The way I see it, the current flows from one conductor to the other? So
what's the neutral for? The only thing I can think of is perhaps these
devices have several independent parts in them and some of those parts
are 120 volts...
Trolling? Well; for example: Cooking stoves. The various ones we've
had (three or four countries) vary somewhat.
And only in 3 wire plus ground North American - Mexico 115 - 0 - 115
volt wiring practice.
Buy typically our present cooking stove has 230 volt elements and 230
volt oven heater/broiler etc. But the timer clock on this current one
is (IIRC) I115 volt.
Also there is a 115 volt light bulb in the oven controlled by a switch
on the stove and a 115 volt 'convenience' outlet.
Can't remember on this stove if that outlet is controlled by the
timer; but sometimes they are. And it occasioanally makes a convenient
place to plug in something heavy like a 1500 watt electric kettle or
On the other hand our 230 volt electric hot water heater does NOT need
a neutral for anything I can think of.
Thanks for all the responses, but now I have a follow up question.
So some devices (A) need neutral and some (B) don't. Then I would guess
that plugs on (B) should be a "special case" of those on (A). Meaning
that plugs on (B) should be pluggable into outlets with a neutral. But
unless I am mistaken, that is not the case. Why not? Or am I mistaken?
There are 4 prong plugs and recepticals for 240 volt with neutral, and there
are 3 prong plugs and recepticals for 240 volt without neutral, they also
vary in configuration depending on the amperage and if they are locking.
As others have said, if a 240 volt device requires a neutral, it uses 120
volts for some part of it. With the exception of older electric ranges and
cooking equipment, any 240 volt device that requires a neutral would
typically be hard wired or furnished with a 4 wire outlet and cord
It's not so much the age of the appliance as it is the age and wiring of
the building that determines whether a 240 volt range or dryer has a 3
or 4 wire cord. The appliances are typically sold without cords for
that reason. It also helps keep the advertised price down. If a 3 wire
cord is needed, the neutral terminal on the appliance is bonded to the
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