220 to 110 power question

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Forum topic by david51st posted 11-12-2009 09:13 PM 3881 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 3464 days

11-12-2009 09:13 PM

I am in NYC and have a 220 v line for my table saw. I am about to get a 110 1and 1/2 HP dust collector. I was wondering if there was a converter I could use in the 220 to run 110 tools like my planner, etc? Thanks as always for all your help.

13 replies so far

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3322 days

#1 posted 11-12-2009 09:40 PM

You could get a transformer to step down the voltage fro 220V to 110V but it have to be a pretty big transformer both in physical size and $$ to handle the current that the motors in machines draw. I would think it would be better to just install 110V outlets. Depending on the make of the dust collector you’re gettting, most can be wired to run on 220V. I had a Delta 1-1/2HP collector years ago and I wired it and ran it on 220V.

For example a 1-1/2HP motor might draw 12A at 110V so you’d have to get at least a 1.5KVA transformer and at Grainger that would run you around $400.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3617 days

#2 posted 11-12-2009 09:46 PM

2nd Blankman… either get 110v outlets (or extension cord to one) or rewire DC to 220 – most of them are capable of 220 (1.5HP and above)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TheDane's profile


5405 posts in 3632 days

#3 posted 11-12-2009 09:50 PM

BlankMan is right … it would require a pretty hefty transformer. I would just install some 110v outlets and be done with it.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View End_Grain's profile


95 posts in 3106 days

#4 posted 11-12-2009 10:24 PM

This will not meet code but for light duty 110v needs, you can branch off any 220v circuit by dropping one of the legs and using the ground as your common. You will have no ground on this 110v circuit unless you pull a ground wire or are using EMT from the panel to the outlet and then connecting the ground from the outlet to the handy box. In my shop wherever I drop a 220V box I also drop a 110V right beside it but then again I am the only one working with equipment. If I’m using a hand sander then I can’t be using 220V. #12 strand copper will carry 20Amps up to 100’.

Your best bet is to rewire the motor to 220V if possible. You’ll be pulling as many amps as 110V but half as much on each wire.

-- My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I bought it for.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3449 days

#5 posted 11-12-2009 10:45 PM

I think I would just run in some 115 outlets. You can google 220 to 115 step down transformer and it will bring up quit a few of them for pricing.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View captkerk's profile


169 posts in 3210 days

#6 posted 11-12-2009 10:48 PM

You probably want to make sure the dust collector is on a separate circuit from the other tools, too. Trying to run both the dust collector and another tool would probably put you over the load limit on the circuit.

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3322 days

#7 posted 11-12-2009 11:35 PM

End_Grain If he were to do that, put a 110V outlet on on leg of the 220V circuit, I’d pull a neutral from the box and at least wire up the outlet correctly. But I’m not advocating doing that, I would not do that, and I suspect that would be against code too. Suggesting using ground as the neutral return I feel is an unresponsible and unsafe suggestion in my book regardless of code. Not to mention if that caused a fire, what would the insurance company do… I consider that foremost these days, it’ll probably never happen, but I’m not willing to take the chance when it’s so easy to do things correctly.

captkerk, not necessarily, this is how I have my circuits split up from my load center for my 220V machines.

1&2 20A Cyclone 1-1/HP – Jointer 1-1/2HP
3&4 20A Table Saw 3HP – Radial Arm Saw 1-1/2HP – Mill/Drill 2HP – 180A MIG Welder

Haven’t popped a breaker yet because one person can only use one machine at a time.

I could even run the cyclone and the Unisaw on the same circuit and not pop the breaker, it’d be right under the limit but doable according to the nameplates. But quite a while ago I measured the current draw of the Unisaw when cutting some hardwood and even though it’s rated at 12A at 220V it didn’t draw half that. I wonder what one would have to be cutting to get the 3HP motor to draw 12A.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#8 posted 11-12-2009 11:53 PM

I would just run a few 110volt plugs.

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3369 days

#9 posted 11-13-2009 02:28 AM

In my shop I put all my 110/120 receptacles on a multiwire circuit. It can get a bit confusing but its basically 2 hots sharing a neutral. I ended up buying half the receptacles I had planned on, to do it you need a double pole breaker and 12/3. When doing this the most important thing to do is “break” the tab that connects the top and bottom “hot” screws but NOT breaking the tab on the neutral side. You run your white “neutral” to the neutral side, black to 1 hot screws, and the other color whether it be red or blue or whatever color to the other “hot” screw. This will give you a “separate” 120v on the top and bottom but be careful because there is a potential for 220/240. I don’t get that bit “bog” down now when I run 2 power tools together.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3645 days

#10 posted 11-13-2009 02:40 AM

The code requires treating the secondary side of a step down transformer as a new service. That includes running a bonding wire to the grounding electrode for the main service or driving a new one.

The use of an equipement grounding conductor or the raceway as a neutral conductor is a code violation and totally unsafe.

Brian024, that situation of having 240 volts on a 125 volt rated device is illegal under the Natainal Electrical Code. Having 2 outlets on separate circuits in a 2 gang box would be a much better idea :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3239 days

#11 posted 11-13-2009 03:44 AM

Since 220 is just two hots instead of 1….couldnt you just disconnect the second hot from the jumper on the load box and move it to a nuetral? that would make only one 110…though…Hmmm…I think I’d leave it to Topamax and the sparkies…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3322 days

#12 posted 11-13-2009 08:28 AM

You could but those two hots are probably a color other then white and neutral is usually white and I don’t know if it’s allowed to be any other color by code. If it is say two reds and you did this you’d have to be sure which was which at the outlet so that you connect neutral to the proper side. And is probably why neutral is always white…

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 3106 days

#13 posted 11-13-2009 09:07 AM


all of your work area is not 220. If you want to add a few 110 outlets look in your breaker box if there are any unused breakers or blank spot with out a breaker. Its not that hard to add them your self. This would depend on your wall surface. Most one or two car garages are usually unfinished. I have rewired my basement lights last year. I got tired of bare 150 watt light bulbs that wasted money and energy. rewired it all to use 4 feet and 8 feet florescent fixtures. I have watched those diy shows and read a few books Black and Decker home improvement were the ones i read. even wired 220 for an air compressor on the fruit farm i used to own.

All of this depends on the fact that you need an open or an unused breaker in your load center. Most 110-120 volt outlets are on 20 amp single pole breakers. If you are only using 1 or 2 110-120 machines at a time you could add 4 or 5 properly ground outlets with 12/3 wire and still stay within your local codes.
When buying the new circuit breakers just look on the box for the brand name of the box(square d, general electric, siemens) or the ones i’ve used. If you have an older home and the breaker box is federal pacific that brand was outlawed from use in the early 1970’s and there a a few breakers are out there but you will pay double for them now.

if your workspace is unfinished its easy to run new wires used a spade bit to drill the holes in the wall studs. Having a right angle drill helps but you can use a regular cordless drill too. If you workspace has finished walls. I would use something mounted on the wall surface. Saving you the time and cost of cutting into the drywall or whatever. Most electric supply stores can help you stay within your codes in your state. I don’t think the big box stores would be of any help unless they have a retired electriction on staff.

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