Dockside Chat - Electrical Question

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View Full Version : Electrical Question


dannyroche
03-28-2012, 04:35 PM
I'm sorry if this is not the right forum for this. If not, let me know and I will repost.

I have an residential electrical question regarding outside lights. I figured with all the bright (no pun intended) people here, I would get the right answer.

I installed an outside sport court. There is an 3 headed outdoor light assembly on and 18' pole. The contractor told me it was a 220v light when it was put in last fall. I wasn't ready to run conduit and wire it at that time. Now I'm ready.

The wire has a yellow outside cover, not the standard white. I was told this is because it is a 20A wire? The wire only has 2 conductors (white and black) as well as a bare ground wire inside. This appears to be a 110v 20a wire, not a 220v 20a wire based on what I know (apparently not much).

I put a male connector on the pole and ran a heavy extension cord and applied 110v - no light.

I'm curious, is this a 220v wire and if so, how do I connect to it?


Crabpot Man
03-28-2012, 05:00 PM
Sounds like regular romex. The color doesn't signify rating size does. It could be either 12 or 14 2 with ground.

If it wasn't connected at the light end are you sure it's hooked to a breaker at the other end?

Could be used for 110 or 220.

baker2605
03-28-2012, 05:07 PM
Well crabpot you are right and wrong. Romex is now colored based on amperage. Yellow is good for twenty amps.Inspectors were too stupid to figure out what size the wires were. If you are running conduit just pull individual conductors. You can use 12-2 for 220v perfectly legal.


slickster
03-28-2012, 05:10 PM
Based on the question you asked and the way you asked it.....pay an electrician to come out and make it right...

yarcraft91
03-28-2012, 05:14 PM
Romex is now colored based on amperage. Yellow is good for twenty amps..

Interesting! When did that happen?

dannyroche
03-28-2012, 05:18 PM
Thanks guys. I plan to have an electrician wire it. Just thought 220v was 3 wire (neutral and two 110 feeds). Didn't want to do all the work and then find out I didn't run the right wire.

JasperDog
03-28-2012, 05:32 PM
230 volt lighting is rare in a residential setting . Mostly used for power ( range,pumps,AC, stuff like that).

If it is black,white,bare that is a 110 volt pattern. Who knows what guys run though....

billinstuart
03-28-2012, 05:57 PM
Don't need a neutral for 240v single phase.

gort
03-28-2012, 05:59 PM
Oh my.... this is some funny stuff.


The only thing missing is a bucket of water, some grounding rods, cheap beer, kissing cousins, fire works, the 12 gauge, yer sisters dog and plenty of gasoline ....


Seriously folks if you don't no how lectricity worx leev it to de professinals.....


Geez I be runnin some outside wire thats yeller .... is that good?

baker2605
03-28-2012, 06:03 PM
Don't quote me but I think in the 2001 code. I rarely do residential work but I try to keep up with code changes. The new code states that in a home all outlets have to be tamper-resistant and all branch circuits have to have AFCI breakers. Add in the cost of copper and that spec just got pretty damn expensive to wire.

wdkerek
03-28-2012, 06:11 PM
Yes Romex is now color coded.
Yellow is for 12, white is 14 and orange is 10

220 volt wire is WAY more expensive than 110 volt wire..........lol

Actually it's a question that is asked every day at every wholesale electrical distributor in country I would imagine.

Get a guy that know his stuff! Electricity can kill us normal folk.

burtonboards32
03-28-2012, 06:14 PM
Based on the question you asked and the way you asked it.....pay an electrician to come out and make it right...

Only answer that should be considered...

Mist-Rest
03-28-2012, 06:15 PM
Dig the trench for the sparky and let him put the proper conduit and fittings in. Let him pull the wire into the conduit and make the proper connections. You can then back fill it saving a few bucks.

There is no way of anyone here knowing what the hell a "3 headed light assembly" is. For all we know you have a triple 400 watt metal halide fixture up there tapped for 220 instead of 110VAC.

dannyroche
03-28-2012, 06:30 PM
Here is a link to a pic of the 3 headed light assembly (#2).
http://www.snapsports.com/lighting.html

Just trying to understand how you wire 220v to a two conductor (black/white) romex wire....

captainjay
03-28-2012, 07:03 PM
Long story short is you code the white wire for one hot leg, you use the black for the other. As someone stated earlier you don't have to have a neutral for 220. That being said if you really have this little grasp of the subject. Hire an electrician. Ask him what size conduit rough in the conduit and let him wire it.

Here is a laymans explanation of it.
1) A black wire which is often known as the "hot" wire, which carries the current in to the fixture.
2) Another "hot" wire which may be blue, red or white (if it is white the code actually requires it to painted or otherwise marked one of the other colors, but often it is not) which also carries current in to the fixture.
3) A bare copper wire called the ground, the sole function of which is to enhance user safety.

That's it, no neutral. Now, if you are paying attention, then you are probably wondering "If there isn't a neutral wire then how is the circuit completed?" The answer is that when one hot wire is negative, then the other is positive, so the two hot wires complete the circuit together because they are "out of phase". This is why 240 volt circuits connect to double pole breakers that are essentially two single pole breakers tied together. In the main panel, every other breaker is out of phase with the adjoining breakers. So, in essence 240 volt wiring is powered by 2 - 120 volt hot wires that are 180 degrees out of phase.
I previously mentioned "straight" 240 volt appliances, but there is another class of 240 volt equipment; some appliances (such as clothes dryers and ranges) use 240 volt current to power their main function (drying clothes or cooking food) but use 120 volt current to power accessories such as the clock on your stove or the light inside the oven, or the digital readout on your dryer controls. That is why some 240 volt circuits have four wires:
Jay

Crabpot Man
03-29-2012, 02:31 AM
Interesting! When did that happen?

News to me as well!

Question.

Has yellow always been 12 ga.?

I could swear I've had some 14 ga yellow, but not certain.

billinstuart
03-29-2012, 05:14 AM
There's more to consider.

1) You don't normally pull romex/uf in conduit.

2) Also, without a neutral you can never have a 120v outlet at the court.

3) Is this permitted?

4) Mist-rest has the answer..you dig, let sparky electrify.

yarcraft91
03-29-2012, 05:48 AM
Don't quote me but I think in the 2001 code. I rarely do residential work but I try to keep up with code changes. The new code states that in a home all outlets have to be tamper-resistant and all branch circuits have to have AFCI breakers. Add in the cost of copper and that spec just got pretty damn expensive to wire.

I've almost exhausted the rolls of wire I bought in the late 90's for home projects. Looks like I'll be learning a bit next time I buy Romex. :)

One info source I found indicated the color coding of Romex insulation is optional and inspectors still accept the older-style white wire with gauge printed on the insulation. Also found some "mature" electrician moaning that new electricians hardly know what wire gauge is anymore, they just know what color to use- that was funny. He tells them to get 12 ga wire and they ask "OK, but what color?".

fichtion
03-29-2012, 06:00 AM
Just had the kitchen re-done and it looks to me as though yellow wire was run for the appliances.

I didn't touch the shiite.

Just wrote the check

1rider
03-29-2012, 09:16 AM
News to me as well!

Question.

Has yellow always been 12 ga.?

I could swear I've had some 14 ga yellow, but not certain.

Yes, since the code change requiring the outer cable to be colored the yellow has been for #12.

dannyroche
03-29-2012, 06:04 PM
Thanks all - especially CaptJay. I plan to have an electrician wire it. Will be meeting with him next week. Just didn't know you could have the 2 hot wires without a neutral. Get it now. Tx...

Coconut Sunrise
03-31-2012, 05:24 AM
Based on the question you asked and the way you asked it.....pay an electrician to come out and make it right...


