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Old 04-03-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


I have a 230V, 22 amp air compressor located in my basement that I need to get wired. I will have quick disconnect hookups in my garage and basement so I can use it in both locations. My wiring goal is to be able to turn it on and off from both locations independently of each other. If I’m in the garage and turn the switch on, the compressor turns on. If I’m in the basement and turn the switch on, the compressor turns on.

I have a 200 amp service at my house and the service panel is a Square D that’s located about 15 ft from the compressor. There are plenty of open slots in the panel.

I did a little research and found that Leviton makes a double pole industrial 240V, 30 amp switch, which I hope I can use. I’d rather not have to go with a bulky, metal disconnect box. Note: there is an on/off switch on the compressor itself. This is the switch that I would need to provide power to.

So far I have talked to three electricians and got a different story from each of them regarding my desire to control the compressor both in the garage and the basement.

#1 – Said it’s not possible to independently control the compressor from two separate locations. He would only be able to provide control from one switch.
#2 – Said he can wire it such that I can control the compressor from two separate locations. He said he would have to wire it in parallel.
#3 – Said he can do it, but wiring it parallel would not work. He would have to use a contactor. I have no idea what that means.

So, obviously I’m confused and would like your opinion. Is it possible to control the compressor from two different switches? If so, how would you do it?

Thanks


Last edited by jjscott; 04-03-2013 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


#3 is the only option that would work if you wanted independent control of the compressor.

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Old 04-03-2013, 06:54 PM   #3
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Maybe #2 knows something I don't, but I don't know what parallel switches are.

I made up a X10 switch connected to a 240 relay for my cyclone. Then I could turn it on with a little remote from anywhere.

If you want switches, you could put a pair of 3way switches on a 120v circuit to the 240 relay.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:14 PM   #4
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


#3 is the only real qualified electrician in the bunch, I'd say. Of course it can be done. You need two 3-way switches and a contactor. It's not complicated at all, but it's outside the scope of what most residential electricians do on a regular basis. Commercial and industrial electricians do this sort of thing all the time. #1 is maybe a bit lazy and doesn't want to deal with it. #2 doesn't know what he's talking about - two switches in parallel will let you turn it on from either location but not turn it off without using both switches! #3 can solve your problem.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Yea....number 3....

Now, it was me....I'd be using a size one starter....along with an Allen Bradley MicroLogix 1100...Ethernet connection to my computer.....couple of PanelView touchscreens.....it would make Jarvis jealous....
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:36 PM   #6
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


I have the same set up other then being able to switch it on/off in two locations. Not that hard to go down the basement and turn the power on or off. At that time check the oil and general condition. Also drain any condinsation. Also don't leave air in the tank when not in use leave the drain open, or the air will cause condisation in the tank when not in use!
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:53 PM   #7
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Is your garage is attached or detached ?

The reason why I ask due there will be some things it can be changed if detached or not.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:02 AM   #8
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Stick with #3. A decent contactor will last forever, and the starter box will not be very large. However, be sure that the coil is operated only by the pressure switch. You must wire the pressure switch in series with any and all switches.

I have the same setup in my garage as you want. It is nice to be able to control from two places once in a while. It saves steps in a big building (read lazy!).
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:27 AM   #9
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
Maybe #2 knows something I don't, but I don't know what parallel switches are.

I made up a X10 switch connected to a 240 relay for my cyclone. Then I could turn it on with a little remote from anywhere.

If you want switches, you could put a pair of 3way switches on a 120v circuit to the 240 relay.
In his defense, he didn't say parallel switches. He said he would basically wire them in parallel. I'm sure that I'm not conveying exactly what he meant. It was a high level discussion and he was probably glazing over the finer points as I do when speaking about computer systems to my wife
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:29 AM   #10
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Is your garage is attached or detached ?

The reason why I ask due there will be some things it can be changed if detached or not.

Merci,
Marc
I have an attached garage. The basement wall where the compressor is located is right next to the garage.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:36 AM   #11
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Just an FYI, one thing that suprised all three electricians was that I wanted to use a regular switch to control the compressor, the same kind used to turn on a light in the house. They all initially proposed using a disconnect box to control it, that is until I told them that Leviton makes a double pole 240V, 30 amp industrial switch part #R52-03032-2WS.

Does anyone see a problem using this switch to control the compressor?
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:20 AM   #12
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Nothing wrong with using that switch, but from only one location.
Option 3 will work with a regular light switch, or a set of 3 way switches.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:09 AM   #13
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Quote:
Originally Posted by jjscott View Post
Just an FYI, one thing that suprised all three electricians was that I wanted to use a regular switch to control the compressor, the same kind used to turn on a light in the house. They all initially proposed using a disconnect box to control it, that is until I told them that Leviton makes a double pole 240V, 30 amp industrial switch part #R52-03032-2WS.

Does anyone see a problem using this switch to control the compressor?

I have the same switch to control the compessor and Electric water heater, no problems.
Two switches two circuits!
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:28 PM   #14
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
Maybe #2 knows something I don't, but I don't know what parallel switches are.
That is a setup where you have two switches in parallel. You can turn the compressor on from either switch but you must have both switches off for it to turn off.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:58 PM   #15
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Wiring a 230V air compressor


Quote:
Originally Posted by jjscott View Post
Leviton makes a double pole 240V, 30 amp industrial switch part #R52-03032-2WS. Does anyone see a problem using this switch to control the compressor?
No it's fine in theory... but it's not a 3-way switch. You would need two 30A double-pole 3-way switches. That would be a mondo switch! It would have about 7 terminals on it. Ground. 2 Power input. 4 Travellers. You'd have to run 4-10ga lines from switch to switch. Plus two 10ga lines from the circuit box to the garage switch and two more 10ga from the basement switch to the compressor. That is a major waste of wire. Tho if such a switch existed, it would in theory work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjscott View Post
He would have to use a contactor. I have no idea what that means.


I would use a contactor. It's like what controls your Air Conditioner. You have a low voltage controller in your living room, which has a LV wire that goes out to a contactor. When that LV line energizes, it throws the contactor, which engages the lines that power your AC. Go take the panel off your AC outside and look... it's a pretty basic device.

Your use of 10ga wire will be minimal, needing to go solely from your circuit box to the device box. (probly a short run, all in basement) Everything else is low voltage control wires then. Like your garage door opener... little wires that go to a button by your door and perhaps a 2nd key or pad controlled button outside.

-mike

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