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Old 12-03-2013, 12:51 AM   #1
chocotaco
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Default Question for electrically inclined

I have a 50-amp (presumably 240-volt but I will check when I get home) breaker in my box that was previously used for an above-ground hot tub. We had the hot tub removed when we bought the place because it was kind of a maintenance nightmare. When they removed the tub they left the electrical wires just kind of hanging out of the exterior wall wrapped in electrical tape (obviously they turned off the breaker as well).

I was thinking it would be cool to repurpose that run for outside electric brewing. Is that something that could be done? Which one of these would be easier:

1) Installing one (or two?) 220V outlets in a weatherproof gang box. Preferably I would use NEMA 6-20P outlet which is what the induction burner that I'm looking at using. I say "two?" because based on my rudimentary understanding of household electrical, it seems like I should be able to have two 20-amp outlets on a 50-amp breaker and as long as I'm at it I don't want to short-change myself.

2) Installing a box with four standard 120V GFI outlets (not sure how you would do that from a 240V circuit, but I'm up for it if it's DIY-able) for using a few smaller 120V heating elements - I would actually kind of prefer this as the elements would be cheaper than the induction burner (although less versatile)

3) I also have a natural gas pipe that goes outside. It's capped and I would have to remove the cap and install whatever valve I would need and buy a natural gas burner to work with it (I would probably go with the Blichmann burner with natural gas kit in this case). But the burner would probably be the same price as the induction burner I was looking at... safety and efficiency being the differentiators.

My question is this: are any of these things that I could do myself? Hiring someone to either install outlets or install a valve on the gas outlet would be expensive. If the electrical is as simple as wiring something up with wire nuts and screwing it into the wall then I could do that; to work with the gas outlet would probably take a visit from the gas company which I'm betting wouldn't be cheap (I don't have direct access to my gas meter as it's on my neighbor's property.)

Any thoughts would be appreciated; if I can safely work with the existing electrical than I would think that's the better option.

Thanks!

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Old 12-03-2013, 12:55 AM   #2
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Note: I have taken a few EE courses as part of my comp sci degree - I don't have any illusion that this translates to expertise in high voltage electrical safety, but I can probably understand any terminology you throw at me, so don't hold back.

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Old 12-03-2013, 01:01 AM   #3
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Can't imagine why someone would leave wire dangling with tape on them. Don't care if the breaker is off. How many wires are there? You'll need 4 if you want 240v and 120v circuits. That being said what you want to do is easy. My feeling is that if you have to ask these types of questions, get a professional to do it!

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Old 12-03-2013, 01:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poobah58
Can't imagine why someone would leave wire dangling with tape on them. Don't care if the breaker is off. How many wires are there? You'll need 4 if you want 240v and 120v circuits. That being said what you want to do is easy. My feeling is that if you have to ask these types of questions, get a professional to do it!
Unfortunately, I agree. However, folks can always learn (I did).

It sounds like you'd easily be able leverage the existing wiring to do some brewing outdoors. 50 amp should be big enough to do just about anything you'd want to with up to two 5500watt elements running simultaneously.

I'm going to assume that your hot tub had the spa panel with it when they removed it and all you have now is a 50A breaker (not GFCI protected). What you may want to do is run a spa panel outside using the existing wiring and then go from there to your required receptacles in an outdoor gang box or two via some conduit. Then some sort of portable control panel for your brewery.

And yes, you can run 120v off a 240V circuit using just one of the hot legs and the neutral and ground (you need 4 wires as mentioned above).
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:20 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, I agree. However, folks can always learn (I did).

It sounds like you'd easily be able leverage the existing wiring to do some brewing outdoors. 50 amp should be big enough to do just about anything you'd want to with up to two 5500watt elements running simultaneously.

I'm going to assume that your hot tub had the spa panel with it when they removed it and all you have now is a 50A breaker (not GFCI protected). What you may want to do is run a spa panel outside using the existing wiring and then go from there to your required receptacles in an outdoor gang box or two via some conduit. Then some sort of portable control panel for your brewery.

And yes, you can run 120v off a 240V circuit using just one of the hot legs and the neutral and ground (you need 4 wires as mentioned above).
Yes, the hot tub had the panel in it from what I can remember. I will snap a picture of the "rat tail" with the e-tape removed and the breaker tomorrow morning when there's light. The people who left the wire out were "spa removers" and not electricians so they probably didn't feel like it was part of their job description to remove the whole thing - there was never an electrical box; it was just strung through conduit attached to the outside of the building and wired directly into the panel in the hot tub so they would have had to remove the whole conduit if they were going to close up the wiring. I don't really blame them for leaving it as-is. Besides, this way I might actually benefit if I can install an outlet.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:28 AM   #6
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You shouldn't have 20a outlets on a 50a breaker - you should have 20a outlets on a 20a breaker because you will have the ability to draw more than 20a through a 20a outlet protected by a 50a breaker (Your homeowners insurance wouldn't like that much..). You could put in a sub-panel fed from the 50a breaker and split it out to two 20a circuits.

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Old 12-03-2013, 05:20 AM   #7
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If the 4 wires dangling from the wall are fed from a GFCI breaker inside, you can use one of these:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...4#.Up11uOKzjmg

OR even this to keep your 240V options open:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Connectic...N#.Up13TOKzjmg

Again, you must have that GFCI breaker in the main panel


If not, you need a GFCI equiped panel like this:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-60-Amp...1#.Up12S-Kzjmg

It appears to have space for additional breakers, but I cannot find that info on their site.

'da Kid

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Old 12-03-2013, 05:28 AM   #8
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Found a picture of the guts:

http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/attachm...hutoff-box.jpg

'da Kid

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Old 12-03-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chocotaco View Post
1) Installing one (or two?) 220V outlets in a weatherproof gang box. Preferably I would use NEMA 6-20P outlet which is what the induction burner that I'm looking at using. I say "two?" because based on my rudimentary understanding of household electrical, it seems like I should be able to have two 20-amp outlets on a 50-amp breaker and as long as I'm at it I don't want to short-change myself.

2) Installing a box with four standard 120V GFI outlets (not sure how you would do that from a 240V circuit, but I'm up for it if it's DIY-able) for using a few smaller 120V heating elements - I would actually kind of prefer this as the elements would be cheaper than the induction burner (although less versatile)
In both of these cases you would need a sub-panel with additional circuit breakers. The easiest thing to do is to wire a single 240V 50 amp outlet and use a 5500 watt heater element - no additional panel or breakers required.

Also, you may want to look into your area's electrical codes. Where I live a permit is required for any electrical work and it has to be performed by a licensed contractor. Not that it's ever stopped me from doing minor work...
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:50 PM   #10
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I had an identical situation in our home where the hot tub had been removed and the 50 amp circuit left in place.

I chose to pull the 6-3 w/ground cable back inside to my utility room brew area and run it into my existing RIMS panel.

I then replaced the original standard breaker in my panel with a 50 amp GFCI breaker

With the additional capacity I am all-electric now and brew year-around indoors.

2013-10-28-16.56.18-small-.jpg  
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