Greetings all. I have a, hopefully, simple electrical question.
Let's suppose I have a properly wired 240v outlet right where I need some
120v outlets. I have read that is is possible to put in a pair of 120v
outlets in place of a 240v. It's made by using the neutral commonly to
both duplex outlets, red-hot to one and black-hot to the other, then
common ground to the box (each duplex is then on a different hot leg).
Is this really possible? Or did I read something not quite safe? If it
is safe, is it a real stretch to make a portable outlet box for the 120v
and plug it into a 240v outlet, then provide a means of grounding it
properly (long ground lead attached to the 240v face-plate screw, for
Thanks in advance,
Yes, it can and is done, however, there is a going to be a two pole breaker
that is set up for both hot leads of the old 240 circuit. The handles will
be ganged together and may not trip properly.. If and when one circuit trips
it will also trip the other circuit out..
You could change out the circuit breaker to two single poles and that would
correct that problem.
Using a two pole breaker on a split wired 120v circuit is a really good
idea and may be required, I'm not sure. It helps make things safer for
someone maintaining it later. In particular, where a single receptacle has
the hot side split so half is on one circuit, half on the other. Someone
who didn't know to trip both single pole breakers would be in for a nasty
NO. That's the way it must be, for safety and code. You can't
have "the breaker trip" and still have one live wire in the
circuit, BOTH sides must trip, that's exactly why you do use a
double pole breaker.
You should seriously consider stopping to give out dangerous
advice like that, you could get somebody hurt or killed under
the wrong circumstances.
Baisez-les s'ils ne peuvent pas prendre une plaisanterie
If anyone in this NG needs to stop giving electrical advice, Tomi Boi, it's
_YOU_. A multiwire branch circuit needs to have simultaneous disconnection
of all ungrounded conductors _only_ if the it is supplying a device or
equipment on the _same_ yolk, such as a split wired duplex receptacle. Did
_not_ the OP say that he was going to install two duplex receptacle devices?
In that case a double pole breaker is not required, or, like Steve pointed
out, may not be desired.
I am going to step in here and note that you are right the original
question did suggest two (or more) duplex receptacles. I however did
suggest that a single receptacle could be split.
This thread does prove one thing. FOLLOW the CODE! Following the code
keeps everyone safe. Failing to do that and trying to guess what is safe,
is not smart. There are far too many twist and turns that can result in
dangerous situations for anyone to think they know better than the code.
I do appreciate all the good advice (and some of the not so good) I read
here. It seems we have enough good minds that in the end, the good advice
comes to the top.
At the risk of staying OT, the OP also stated: "Let's suppose I have a
properly wired 240 volt outlet...". In a dwelling, with the exception of a
range or dryer circuit, a "properly wired" 240 volt circuit does not contain
a neutral conductor in the first place. Standard practice is to simply use
a 2-wire cable with an equipment grounding conductor (14-2w g, 12-2w g,
10-2w g, etc.) with the white conductor marked (if you're lucky) where
visible. A split-wired receptacle cannot (legally) be derived from that.
The OP would have to re-mark the marked "white" wire white (again) where
visible, remove it from the 2 pole breaker and land it on the neutral
busbar, then change the 240 volt receptacle to a 120......and make do with a
single duplex receptacle feed by only one circuit. Even if a neutral were
present in the cable (12-3w g, etc,), standard practice when installing two
side-by-side duplex receptacles (two gang box) to a multiwire circuit is to
wire one duplex receptacle to one hot and the other hot to the other duplex
receptacle, and most importantly, pigtail the neutral. In the past, in the
US, split-wired duplex receptacles (on the same yolk) were used where a 1
gang box was used in kitchens with multiwire circuits, and a tied 2 pole
breaker is still required for _that_ scenario. In the US, when GFCI's
started to be required, split-wired receptacles basically became dinosaurs.
If one decides to use a split-wired receptacle (2 circuits on the same yolk)
then, yes, the breakers must be tied together by an approved means......i.e.
don't use a 6 penny nail. And have fun providing GFCI protection for same.
In a dwelling, to the casual observer , the distinction may not be readily
apparent. To a qualified electrician, it's common knowledge.
In order follow the code one needs to know what the code _is_.
As do the vast majority of your many, informative posts.
Volts, you're driving me crazy with yolk. An electrician should know how to
spell YOKE. A yolk is what is in the middlie of an egg, not an electrical
Its yoke, no joke!
Eff'n thass all yo' hafta complain about then ah reckon th' yolk is on me.
Fo' a NG like AHR it don't surprise me thet some varmints reckon thet th'
criteria fo' determinin' th' qualificashuns of an eleckrician is whether o'
not ev'ry wo'd is spelled co'reckly.
this is Turtle.
Don't worry about Tom shitforbrains for he was just having a burst of
knowledge after having a prozac moment. he will be back to reality in about
a hour or so. He should stop taking OxyContin and prozac at the same time.
[[ No, no, no! ]]
I have heard (and seen) the term "split outlet".
In other words there must be a 'three wire' connection of the
proper AWG with a continuous unswitched white neutral. Then;
the red wire, which is one of the 115 volt legs, is connected to,
say, the top half of of a duplex outlet.
the black wire, the other 115 volt leg, is connected to the
bottom half of the duplex outlet. The 'tab' between the two
halves of the duplex outlet on the 'hot' or 'live' line side is
broken off as it is designed to be on certain receptacles. On the
neutral side it is left unbroken (the same neutral serves both
halves of the outlet).
So we now have a 'split' duplex outlet with separate 115 volt top
and bottom. Double the amps because the load is "sort of
balanced" across the two legs of the 115/230 volt supply. I
understand it (or was) quite acceptable in this jurisdiction but
not often used. Also some people misunderstood and referred to
them as "230 volt outlets" which is sort of true/untrue because
there is 230 volts between the red/black wires inside the outlet.
Also the 230 volts could be a shock (literally) for someone not
But, but, but:
The circuit breaker feeding the split arrangement MUST BE a
proper DOUBLE POLE to ensure complete disconnect.
If not and 'jimmied up' two single pole breakers are used there
is a possibility that that someone will turn off one breaker, or
that one breaker will trip AND THERE WILL STILL BE 115 VOLTS ON
THE OTHER HALF of the outlet. It WOULD work; but won't be safe!
So if we 'electrical types' don't appreciate that, how would a
My two cents. Terry.
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