Running a 240v pool pump from 2 x 110v?

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Old 07-23-16, 12:09 AM
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Running a 240v pool pump from 2 x 110v?

I am NOT an electrician nor do I really understand wiring etc. But I want to figure out what is going on with my pool pump which wonít power up. My pool guy is only good for cleaning and could not figure it out. I am running an Intermatic timer (model T104R3) and Century brand pool pump. These clearly 240v equipment. Normally the timer if running on a normal 240v circuit would have 3 wires. But the previous homeowner (or electrician?) has six wires going into the timer. This was confirmed to be 2 120v lines. However at the main circuit box I only have one Pushmatic 120v circuit breaker controlling things. After setting the breaker to off and turning it back on to test something else, the timer and the pump no longer work. I had an electrician out here and all he could tell me was he could hook it up properly as a 220v by running another line or swapping the box for something more modern. What I want to understand is how it worked before and why would turning off the breaker and back on cause all this? Based on my laymanís understanding you can get 240VAC from two 120VAC if each 120VAC circuit is on a different phase. This appears to be the case with my setup. But where is the other 120VAC coming from the main box or has it been spliced in somewhere?
 
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Old 07-23-16, 01:30 AM
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Normally the timer if running on a normal 240v circuit would have 3 wires
No. 240v is two hots and a ground wire.
But the previous homeowner (or electrician?) has six wires going into the timer. This was confirmed to be 2 120v lines.
If you are including ground wires from now on just ignore the ground wires.
Based on my layman’s understanding you can get 240VAC from two 120VAC
No you can not. Your house is supplied with 240 volts. The 120 volts is derived from either leg of the 240 volts and the neutral wire. For 240 volts you need both legs of the 240 volts supplied to your house.

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Your explanation is very confused and it is difficult to even reply but if the pump needs 240 volts there should be 240 volts going to it from a two pole breaker. Lets start by you posting a picture of your breaker box with the cover off. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 07-23-16, 01:00 PM
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The breaker may have not reset both legs to on after you turned it off. Can you check for voltage at the breaker. Pictures would also help.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 03:16 PM
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Based on my layman’s understanding you can get 240VAC from two 120VAC if each 120VAC circuit is on a different phase
I understand your layman's terms. Yes, you can get 240V from two 120V circuit breakers, if the breakers are on opposite legs in the panel.
This is how a multi-wire branch circuit is wired, the neutral is shared.

This needs to be done with 3-conductor cable though and NOT with Two 2-conductor cables.
I would not recommend trying to fix this other than the proper way, a double pole breaker and 3-conductor cable with ground.

Mod: Note: A 3-conductor cable + gnd. is only needed for 120/240. A 240 volt pump only needs 2-condutors + gnd.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 03:35 PM
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Yes, you can get 240V from two 120V circuit breakers, if the breakers are on opposite legs in the panel.
Technically yes but each circuit breaker is connected to 240 volts and two 240 volt wires are what you are running. There is no 120 volts involved. That is something derived from one of the 240v legs and the neutral.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 03:49 PM
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Thanks Ray that's a good explanation.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 08:50 PM
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/145505.../shares/6mKTb7

I'm not having an easy time getting the photos up due to file size. Above is a pic of the circuit box. I made the marks in white. IMO, 1) the one marked pool pump and 2) the one on the bottom left control the timer and pump. As you can see they are individual 20 AMP Pushmatic breakers and run 120V each.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 09:05 PM
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Here is some more info:
Timer wiring diagram:
http://www.intermatic.com/~/media/in...ies/t104r3.pdf
Everything has worked for fine consistently until I turned off the circuit marked pool pump to test if a light might have been also wired to the same circuit. I know it should not be on the same circuit and it wasnít. When I turned on the circuit again and turned on the timer to run the pump, the pump would not start.
Here is the MAIN circuit box pic you requested.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/145505.../shares/6mKTb7
Here is the timer and the pump:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/145505.../shares/ve8Rug
But I want to start from the timer showing you the wiring. As you can see there are wires into Line 1 and Line 3. These are two black wires.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/145505.../shares/RA079c

In the adjacent housing, the two black wires become blue wires.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/145505.../shares/0f637P

It seems these wires go under my garage. On the other side of the garage I have this box. This box contains a lot of wires. Some power the light switch adjacent. Visually, it looks like the two blue wires go under my garage and then under concrete (in a pipe) to the main circuit box.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/145505.../shares/R42751

But if you look at the main circuit box there is only a 20AMP circuit breaker marked pool pump. Where is the other 120V coming from??? I think itís the one on the bottom left? Agree?

