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Home Electrical question

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Chunk-O-Funk, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. 220v to 110v conversion

    This not actually for my house but a rehearsal space. Me and my brother, a drummer rent a small space to jam, which has been fine up until now. The problem is it lacks 110 outlets, there is only one. There is one 220 outlet. We are now looking for guitarist\singers.

    Is it possible to buy or make a converter? I was thinking something with the large 220 plug that would split the 220 back down to two separate 110 outlets.

    I consider myself somewhat of a handy man but have never fooled with 220. If it's doable I may have someone make it for me.

    What do you think? good idea, bad idea?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Unfortunately, there is no easy way to go about it. 220 in a house is 2 110 legs. To get 110 again, you need a hot (110) and a neutral. This would involve rewiring.
  3. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Couldn't you use a surge protector on the 110V?
  4. Okay, that make sense. I wasn't sure how the plug was actually wired.

    Oh well.

    Thanks Trevorus.

    Sure, but I don't want to plug to many things in one outlet. More than likely it would just blow a circuit breaker if we had overloaded it. It's an old building converted into rehearsal spaces so who knows what the wiring is like. Worst case would be a fire, something I would like to avoid.

    Right now it shouldn't be to bad.

    Bass amp
    guitar amp

    If we go more than a trio we will have to get a bigger space anyway.
  5. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Yes, this is entirely possible. Don't try to "roll your own" if you don't know what you're doing. Mains voltage can kill you, and all it takes is one slip-up.

    Trevorus is correct, but I wouldn't take this approach. Buy an isolated step-down transformer.
  6. A step down transformer would be great. Could you provide me with a product link. A google search only got me 220v euro converters.

    What I was originally thinking was to take an appliance cord like this
    and attach it to a junction box like this
    where it could be re-wired to fit a couple of 110 sockets

    I would definitely not try to do this myself

    I have no idea If it would be possible to make, but If it was unsafe at all I would not want to use it either.

    I am comfortable installing lamp fixtures and swapping switches and outlets, but I know my limitations. I don't try to re-wire anything and stay away from 220v.

    The step down transformer sounds like what I am looking for.

  7. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Even with a step-down transformer, wouldn't you still need a neutral line to run 110 equipment?
  8. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I've got a house with a BUNCH of 220 circuits and a couple 110 on piggyback breakers. I put in a wood stove and removed 2 electric baseboard heat circuits.

    I was able to remove 2x 220 breakers in my box and 4x piggyback 110s. With them gone, I installed 8x single 110 breakers.
  9. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I'm not an elecrician (and I would talk to one before starting this project), but my understanding is that 220V power for appliances is single phase. If that's the case, a 2:1 step-down transformer could be connected between the 220V.

    Anyway, that more I think about it, the more unsure I am of this transformer idea. I don't want to get in over my head here, so I'll just wait for someone with expertise in house wiring to chime in.
  10. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    The power on 220V in North America is single phase. It is two 110V lines that have a 180 degree phase difference. The transformer would work, but it wouldn't be my choice. I'd get it rewired.
  11. I was taking a stab at the idea that a 220v circuit might be reversible at the plug end by making a converter. It sounds like it is not.

    We're talking about a rented rehearsal space, so I don't think having it rewired is a practical option.

    This room was originally rented by my brother who is a drummer, he sure doesn't need more than one outlet. If the band takes off and we need more space and more outlets we'll get a bigger room when one comes available.

    Thanks for you help.
  12. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Unfortunately, a converter would depend on the setup of the wiring behind it. Some 220's have 2 hots, no ground. Some have 2 legs of 110 with a ground. Some have a neutral with the 2 hots. IF this were the case, you could possibly run a 110 out of it.

    BTW, european circuits have a 220 hot and a neutral, IIRC. So a euro converter wouldn't sureve the purpose.
  13. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    ok, so..I'm an electrician.

    A couple of things. As stated, there are a couple of different flavors of 220.

    Three wire (hot, hot, ground)

    Four wire (hot, hot, neutral ground)

    In any case to run safe 110 you need 3 wires.

    Chances are you have three wires unless your house is ancient.

    If your outlet is 4 wire, you can split it into 2 110v circuits.

    If it's 3 wire you can make it a single 110v circuit.

    You'll need to reconfigure it at each end but it's not that big of a deal or expense.

    The cord pictured is a 3 wire, 30 amp cloths dryer style.

    Thats an easy change over.
  14. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL

    I'm not a licensed electrician, but I have been doing it so long, I should be.

    (IF you try the following stuff, and get it wrong, please don't blame me. These are potentially lethal votalges/currents One amp can easily kill, and regular outlets at 110 can deliver 15-20)
    It would be possible for you to run a 110 out of that outlet if you know the hookup style. First, the kind of outlet that it is will help tell you. A pic would help us electricians identify it. Then, using a multi-meter (if you feel so capable), you should get 220-240 from hot to hot, 110-120 from hot to ground, and 110-120 from hot to neutral.

    Using the clothes dryer setup you posted a pic of, you would run an outlet off of one of the outer wires (hot) and the middle one (neutral/ground). To run an ACTUAL ground, you may need to make a connection to one of the grounds on the 110 side, JUST to the ground. This would be hooked up to the ground screw (usually green) on the outlet. Running musical equipment should have a proper ground.

    Any electricians can correct me if I got anything wrong.
  15. Hey Trevorus,

    I appreciate your help but I have decided that this is not something I am going to do myself. From my original question I was hoping for an answer something like "no problem" or "totally doable"

    If I were to get an answer like that I would have had an actual electrician make one for me. From my job I know a couple, but I am not comfortable asking them to do something that is potentially dangerous to me, the building, or my equipment. As much as I feel I am totally capable of following a wiring diagram, I do not want to risk something that basically is a hack job.

    If it were my house I would just do it the right way and change the circuit at the box. It's not, so I was looking for an easy, cheap, safe alternative.

    Okay, different question.

    So what are the limitations of a single 110 outlet? :D I have no idea what amp circuit it is. Not sure where the breaker box is. My assumption is when this building was converted from an old factory (very old brick building) to a rehearsal space is the electrical was redone. Worse case scenario, We blow the breaker and go home early because we don't know the breaker box is.

    I am going to bring down an extra surge protector.
  16. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I would invest in an ammeter, and see what your amps draw at practice volume. I recently did that, and at church practice and it drew les than an amp. We don't play very loud. At maximum volume, my amp can use up to about 8 amps, but that would be so loud as to kill my ears, and my speakers. Generally, an outlet can supply about 10-15 reliably. That is per circuit, not per outlet. You may want to invest in a small generator...
  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    That plug configuration carries a 30 amp capacity and could theoretically be split into 2 110v, 30 amp circuits.

    However, The standard 110v receptacle configuration carries at best a 20 amp capacity. You can get bigger but they have odd ball twist lock blades.

    So chances are you would need to downsize the circuit breaker