I have no idea and will not even pretend to know.

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Steven Kaderabek, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Steven Kaderabek

    Steven Kaderabek New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Im going to put this in basic terms. I know nothing about electrical equipment. We have a outlet in our house located under a window. I assume for an air conditioner. My question is. (in dumb man terms) is it for a 220 unit? it looks like this

    kaderabek_11.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2011
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    Maybe, maybe not. It is a 20A receptacle, designed for a larger load than 'normal' 15A ones. Only way to tell for sure is to either find which breaker turns it off and check, or put a meter on it. If it is a double breaker, then it's likely 220vac.
  3. Steven Kaderabek

    Steven Kaderabek New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Thank you jadnashua. Ill climb down to the black hole and take a look at the breakers
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The receptacle is a 240 volt 20 amp device but this does not necessarily mean that it has 240 volts connected to it although I would say that it being located under a window that it does have 240 volts and was installed for a window shaker.
  5. Steven Kaderabek

    Steven Kaderabek New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Thank you jwelectric
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    It is a 240/20 amp receptacle. It would be VERY WRONG if it did NOT have 240. The T shaped blade allows it to also accept a 15 amp/240 plug. A receptacle with the T slot in the same spot, but the other slot vertical, is for 120/20 amps.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is 220/240, but the easiest way to tell, if you plan to use it for an appliance is to find one with the plug which will fit it.
  8. Steven Kaderabek

    Steven Kaderabek New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Thank you all for your help. I do appreciate it!
  9. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    An easy way to tell if it's wired as a 220 or a 120 volt outlet is to buy yourself an electrical contact tester. They look like a pen and are plastic and take a penlight battery. You stick the small plastic end into each side of the outlet and if it beeps and lights up on both sides it's 220. If it beeps and lights on only one side it's 120. They are very handy to have and cost less than $20 and Home Depot has them. You can use them to test outlets for proper polarity and also to quickly check if something has live voltage. They also sell a small probe type tester that would also work.

    As was previously posted that outlet could be for a 220 or a 120 volt AC unit.....depending on how it is wired and the unit it was wired for........If you had a good Votlmeter you could also easily tell but they are pretty expensive....
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; As was previously posted that outlet could be for a 220 or a 120 volt AC unit.....depending on how it is wired and the unit it was wired for

    It would make absolutely no sense to install a 220/240 v. receptacle and then wire it for 110/120, since the equipment's plug would NOT work in the receptacle unless you replaced the line cord with one which had the 240 v. plug on it, which would also be assine.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    What should be and what is are often two different things, so the best and only way to tell is to test it. Normally, they'd wire that up as a 20A, 220vac source. But, you'd never know until you either tried to plug something in and it either didn't work, or burned up, or you tested it first.
  12. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    The recepticle appears to be one that could be wired to accept 2 different plugs. It would be up to the installer to wire it correctly. I assumed it was one that COULD be wired for either 120 or a 220/240 volt appliance....There are many configurations out there and here is a list of some.....

    http://www.apcmedia.com/salestools/SADE-5TNRML_R0_EN.pdf
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Receptacles are designed so ONLY the proper voltage and amperage plugs will enter them. The 120 "receptacle and matching plug" have a completely DIFFERENT arrangement so they ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be interchanged. If you look at a reference chart, that receptacle is a 12/20 amp 220/240 one. It DOES NOT have a 120 v. option. The only way a receptacle could be 120/240 is if it has FOUR openings, unless it were an outdated range or dryer outlet which did not have the ground terminal.
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    Not to be picky, but again, what should be and what is, are not always the same. When I was working with my father one time, a 110-vac receptacle was used to plug in some equipment at a customer's location which promptly burned up. It turned out someone had intentionally wired it for 220 and not changed the receptacle. While this should NEVER happen, it can and does. Take someone with a universal motor (say a some saws or other stationary equipment you might buy from Sears) that come wired to run on 110vac. Someone wants to run it on 220, changes the wiring to the receptacle and moves the jumpers on the motor, and doesn't change the cord to the appliance. THEY know it, but nobody else does, and agreed it is not to code, but it can and does happen.

    Test it, then you'll know. Otherwise, you might be in for a surprise.
  15. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I agree with JADNASHUA and that was my point.......Yes each recepticle/plug is MEANT to be wired for the voltage and amperage specified by the manufacturer....Sure it is not right if it is wired imporperly and could cause a problem down the road but this is the real world and people do things all the time that are not correct.

    I have looked in the receticle plug racks at various stores and there are some plugs supplied with various configurations to change the amp rating. I thought there might be some recetpticles also out there that could be wired for one of two differnt voltages and the blades changed to make it correct......That was my reasoning behind my post....
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; When I was working with my father one time, a 110-vac receptacle was used to plug in some equipment at a customer's location which promptly burned up. It turned out someone had intentionally wired it for 220 and not changed the receptacle. I thought there might be some recetpticles also out there that could be wired for one of two differnt voltages and the blades changed to make it correct......

    These are specialized situations where someone CREATED, or can create, an unsafe condition because they disregard safe practices. When that happens there is NO WAY to detect it without testing, but in the normal situation, you can usually depend on the receptacle being wired for its intended voltage and usage. I was once working on a commercial site. When I asked where there was a 120 volt receptacle, the fire sprinkler guys said, "right there on the wall". I looked at it and told them, "It may be a 120 receptacle but it is 240 because it is painted red". They told me it was impossible because they had been using it for their power vise for two weeks. I called the electrician over and asked him what the voltage was. He said, "240", to which the sprinkler guy said, "No wonder my vise has been running so fast. I was getting pipes threaded in half the time it usually takes."

    If you KNOW what you are doing, and have some special need, you can wire almost ANY recepacle the way you want to, as long as you also wire the male plug the same way. I use a 20 amp receptacle and an "opposed" prong plug for a foot switch. The opposed prongs prevent the switch from being inserted into a standard outlet which would blow the breaker as soon as you stepped on the switch.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
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