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Last edited by ray2047; 07-23-16 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 07-23-16, 09:17 PM
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I think it’s the one on the bottom left? Agree?
I could agree if my crystal ball was working.

Good pictures. Now.... take off the panel cover and shoot a picture of the panel and wiring.
We/you need to find where those two blue wires connect in the panel.

We know the one breaker. With the cover off it should be easy to see where the other blue wire is connected.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 09:34 PM
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So you nuked my long writeup after I took the time to take photos and share my work?
BTW I'm not going to take off the cover. Its too dangerous for a novice like me. As you know the cover can touch the inbound cables. Its already taped for a reason. Will have an electrician do it.

Seriously, if its not the bottom left then which one could it be? The other possible one is a 15AMP.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 09:35 PM
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I requested a picture with the cover off. All I can guess is someone used two single pole breakers. This was never code. I'm not familiar with Pushmatic panels and can't go further. It is a lot more convenient if you insert the images into your posts. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html.
Where is the other 120V coming from???
Please stop calling a single pole breaker a 120 volt breaker. You are confusing your self. It is a single pole breaker connected to one side of the 240 volts going to your house not 120 volts.

Darn, Pete beat me to it after I had to spend way to much effort downloading a couple of you pictures to post for you.

Please call an electrician to straighten this mess out. If your uncomfortable removing the panel cover that is okay but it means you you would have to do things you are not comfortable doing to fix this mess so it is best to call a pro but not a pool man an electrician..
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-23-16 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 07-23-16, 09:42 PM
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So you nuked my long writeup after I took the time to take photos and share my work?
Not sure what you mean. No one edited any of your posts except to add pictures so they were much easier to understand.

Really don't need a long post. This is simple you need a 2 pole breaker in the panel feeding the timer and the timer feeding the pump. If they used two single pole breakers that was never correct or safe even if it worked. Now you need to figure out how to put 2 pole breaker in the panel and connect it to the wires going to the timer.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 09:46 PM
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The title of your website is DIY forums not para professional forums. I come here with no electrical background just what I read here and there and I put together something I believed would let experts like you assist. I know you want the cover off but my life is more important than your demands. IF you express frustration at someone posting to a DIY forum then there is a serious mismatch of expectations between a visitor like me and a mod like you. I'm happy to post the outcome here later for others but at this point I dont wnat your help. Its too arrogant.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 09:49 PM
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I wrote a 1 page writeup with multiple photo links. Posted awaiting approval. I spent 1/2 day on this for myself and to make sure as a novice I would not waste anyones time by giving them lots of info and showing how i traced the wires. Yes I didnt take the lid off. IF you know anything about Pushmatic the lid can arc and kill someone. Thats why I wont take it off. I have seen it off 2x but dont recall the color of the wires FYI.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 10:01 PM
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I wrote a 1 page writeup with multiple photo links. Posted awaiting approval. I spent 1/2 day on this for myself and to make sure as a novice I would not waste anyones time by giving them lots of info and showing how i traced the wires.
Sorry about that. The board will auto moderate a post with too many pictures if you are new to the board. As a Mod I do not see your post and I should. I'm not sure what happened. Let me do some digging and see what turns up.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 10:06 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dFfQYU--Bo
Im posting the above for others so they can realize the danger of taking off the lid. This is an excellent video and the narrator was patient, speaking to an audience of DIY people properly IMO.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 10:09 PM
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Its OK.

Its OK. It doesnt matter at this point as Im not gonna do the final step of removing the lid. I was here to get help and to pay forward try to help others by sharing. I am pretty confident on my assumption and was just looking for corroboration. I'm gonna have my electrician work on it. He agreed with me in theory and and said he had seen this situation before as well.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 10:14 PM
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Yes, good idea, This is one of those times you need an electrician. I hope he corrects all the original mistakes and doesn't try to get it working the way it seems to be wired.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 10:17 PM
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Your post was not nuked. You posted too many pictures/links for a new member with a post count of under 10. The board puts it in moderation for us to approve. I approved the post twice and for some reason the moderation was not lifted.

