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Old 06-14-2011, 05:26 PM   #1
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Does anyone know if you can convert 220v appliance to 50 rv service?

I have access to the old 220v appliance three prong connection. What I would like to do is install the 50 amp RV service...if not possible I would drop down to the 30 amp RV service. This is the service old stick welders used to use or the electric stove.

I know I need the 50 amp service box and that requires two hot wires, a ground and a neutral. The old wire does NOT have that exact setup.

I know just enough about electricity to be dangerous...if you touch this wire and that wire it's gonna hurt. If you touch this wire and that wire and step in water...I wouldn't feel and thing and would no longer have a need for 50 amp service...

Can someone give me colored photos or come over to my house and give me a hand with this? I have a boat that can aid in catching walleye for good bribery tactics.

Thanks in advance for you help...

Olpapa
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:27 PM   #2
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A 30A RV service has 1 120v hot wire, a neutral, and a ground. Wire size for the hot and neutral has to be the same, usually #10AWG or #8AWG copper, depending on the length of the run.

A 220v RV service is essentially two 120v services in parallel. The outlet has to have 2 120v hot wires, a neutral and a ground. The neutral has to be the same size as the hot wires, usually #6AWG or #8AWG copper, again depending on the length of the run.

When determining the length of the run, the length of the RV's cord needs to be also considered. The RV's cord size are normally fixed but to avoid excessive voltage drop, it could be necessary to go up in wire size on the run to the socket.

I would strongly suggest you hire an electrician to check it out since there are so many variables to be considered. You didn't mention what the outlet is fused (breaker) for. It's possible the wires are too small or there are not enough. Most 220v appliances do not need a neutral and the presence of a three wire socket suggests you may have that setup (two hots and a ground). If so and you can't pull a neutral in, then you would have to reconnect everything so you have a 120v hot, a neutral, and a ground and replace the fuse or breaker with 30A. If the wiring is in a conduit, you may be able to pull the neutral if the conduit is big enough (not likely). If the wiring is type SE (service entrance) cable, it is not adviseable to run a neutral alongside the SE; you will to run new wire.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:49 PM   #3
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My son wanted to install an outlet in his garage for a welder, and he already had an outlet nearby for a dryer. It turned out that one uses the two hots and a neutral while the other uses the two hots and a ground (I don't recall which was which) - they're not compatible. The RV uses the two hots and BOTH the ground and the neutral.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:16 PM   #4
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If it was a welder outlet, it would be straight 240, with the third wire as a ground. Not advisable to use as 50 amp 120/240 rv service. Changing it to a 30 amp 120 volt service is do able, but would require changing the wiring at the panel, along with changing the breaker and receptacle.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:46 PM   #5
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Ok, some facts:

Hold your 50 amp plug so the round or u shaped connector is at the bottom.

That is the "Safety ground" and is the 4th wire in that cord (more on that later)

The top one is neutral, it has to be able to carry a full 50 (in fact 60 but that's another story) amps.

The ones on either side are L-1 and L-2 the two hots and it matters not which is 1 and which is 2 so we won't worry about that.

your 3 wire welder outlet, most likely, the side terminals are L-1 and L-2 and are capable of hauling the full current for an extended period of time.

The center "pin" as it's called, is either safety ground (for a welder) or neutral (For some other devices that use 120 as well as 240) Truthly this matters not as they connect together back at the main service panel. But it is also a lighter wire.. This is very simply NOT able to haul 50 amp current.

Now, if it's wires in conduit, it might be possible to pull another 50 amp wire.

But I'd nto count on that and I'm not sure if that would be code.

I would not recommend changing it unless you can pull new wires.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:59 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone

They all sound simple enough but as I said in my comments...step in water and touch this wire and that wire and...you know the rest. I think I'll just hire an electrician so it is correct.

Thanks again,

Olpapa

PS - I will go fishing while they install this hookup.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:58 AM   #8
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A 220 electric stove does NOT use a NEUTRAL......just 2 hots and a GROUND..........

The best is to hire an electrician.........
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:47 PM   #9
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Ok, some facts:

Hold your 50 amp plug so the round or u shaped connector is at the bottom.

That is the "Safety ground" and is the 4th wire in that cord (more on that later)

The top one is neutral, it has to be able to carry a full 50 (in fact 60 but that's another story) amps.

The ones on either side are L-1 and L-2 the two hots and it matters not which is 1 and which is 2 so we won't worry about that.

your 3 wire welder outlet, most likely, the side terminals are L-1 and L-2 and are capable of hauling the full current for an extended period of time.

The center "pin" as it's called, is either safety ground (for a welder) or neutral (For some other devices that use 120 as well as 240) Truthly this matters not as they connect together back at the main service panel. But it is also a lighter wire.. This is very simply NOT able to haul 50 amp current.

Now, if it's wires in conduit, it might be possible to pull another 50 amp wire.

But I'd nto count on that and I'm not sure if that would be code.

I would not recommend changing it unless you can pull new wires.
You can always add a safety ground by using a ground rod on a stationary service.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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You can always add a safety ground by using a ground rod on a stationary service.
Absolutely positively never use a sole ground rod as a safety ground! You will create a voltage potential between that ground, and the actual ground at the service, this is a dangerous misnomer that can result in electrocution or severe injury. the average ground rod has a resistance of 25-100 ohms, it can vary greatly depending on soil type, moisture content and many other conditions. Many electricians don't understand this, so don't feel bad!
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:50 PM   #11
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Absolutely positively never use a sole ground rod as a safety ground! You will create a voltage potential between that ground, and the actual ground at the service, this is a dangerous misnomer that can result in electrocution or severe injury. the average ground rod has a resistance of 25-100 ohms, it can vary greatly depending on soil type, moisture content and many other conditions. Many electricians don't understand this, so don't feel bad!
Ok so answer me this. What is the difference if you have metal conduit underground,still is grounded to metal panel along with common wire. Code here in Calif. states i need a 10' grounding rod attached to the service box along with the common. I'm just not following your line of thinking.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:03 PM   #12
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Ok so answer me this. What is the difference if you have metal conduit underground,still is grounded to metal panel along with common wire. Code here in Calif. states i need a 10' grounding rod attached to the service box along with the common. I'm just not following your line of thinking.
The key phrase is "attached to the service box." You can't depend on two separate grounds to conduct enough current between them to trip a breaker if needed.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:20 PM   #13
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Ok so answer me this. What is the difference if you have metal conduit underground, it is grounded to metal panel along with common wire. Code here in Calif. states i need a 10' grounding rod attached to the service box along with the common. I'm just not following your line of thinking.
The ground rod is a suplimentary ground, it is required to be electrically connected to the metal conduit(Now days it is very rare that conduit would be metal. Most are pvc now.), and the service box.
Picture this, if you drive a ground rod 10' away from the service box, but it does not have a conductor (wire) connected to the service box, you have created an island, lets say that you have a short on the circuit that is "grounded" to that ground rod, depending on the resistivity of the return path, lets say it's 10 ohms between the ground rod (Which would be incredibly low for a single ground rod), and the service ground, even though you have a dead short from the hot wire to the ground rod, you would only have 12 amps flowing back to the service. This would not even trip a 15 amp breaker. That also would cause a shock hazard due to the voltage potential between the two points.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:58 PM   #14
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A driven ground is a back-up ground /neutral.....incase you loose the neutral on the utility service line. It stays out of the circuit ....unlike the service neutral.....that carrys amperage back to the utility. Never tie the two together.
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