Converting 240v line to 120v for receptacles

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Old 05-02-16, 03:17 PM
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Converting 240v line to 120v for receptacles

Hello,

I've been renovating my basement and I ran into a bit of an issue. I had 2 baseboard heaters running on 2 different 12/2 wires coming from 1 20amp breaker box.

I've decided to remove the heaters and instead of getting rid of the box and wires, I wanted to reuse them as outlets. Long story short, when I installed the outlets, I was getting 240 volts (did not know this was the case before putting the outlets in)

I'm assuming this was necessary for the baseboard heaters to properly operate, but now I can't have that since I'm using them as outlets. I installed 3 outlets and all of them are putting 236-240 volts.

Is there a way to reduce this to 120 volts so I can use the outlets to power a desktop computer?

Do I need to get rid of that 20 amp box?

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!

Thank you
 
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Old 05-02-16, 03:26 PM
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You will need to remove the white from the two pole breaker and move it to the neutral bar.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 03:33 PM
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Just to explain a little, your heaters required 2 hot wires and a ground to operate. The receptacles require 1 hot and 1 neutral, plus ground.

The white wire was being used as a hot wire.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 04:37 PM
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It's a 1 pole breaker, I think.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 04:46 PM
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Thank you for the explanation! Makes a hell of a lot more sense now. I just need to figure out how to move the white wire to neutral now.
 
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Old 05-02-16, 04:48 PM
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It's a 1 pole breaker, I think.
If it is 240 it isn't. Look again. Are there black and white wires on the breaker?
 
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Old 05-03-16, 11:59 AM
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Ok.. It is a two pole. I got a bit confused when I only saw one 20 amp switch instead of two like the others in the box next to it.

So I would need to move the white wire to the neutral bar, would that be the wire coming in from the main box, or the wires going out into the new receptacles?

Thank you!
 
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Old 05-03-16, 12:26 PM
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It would be the white wire connected to the breaker. However if there is no ground wire (bare) in the cable you can't do this. It would work but be a code violation.
 
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Old 05-03-16, 01:29 PM
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There are bare ground wires in the sub panel.

So it would be okay to just remove the white wire from the brass screw on the 20a breaker on the sub panel and attach it to the neutral bar?

Would I need to do anything with the white wire going back to the main box? I noticed it was attached to with other black wires, but not with the black wire it comes with.

I'll take a few pictures and upload them here for visuals.. Thank you ray!
 
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Old 05-03-16, 02:51 PM
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So it would be okay to just remove the white wire from the brass screw on the 20a breaker on the sub panel and attach it to the neutral bar?
Not just okay it is what you must do. You could also change the breaker to a single pole breaker but it is not required.
There are bare ground wires in the sub panel.
Not the question asked. Do you have a ground at the receptacle is the question.
Would I need to do anything with the white wire going back to the main box? I noticed it was attached to with other black wires, but not with the black wire it comes with.
Not sure what you are talking about. Are you saying there is a second cable in the box where you installed the new receptacle? If so does that cable go to another box with a receptacle?
 
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Old 05-03-16, 03:18 PM
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Would I need to do anything with the white wire going back to the main box? I noticed it was attached to with other black wires, but not with the black wire it comes with.
Sounds like the OP is referring to the subpanel feed. A white wire tied into the hots at subpanel...or maybe supplying one leg.
 
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Old 05-03-16, 04:57 PM
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I really don't understand. I was taking a stab in the dark with my last answer. Sammy, can you take a picture of what you meant by:
Would I need to do anything with the white wire going back to the main box? I noticed it was attached to with other black wires, but not with the black wire it comes with.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 05-04-16, 12:35 PM
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Long story short, I started out wanting to add a little more space in my basement, I ended up doing a whole lot more and now I'm in a field I know nothing about, but I really would like to learn.

Ok. so I've been doing a lot of reading to try to familiarize myself with the terms and my situation.

I believe my main box is a Main Lug Only, since I'm not able to find a main breaker switch anywhere in my home. My issue now is, how do I remove that white wire (If I need to) since the lugs are always live.

Here are some pictures, the smaller box is the sub panel (previously used for the baseboard heaters) that's wired directly to the main lugs

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Would appreciate any insight!

Thank you
 
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Old 05-04-16, 12:51 PM
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I see several things that should be corrected. One of which is the multiple wires in the same lug. There should only be one wire per lug.

I cannot tell if the 100 amp breakers have hold down retainers.

I might opt to install new 100 amp panels with main breakers built in and clean everything up.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 01:30 PM
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@pcboss, thank you for confirming that, I've suspected that was an issue once I started reading about this. How would you go about turning off the power to the main lugs?
 
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Old 05-04-16, 03:29 PM
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Unless there is a disconnect outside, you are going to need to have the power company pull the meter. This typically requires permits and inspections.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 07:22 PM
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There's no disconnect outside.

My next question.. What are the chances of getting shocked by unscrewing the lug with the live white wire, carefully removing the white wire and re-screw the lug? I know the violations need to be corrected, but I won't be using the basement that much, and it's been wired like that for years without any issues.
 
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Old 05-05-16, 05:28 AM
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The chance of shock will be there as long as power is on. It will also start to arc under load. To see what could happen if you were to short out to a grounded surface search "arc flash blast". Warning, extremely graphic.
 
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