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Author Topic: new 220vac line for final  (Read 6380 times)
K5BDJ
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Posts: 18




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« on: February 12, 2013, 09:36:04 AM »

I have a HeathKit SB-221, and I want to run it on 220vac.   

I am going to have to have a new power line coming in to do that.

We have a 200 amp service entry.   How do I look at our panel and see if I have 220v breaker access?    I hope I can run it right off the entry panel.   I'm hoping there are enough blanks to where I can put new breakers in, and run it that way.   

I'll get an electrician to do it.   He can get permits, etc.   
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 10:06:15 AM »

220V requires a dual breaker so you'll need two blank spaces, one directly above the other. It may require moving some other breakers around in order to make room. If there is no space available then you can move some existing 120V circuits to a "piggyback" (dual) breakers in order to make room for the 220V circuit.

If you are having an electrician do the work then he'll want to come out and take a look before he gives you a price anyway so there is no need for you to be pulling the panels to check for room. He will do that and determine what he needs during his inspection.

At the same time you install the 220V circuit you may want to consider also adding a dedicated 120V, 20A circuit for the radio shack so that the radio equipment is not sharing a circuit with other household loads.
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W8JX
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 10:19:51 AM »

At the same time you install the 220V circuit you may want to consider also adding a dedicated 120V, 20A circuit for the radio shack so that the radio equipment is not sharing a circuit with other household loads.

A easier solution would be to have electrician run a single 240v feed and install a small 40 or 50 amp sub panel in shack using 8 or 6ga wire that you can also take 120v circuits out of too without needing to run additional wires from main panel and less voltage drop too. 
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N4CR
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Posts: 1694




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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 10:59:26 AM »

And be aware that 220 hasn't been available for decades, current voltages at my house run between 240 and 250 volts.

You might want to find out what that means for your amplifier. It can reduce tube life if left untreated.
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73 de N4CR, Phil

Never believe an atom. They make up everything.
AA4PB
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 11:12:51 AM »

A easier solution would be to have electrician run a single 240v feed and install a small 40 or 50 amp sub panel in shack using 8 or 6ga wire that you can also take 120v circuits out of too without needing to run additional wires from main panel and less voltage drop too.  

It depends on the distance from the panel to the radio shack. In my case it's about 20 feet so two runs of #12 romex is a lot less expensive than #6 or 8 plus a sub panel plus the breakers. Now if the shack is at the other end of a large house or out in a shed then a sub-panel would probably be the best solution.

That's why an electrician needs to look at it and make recomendations giving the cost trade-offs.

Yes, the voltages are 120/240V.
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KG6YV
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 01:19:19 PM »

FYI,

THe NEC (National electrical code) now requires 2 grounds in the line from the breaker panel to your shack.  Modern appliances on 240V use two grounds, one that goes to the green lug and another separate one that is also at ground potential.  Make sure your electrician gets you a 4 progn plug.  My Henry only has three wires (one ground) so I just used the appropriate terminals on the 4 progn plug....
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W9GB
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 01:30:43 PM »

Quote from: KG6YV
The National Electrical Code (NEC) now requires 2 grounds in the line from the breaker panel to your shack.  Modern appliances on 240V use two grounds, one that goes to the green lug and another separate one that is also at ground potential.  Make sure your electrician gets you a 4 prong plug.  
My Henry only has three wires (one ground) so I just used the appropriate terminals on the 4 prong plug....
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the NEC Handbooks.
http://www.nfpa.org/index.asp

CHECK LOCAL BUILDING / ELECTRICAL CODES, Your Licensed Electrician can advise you.
Some local electrical codes are more stringent (like Chicago area for conduit usage) or have permitted installation variances.

Amateur radio HF amplifiers typically have 3 wire cordage.  When properly jumpered for 240 VAC operation: 2 HOT wires (L1, L2) and SAFETY GROUND (GND, Green).

For your HF amplifier, a 20 Ampere 240 VAC circuit is adequate for legal limit amplifiers.
Whether this circuit is wired with 12 AWG or 10 AWG wire, will be determined by the length of circuit feed from your main electrical panel, to the 240 VAC outlet in your radio shack.
NEMA 6 receptacles and plugs are commonly used in North America for 240 VAC circuits.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEMA_connector#NEMA_6

Greg, KG6YV is correct that in 1996 the National Electrical Code (NEC) was changed for 240 VAC circuits in the Kitchen and Laundry rooms of residential homes.
Many electricians will pull 4-wires (black, red, white, green) for new 240 VAC circuits.
These Kitchen and Laundry areas use the newer four-wire NEMA 14 receptacles.

The usage of 4 wires on these circuits for safety (prevent electrocution) is due to fact that many stoves/ranges and combination washer dryers used BOTH 240 VAC and 120 VAC parts/components -- without an AC isolation transformer.

240 VAC kit hen and laundry appliances manufactured before 2000, are legal for 3-wire hook-ups per 1996 NEC Handbook.
===
A 3-wire 240 VAC receptacle and plug is legal for majority of amateur radio HF amplifiers.
AGAIN, CHECK your local electrical codes -- that may be different.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 02:03:52 PM by W9GB » Logged
AA4PB
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Posts: 12990




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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 02:42:07 PM »

Quote from: KG6YV
The National Electrical Code (NEC) now requires 2 grounds in the line from the breaker panel to your shack.  

