# Conerting 220outlet to 110?

• posted on July 4, 2005, 2:19 pm
My daughter just bought a house that has a window set up to take a large window ac unit, with a 220 plug installed below it. (that is the only electric plug near the window) She wants to put a smaller ac unit in that window, that has a normal 110V plug. What is the easiest (safe) way of converting that 220 plug to a 110 one? Is there such a thing as a converter plug that would plug into the 220 receptacle with a 110 plug on the reverse side? Thanks

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 2:35 pm
The most practical way to do it is: assuming the outlet is on a dedicated circuit, it will be connected to a double pole breaker in your panel. Remove the double pole and install two single pole breakers, either 15 or 20 amp depending upon the size of the wire you have. Connect the black wire to one of the breakers and the white wire to the neutral bar which will have many other white wires attached to it. The second breaker is just there to fill the void. Before turning the breaker on, replace the outlet with a 15 or 20 amp 120 volt outlet that corresponds with the size of the breaker you used.

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 2:41 pm
wrote:

First, let's use correct terminology: it's 120V and 240V, not 110V and 220V.
The easiest and safest way to convert this from 240V to 120V is to replace the 240V breaker with two 120V breakers, and replace the 240V receptacle with a 120V receptacle.
Check the sheathing of the cable to see what the wire size is. It will be marked something like "AWG 12/2" or "AWG 10/2", indicating 12- or 10-gauge wire respectively. The "/2" part means two conductors.
Size your replacement circuit breakers according to the size of the wire: AWG 14 requires 15 amp breakers *maximum*; for AWG 12, 20 amp; for AWG 10, 30 amp. The size of the 120V window A/C you can use is limited by the breaker and the wire; specifically, the current rating (amps) of the unit must not exceed 80% of the rating of the breaker. So with, say, AWG 12 wire and a 20A breaker, you're limited to a unit that draws 16A at 120V.
The 240V breaker will have two wires attached to it, most likely black and white. (If they're black and *red*, STOP - following advice does not apply, and we can address that in a different post if need be.) Turn off the breaker and disconnect both wires. Remove the breaker, and replace it with two 120V breakers. Turn them both off. Connect the black wire to one of the 120V breakers, and the white wire to the neutral bus bar in the breaker box. (It's the long bar with screw terminals and a whole bunch of other white wires connected to them.) The other 120V breaker will be unused - it's there to fill the rest of the empty space left when you removed the 240V breaker.
Then replace the receptacle with a 120V receptacle. Connect the black wire to the gold-colored screw terminal, the white wire to the silver-colored screw terminal, and the bare wire to the green screw terminal.

No, there is not. 120V circuits require a neutral conductor, which is usually absent in 240V circuits.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 5, 2005, 11:08 am

Depending on the age of a piece of equipment, it may be labeled for 110/220v, 115/230v, 120/240v.. the voltages have crept upwards over the years.. I'm actually used to actually seeing 125v/250v.. (or in the case of 3phase 120/208Y, 125/213 or so.. ) I've also seen stuff labeled for 117v.
The 1965 NEC handbook that I have in front of me, in the space of 2 pages, refers to 110/220v, 115/230v, and 120/208v systems, as well as DC systems.
--
-- Welcome My Son, Welcome To The Machine --
Bob Vaughan | techie @ tantivy.net |

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 2:54 pm

You must look and see if there is a neutral (white) wire in the box. (4 wires- black, red, white, bare) If there is then you can replace the 240V outlet with a 120 V outlet. Connect the white, black, and bare ground wire to the outlet. Cap off the red wire in the box. (Or the red and black hots could be used on a 'split' duplex outlet where top outlet for the AC and the bottom outlet for something else). If there is no neutral (white) wire then there is no 'legal' way to do this without running a new cable. Kevin

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 3:00 pm

There almost certainly is. The likely possibilities are black + white + bare, and black + white + red + bare. Anything else would be *very* odd. The real question is whether there is a red wire or not.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 4:41 pm
wrote:

True - I was probably thinking more along the lines of range wire which was black-red- bare or maybe it was 2 blacks and bare in my old house built in 1954. I had forgotten that even in my newer house ('98) my central AC is wired with 10-2/g with the white wire covered in black tape and used as one of the hots. Kevin

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 7:24 pm
wrote:

Black, black and bare is also a possibility. I have that in my house for a 240 line that was installed sometime prior to me moving in.

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 7, 2005, 6:47 am
wrote:

Kevin
Think about what you just said........... Are you getting tired or just that stupid? I will assume you are just tired. There is ALWAYS a white wire in ALL cable, whether it's NM, UF, BX, or any other cable. The only way there would not be a white wire would be is the circuit was run thru steel or pvc conduit. Fishing another white wire thru conduit would be pretty easy unless someone overloaded the pipe with wires. Or, if the conduit contains two black wires, some localities allow one of the black wired to be wrapped with white vinyl tape on both ends (being sure to use the same wire of course). After than, it's simply a matter of connecting the white to the neutral in the box, replacing the dual breaker with a single, and installing a standard receptacle in the outlet box. Of course applying the proper size breaker and receptacle to match the wire.
Assuming your wire is at least a 12 gauge, use a 20amp breaker and receptacle. If it's 14 gauge (doubtful), Then you may want to rewire. If it's a 10 gauge, still use a 20A breaker and receptacle. but you'll have a bitch of a time wrapping the wires around the receptacle screws.

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 8:23 pm

Honestly, if your knowledge of electricity is limited enough to think that you could use a plug adapter of some kind to solve your problem you should hire someone to do it. All of the advice given is good and would work, but it doesn't sound to me that you should go anywhere near a service panel that has the cover removed.
CR

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 8:39 pm
It's not so much that a thing isn't available. It's called a step-down transformer. It's just that it's not practical. Here is a page with several selections of such devices made to convert European 240 volt outlets to US 120 volt: http://www.voltage-converter-transformers.com/step-down-transformer-2.html

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 8:48 pm

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 4, 2005, 10:53 pm
Out of curiousity,what size BTU is your daughter looking to install? If it is more than 13,000 BTU, chances are you can get a 220V unit. Otherwise anything smaller will probably be made to operate on 110V. As was discussed in other threads, a 220V unit uses about the same power as a 110V unit. However the 220V unit might be a tad more efficient due to the reduced current draw.

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 7, 2005, 6:53 am
wrote:

Yes, as soon as you remove that panel, a giant bolt of lightning is going to jump out and kill you, your family, your neighbors, and burn down the whole city. You damn well better buy stock in a funeral business and write a will before opening that panel

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 7, 2005, 8:14 pm
On Thu, 07 Jul 2005 01:53:21 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@idiotsroost.com

Wiring isn't what I'd call "difficult" but it does take care. Get yourself a decent reference--I've found "Wiring Simplified" to be Good Enough most things, with a copy of the NEC for when I need to do something more substantial, but YMMV and some folks like bigger books with larger type and more pictures.
Study the job at hand carefully before you proceed, and decide whether or not YOU are comfortable doing it.
As I said, it's not everyone's thing. If you don't feel comfortable doing the job, don't be ashamed to get help from a more experienced friend or hire a pro.

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 5, 2005, 1:33 am
your going to have to get an electrician.

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<%-name%>
• posted on July 6, 2005, 4:31 am
If yer gonna have to pay a real electrician it would be better to buy a 220 volt air conditioner. It probably would be easy to rewire for 110v for somebody that knows what they are doing. There are too many unknowns to try to explain it. I've heard of marking wires at both ends with the correct color tape. You electricians know about that don't you?