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Old 10-10-2011, 10:37 PM   #1
Bugaboo's Avatar
Jul 2010
Beer In My Mouthland
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Just found a 240 volt subpanel with a lighted switch and fuse housing at a garage sale, so looks like my 240 volt upgrade with just have to happen now. I've got two 120 volt lines running to my bk already. Plan on running one of the hots to my element through a switch and the other through a ssr/pid. Would hate to have to buy 20 feet of cable to run off the 240 outlet from my dryer.

Any reason I can't use two separate 120 volt line to a 240 element? Would I be able to rely on the gfci on each line or would I have to get a 240 volt gfci breaker? haven't wired 240 before so don't have a grasp of the big picture here
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:21 AM   #2
Aug 2010
Manchester, NH
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The ONLY two safe ways to get power to a 240V outlet are:
Run a 240V extension cord from your dryer outlet.
Put in a new 240V breaker in your box and wire a new plug on the wall where you want it.

NEVER EVER think it is safe to try to combine voltages for higher than capacity. The breakers aren't built for it. The wires themselves aren't rated for it. The insulation around your wires (and in your walls) is not rated to handle the excess heat. Inline GFCIs are NOT designed to protect from that. DO NOT MESS WITH 240V IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

I'm not trying to be condescending here - I'm trying to save your life and keep your house from burning down. Find a local electrician that you like and offer him a case of mixed homebrews - he'll probably wire you up for free (especially if you have the breaker and new outlet on hand already). In most states, it isn't legal for you to alter 240V wiring without a license anyway - even if it is your house.
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:03 AM   #3
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Sep 2007
Cincinnati OH
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The easy answer is no... no you can't. For all the reasons listed by Darkbrood. Do it right the first time.
A great man knows that he knows NOTHING

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:28 AM   #4
Apr 2010
Just this side of deranged (06037), Quinnehtukqut
Posts: 92
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well.....theoretically it will work, provided each of the two legs were from different sides of your powerpanel, meaning two 120v lines 180* out of phase = 240v.
if they were from the same side of the panel, you'd only still have 120v just double the current capacity. which would be good if you were after a 120v / 2500w heating element.
but....the safe bet is to spend the $50 on 20ft of 10GA cable and be confident you won't burn down your house just to make some beer.

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:53 AM   #5
cl330b's Avatar
Jun 2011
, CA
Posts: 456
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Meter AC voltage across the two hot leads, does it read 240VAC or 0 VAC? This will tell you if the phasing is correct for a 240VAC circuit.

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:00 AM   #6
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Feb 2011
Kokomo, IN
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It's not safe. Don't do it.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:05 AM   #7
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Nov 2010
Harker Heights, Texas
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Code is written the way it is, for a reason.

That being said, just yesterday my wife asked me how to 'convert' a 110v outlet to 220v. After holding back the laughter i just told her that they needed to have an electrician do it, and that they might as well put the new outlet wherever they wanted it, because the electrician would have to run new wire.

Then I was discussing this at work with the guys as a 'funny story', and this retarded medic from Tennessee was like (country accent) 'well all you really need to do is run another 120v cable next to that first one, and hook up the hots together so there are two wires per hot, it will work just fine'. I was just like 'wow'.

I just felt those two anecdotes were semi applicable to this situation. Follow code, do things properly, and you wont burn your **** down.
Texas is awesome.

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Old 10-11-2011, 08:10 AM   #8
MadViking's Avatar
Jul 2008
Ferndale, Washington
Posts: 36

Basically, that's what you do when you run the power from a 240v breaker, it's just two 120v breakers tied together at the handle. Like it was stated before, your two lines would have to be out of phase to work. 240v breakers naturally make the two lines out of phase by way of panel design.

Now, should you go ahead and do this? Speaking from experience as a 15 year journeyman electrician the answer would be "No". It wouldn't be up to code and it would be way too easy to get the lines crossed somewhere down the road. Wait if you have to to save the extra cash you need to do it right. Electricity is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:05 AM   #9
Feb 2011
, Australia
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Two atoms were walking down the street one day, when one of them exclaimed, "Oh no - I've lost an electron!" "Are you sure?" the other one asked. "Yes," replied the first one, "I'm positive."

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If a transient hits a pocket on a socket on a port
And the bus is interrupted at a very last resort
And the access of the memory makes your floppy disc abort
Then the shocked packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash
Then your situations' hopeless and your system's gonna crash.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse
But your packets want to tunnel to another protocol
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss
So your icons in the window are as fickle as a grouse
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang
'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang.

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Old 10-11-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
Sep 2011
Prairie Farm, WI
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Sometimes we brewers get so excited about our hobby it is a good idea to relax and take a deep breath. When we are designing our equipment to be used around our homes it is important to ask ourselves, "If the house burned down, would there be any possibility the insurance company could wiggle out of a claim by showing I did something illegal or dumb?"

Depending on your answer, a hundred bucks to pay a professional to configure what we need may not be so expensive.

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