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Can you convert an existing 240V plug to a 120V plug?

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2015-12-17 04:43:19
2015-12-17 04:43:19
for USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hertz supply service.The question asks "Can you convert an existing 240V plug to a 120V plug.?" ,Missing is the purpose of the 240V plug. Is it a Euro Hair Dryer, or a Stove Plug for a 2000W oven?

A1: IF it is for a Universal Power supply for electronic equipment, YES it can, as long as the equipment can work with 120V and less than 12 Amps of current. (12 Amps is 80% of a 15 Amp Circuit-That is the Limit of Power through the Wiring). If you need more power (Tim Allen from Tool-Time comes to mind,) then you need to contact an electrician to string new wiring to the outlet.

A2: IF it is for a specific piece of equipment that needs 240V to run, (Stove, Dryer, Welder), then NO, you cannot 'convert' the existing 240V plug.

A3: IF it is for a 'Euro' appliance (Less than 1000 Watts power), IF the frequency of the motor is for 50 Hz, NO, as the speed rating depends on that frequency.

A4: If its for a HDTV or similar appliance, NO, as the appliance is made to work in those countries where the 240 plug works. Adapers are available for the power supply, but for Region DVD players, it will not change the region you are in.

A5: IF it is for an incandescent light fixture, YES, the plug can be converted, as long as the current to the lamp does not exceed the wiring. Typical lamps in North America are designed for 60W lamps, They consume 60W of power when operating, at 120 Volts, and have 1/2 ampere of current in them. 18 Gauge AWG wiring is used for lamp cord as a minimum to handle the current. IF its a EURO lamp, designed for 60W bulbs, at 240V, it will only handle 1/4 Ampere current, and USING a 60W light bulb is TWICE as much as it is designed for. IT would work at 30, but IT IS NOT RATED for 120V service. If your house burned down, the insurance would not cover the fire because the lamp is unapproved for use in North America.

5 different scenarios, 2 will work, 3 will not. Generally you would plug the correct appliance in the correct socket in the correct country of purchase.

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Do this electrical work only if you feel confident that you can do it safely. If not then this is the procedure that an electrician would use and you would be able to follow what he is doing. Again an electrician should be your first choice. This answer assumes that the old receptacle was 15 or 20 amps and the new receptacle will be 15 amps. If you consider doing this the first thing is SHUT THE MAIN BREAKER OFF. Use an auxiliary light source to see when working in a dead panel. Always keep in mind an ARC FLASH ACROSS HOT MAINS HAS ENOUGH HEAT TO PEAL THE SKIN OFF OF YOU. Before an explanation of how to do this you should keep in mind that this is for a single receptacle only. If any other receptacles are on the same circuit they will also be changed to 120 volts. That said OK, any 240 volt outlet can be changed to 120 volt by removing the white wire from the 2 pole breaker and inserting it into the neutral bus bar. Remove the other wire (probably black) from the breaker. Remove the 2 pole breaker from the breaker panel. Install two single pole 15 amp breakers into the hole left by the 2 pole breaker. Leave both of these breakers turned off. Connect the black wire that came off of the 2 pole breaker on to one of the new single pole 15 amp breaker. Re install the cover to the electrical panel, this end is finished. Remove the existing 240 volt receptacle and install the new 120 volt receptacle. Materials can be purchased at local building supply store. Remember to take the electrical panel data with you so you have the information for the 2 new breakers. Once you have the receptacle installed, identify on the electrical panel door what the breaker is used for. Leave the unused breaker in the off position. Turn the main breaker back on. Test the new receptacle with a lamp to make sure every thing is OK.

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yes, you have two hot lines in a 240 outlet (!!!in North America!!!), disconnect one of them from the breaker box change breaker to a single throw and wire in new outlet

It may not be as simple as above.

Is the old wire heavy enough for the new circuit? You cannot increase the current rating above that of the old circuit, but you can decrease it safely. How many wires are there? If there are 4, you will have an unused hot. If there are 3 you need to switch one hot to be neutral to your new outlet.

Anyways, you need to:

  • Get a new outlet you wish to install (based on wire size)
  • Get a new breaker correctly sized to the outlet. !!!Get a new breaker correctly sized to the CONDUCTOR!!! A breaker protects the conductor, not the outlet. Although the two go hand in hand, a rule of thumb is to size the breaker based on the wire, or vice-versa(load). (eg, (CEC) #14=15A, #12=20A, #10=30A)
  • Remove the old breaker. Wire the black hot wire to your new breaker. If the other hot was a red wire and there is a neutral(3-wire), cap the red wire with a wire nut. If there is no neutral the old, unused hot needs to be connected to the neutral bus. (If for some reason you don't have a white wire (like you have a red-sheathed run of heat-ex) wrap the new neutral with white tape (and only really do this if the wire is larger than #6). If for some really strange reason you have two black wires STOP. You won't be able to tell which is which at the other end and need to pull new wire. or hire an electrician to meter it out) If you have an old neutral wire check that it is tightly connected to the neutral bus. Now the circuit is wired in the panel for 110V. Leave it off for now.
  • Replace the old 220V outlet with the new 110V outlet. If you had to mark wires with tape in the panel do the same here.
  • Smoke test! Turn on the breaker and see if it works. If it does, good job. If it doesn't, turn the breaker off and test your work.
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It can't be "converted", you have to run a 220 line and have a 220 breaker and plug installed.

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If I understand your question, Can you run a 110 appliance off of a 220 volt outlet? You could by only using one leg of the 220. You may also consider changing the outlet. Put in a regular 110 outlet and capping off one leg of the 220 in the wall box. You still have a neutral and a ground to work with. I read this as the questioner doesn't want to modify the outlet. Check the voltage ratings on the device. Many electronic devices nowadays can havdle 120V or 240V as it is cheaper to manufacture one powersupply and sell it everywhere. If your device is rated for 240V, you can put a 240V plug on it. If it only says 120V, no dice. 240V will burn it up.

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Power adaptors are readily available that plug into Australia's 240v outlets, converting to 120v. Find them in travel, luggage and electronics stores.


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