Electrical Help Needed

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Forum topic by James posted 08-29-2011 06:30 AM 1996 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View James 's profile


138 posts in 3161 days

08-29-2011 06:30 AM

I just bought a table saw from CL and it runs on 220v. I do have 220 in my house but the problem is that its for a dryer that has a standard 30 Amp 220 4 prong outlet and my table saw is standard 220v cord. I thought I could just make an 12/3 extension cord with a 4 prong plug and run it to my dryer outlet. It did work but there is a big problem when I unplugged the extension cord from the dryer outlet it sparked and popped. This seems very scary to me and not sure if I did something wrong. I am afraid to plug the cord back in for fear that I could start a fire. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


15 replies so far

View mxrdrver's profile


38 posts in 2897 days

#1 posted 08-29-2011 01:33 PM

Call someone who knows what they’re doing.

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 2882 days

#2 posted 08-29-2011 02:50 PM

Electricity WILL kill, so don’t be afraid to call a electrician. I know my dust collector is 3-wire 220V and so you have to eliminate the Neutral. As I understand it, the Black and Red are opposite ends of the AC cycle (110 above 0 and 110 Below 0) of the Sine wave. The neutral basically cuts the wave in half giving you 110V, there for if you need 220V you use the Black and Red plus your safety ground (green). That being said, I know just enough to be dangerous, so play at your own risk.

-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3206 days

#3 posted 08-29-2011 03:23 PM

Most likely, the pop and spark was the wire of your extension cord coming loose from the screws holding it. DO NOT USE this cord till it’s throughly checked out.

You probably blew a fuse or tripped a breaker in the process.

Unless you are sure what happened, and what could happen with connecting wires like this, you are much better off to call an electrician. Let them install you a proper outlet for your saw.

OJT is not a good idea in this case.

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3122 days

#4 posted 08-29-2011 05:05 PM

The only thing I can think of is a loose wire in your extension cord. If something was wrong with it when it was plugged it would have thrown a breaker. What are the two NEMA plug types you are using? It should be stamped on the plugs.

View James 's profile


138 posts in 3161 days

#5 posted 08-29-2011 06:38 PM

I think I got it figured out. Thanks for the info.


View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2911 days

#6 posted 08-29-2011 08:31 PM

So are you going to tell us about it or leave us in the dark?? pun intended …LOL we would like to know

View James 's profile


138 posts in 3161 days

#7 posted 08-29-2011 08:50 PM

Sorry to leave you in the dark. This is what I did I unscrewed the plug, disconnected all the wires, nipped excess loose ends, retightened everything, left the neutral prong on the four prong plug out completely, Tightened the screws in the box extra extra tight so nothing go wiggle, turned off breaker, plugged in 3 prong plug to 4 prong outlet fired on the breaker, fired up the saw…no sparks!

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3206 days

#8 posted 08-29-2011 09:15 PM

Do you have a ground on the saw?
If if not you could get a shock.

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3321 days

#9 posted 08-29-2011 09:30 PM

Hate to be a drag but that scares me. I have put out more house fires from faulty electrical connections that I care to remember. I too recommend a electrican who will make sure that all your wiring is correct. You may conscider running a sub panel to the shop for all your equipment. Do it correct and be done with it.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View James 's profile


138 posts in 3161 days

#10 posted 08-29-2011 09:49 PM

There is a ground on the saw. The saw has as far as I know or at leas the female adapter that is connected to the saw has green (ground), black and white (both hot). In the 4 prong plug I have the green connected to the ground, the white and black connected to the hot, and the fourth neutral I just left completely out.


View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3796 days

#11 posted 08-29-2011 09:59 PM

You are PROBABLY ok if you have the ground wire (green or bare) connected properly, and the neutral (white) disconnected. A stove needs four wires because certain parts (lights, electronics, etc.) run on 110v.

That doesn’t explain why you had arcing when you unplugged it the first time. If there had been a short going on, the sparking (and probable blowing of the circuit breaker) would have happened when you first plugged it in. With the saw turned off there would be no current flowing, therefore nothing to cause an arc when you unplugged it. You mentioned cleaning up loose ends. It may have been some “loose ends” that came in contact with the wrong stuff when the cord flexed while unplugging it. That begs another comment. Make sure the cord is well secured with a proper strain relief so it doesn’t stress the connection inside the plug.

As has been mentioned before – if you are not sure what is ”PROPER” is, pay a licensed electrician to come out and bless/fix what you have done. I’m sure the deductible on your insurance is higher than his bill if you burn the place down.

One final comment. An extension cord as described, probably violates the electrical code. ;)

-- Joe

View James 's profile


138 posts in 3161 days

#12 posted 08-29-2011 10:54 PM

Thanks for the comments Joe. I do hate violate electrical code and really do not want to burn the place down. I might have to have an electrician come take a look just to be safe. Thanks!


View rsdowdy's profile


105 posts in 3431 days

#13 posted 08-29-2011 11:17 PM

Please, please, please get someone to check it out. There is nothing wrong with doing it yourself. I wired my whole house myself and then paid a licensed electrician to come in and bless the job which was for code reasons and my wife’s sanity. Most state codes allow for “TEMPORARY” wiring of 220, but if you do -any- wiring in your house at all without the blessing of a licensed electrician you could void your house warranty, and that will cost you alot more than just your deductible. (And that is in the very, very fine and vague print someplace in your contract.)


View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2911 days

#14 posted 08-30-2011 04:08 AM

yeah the 220V circuit breakers have to have the handles on the breakers “bonded” together so it will trip both sides of the breaker. this is code.

View RMHutchins's profile


6 posts in 2699 days

#15 posted 08-30-2011 07:02 AM

If something does happen to you, I just want you to know it’s been nice to have had you on Lumberjocks!

Just kidding—I wouldn’t “guess” at anything with 220V (your wife and kids need you around)!!!

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