It should be visible now.

Please let us know the outcome after your electrician checks the panel.
Consider a panel upgrade in the future. I've pulled many problem Pushmatic panels out of service.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 10:59 PM
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OK thanks. Yes I plan to modernize the panel via an upgrade. But in the interim need my pump running. Assuming my theory is correct that the other 120 is coming from the bottom left, what do you guys think if we moved things around? For example move "DINING ROOM PLUG" to bottom left. Then I have space for a 2 pole 240? Why wasnt this done before when the pump was installed? Any wiring change necessary? IF this is possible to make such a change, how many AMPS do I need ie 40 or 50?
 
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Old 07-23-16, 11:38 PM
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Assuming my theory is correct that the other 120 is coming from the bottom left
There is no 120 volts just two 240 volt wires coming from two single pole breakers if your theory is correct. All breakers connect to 240 volt busses. There is no 120 volt buss for breakers.

I think what is confusing you is that a single pole breaker is informally called a 120 breaker but that just means that it is used to tap one leg of the 240 that when paired with a wire from the neutral bar produces the derived voltage of 120 volts.
 
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Old 07-23-16, 11:47 PM
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OK sorry. just confusing. so moving things is not possible?
 
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Old 07-23-16, 11:49 PM
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There are two legs of the service.... A and B. A 240v breaker connects to both. That means you need a 2pole breaker and then you could put it in the 1A/2B or 3A/4B position. At this point in time those breakers are fairly expensive.

Something like..... ebay/itm/like/150666728097?lpid=82&chn=ps&ul_noapp=true

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Old 07-24-16, 12:05 AM
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yes i need to get that lid off. as i recall there was something there blocking it. some thick cables on both sides. and i have one going out into a new subpanel. it it is possible to fit one there, how many amps? will this one work? the more amps the better? https://www.amazon.com/Connecticut-E...ct_top?ie=UTF8
 
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Old 07-24-16, 12:47 AM
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A 60 amp breaker means just that. It is for a 60 amp circuit. However you seem to need a 20 amp circuit. That means a 20 amp breaker such as what PJ posted. If you have a sub panel and it is more modern that wold be a better choice for the pump breaker.
the more amps the better?
Not unless you are planning to start a fire. A breaker must be sized to the load and wire size. The breaker protects the wire from carrying too much current and catching on fire. On 240 volt circuits where there is usually only one load the circuit is sized to slightly more than full load amps of that load.
 
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Old 07-24-16, 12:59 AM
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Ok got it. I understand. It places a cap on power and cuts off. 60 would be too high. its 20 now so stick with 20!

Also in my research somewhere I seem to recall one shouldnt have more than 6 circuits on Pushmatic box. Can anyone confirm this?
 
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Old 07-24-16, 11:12 AM
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I seem to recall one shouldn't have more than 6 circuits on Pushmatic box.
There is the six throw rule for all brands of panels that says you must have a main breaker (or other disconnect) if there are more then six circuits (breakers) in a box. You have a main breaker so that wouldn't apply.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-24-16 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 07-24-16, 03:32 PM
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Disaster Again

I have a new problem. Not related to powering the pool pump but related to outlets and a light. On the photo of my main panel, it would be the unlabeled 15 amp one.

So last night I realized my outdoor light which runs on a photocell wasnt working. I assumed that the light bulb needed to be replaced. This morning I put in a new known good bulb (tested) and covered the photocell. No light. So I went to the Pushmatic 15AMP and depressed it off and on too see if the light would revive. Well guess what happened? One indoor outlet (which is on the interior side of the wall where the outdoor light is powered) went out. One additional indoor outlet would no longer provide power. And one GFCI outlet in my garage wouldn't provide power. All of these are on the same circuit. Weird thing is prior to turning off the 15AMP Pushmatic, both outlets indoors were working. I had 2 power strips plugged in and saw the lights to them on. I dont know when the garage GFCI outlet stopped working. Whats going on now????
 
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Old 07-24-16, 04:28 PM
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The breakers in the panel may be failing given its age or a connection somewhere failed. If the latter you will have an Easter egg hunt on your hands. Or it could be related to the GFCI either because it failed or there is a bad connection. If there are wire nuts in the switch box it could be a failed wire nut connection.
 
 

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