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Old 01-23-2011, 06:02 PM   #1
magnj
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Default 240V with no neutral? Can I build a rig?

All, I'm hoping to build out a 10 gallon electric brewery with a friend. He has what I believe to be an L6-50 outlet in his garage which his father used for his big drill press and table saws. Can I safely build a rig using a few 240V elements using this outlet? I'm assuming ( I haven't gotten over there with a multimeter yet ) that it's 2 hots and a ground. What about if I also wire in some 120V pumps? Should I use a separate 120V line with a proper ground and neutral for the pumps?

If not, what would I be looking at to re-wire this thing the right way with 4 prongs? I'm assuming I'd need to run new wire? I appreciate any help you can offer!

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Old 01-23-2011, 06:06 PM   #2
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Here is a terrible picture of the outlet.

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Old 01-23-2011, 07:02 PM   #3
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You can certainly use it, but it would be safer if you re-wired it with a 4 prong and a GFCI breaker. You could try to find a GFCI cord, but they are few and far between. You'd have to put a new end on the GFCI cord as most of them use dryer plugs, which aren't the locking type you have pictured.

As far as running other things off of it, we'd need to know the amperage of the outlet and the breaker feeding it. We'd also need to know the wire size going from the breaker to the outlet. If it's 20A, you can't even run a 5500W element off of it. If it's 30A, then you can run a 5500W element and maybe a single pump at a time. Marches use 1.4 amps i believe, so 5500w element and 1 pump is 25 amps, which is 1 amp over recommended capacity for a 30A circuit.

There should be a NEMA rating on that outlet face. It should be like L5-20 or L14-30 or something similar. That will get us started on some recommendations.

If it is indeed an l6-50, you can certainly run a full blown rig off of it. You could run like 1 5500w element, 1 1500w RIMS element and a couple pumps all at the same time.

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Old 01-23-2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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I failed to mention that the circuit breaker is labeled 50, I'm working on getting a better look at the outlet but for now this is all I have. I'm hoping the outlet and the wiring are 50 amps as well. I'm looking at running two 4500w elements and both pumps if possible but I've read the load on the march pumps can reach up to 15 amps.

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Old 01-23-2011, 07:55 PM   #5
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Maybe you can wire a 50 amp gfi spa panel to the 50 amp breaker.

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Old 01-23-2011, 08:03 PM   #6
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That's actually what I've been looking at since posting this. Obviously it's more added cost but for the safety it is worth it! So if I understand correctly the spa panel adds a neutral line so that the GFCI can function? IS it a problem that the neutral would terminate in the panel, or in this case is the only function to provide a means of measuring the current out? Would I then be able to us the neutral for running the 120V pumps?

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Old 01-23-2011, 08:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnj View Post
That's actually what I've been looking at since posting this. Obviously it's more added cost but for the safety it is worth it! So if I understand correctly the spa panel adds a neutral line so that the GFCI can function? IS it a problem that the neutral would terminate in the panel, or in this case is the only function to provide a means of measuring the current out? Would I then be able to us the neutral for running the 120V pumps?
The spa panel doesn't add a neutral. If you only have two hot lines and a ground coming in, that's all you have going out. The GFCI breaker in the panel has a pigtail lead that would connect to the neutral line if you had one, otherwise it connects to the ground. The way I wired mine (hooked to a three prong dryer outlet) was to tie the incoming ground wire and the breaker pigtail to the neutral terminal block and tie the neutral terminal block and ground terminal block together - the only outputs are the two hot lines from the breaker and a ground wire from the ground terminal block - no neutral output.
If you want 120 volts as well as 240, I think you would have to use a separate 120 volt outlet for your pump, or else run new wire from your main breaker panel to add a neutral to your outlet.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:05 PM   #8
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I'm in the same situation. A slight oversight on my part was when I realized pretty far in to the system build was that my 240v outlet was 3-prong. Luckily the breaker panel and the outlet are close together, so new 4 wire cable/new GFCI CB and a new outlet and I should be set. Depending on accessibility you should be in the same boat as me.

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Old 01-23-2011, 09:09 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure the breaker is in the basement and the outlet is in the garage. If there isn't a conduit I can't picture how I would begin to run a new line...

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Old 01-23-2011, 10:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnj View Post
I've read the load on the march pumps can reach up to 15 amps.
This is not correct. The full load on the march pumps documentation is listed as 1.4A. Many people run them on 15A breakers but that doesn't mean they draw 15A.
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