LumberJocks

Dumb electrical question...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by dbhost posted 11-14-2010 06:53 AM 1302 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1986 days


11-14-2010 06:53 AM

My shop is an attached garage, on one side of one of the walls, is my utility room, with a very handy 110V outlet that is doing nothing, just below the electric dryer (which is 220V). On the other side is the nook where I keep the dust collector and air compressor. In order to power everything, I have been running an extension cord into the house to get power for the dust collector, but this kind of kills the noise and dust isolation of the garage… I was thinking that I might could use that outlet to tie into, and get power to the other side of that wall… But I would like to know HOW to identify what circuit that outlet goes to…

Any clue how to SAFELY trace a circuit without fooling with the breaker box (medical equipment in the house, the fewer times I trip the breakers, the better…)

I THINK it is a 110V leg off of the 220V outlet for the dryer, and I certainly would NOT run the dryer and dust collector at the same time (LOML agrees) so that wouldn’t be a bad plan. Is it possible that this is where it ties in? It is about 12” below the 220V socket for the dryer, but is without a doubt, a standard 110V NEMA-15 outlet… (which could stand to be replaced, it’s almond, the rest in the house are white…)

If this IS a tap off of one leg of the 220V 20 amp, is it safe to use for 110V, and if so, should I switch to a NEMA-5 (20 amp) outlet?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com


22 replies so far

View Brandon Hintz's profile

Brandon Hintz

53 posts in 1763 days


#1 posted 11-14-2010 07:21 AM

one way to identify the circuit provided that it is not labeled in the load center is with a remote circuit tester, basicly it is a 2 piece tool one piece plugs into the outlet the other you run over the load center and it will beep at the breaker that is connected to that outlet, mine works about 75% of the time. I wouldn’t expect the 220 line of the dryer to be connected to the outlet as if I remember correctly the dryer has to have a deticated circuit and it is generally just a bad pratice (can’t remember if its even legal) to branch off the dryer circuit as the breaker which is probably a 40 amp would easily overpower the 12 or 14 ga wire ran to the outlet.

-- Potential is limited only by imagination

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2378 posts in 1637 days


#2 posted 11-14-2010 07:25 AM

This won’t be a tie-in to your 220V dryer circuit; the dryer should be on its own, isolated circuit. Of course, especially if you own an older home, a lot of crazy renos could have been done, I guess it is theoretically possible that they tapped into one leg of the 220V circuit, but this really wouldn’t make sense. A very likely possibility is that the receptacle is part of the circuit that supplies your washing machine. Your best bet if things aren’t labelled at the breaker box is to experiment with turning off the breakers. If this is not an option, you can buy a meter at one of the various big box home reno stores that you plug one part into the receptacle which then sends out a traceable signal to the handheld meter which you can hold up to the other receptacles to see if they are on the same circuit. Hope this helps!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Pete_Jud's profile

Pete_Jud

424 posts in 2507 days


#3 posted 11-14-2010 07:33 AM

buy a cheap 50 amp panel from on of the big box stores, these are 240 V boxes, dryer outlets are typical 30 amp circuits. I don’t know if you have a 3 prong, or 4 prong dryer outlet, but run 10/2 or 10/3 though the wall, and wire up the outlet with, 12/2 or 14/2 depending on the load. I say this with disclaimer as I even though I have passed all of my inspections, I am not in that trade.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1986 days


#4 posted 11-14-2010 07:48 AM

Okay I have eliminated both the dryer, and the washer as the source for the power to the receptacle. (And discovered the breaker marked “water heater” is actually for the dryer…)

I guess it is off to Harbor Freight for a Circuit Breaker Detective. Kind of scary… They actually charge more than Amazon for the exact same item…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1986 days


#5 posted 11-14-2010 08:26 AM

Pete, an interesting idea… The dryer is 220V 30 amp. 12/2 is minimum wire size allowed here…

I am seriously thinking about calling an electrician in on this… I could really use some help getting this right…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3997 posts in 2417 days


#6 posted 11-14-2010 04:55 PM

dbhost—- I am a former (licensed) electrician, and still call on one of my still-practicing brethern when I hit a bump.

Rob is right … on existing work, you never know what somebody may have tried to get away with during a renovation. My house was built back in the 50’s, and at some point, somebody wired a couple of extra outlets in the room I use for an office with rip cord.

I would make the call.

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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#7 posted 11-14-2010 05:06 PM

dbhost
David, you need an electrician bad. Remember what Neil went through. You need to install a new panel in your garage. Make it larger than what you need for now. As I recall, your house was put together on the cheap. It very well might have 14 gauge wire instead of 12. It might even, cross your fingers it doesn’t, have aluminum wire in it. There are two panels in my garage area, and that is a real asset.

