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Old 02-24-2008, 02:19 PM   #16
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


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Originally Posted by jrclen View Post
In my humble opinion only:

Assisting you do something wrong is really not what professional electricians should be doing. I see a sub panel in your picture. The grounding (ground) conductor cannot be bonded to the grounded (neutral) conductor in that panel. Your cord is a feeder and must be 4 wire. The fact that you don't wish to spend the money for a new cord does not change either the electric code nor the safety reasons for those code articles.

Any bar having a three wire, 240 volt circuit, supplying 120 volt loads needs to take a little of their profit and correct that violation.

I'm not trying to be the bad guy here, or rain on anyone's parade, but if someone gets hurt or killed, I'd would hate to hear "a licensed electrician told me this was ok." All of us look bad at that point.

I thought about just skipping this thread and letting it go, but I just wouldn't feel right having read it. So there is my 2 cents. For what it's worth.
I agree completely. However, it is likely that the OP will do whatever it takes anyway. no matter what we say. A traveling band can't very well demand a bar owner call an electrician a couple hours before a show to come in and run a 4-wire circuit to the stage.

Like I said, he is going to do whatever it takes anyway, so while I won't say you should do it wrong, I will suggest a "less wrong" way to do it. If we don't chime in, he may do it way wrong, and really F-something up.

We have ranges and dryers all over the country wired this way, and while not ideal, this is a similar situation.

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Old 02-24-2008, 03:11 PM   #17
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


Thanks guys, I appreciate all the advice.

Here's another related question:

Sometimes the bars don't have a 240 receptacle available and I have to go directly into the panel to get my power. I have 50 amp double pole breakers of all of the standard brands and I simply snap in a breaker. Since I have only 3 wires, would I be correct (or should I say, 'less wrong') in attaching the 3rd wire to the ground in the panel, not the neutral? Some of these older places don't even have a separate ground in the box and the neutral bar is tied to the box so there is only one option at those places.

I will be changing the receptacles to GFIs...

Thanks again!
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:15 PM   #18
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


I played in a Albuquerque bar called Alphalpha's in the late 70's. They left the panel cover off in the hallway leading to the restrooms. For stage power they had a big old SO cord attached to the MAIN LUGS with ALLIGATOR CLIPS!



Safety first !
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:55 PM   #19
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


The alligator clips....that's an accident waiting to happen...

Never ran into a place with any such situation but I have heard of bands doing that before, alligator clips, rubber gloves & boots, etc. I'm not afraid to go inside a panel but you won't catch me touching the live bus.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:35 PM   #20
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


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Originally Posted by Richo View Post
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the advice.

Here's another related question:

Sometimes the bars don't have a 240 receptacle available and I have to go directly into the panel to get my power. I have 50 amp double pole breakers of all of the standard brands and I simply snap in a breaker. Since I have only 3 wires, would I be correct (or should I say, 'less wrong') in attaching the 3rd wire to the ground in the panel, not the neutral? Some of these older places don't even have a separate ground in the box and the neutral bar is tied to the box so there is only one option at those places.

I will be changing the receptacles to GFIs...

Thanks again!
The neutral
InPhase277
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:55 PM   #21
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


Can you take a picture of that box with the cover off?
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:31 PM   #22
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


I'd have to dig it out of the truck.....wondering what you want to see....
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:34 AM   #23
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
We have ranges and dryers all over the country wired this way, and while not ideal, this is a similar situation.
InPhase277
I hear what you are saying. Ranges and dryers are not supplying multiple loads through a load center. Not even close to being similar. You can help him do a hack job if you want, I just wanted to say what I said. And a simple call to the AHJ (local fire departments are good too) if there is one, will get the receptacle outlet brought into compliance in a commercial location pretty quickly in most areas. I won't be debating this with you. I said what I wanted to say. You guys go ahead and do whatever you want.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:17 PM   #24
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


The box you made looks pretty good, I just wanted to see how it was all connected internally, no worries if you can't get a pic.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:13 AM   #25
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


You need to make a 4 wire panel, and it won't be cheep. I would wire it the same as an R.V. Up to a 50 amp main breaker( if you use a range cord)( 30 amps for a dryer cord), isolate the neutral from the ground in the pannel. Use all G.F.I. breakers. You will need to 3 wire all of the receptacle boxes and, use a grounding pigtail on each box. Connect each ground wire to the pigtail with a ground crimp ring, and then run it to the receptacle ground screw. I would use MC wire to the boxes. Most home centers sell it in 25 ft boxes now a days. For the old box I would put in all new GFI breakers. You can get GFI protected extension cords, or plug in GFI adaptors for the old box, but again they ain't cheep. Check out some of the GFI products at Technology Research Corporation, Clear Water Florida. Why wouldn't that qualify as a temporary under article 590.4(C). Even with a 4 wire if he had to hook up the ground, and neutral to one ground bar it will give 4 wire protection. His 50 amp breaker is an approved panelboard.( Maybe)

Last edited by RobertS; 03-05-2008 at 05:05 AM. Reason: oops
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:50 AM   #26
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240 Volts - 4 wire to 3 wire


I just stumbled onto this site, and have this same situation.


My thinking on my panel is
wire it with separate ground and neutral (4 wire) and put a 4 wire receptacle on the outside of the box.
Then I can make a 4 wire cable to run for a normal 4 wire house setup.
AND
make a cable that has the 4 wire on one end (to plug into my box) and a 3 wire plug on the other with the ground and neutral tied together on the 3 wire end.

Would this be the "least wrong" and safest method?

It will give the added expense of an additional cable, but the 3 wire to 4 wire adapter cable can be short.
I will of course make the box with gfci receptacles

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