4-wire GFCI 220 volt cable with a 3-wire dryer outlet?

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I am ready to take the plunge into a electric BIAB setup.

I have a 5500 watt element to install in my brewpot, a PID setup, and a 17-foot GFCI protected 30 amp cord such as the one in THIS post.

My question is this: can I use this cable with my existing nongrounded 3-wire dryer outlet? i would attach a three-wire plug to each end (hot/ hot/ ground), as the ground and neutral should be attached in the main breaker box.

I looked inside the dryer outlet. There are two hots and a white neutral. There is also a bare copper wire attached to the junction box.

I would need only 220 volts for the heating element -- no pumps or any other 120 volt appliances. It is a BIAB pot and I only need a heating element.

I should have a grounded GFCI power source. At least in theory. Is this a safe thing to do? I don't want to convert my existing outlet to a four wire outlet; I don't want to have to get a new cable for the dryer or install an additional outlet next to the dryer outlet.

I want this to be SAFE. If this won't work this way, I can install a spa panel and wire things through it. But if I can do it safely without the spa panel, I'd rather avoid the expense and hassle.

I've spent a lot of time searching previous posts and haven't found this specifically addressed. There are a lot of smart and knowledgable people on these forums, and i would appreciate people's input.

Thanks in advance.
 

amurphyz

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I have read your post a few times and don't think I totally understand what your asking ( but I'm not to bright either ha ha) . In order for a gfi to work, IMO, it has to have all 4 wires for a 220v feed, to be safe. I personally think a spa panel is the way to go. Any way you could take some pictures of your dilemma?
 

AnOldUR

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I looked inside the dryer outlet. There are two hots and a white neutral. There is also a bare copper wire attached to the junction box.
If you have four wires going into the outlet (white, black, red and bare) and four wires going into your panel you're good. Check at the panel that the white goes to the neutral strip and that the bare goes to the ground strip (edit: black and red to breaker.)
 

amurphyz

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That's what I thought too, but I am hung up on the bare wire going to the j box, not the outlet, I guess that's where I get confused, why would the outlet be a 3 prong with a hot hot neutral, but not a hot hot ground?
 

snackson

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The probably ran the wire for a four wire and then the previous owner needed a 3-wire setup. Have a buddy that is an electrician check it out and install a 4 prong outlet if that is the case.
 

AnOldUR

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I don't want to convert my existing outlet to a four wire outlet; I don't want to have to get a new cable for the dryer or install an additional outlet next to the dryer outlet . . . I want this to be SAFE.
If you want to be SAFE, use the a prong plug on the end of the GFCI and convert your dryer and outlet to four prong.
 

P-J

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gshopper,

Please be careful about what you choose to do. Take a look at this thread (The one you posted as a reference) and read it all for some more info on that GFCI cord:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/30a-gfci-power-cord-309661/

It is not rated for the response time needed for your protection (5ms).

Plus for it to properly function it must be supplied with both the neutral and the ground conductors (a 4 wire outlet).

Please don't play "You Bet Your Life".

P-J
 

AnOldUR

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Funny stuff (or not so much really) in that thread. Information is presented that common sense would tell you to stay away from that cord set and find something appropriate. Instead the thread continues on, oblivious. Got to love the internet!
 

P-J

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Funny stuff (or not so much really) in that thread. Information is presented that common sense would tell you to stay away from that cord set and find something appropriate. Instead the thread continues on, oblivious. Got to love the internet!
Thank you so much for that.
I love that you got my point exactly!

P-J
 

amurphyz

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If you guys only knew how many times I went through ordering that part until I got to the submit button. I finally came to my senses and got a spa panel, for 10 bucks I might add, on eBay, and it was brand new never opened 50amp! After reading this I feel even better, thank you guys so much for sharing your vast knowledge!!
 
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Thanks everybody, for the input.

P-J: I presume that a 5 ms response time on the GFCI will add a degree of safety. If I install a spa panel or have an electrician install a 4-pring GFCI protected outlet, will these have an appropriate response time?

I can use the GFCI cord as an extension cord if I would get adequate protection with a spa panel or GFCI outlet. Would I need to request anything specific, or would a device installed to code specs be sufficient?
 

P-J

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Thanks everybody, for the input.

P-J: I presume that a 5 ms response time on the GFCI will add a degree of safety. If I install a spa panel or have an electrician install a 4-pring GFCI protected outlet, will these have an appropriate response time?

I can use the GFCI cord as an extension cord if I would get adequate protection with a spa panel or GFCI outlet. Would I need to request anything specific, or would a device installed to code specs be sufficient?
The current US code for GFCI breakers is the 5ms trip response. This includes the Spa Panels and common GFCI outlets that one would buy for a kitchen or bathroom.

I really think that your best choice might be to get a Spa Panel from HomeDepot and configure that to plug into your existing outlet. The panel is about 1/3rd the cost of the GFCI breaker alone. (If you need a wiring plan for that, I've drawn a few and can post whatever version you need.)

Just another note: I'm puzzled with your "install a 4-prong GFCI protected outlet". I'm not aware of such a product in the US. Maybe I've not spent enough time in Lowes or HD? (Just kidding.)
Wait - Wait - You are talking about an electrician installing a GFCI breaker - wiring - and - an outlet? Wow that's going to be expensive!

P-J
 
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P-J,
Thanks for your insight. I'm considering having an electrician install a 240 V outlet in the garage, since the garage is on the other side of the wall in which the 3-wire 220 V outlet is installed in the laundry room. My wife would be happier if an electrician were involved, as she has visions of my electrocuting myself (she buys me fire extinguishers regularly for my coffee roasting setup).

I'm trying to do this without breaking the bank. Maybe the best and cheapest way would be to have an electrician install a spa panel on the garage wall on the side which is shared with the dryer outlet. The existing outlet is there on the other side of the drywall, and he shouldn't have a problem splicing and installing something there.

I presume that he can do it with 3 or 4 wires and then I would have adequate protection and can use the GFCI cord as a regular 4 prong extension off the spa panel to my brew pot.
 
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