Wiring an electrical outlet outside to a 120/240

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-15-13, 02:24 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Wiring an electrical outlet outside to a 120/240

Hi guys! I have an in-ground pool and a cement patio that it is in. On the far side of the patio (the far side from the fuse box) I have electrical wires coming out of the patio. I'm assuming they were used to wire a hot tub or an oven or something out there. There are 4 wires (green, white, red and black). On the fuse box, there is a double breaker (one of those with the bar across it) and the switches both say 50 on them. Also, on the breaker it says:
"Interrupting Rating
10 000 A
50/60 Hz
120/240 V~
A nom. I/AIR"

I'm only a sort of DIY electrician. I've wired lights and switches and receptacles before... I've even installed new breakers and run wires from them, but I don't know what this is. Can I use this wire to wire a standard outdoor receptacle?

Thanks for your time!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 06-15-13, 03:18 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,285
Welcome to the forums!

Yes, you can use that existing circuit for an outdoor receptacle with some modifications.
The breaker needs to be changed to a two pole 20 amp breaker as the 50 amp is too large for a general purpose receptacle. For one duplex receptacle you will just cap off one hot (black or red) and connect one to the new receptacle. You might want to pigtail some #12 wire to the larger wire, as you will not get it around the device screws. If you need more power there, you can use the other hot as another 120 volt circuit.
 
  #3  
Old 06-16-13, 07:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Awesome! Thanks a ton. I did it last night and it worked like a dream!
 
  #4  
Old 06-16-13, 08:11 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA.
Posts: 813
Personally, I would have installed a sub panel and then extended circuits as needed, provided the wiring met the requirements of article 680.
 
  #5  
Old 06-16-13, 03:52 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Hi! Me again!

Turns out that I must have done something wrong. When I tested it last night, I had a lamp plugged in and the lamp came on and worked just fine, but I only left it on for a few seconds and then turned it off thinking that I had been successful.

Today, I plugged in some string lights (the indoor outdoor globes that you can hang from the ceiling of an outdoor space) and immediately blew the fuse on the bulbs. I tried it with 3 strings and blew the fuses on all of them. NEXT, hoping that it was just those lights, I plugged in some speakers (computer speakers with a small subwoofer) and they came on for about 5 to 10 seconds and then I heard a hiss and a small wisp of smoke came out from the volume button. The speakers no long work.

So, what did I do wrong? I got a 2-pole 20A breaker. I put it in the same spot as the old breaker.

This is what it looked like except 20A instead of 30A:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]13998[/ATTACH]

I ran the black from the right screw and the white from the left screw. The ground was already attached in the fuse box.

Then, I installed my outlet and I did NOT pigtail smaller wire onto it. There were 2 screws on each side of the outlet and a ground screw. I just ran the wire (inside it were a bunch of copper threads) and spread out the copper threads to go on both screws (black on one side white on the other). I then tightened both screws down and put on the ground.

Help! What did I do wrong?


Also, on a side note:
This actually is from a subpanel. The main fuse box is in the house in my den. This is a different fusebox on the outside of my house. It runs all of my pool equipment and a few outdoor circuits.
 
Attached Images  
  #6  
Old 06-16-13, 04:45 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,285
It sounds to me like you have 240 volts somehow at the receptacle. You can confirm this with a meter.

In your first post you said that there is a black, red, green, and white wire. Can you confirm that the white wire is a neutral wire with a meter?

You also said there was a two pole, 50 amp breaker in the panel that controls this circuit. There should have been a black and red wire connected to the breaker, the white and ground connected to their proper bus. You should have wired the new 20 amp two pole breaker the same way. Neither the white or ground should have been connected to the breaker.

That is not the proper way to connect the wires to the receptacle. You should have added a pigtail as I mentioned in my earlier post. The red wire should not have been connected to the receptacle at all and should have been caped off with a wirenut. Re do your connections and make sure the red wire is insulated.

If any of this is confusing, please post a picture of your open panel and receptacle box so we can see what you see.
 
  #7  
Old 06-16-13, 09:36 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Ok. Here are 3 pictures of my fuse box.

EDIT:
Also, the old breaker that was in there had a white wire sort of like... embedded in it. It was coming out of the breaker and attached to the bar at the top. I had to cut it. (It's actually the really thick white wire on the left side of the pics). I think the white wire coming into the box was connected to a secondary screw on the breaker that I don't have on this breaker.



 
  #8  
Old 06-17-13, 10:14 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,213
I ran the black from the right screw and the white from the left screw. The ground was already attached in the fuse box.
You did not connect a white wire to the breaker..... you connected a black wire with white tape.
Ok....that is incorrect. DON'T plug anything else in to try it as 240 vac will burn out 120 vac devices.

That was a very expensive two pole GFI breaker that you cut the white wire off of.

I see what they did...... and you did.
You pigtailed the black # 8 and connected it to the breaker - ok.
You capped of the red # 8 - correct.
They ran a #12 black for neutral and taped it white. That wire should not connect to the breaker.....it should go to the bar at the top of the box with the other white wires.

You should actually be using 2 single pole 20 amp breakers instead of a two pole 20. Make sure your receptacle is a GFI type.
 
  #9  
Old 06-17-13, 09:57 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Is it ok if I leave it as a double pole or do I need to go out and buy a single pole (or two) and put it in there?

I figured that was going to be the case with the white wire, but I wanted to make sure before I did anything stupid.
 
  #10  
Old 06-17-13, 09:59 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,213
Yeah......you don't want to blow anything else up

It would be proper to use two single breakers.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes