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Old 04-26-2011, 10:32 PM   #1
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explanation of 220 volt current to appliance


On two different forums, I have read that the old line going to an appliance did not have a ground or the bare copper wire was a neutral.
It has always been my understanding that the old 220 wiring had two hots and a ground (bare copper) and a neutral wasn't necessary because the two hots were out of phase. I think the bare ground was also used for the 110 neutral for the buzzer, timer, etc. A hot water heater has two hots and a ground. My 220v. electric motors have two hots and a ground. However, several years ago the code was changed so that an appliance that needs 110 for lights, buzzer, timer, etc. has a line with two 110 hots, a neutral (white for the 110 line) and also still has the bare gound.

Am I wrong on any of this? Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:45 PM   #2
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I think you're wrong in your understanding. There's nothing "old" or new about 220V. Appliances and motors that require 220V use two Hots and an Equipment Grounding Conductor. It would not require a neutral, since it wouldn't need 110V.

On the other hand, a Dryer, which uses both 220V for the heating element, and 110 for the Buzzer, etc., would require the neutral in addition to the two Hot (Phase) wires. The neutral would supply the 110 between one of the hots, and that neutral.

In both cases, an EGC is required for safety.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:50 AM   #3
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Older 120/240v circuits, such as a dryer or range, would allow the neutral to also serve as the ground. This was commonly referred to as a "3-wire" 120/240v circuit.
A bare solid copper wire was NEVER safe or legal to use as a current carrying neutral conductor, although this is/was a very common stupid mistake.

Just saying "220" is meaningless, especially in today's world where 220v does not even exist.
Typical in residential work, there is 120v, 240v, and 120/240v. All three are different in their own way.
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