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When installing a Y-shaped electric range plug and it has places for three wires and you have a black wire white wire and a bare copper wire so which wire goes where?

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Answer for USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hz power supply service. (LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
Electricity is dangerous!
You can be injured or killed!
Improper installations can cause fire, injury and death!
Should you be doing this yourself?)

  • This is one of the most commonly asked questions in FAQ forums about electricity and wiring. It must be understood that new appliances will be designed to meet the newest standards.
  • It is not reasonable to expect someone to rewire their home because they need a new dryer or range [stove]!
  • According to the NEC [National Electrical Code], it is now required to isolate the neutral conductor from the appliance frame or chassis.
  • It used to be allowable [and therefore common practice] to use the neutral as a grounding means by incorporating a link between the neutral and the chassis.
  • The answer to this safety issue was to require a separate grounding conductor in the cable feeding the appliance.
  • The NEC allows the replacement of the new four prong cord with a three prong cord for appliance replacements in existing installations only!
  • It is then required, when the cord is thusly replaced, to establish the frame grounding link from the chassis to the neutral.

In the present case, the cord has a 10-50P male cord connector and the receptacle is a 10-50R receptacle device. These are standard NEMA configuration designations. See the following location: http://www.leviton.com/sections/techsupp/nema.htm The "crow-footed" terminals get the hot conductors. "W" gets the neutral.


As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.
Before you do any work yourself,
on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,
always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.

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