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Old 09-28-2011, 11:01 AM   #1
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


I live in the Philippines and the main outlet here is 220V, two 110V hot wires (red and yellow) and one gnd wire (green). I planned to DIY one of my two-gang outlets to convert it to 110V just by replacing the yellow wire with the green wire, leaving the yellow hanging and the gnd terminal of the outlet empty.

I never thought that both L, both N, and both gnd terminals of a two-gang outlet are shorted through the outlet itself. I thought I can make half (one three-terminal set) of the outlet 110V and the other will remain at 220V. There are two sets of three terminals (L, N, and gnd) each. So my wiring was:

1.) Set 1
L - red (hot at breaker)
N - green (gnd at breaker)
gnd - hanging (no connection)

2.) Set 2
L - red (hot at breaker)
N - yellow (hot at breaker)
gnd - green (gnd at breaker)

In this manner the yellow wire of set 2 (N) was shorted to the green wire of set 1 (N) through the two-gang outlet. I didn't realize this until after I use a voltmeter to check the voltage at set 2 (between L and N) and realized that the value was 110V when I was expecting the original 220V.

I immediately removed the yellow wire from the N terminal of set 2 and replaced it with the green wire to make its terminal connections exactly the same to that of set 1.

Now, I noticed that in my other room one of the two-outlets there wasn't working. Specifically, the yellow wires on each set of that outlet has no voltage. I immediately checked the yellow wire that was accidentally shorted to gnd in the original room and was shocked that there is also no voltage reading on that wire.

What could have been the problem here and how do I solve it? By the way, no breaker tripped during these events.

Please help. Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:21 AM   #2
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


Quote:
Originally Posted by kevindd992002 View Post
I live in the Philippines and the main outlet here is 220V, two 110V hot wires (red and yellow) and one gnd wire (green). I planned to DIY one of my two-gang outlets to convert it to 110V just by replacing the yellow wire with the green wire, leaving the yellow hanging and the gnd terminal of the outlet empty.

I never thought that both L, both N, and both gnd terminals of a two-gang outlet are shorted through the outlet itself. I thought I can make half (one three-terminal set) of the outlet 110V and the other will remain at 220V. There are two sets of three terminals (L, N, and gnd) each. So my wiring was:

1.) Set 1
L - red (hot at breaker)
N - green (gnd at breaker)
gnd - hanging (no connection)

2.) Set 2
L - red (hot at breaker)
N - yellow (hot at breaker)
gnd - green (gnd at breaker)

In this manner the yellow wire of set 2 (N) was shorted to the green wire of set 1 (N) through the two-gang outlet. I didn't realize this until after I use a voltmeter to check the voltage at set 2 (between L and N) and realized that the value was 110V when I was expecting the original 220V.

I immediately removed the yellow wire from the N terminal of set 2 and replaced it with the green wire to make its terminal connections exactly the same to that of set 1.

Now, I noticed that in my other room one of the two-outlets there wasn't working. Specifically, the yellow wires on each set of that outlet has no voltage. I immediately checked the yellow wire that was accidentally shorted to gnd in the original room and was shocked that there is also no voltage reading on that wire.

What could have been the problem here and how do I solve it? By the way, no breaker tripped during these events.

Please help. Thanks.
Normally both L, both N and both ground terminals are connected together within the 2 gang (duplex) receptacle unit. There may or may not be a tab that can be bent back and forth and then snapped off to separate the two L terminals and another such tab to separate the two N terminals.

Ordinarly a receptacle used for 220 volts should not be used for 110 volts. A receptacle with different prong positions would be used for 110 volts. Check your local electric code for this.

Turn off the breaker and then turn it back on to be sure it is not in a tripped position.

Check for ground fault interrupter or similar devices to be sure they are not tripped also.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-28-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:34 AM   #3
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Normally both L, both N and both ground terminals are connected together within the 2 gang (duplex) receptacle unit. There may or may not be a tab that can be bent back and forth and then snapped off to separate the two L terminals and another such tab to separate the two N terminals.

Ordinarly a receptacle used for 220 volts should not be used for 110 volts. A receptacle with different prong positions would be used for 110 volts. Check your local electric code for this.

Turn off the breaker and then turn it back on to be sure it is not in a tripped position.

Check for ground fault interrupter or similar devices to be sure they are not tripped also.
Where would I check if there is a tab or not?

What would be the negative effect of using a 220V receptacle for 110V? AC voltage doesn't care about polarity, right?

Turned the breaker off and on and no effect to the broken outlets. The other outlets work fine though.

