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Old 11-22-2006, 07:47 PM   #1
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


Hey there... I am working on a school art project... And I am not fully dumb when it comes to electrical work... But if you throw any other subject at me when it comes to contracting I know what the heck I am doing... Here it goes... I have a flourescent light fixture in my school Art building and I am trying to run a regular 120 volts coming out of it... I had opened the light fixture and I saw in there it has a ballast... There is a lable on it that says "277 Volts" where it is pretty noticable... Does that mean it is 277 volts coming in??? I had also tested it with a tester I have which only ranges from 100v - 300v for testing purposes... There are two lights on it that say (120 Volts) and (240 volts)... Well both lights lit up which indicates that there is I am assuming at least 240 volts going through it... This is where I need someone with some knowledge and experience... What do I need to do to get that down to 120 volts in order to run my power for my tools and have a pretty permanent power source??? There is a single pole light switch so that I can turn it off while I work with it... But any info I can get would be awesome... Thanx in advance!!!
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:56 PM   #2
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


You can not do what you want to do! Isn't there an outlet in the room?
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:06 PM   #3
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


Maybe I was a little bit confusing to ya'll... And I forgot to tell you that there are 3 wires runnign into the fixture... There is a green, grey, and brown wire coming in... Green is obviously the ground... Grey is the neutral... And brown is my hot wire... I do know that much... So see what you can tell me from there... Thanx!!!
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:14 PM   #4
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


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Maybe I was a little bit confusing to ya'll... And I forgot to tell you that there are 3 wires runnign into the fixture... There is a green, grey, and brown wire coming in... Green is obviously the ground... Grey is the neutral... And brown is my hot wire... I do know that much... So see what you can tell me from there... Thanx!!!
Are you messing with us? I thought you said you knew a little about electrical?

The brown is 'A' phase on a 3 phase 480 volt system. Somewhere, even multiple places in the building there are transformers that are converting 480/277 to 208/120 find that 208/120 panel and run a circuit from there to where you need to use your tools.

You cannot tap out of your lighting circuit and create a 120 volt circuit, it is absolutely against the law. And if you were in a place that was intended to be occupied then there would be a regular 120V circuit there for you to use.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:18 PM   #5
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


The green is ground... the grey is neutral... the brown is one phase of a 480 volt system. One leg to neutral is 277 volts. There's no way to get 120 volts from this without a transformer. Listen to me, and listen well... you stand a really good chance of killing yourself monkeying around with a 277 volt lighting system. Find an outlet someplace to use... you do not have 120 at this fixture and there's no way to get it.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:51 PM   #6
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


So your telling me that even if that single pole switch(120v-277v) that has the brown wire running through it, is flipped to the off position then its still dangerous??? I know for a fact that there is no outlets anywhere near this area... It would literally be a 200 foot extension cord to get there... It is a location at the very top of the stair case 5th floor... And I dont think I can run a extension cord up a staircase where people walk up and down all day (Unsafe) ... All there is nearby is that flourescent light fixture... If I am able to use a transformer or something let me know what kind I should be looking for... I am not knowledgeable enough about electrical... But I am knowledgeable to know that this situation is not impossible... I just am coming to you all for the help I need... So please tell where to go from here... Thanx!!!
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:59 PM   #7
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


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So please tell where to go from here... Thanx!!!
The Yellow Pages. Look under the heading 'electrical contractors'. A 480/277 system is not a DIY affair, and is probably flatly illegal for a DIY to be monkeying around with the wiring in a commercial building.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:23 PM   #8
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


Oh boy, this thread sounds like it's gonna be real interesting.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:55 PM   #9
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Oh boy, this thread sounds like it's gonna be real interesting.
That kinda depends on whether the OP causes me to call Texas State and give them the head's up.
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:02 AM   #10
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


Nevermind the whole idea... I will have to get with the contractors of the building I guess... I didnt think it was gonna be this much trouble anyways... I thought it was a simple project that I was getting into... And if there is nothing that I can do then I guess the professionals will have to step in and take care of it for me... Sorry for the confusion!!!
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:45 PM   #11
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


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Listen to me, and listen well... you stand a really good chance of killing yourself monkeying around with a 277 volt lighting system.
Have you heard about the new code change for '08 that all 277v light fixtures will be required to have a disconnect on them.

Pretty silly, but it's due to unqualified people getting killed doing things they shouldn't
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Old 11-23-2006, 04:35 PM   #12
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


What the..... my power is flickering here. What did you guys do?
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:20 PM   #13
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


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Have you heard about the new code change for '08 that all 277v light fixtures will be required to have a disconnect on them?
Yeah, the fixture to satisfy that requirement has been on the market for 10 years, give or take. It has a toggle switch in the ballastway cover or in the end of the fixture.
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Old 11-25-2006, 06:32 PM   #14
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


I sure hope he listened.
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Old 11-25-2006, 06:55 PM   #15
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Convert 277v to 120v tricks?


Hey Fux39, It was worth talking about. Having an outlet where it would be convenient would be good. But looks like the guys in the know are giving sound advise. Hopefully you'll find a different solution. Besides, we want you here at the forum and not a statistic. Good luck.
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