It's not really 2 grounds, its a neutral and a safety ground. Both normally end up being a ground potential but they connect to different buss bars in the breaker panel. The idea is that if you have a device that draws current in the neutral, such as a device like a stove that needs both 120V and 240V, it does not draw that current through the safety ground. Most amps require only 240V and therefore do not have a neutral connection, only the safety ground and the two line connections.

If you want to be prepared for the future, have the electrician run a cable with the neutral connection but leave it capped off in the outlet box and install a 3-wire 240V receptacle that will accept the plug that comes with your amp. That way if you ever get an amp that does require the neutral, all you have to do is change the receptacle to a 4-wire type.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 02:45:02 PM by AA4PB » Logged
K5BDJ
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 02:43:03 PM »

Thanks to all who've responded.  
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K4RVN
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 02:49:51 PM »

If you look at your main panel and don't have two extra blanks available, there are dual circuit breakers for 120 volts that can use only one blank to replace two existing breakers which take up two blanks .
I had to do this in my older house here. This will give the electrician room to add the 240 volt breaker in a crowded panel. Let the electrician do it if you are not experienced. You would probably have only three prongs on the amp unless it has been changed.


Frank
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W6UV
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Posts: 540




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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 02:55:19 PM »

Do new amps come with power connectors attached to the cord, or are they unterminated with the expectation that the buyer will attach the appropriate plug?
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W1QJ
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Posts: 1492




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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 04:02:09 PM »

Lets get the terminology straight.  The code does NOT require 2 grounds.  A load (anything that draws current) dictates what type of wiring system it requires.  In the case of  ham amplfier with a 3 prong plug you only need a 3 wire feed consisting of 2 hots and a ground (bond, bare wire or green).  In the case of most appliances like laundry and kitchen appliances there are 120v loads which require a neutral.  A 240v branch circuit requiring a neutral (as well) is called a 240/120 circuit not a 240v circuit.  A circuit required for a ham amp (3 prong circuit) is called a dedicated 240v circuit.  HOWEVER...Some older amps like some very old Henry amps do use a neutral and therefore a (white) wire would also be needed.  It's not a bad idea when running an amplifier circuit to run a 3 wire (with ground) and leave the white wire buried (unused) in the box in case it is ever needed.  I do like the idea of running a 40 or 50 amp feeder ( with sub panel) to a ham shack if it is a distance away from the panel.  This way as your shack evolves you can add additional circuits as needed and you won't have to get a seperate run back to the panel each time.
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KC4MOP
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Posts: 759




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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 03:25:28 AM »

If you have an electric dryer, Not GAS, you can 'borrow' that circuit. Turn off the breaker and use the appropriate wire size/conductors ...ground plus a black and white wire, run the line to your shack. Buy the appropriate receptacle for 220vac. and the plug. Probably be ok with a 20Amp receptacle and plug. If the amp already has been used on 220 then buy the receptacle that matches the plug on the amp. The different designs specify the AMPS the receptacle and plug can safely carry. You will see a pretty big plug on your electric dryer.
I know many hams and myself have 'cheated' doing this with no consequences. I'm sure the NEC police will comment about my approach. It would not be wise to tap on the 220 line for your condenser unit for your central A/C. The start-up of that unit is pretty heavy.
The safer approach is to call an electrician.
Fred
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K2MK
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Posts: 403




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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 04:10:30 AM »

If you have 200 amp service then unless you have a really big house there are probably lots of spare slots. If you get an electrician to come out for a free estimate he'll explain it all to you. Even if you have no spare slots he'll fix you up. The cost is going to be mostly labor anyway so you really don't have to sweat the fine details of how he does it.

There are two things you do want to remember, however. First, go with a 20 amp circuit. That will provide you with all you need for just about any legal limit amplifier. The next is that you need to get a sensible receptacle installed in your shack. If you just tell an electrician that you need a 240 volt receptacle you might end up with a big clunky electric dryer type of wall receptacle. You don't want this. You want the simplest 20 amp receptacle. This is designated as a Nema 6-20R. The 6-20R accepts either a 15 or 20 amp plug (6-15P or 6-20P respectively). Google images of the Nema numbers to see examples.

73,
Mike K2MK
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N4CR
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Posts: 1694




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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 10:41:12 AM »

I just did this last Sunday. I had a spare 30 amp circuit that used to go to the hot water tank. (I put in tankless hot water 2 years back) I diverted the old branch stub and extended it to a sub panel in the shack and put breakers in the sub panel. Now I have 1 15 amp 240 circuit and two 15 amp 120 volt circuits.

The wire to run across the attic cost more than the sub panel, the sub panel breakers, the outlets, etc. The shack end, with 4 quad boxes, 1 240 outlet, the sub panel and breakers was about $50 in parts. 100 ft of 10-3 was $116 at both of the big box stores.

Labor was sweat equity. Even in the winter, it's hot in the attic in Florida.
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73 de N4CR, Phil

Never believe an atom. They make up everything.
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