# 220 wiring; why isn't a neutral necessary?

Hello ... probably the only thing I don't understand is how a neutral is NOT required on a 220V line to operate at 220.
A normal 110 circuit terminates at the panel with white to common and black (hot) to breaker. When a motor is turned on, I understand current *flows* from neutral to hot (even though it's AC, it flips 60 times a second; not dealing with AC?) I assume this is just boilerplate.
I have a 220V air compressor (2 hots, 1 ground) and it has no return, which is OK since there's no device requiring 110 (one leg). How can current flow with just 2 hot wires? I assume the 2 incoming "hot bars" (from outside) are in sync. Both bars are either positive or negative. So, when the "negative" phase occurs, where does the current drain? I can see how the ground will work... and maybe it *IS* used.
Can someone clarify?
Thanks a lot! I greatly appreciate it.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>

Thanks Mark (or Sue?), by clarifying the hot bars are not ever the same polarity, current can flow between both breakers. So at any given time, either are + or -, correct?
Thanks again.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
quoting:

AC reverses polarity 120 times per second. So for 1/120th of a second, one wire is +, and the other is -. I like to think of it as the "push-pull" effect. At any givin half-cycle, one is pushing(+), and the other is pulling(-).
With one hot wire to ground, only that one wire pushing or pulling on it's own at any givin half-cycle. When the circuit is closed, the ground or neutral is sorta forced into push/pull action, except it isn't really pushing/pulling it's own electricity on it's own, so the voltage is half, or 120 volts.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>

Generally you have 3 wires coming into your home, one of which is neutral. Across either of the other 2 wires to neutral is ~120 VAC. But between the 2 hots is ~240 VAC. So be careful about connecting one hot to another hot, because if they are different hots, it could be a 240 volt short.
So yes you do have 2 hots with 220/240 V and neither of them should be grounded. But at an given instant (except in middle of AC cycle) they are opposite polarities, so current will flow between them.
--
David Efflandt - All spam ignored http://www.de-srv.com /
http://www.autox.chicago.il.us/ http://www.berniesfloral.net /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>

## Site Timeline

• ### "correct" way to prep walls for tile in shower?

• - next thread in Home Repair
• ### A little knowledge is dangerous

• - previous thread in Home Repair
• ### Re: Problems start from the top

• - newest thread in Home Repair
• ### Re: time to ban electrial tape and flare.

• - last updated thread in Home Repair
• ### Re: Problems start from the top

• - the site's newest thread. Posted in Home Repair
• ### Re: time to ban electrial tape and flare.

• - the site's last updated thread. Posted in Home Repair
• Share To

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.