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Author Topic: Phase coupler question (pics inside)  (Read 28861 times)

phorce1

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2006, 01:48:03 PM »

Looking at the top 2 pics, I have to say that this box is feeding a 120 volt 20 amp circuit somewhere. Notice only one black wire off the bottom right hand side of the breaker.

Yes. Someone didn't need 220 and just used one breaker to feed 120 to something else (probably an outlet). My first suggestion would be to scrub off all the Sharpie(tm) writing as it is misleading.

That is a 220 2 phase breaker not a good idea!

No, it's 2 single phase breakers clipped at the handles. The 30 amp breaker in the other pictures is a single unit 2 phase breaker. If you pop the clip off of the 20 amp breaker handles you now have two separate 20 amp single phase breakers. BUT... (see below).

If it it's an unused circuit you could put a box next to the panel and install a range receptacle to plug the coupler into.

This box is actually the ideal place to install your phase coupler if that single 120V circuit is not being used.

Leave the two breakers clipped together.

Buy a hardwired phase coupler.

Disconnect the wiring for that 120V circuit and PULL IT OUT OF THE BOX (label it if you can figure out where it goes and can't pull it all the way back to the other end).

Use one of the holes left on top of the circuit panel to install a box large enough to hold the phase coupler you buy (usually a single switch box is big enough). Plug the other hole with an approved snap-in plug.

Wire the phase coupler as instructed to the two breakers.

Re-label the panel "X-10 phase coupler breaker"

Now, if you can manage to go around and label EVERY electrical outlet/hardwired item as to which phase it's on you have a handy-dandy way to easily separate the phases if you need to test for noise generators and such. Just go flip those breakers off and noise should no longer couple across phases (unless you have a non-motor driven 220 device attached to 220 somewhere coupling them and running during testing. Motor driven devices couple somewhat but the rotating magnetic field makes it spotty.).

No need to install a 220 plug (and make sure you have the right one).

Gerald
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KDR

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2006, 08:44:25 PM »

Well if you don't have an electric drier and never plan to have one the you could hard wire a coupler. If you think there may be a need for one in the near future then you could install a 220vac 30amp plug in any location and wire it back to the box. If you did that the 20 amp breaker would need replaced with a 30 amp and the correct size wire used. You don't want to run new wiring, install a 30 amp breaker and leave the circuit wired in the box. It is more then likely a number 12 wire and  a 30 amp breaker is to big to protect a 12 gauge wire. (Some very remote exceptions apply)


Also the wording on the box could mean that there is 220 volts inside the box, which there is, and that the single circuit coming out of it goes to a plug somewhere on a south wall.  Guess its all in how you read it. I would turn the breaker off and test every south wall plug  on every floor, basement and attic and garage. Any outside outlets on a south wall?

Steven r - based on the pic there is 220 volts coming into the box first leg (red) to one breaker, second leg (red) to the other breaker and a white neutral The feeders look to be at least a number 10 wire, good for 30 amps. Must be an older box because there are no ground wires or ground wire terminal strip in the box. Typical of older 220 sub-panels
« Last Edit: July 14, 2006, 09:00:29 PM by KDR »
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bzellinger

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2006, 10:06:34 PM »

Or, I could hire an electrician and do it for me since I have no idea what you're all talking about!

Thanks for the help.
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steven r

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2006, 12:29:55 AM »

Or, I could hire an electrician and do it for me since I have no idea what you're all talking about!...
When in doubt, that's the best approach! Personally I like to stay away from the breaker box myself.

Decide whether you want a hard wired coupler or just an outlet for a plug in one. Either way as someone said it shouldn't be more than about an hours work. While it may seem odd to the electrician to install an outlet near the box, they should be able to do it. If you op for a hard wired solution, print out the wiring diagram.

While phase couplers don't preform miracles, from an X10 point of view they sure seem like do. You'll be glad you have it.

When you explain to the electrician what you want to do, expect him to have a confidant no problem attitude about the job. Otherwise pick a another electrician.
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bzellinger

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2006, 10:26:57 AM »

I put some more pics up: http://zellinger.blogspot.com

From what I can tell, the 220v box is connected to both phases. It's then daisy-chained to the ac sub box. The 220v box is turned off and everything works. Couldn't I just rip that thing out of the 220v box and use the 2 phase wires to hook up a phase coupler?
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steven r

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2006, 10:48:15 AM »

...Couldn't I just rip that thing out of the 220v box and use the 2 phase wires to hook up a phase coupler?
It seems like you could but I'm not an electrician.

The point that keeps haunting me is that someone at some time spent time and money to put in that box for some purpose. There is another end of that hookup somewhere even if isn't the south wall.

  • It may be in use somewhere unknown.
  • It may terminate somewhere unknown.
  • The wire may be dangling in a wall somewhere.

I'd highly recomending leaving the box turned off. Then over the next few days test every outlet in the house for power as well as any hardwired items.
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bzellinger

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2006, 11:25:52 AM »

It's going outside to a regular outlet. I see the pipe leading to it. I figure I can live without an outside outlet. Besides, there's another one about 20 feet away.
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dave w

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2006, 12:02:03 PM »

bzelinger

If you do not use the 220V outlet, then the sub panel would be a easy installation point for a repeater coupler. It looks like the sub panel is fed strainght off your main house breaker, so you would need (or retain ) smaller breakers in the sub panel box (15A each phase).

I'm curious, is the outside outlet a 220V receptacle? You stated you had another outlet 20 feet away. Is it fed from the same sub panel feed?

What I am asking (or thinking) is: the previous owner may be feeding 120V "A phase", to outlet #1 and and 120V "B phase" to outlet #2 (20 feet away).  If that is the case, you could continue to use the outside outlets and still connect the phase coupler to the two 15A breakers in the sub-panel box.
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bzellinger

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2006, 12:33:20 PM »

No 220v receptacle. Just 2 ordinary sockets. It's only going to that location, nothing else.
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bzellinger

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2006, 12:36:50 PM »

Notice that the AC sub box is daisy-chained to the 220v sub box. Can I still replace the existing breakers to 15a? Will that affect the AC somehow?
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2006, 01:09:42 PM »

My suspicion would be to have an electrician look at your house's entire wiring and breaker setup and recommend any changes that should be done. A map pf your house's electric system should be done: What breaker controls what lamps and outlets.
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steven r

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2006, 02:58:50 PM »

It's going outside to a regular outlet. I see the pipe leading to it. I figure I can live without an outside outlet. Besides, there's another one about 20 feet away.
Hmm... I wonder what ever needed a dedicated 20A outdoor outlet, when there was an outlet available already.
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dave w

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2006, 03:37:09 PM »

bzelinger

I just looked at your earlier pix, and see only one "hot" line from the "220V Outlet" actually leaves the box. so I understand it is just an outside 120V 20A outlet.

I am not sure my earlier advice of 15A breakers is really necessary. If me, I would use the existing 20A breaker.

Anywho, the AC breaker is not "daisy chained" (series) with the "220V Outlet" breaker, so even you did roll back to 15A breakers it would have no effect on AC.
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bzellinger

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2006, 03:57:37 PM »

So the best way to hook up a phase coupler is to disconnect the wires going outside and use the 2 breakers in the 220v box for the coupler?
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KDR

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Re: Phase coupler question (pics inside)
« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2006, 07:57:19 PM »

You may want to have a local electrician take a look at things. First thing that I saw looking at the main panel is the feeders suppling power to the sub-panel come off the main lugs. Can't make out what size breaker the main is but the wire size from the main lug to the sub-panel is under sized and bypasses the main breaker. Since it doesn't go through a main breaker it would need to be sized the same as the lines coming into the house to assure that a loaded short would not burn the wire before the links on the transformer opened up. I'm not sure where you live and what local codes are for your location but what you have would not pass code here in Cleveland. Keep in mind that breakers are designed to protect the wire not the load.

In the sub-panel a number 12 wire is used after the the 20 amp breaker so the 20 amp breaker is protecting the #12 wire which is good for 20 amps. The small wire from the main lug TO the sub-panel appears to have no breaker protection other then the links on the transformer on the pole outside. That wire looks to be maybe a #10 good for 30 amps. If it shorted to the other leg it could draw lets say 60 amps which would not blow the links on the pole but would melt the wire. Granted that the run for that wire is only a couple of feet and the likelyhood of a sort in that sort run is slim, its still not good.

How old is the house? Didn't see any gounds in the main box.

There could be some other protection there somewhere that is not shown. Thats why you should have it looked at.

Oh and by the way the other sub-panel is wired at the main lugs also.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2006, 08:00:43 PM by KDR »
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