't see behind it without opening it up, but it is the same conduit that runs under the house all the way to the main access underneath the panel. So I'm sure it doesn't suddenly change between the floor and the panel.
 
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Old 09-05-11, 07:28 PM
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black, black/red, and gray
If you also have a bare ground or the conduit is metal it is OK. The subpanel would replace the junction box and the Spa whip would not be used.
 
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Old 09-05-11, 08:15 PM
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OK. Does have a braided bare ground going off to a grounding connection off to the backside (can't see it in the pic).

So trying to picture what I'm compiling as basically the same suggesions. Basically taking off the Spa whip so it is unused and leaving my 4-wires coming freely into the subpanel and leaving the bare ground going off to the grounding unit off the back of the back of the panel. Then putting a 20A breaker in the subpanel, along with squeezing in a receptacle for the actual plug inside the subpanel? Or am I just using the subpanel outside to put in the 20A breaker and then running a separate outdoor receptacle. Sounded like you were saying just use the subpanel for the junction box and 20A breaker. So I was trying to make sure I'm visualizing that. Thanks again.
 
  #13  
Old 09-05-11, 08:54 PM
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Simplest way to add the receptacle will be to use an offset nipple out of the bottom of the subpanel to a weather proof outlet box on the wall.


Its shape allows you to put the receptacle box flat against the wall even if the knock out in the box isn't at the right distance from the wall.



and leaving the bare ground going off to the grounding unit off the back of the back of the panel
No, you would add a ground bar (sold separately) to the subpanel. The grounds only would go to that. You would remove any bonding strap or screw from the neutral bar and it would be used only for neutrals. Your gray wire would go there. For a couple of reasons you would only need a main lug subpanel. That is you do not need to buy a panel with a main breaker.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 09-05-11 at 09:55 PM.
  #14  
Old 09-05-11, 09:47 PM
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Jeff, go to the library and check out a couple of DIY books on electrical work.
 
  #15  
Old 09-06-11, 02:35 PM
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The rceptacle will also need to be gfi protected, listed weather-resistant, and have a bubble cover.
 
  #16  
Old 09-06-11, 06:35 PM
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The aluminum connections in the subpanel also need to be protected with an antioxidant compound such as Contax by T&B or Noalox by Ideal.
CTB8 Thomas & Betts Contax Oxide inhibiting Compound, 8-oz


Ideal 30-026 Noalox Anti-Oxidant Compound (4 oz. Bottle)
 
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