I can only see a breaker on my condominium unit. I don't see any ground fault interrupter or other similar devices.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


Is it possible to just to use one of the hot wires and the ground wire in a receptacle to convert 220V to 110V without doing anything in the breaker? Take note that the breaker of this outlet is the breaker of other outlets in my house also. I guess some wires of some of the outlets that is connected to this breaker are in parallel with each other.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:11 PM   #5
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


Quote:
Originally Posted by kevindd992002 View Post
Is it possible to just to use one of the hot wires and the ground wire in a receptacle to convert 220V to 110V without doing anything in the breaker? Take note that the breaker of this outlet is the breaker of other outlets in my house also. I guess some wires of some of the outlets that is connected to this breaker are in parallel with each other.
In the US, this would be a functional but dangerous solution because each hot conductor is 120V with respect to ground. In Europe, it would not work because the hot is 220V to ground and the other conductor is neutral. I don't know what system the Philippines uses, so I can't say for sure. What I can say for sure is that it's a very bad idea, certainly not code compliant, and definitely unsafe. The ground is NOT to be used as a current-carrying conductor. By doing this, you are removing the grounding connection, and imposing current flow on the grounding conductor. A loose bonding connection at the grounding bus in the panel would result in other grounded objects and devices in the house becoming electrified.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:37 PM   #6
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
In the US, this would be a functional but dangerous solution because each hot conductor is 120V with respect to ground. In Europe, it would not work because the hot is 220V to ground and the other conductor is neutral. I don't know what system the Philippines uses, so I can't say for sure. What I can say for sure is that it's a very bad idea, certainly not code compliant, and definitely unsafe. The ground is NOT to be used as a current-carrying conductor. By doing this, you are removing the grounding connection, and imposing current flow on the grounding conductor. A loose bonding connection at the grounding bus in the panel would result in other grounded objects and devices in the house becoming electrified.
Ok. What if you separate the specific receptacle wires in a stand-alone breaker and use the same connection (hot wire and gnd), do I still lose grounding connection since the gnd wire is still connected to the grounding bus inside the breaker panel?
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


I think that what I'm planning originally would not be up to the code and is potentially dangerous. In order to use my 110V Cable Internet Amplifier (bought from the US) here in the Philippines, would using a transformer be my best bet? I have a Panther transformer here that says 500W in its label. The power adapter of my Cable Internet Amp has an output rating of just 12V @ 130mA. I know that the transformer I have would be very inefficient for my application but how much does it add to my bill, would it be a substantial amount? How efficient would the transformer be?

Please help. Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:25 AM   #8
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


Quote:
Originally Posted by kevindd992002 View Post
I think that what I'm planning originally would not be up to the code and is potentially dangerous. In order to use my 110V Cable Internet Amplifier (bought from the US) here in the Philippines, would using a transformer be my best bet? I have a Panther transformer here that says 500W in its label. The power adapter of my Cable Internet Amp has an output rating of just 12V @ 130mA. I know that the transformer I have would be very inefficient for my application but how much does it add to my bill, would it be a substantial amount? How efficient would the transformer be?

Please help. Thanks.
The 500W transformer will add a substantial load of wasted energy. Why not just get a 12V adapter with a 240V input? They have to be available locally.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:25 AM   #9
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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The 500W transformer will add a substantial load of wasted energy. Why not just get a 12V adapter with a 240V input? They have to be available locally.
Every time the transformer is turned on, it draws 500W?

Because the output port of the original 120V adapter that I have is a coaxial female port. Are those type of adapters common?
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:41 AM   #10
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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Originally Posted by kevindd992002 View Post
Every time the transformer is turned on, it draws 500W?

Because the output port of the original 120V adapter that I have is a coaxial female port. Are those type of adapters common?
It will not draw 500W, but it will draw far more power than your little device requires. The "coaxial female port" you describe sounds like every other adapter, unless you're describing something different. If it's not a standard connector you could just cut it off and attach it to the new adapter.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:36 AM   #11
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
It will not draw 500W, but it will draw far more power than your little device requires. The "coaxial female port" you describe sounds like every other adapter, unless you're describing something different. If it's not a standard connector you could just cut it off and attach it to the new adapter.
Just bought a cheap 50W step down transformer http://digitalmarketing.com.ph/zebra-transformer.php . I guess that would be sufficient. In transformers, is the polarity of the 110V output still followed? Or can I plug it in any orientation?
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:38 PM   #12
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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Originally Posted by kevindd992002 View Post
Just bought a cheap 50W step down transformer http://digitalmarketing.com.ph/zebra-transformer.php . I guess that would be sufficient. In transformers, is the polarity of the 110V output still followed? Or can I plug it in any orientation?
It shouldn't really matter.
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:22 PM   #13
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


How about in the US, does it matter there?
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:27 AM   #14
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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How about in the US, does it matter there?
Not really for an adapter like that. Most of them have no ground and no distinction between the hot and neutral prongs.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:07 AM   #15
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Converting a 220V two-gang outlet to 110V


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Not really for an adapter like that. Most of them have no ground and no distinction between the hot and neutral prongs.
How do you call the output terminals of that transformer then? Are they both live?
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