Once you have a panel in, it is then possible to become conversant with electrical code and run your own wire, that’s what I do. All my stuff meets the code when it is installed by me. But without that panel, you are an electrical fire waiting to happen. It takes 12 gauge wire to have a 20 amp breaker and outlet…......that’s the code. Pick up a code book at one of the BORG’s, you are a techie and it won’t take you long to understand this stuff. Your computer stuff is 100 times more complex.

I draw the line at installing panels. Unless you do this stuff for a living, or are building the house from scratch, that is difficult.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#8 posted 11-14-2010 05:35 PM

Incidently, I just had an electrician out to the house a couple of months ago to go through all my panels. We were having some dimming issues. I had resolved most of it by converting the DC, RAS, and TS to 240. I also had him check out the service entrance to the house. The main wires in all the panels and service entrance needed the screws tightened, and I thought that was part of my dimming issue, and it turned out to be right. But I wanted an expert in a that level, and someone to check that we hadn’t somehow overloaded our service, and we hadn’t.

You have to know a fair amount to know what you don’t know. I am at that point, since at various times in my life I have formally studied electricity, and even wiring. Shops in school, ham radio, physics major for a while. I draw the line at panel installing.

My brother’s house burnt down, no fault of his, except perhaps he should have had it inspected…....it was a cabin, undoubtedly not wired by an electrician. He lost a lot of stuff in that fire…....fortunately not the book he was working on, because I taught him to literally carry a copy on a floppy in his shirt pocket at all times.

Between your loved ones, and all your stuff, you do not want an electrical fire. Get an electrician, and have him check out the rest of the house while he is at it.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#9 posted 11-14-2010 05:37 PM

I doubled with Gerald, my internet went down for a few minutes…....typical cable update on Sunday morning.

So now you have two of us, and Gerald is the expert here. Get the electrician.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#10 posted 11-14-2010 05:39 PM

Gerald
Had the same thing happen to me in an old small house we had purchased for my mother-in-law to live in. I went up in the attic and saw zip cord. I had an electrican come in and go over that place with a fine toothed comb. How that place didn’t burn down amazes me. It was a calamity.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View CampD's profile

CampD

1217 posts in 2240 days


#11 posted 11-14-2010 05:46 PM

I would call in an electrician to wire a new box in the garage.
But what I do to find a circuit on the breaker panel is hook a radio to the one you want to find turn it up so you can hear it at the panel and switch till you find it.

-- Doug...

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#12 posted 11-14-2010 06:07 PM

Doug
Great idea, I’ll remember that. I made a battery powered buzzer thing to find wires many years ago, but they were wires that weren’t powered. Usually I just have my wife watch a light or something while I flip the breakers, but the radio thing is perfect….....................thanks.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#13 posted 11-14-2010 06:09 PM

My internet is being rebooted on a regular basis, so down to the shop for awhile. They do their updates early Sunday morning, but occasionally it drifts over past 0500 hours when they have trouble (that’s me guessing), so right now it is too quirky to use for a while…......

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3997 posts in 2417 days


#14 posted 11-14-2010 07:02 PM

Jim ... I’m a little extra sensitive to electrical issues right now.

My niece lost her home 4 weeks ago thanks to an electrical fire that started in a ceiling fan … total burn down. She said the ceiling fan was an ‘upgrade’ that was installed by the previous owner.

Thank God no one was hurt and there was no loss of life … her 14 year old son was home sick from school, woke up with the house full of smoke and was able to get himself and the dogs out safely.

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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3686 posts in 1919 days


#15 posted 11-14-2010 08:03 PM

Gerald
My brother wasn’t at home when his fire happened. But he was using an electric space heater, and the fire inspector nailed down the fire to an electrical fire in the circuit that fed that space heater. He apparently had it plugged in, with the thermostat turned way down, so it cycled. Was probably heating a space to keep some pipes from freezing. You know, substandard build, so inadequate insulation, probably running 14 gauge or worse to a socket that he had a high amperage heater plugged in, with a breaker that was too high for the wire size.

My mother-in-law’s old house (she now lives in a small new one we had built for her) actually had zip cord in the circuit that fed the electric stove!!!! We checked it out when she noted she couldn’t run more than one burner at a time…............yikes!! I wouldn’t dream of not having a house inspected on my nickel before I purchased it, not anymore. That house actually was inspected, on paper, but we now know that couldn’t have happened. Or maybe it was inspected, and then the old owner ripped off the heavy duty wire for a new house, and just put zip cord in to make the circuit look live.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase