Help with outbuilding Wiring

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  #1  
Old 12-31-13, 02:32 AM
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Help with outbuilding Wiring

Hoping for some help with our barn wiring. Currently has just one double pole breaker from larger building which goes underground conduit to all barn power. Inside barn is a 220v 15amp outlet, which we want to change to 110v. Know how to do this with changing breaker and using only one hot leg (although it is only 3 insulated wires to current outlet.. red, white, black and unclear if we have a neutral or ground in addition to the two hot...will look at panel tomorrow), however, I'm not sure what else is going on, and thought I'd ask before ripping apart walls.

We also have several lights on 110v circuit, with 3 switches, and 2 old fashioned screw in glass fuses. I'm wondering if they have already split or branched off the 220 somewhere when originally put in to get the lights on what I assume is the only underground 220v line? Thought someone here may have an idea of a likely schematic to save us taking everything out. There are also two 110v outlets currently there, but do not work since using a skillsaw which blew power to both. No fuses or breakers out, and all connections at the outlets look fine. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 08:03 AM
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You need to figure out where the lights and such are being powered from. They may be (incorrectly) pulled from the 240v receptacle, or there may be (incorrectly) a second feed to the barn.

You also have to figure out whether the wire going to the barn has 4 conductors (black/red/white/ground) or only 3 as that will limit what your options are. Also, does that wire seem to be in good condition? And one other detail is the gauge of the wire. That will determine again what options you have.

It sounds like you just want some lights and a few general purpose receptacles. Any larger tools or appliances? Any plans for the future?
 
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Old 12-31-13, 08:47 AM
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Is the fuse panel in the barn or the house?
 
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Old 12-31-13, 09:54 AM
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In the barn there are the two screw in fuses. We have our main breaker and hot tub breaker in our carport, then one in the house, then after approx 100ft run a subpanel in workshop. Barn is run off this small panel in shop.

Yes, we just want a few regular 110 plugs which will have very little use, main thing is a light on a timer, a radio, and occassionally a stock tank de-icer. Wiring looks in good shape, will check gauge and look at the panel today. I'm assuming there is only one feed, as there is only one breaker to the barn unless one of the single pole breakers runs the blown 110plugs and lights. Was hoping someone here would know likely way they would have split the 220v if they did. I guess I'm having to rip out the wall to figure this out.
 

Last edited by Tully; 12-31-13 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 12-31-13, 01:58 PM
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More Info

After looking at it some more, there is 3 wire with bare ground coming from just one double breaker in shop that powers entire barn. Not sure on gauge yet. This feeds into two 20amp glass breakers at barn, one hot to each breaker. Here it splits out to two lines it appears, one from each breaker, and each with a black hot and white neutral, no red, and heavier gauge. Now I'm even more confused, as I haven't yet taken the wall out, doing so involves taking out another entire wall that buts against it. The 220 plug has red/white/black same gauge as main line running to barn, and no ground, but this must be rejoined somewhere else, am thinking possibly at the 3 switches which have pigtails. Does this make any sense? Had to leave it for now before opening up more but hoping to know what to look for when I go back out this afternoon.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 02:33 PM
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3 wire with bare ground
For a total of four wires, correct? What size breaker? You can buy one foot lengths of #12, # 10, #8 THWN wire strip some of the insulation and compare to the wires connected to the supplying breaker and at the fuse box. Probably no reason to remove a wall.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 02:52 PM
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Yes total of 4 wires coming FROM double breaker in workshop, that feeds barn. It's what's happening IN the barn that had me stumped, but we did just pull part of the wall off, and here is what they have done...

4 wire comes into barn, and splits at junction box so 220v going to outlet and also to glass breakers. Is it safe to split 220v to 110v between the two 20amp breakers? If so, all looks ok, one line from breaker runs lights, the other line runs 4 110 outlets (we found a couple more, and somehow they all work now after being blown by a skillsaw), except whoever put in doesn't seem to believe in ground wires. All have them, all are cut at the boxes. Is this safe? Why oh why could someone not be bothered is beyond me, but will be a pain to do now.

So now we're back to the one 220v outlet, which could just stay as it was, would prefer it be a 110, or we could just take it out, whichever will be safe or proper? I can figure out gauge and breaker size at shop if needed, but not sure it matters at this point and I'd rather not take more things apart.

Thanks again for any advice.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 06:33 PM
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Clear Questions...

I typed a lot, so to be clear now... 1. Is it safe not having grounded 110v plugs? I can't imagine why they cut them off. 2. Is the current 220v outlet safe? It has no ground also. Or is there a way I can safely convert it to 110v or am I better off to just remove it?
 
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Old 12-31-13, 06:46 PM
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First off as far as I know even in Canada the electric is 120/240 not 110/220. All 120 volt receptacles under current code should be GFCI protected and have a ground wires. The 240 does not need GFCI protection however it should have a ground wire but the receptacles may be grandfathered.
Is it safe to split 220v to 110v
All 120 volt circuits are derived (split) from the 240 volts supplied to your house.

The fuse box probably doesn't have the neutral and grounds separated but under modern code they should be.

Here is how the fuse box should be wired under current code:

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The main breaker serves only as a disconnect. Note under the six throw rule if there are spaces for six or less fuses/breakers you don't need a disconnect (NEC, CEC may vary).
 
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Old 12-31-13, 07:34 PM
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Ok, maybe I should go to a dating site and find an electrician. Joking, but I'm a bit lost, mainly with terminology. Yes, I guess I meant 120/240. And meant is the way I described it being split safe? That is not how it's wired, just realized there is likely no grounding rod at the barn, maybe this is why they didn't bother with ground wires. Electricity is not my favourite hobby, and do wish I didn't have to go feed horses in the dark now that it's all shut off. I think tomorrow I will just put it all back together how it was and not worry about it for now, unless I get some advice I understand on adding grounds or disconnecting the 240 outlet. Thanks, and Happy New Year.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 08:21 PM
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Grounding wires for the third prong have an entirely different function than a ground rod. The ground rod is for high voltage events like lightning. The receptacle grounding is to trip the breaker.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 09:23 PM
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but I'm a bit lost, mainly with terminology. Yes, I guess I meant 120/240. And meant is the way I described it being split safe?
Not sure what you are asking. Perhaps if you posted a picture or two we could better answer. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

It sounds like you have what you need to do it correctly you just need to replace the fuse box with a breaker box and you will be set to go. If the receptacles have no grounds you don't need to replace the cables, just run a ground wire to each of the receptacles.

Basically what you need to do is bring that 3-conductor cable into a breaker box and corectly connect it. You will then install one or two 120v breakers and a 240v breaker.
 
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