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Old 07-30-2009, 01:52 AM   #1
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What's Live What's Not ?????


Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum and appreciate any feedback.

I have an 8 guage cable that consists of two live wires (red and black), a neutral wire (white), and a bare copper ground wire, four wires in total. I only mention the colours as they can differ from place to place.

The two live wires are connected to the hot bus on the main panel and the neutral wire is on the neutral bus bar ( not connected to any breaker ) and the ground wire is grounded.

Now the other end of the cable is connected to a 240 volt plug. I wanted to change that plug. If I turn the breaker at the main panel off, would I be able to handle the wire without getting electrocuted? I'm assuming yes because since the only live wires are shut off it should be possible.

Normally I would shut the whole main panel off just to be safe.

I realise if I'm not 100% cofident on this basic stuff I should probably call a pro lol but I have done alot of wiring for lighting but like i said i always shut off the main.

Thanks for the time and patience required to read through this.

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Old 07-30-2009, 04:23 AM   #2
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What's Live What's Not ?????


Can you take a picture of the main panel. If this circuit is not protected by a breaker you have some issues to take of first before changing the plug(I hope you mean receptacle).

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Old 07-30-2009, 05:22 AM   #3
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What's Live What's Not ?????


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Originally Posted by jerryh3 View Post
Can you take a picture of the main panel. If this circuit is not protected by a breaker you have some issues to take of first before changing the plug(I hope you mean receptacle).

Hello Jerry,

Yea I'll have to do that tommorow. the basic description I can give about the panel off hand is that there is a main 200 amp breaker up top. The power from the lines outside come into the house and that 200 amp breaker is the first and only thing they connect to. If I turn that breaker off then it cuts the power to the whole house. Below that breaker are two vertical rows side by side of all the breakers that feed the house. I have a 40 amp breaker dedicated to this 4800 watt electrical heater that draws about 20 amps. If that description helps at all let me know. What I wanted to do was flip that 40 amp breaker off and pull out the receptacle for the heater and switch it to a newer one of the same type. There would be power in the house but theoretically, my theory anyway :S, would be that if I flip the breaker off then there should be no live current at the receptacle end because the live wires to the breaker have been shut off and the neutral and ground wire should be one and the same and pose no risk of shock... That's the best picture I can give at the moment until i take a real one lol.

I appreciate the reply and looking into this. Any other questions are more than welcome.

Thank you!!
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:42 AM   #4
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What's Live What's Not ?????


Well I found a picture online for now that closely resembles my panel as i see it.

http://greenrenovation.files.wordpre.../new-panel.jpg
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:47 AM   #5
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What's Live What's Not ?????


X_Xdiditmyself- -The problem appears to be your wording in your original post " The two live wires are connected to the hot bus on the main panel". The way this is worded, It sounds like the wires are connected directly to the bus bars of the panel (no breaker), and IF SO, the black and red wires would be "HOT" if the main 200 amp breaker were on. Then you go on to state "I have a 40 amp breaker dedicated to this 4800 watt electrical heater that draws about 20 amps". Now this indicates that the wire you are wanting to change the plug on is connected to a breaker within the panel. IF this wire is connected to a breaker then turning off that one particular breaker will disconnect the power to the line feeding the plug in question. Of course it is always safer to kill the main 200 amp breaker/disconnect to be sure you have the power off. Good Luck, David
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
X_Xdiditmyself- -The problem appears to be your wording in your original post " The two live wires are connected to the hot bus on the main panel". The way this is worded, It sounds like the wires are connected directly to the bus bars of the panel (no breaker), and IF SO, the black and red wires would be "HOT" if the main 200 amp breaker were on. Then you go on to state "I have a 40 amp breaker dedicated to this 4800 watt electrical heater that draws about 20 amps". Now this indicates that the wire you are wanting to change the plug on is connected to a breaker within the panel. IF this wire is connected to a breaker then turning off that one particular breaker will disconnect the power to the line feeding the plug in question. Of course it is always safer to kill the main 200 amp breaker/disconnect to be sure you have the power off. Good Luck, David
Thank you David,

I 100% agree I could've painted a better picture , just didn't know where to start. The wire is connected to its own breaker which will be turned off. The neutral bus bar looks to be grounded to the panel just the same as the ground bus bar so I should be safe.

I'm glad you could take pieces of my jibber jabber and make sense of it lol.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:03 PM   #7
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What's Live What's Not ?????


Quote:
The wire is connected to its own breaker which will be turned off
The breaker will disconect the power.....if it is functioning properly.


ALWAYS test power, even if the breaker has been turned off.

An inexpensive tester is like 4 bucks.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:11 PM   #8
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What's Live What's Not ?????


Yeah. What they said.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:15 PM   #9
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What's Live What's Not ?????


You may be able to get a harmless shock from phantom voltages even with the breakers off; if it can light an incand. bulb it is not a phantom voltage.

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