Switching a 120v outlet to 240

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Old 01-19-14, 03:34 AM
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Switching a 120v outlet to 240

Hi all,
I'm not very good with electricity and don't plan on doing this myself but I'm trying to find out if this can be done without rewiring the whole circuit. I just bought a bandsaw that draws 12 amps at 220v. In my house I have outlets that are 20 amps, 120 volts connected to 12 gauge wire. Would it be safe and work properly if I was to switch one of those outlets out for a 240v 20 amp or even a 240v 15amp outlet? The reason I ask is because I can't exactly ask my landlord to reword his circuit breaker so I can run a shop from home. I'm hoping there's a simple way I can do this without access to the breaker
 
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Old 01-19-14, 05:01 AM
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Yes a modern (not old BX or knob & tube) 120 volt circuit can be converted to a 240 volt only circuit by changing out all the receptacles on that circuit, making sure there are no lights or other hard wired devices still connected, and hooking the neutral to a breaker on the other side of the line instead (Both breakers should have their handles tied together which means they need to be next to each other)

All the white wire ends need to be marked with colored (not green) tape or stain to show that they are no longer neutral.

Since you said you can't or don't want to touch the breaker box or panel, you can't get this project started. At any rate, your landlord has to arrange to get it done.

Nowadays the same Romex cables and individual (THHN etc) conductors are used for 240 volt circuits as are used for 120 volt circuits.

Things you can do on your own (not cheap):
1. Get a 120 volt to 240 volt transformer of the necessary wattage. Draw limited to 2400 watts or 10 amperes @ 240 volts if you are plugging it into a 20 amp receptacle and circuit. If the saw needs the 12 amps only for a few seconds when starting, then this could work out although the transformer needs to be rated for the full 12 amps.
2. If you have an electric stove you could construct a "power strip" (actually a subpanel) with 240 volt receptacle(s) and 15 amp breaker set for 240 volts and borrow the stove receptacle.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-19-14 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 01-19-14, 06:55 AM
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I'm hoping there's a simple way I can do this without access to the breaker
There is not a simple way to do it and you should not do it because you are a renter. Allan's suggestions or a generator are about your only options.
If you have an electric stove you could construct a "power strip" (actually a subpanel) with 240 volt receptacle(s) and 15 amp breaker set for 240 volts and borrow the stove receptaclel
But only if the receptacle is four wire.
 
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