YEP WHAT HE SAID :thumbsup:

Coconut Sunrise
03-31-2012, 05:30 AM
Long story short is you code the white wire for one hot leg, you use the black for the other. As someone stated earlier you don't have to have a neutral for 220. That being said if you really have this little grasp of the subject. Hire an electrician. Ask him what size conduit rough in the conduit and let him wire it.

Here is a laymans explanation of it.
1) A black wire which is often known as the "hot" wire, which carries the current in to the fixture.
2) Another "hot" wire which may be blue, red or white (if it is white the code actually requires it to painted or otherwise marked one of the other colors, but often it is not) which also carries current in to the fixture.
3) A bare copper wire called the ground, the sole function of which is to enhance user safety.

That's it, no neutral. Now, if you are paying attention, then you are probably wondering "If there isn't a neutral wire then how is the circuit completed?" The answer is that when one hot wire is negative, then the other is positive, so the two hot wires complete the circuit together because they are "out of phase". This is why 240 volt circuits connect to double pole breakers that are essentially two single pole breakers tied together. In the main panel, every other breaker is out of phase with the adjoining breakers. So, in essence 240 volt wiring is powered by 2 - 120 volt hot wires that are 180 degrees out of phase.
I previously mentioned "straight" 240 volt appliances, but there is another class of 240 volt equipment; some appliances (such as clothes dryers and ranges) use 240 volt current to power their main function (drying clothes or cooking food) but use 120 volt current to power accessories such as the clock on your stove or the light inside the oven, or the digital readout on your dryer controls. That is why some 240 volt circuits have four wires:
Jay


Nice:thumbsup:

Tommysmicroskiff
03-31-2012, 07:01 AM
Holy SHIT !

ever heard of UF !

It's Grey ... and whats required out side ... Single wire also caries a moisture rating ...even inside conduit there will be moisture ...

Sorry about sounding like a Rant ... but this is exactly why there are building codes ... Not that I like them but if followed you can't go wrong ...

freddy063
03-31-2012, 07:31 PM
You should replace then lights with the leds like this, they use a lot less power.
http://www.rabweb.com/productLines.php?majorGroup=LFLOOD (http://www.rabweb.com/productLines.php?majorGroup=LFLOOD) And the ground and neutral are the same point electrical speaking in the panel.

jblos
04-01-2012, 06:17 AM
Just like what was said before. Romex is not permitted in a conduit. And if your lights are any decent distance from your house I would step it up to a ten wire. And add the neutral just incase you ever decide to add anything else in that area

Flot
04-01-2012, 09:33 AM
I'm going to stay out of the bigger argument, but I'm 95% sure that romex IS allowed inside conduit, as long as your fill % is still correct. I think Romex has a cross section penalty of 15-20% something like that.

And you guys are scaring me, I didn't realize that Romex only became color-coded for gauge "recently" ...

davedowneast
04-01-2012, 11:03 AM
I've stayed out of this post from the beginning because there was soo much wrong with the question.

Underground wire is different than indoor romex (Tommy).

You only need 2 wire w/ground for 240V (nice explanation by Captain Jay).

I would think 3 wire w/ground so you can have a 120V application (billinstuart), although this may be a dedicated circuit for the lights only.

Color coding has been around for (15)? years, not recent (Flot is right)

Much easier to "pull" the wire through the conduit while putting the conduit together. I would use 1" conduit, it's a bitch to pull a 100' of wire if it's tight.

I don't know what the code is for underground/wet applications is, so I would at least ask a qualified electrician (or the code enforcement officer) before laying the wire. Most/all go by the National Codes as a minimum and some areas are more strict. Same goes for individual inspectors.

I've seen too many things redone because it wasn't to the inspector's liking.

Crabpot Man
04-01-2012, 03:08 PM
Romex is not allowed in "wet" locations, conduit that is outdoors is a "wet" location.

After a little research there is no code reference the color coding. It was a marketing thing done by one manufacturer that was copied by others.



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