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Baffled - Adapter for dryer outlet to power lights


Bradley Mowell
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I've read until I'm blue in the face - both here and elsewhere - and still don't understand. Trying to accomplish this:

"There are 220V plugs on dryers. They are similar to our genny connectors here. The dryer connectors have 4 prongs on them. You have a ground and a neutral and then a hot and a hot. You do need to build an adaptor that eliminates one of the hots. You separate the hots out so you have 2 hot connectors on the end of that. That way, you can access all 30 amps... Back in the day, when I was doing a lot of music videos, we made our own connectors that we could tie into these dryer circuits. I was maxing out homes all over in my music video days of the 90s."

https://www.hurlbutacademy.com/household-power-distribution/?fbclid=IwAR2trZhWe1wSKF4n8lwqLlpc1i1H2Bnnsaa_5utPLRIoAa21RuIWDOQYCsk

How does one go about making/buying an adapter?

Edited by Bradley Mowell
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Are you wanting to power 240v lights? Or, do you want to split the phases so you have two lines at 120v?

Either is possible.

If your dryer plug was only three prong, and had no neutral, then it is unsafe to split the phases because your load will probably not be perfectly balanced.

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1 hour ago, Joseph Tese said:

Are you wanting to power 240v lights? Or, do you want to split the phases so you have two lines at 120v?

Either is possible.

If your dryer plug was only three prong, and had no neutral, then it is unsafe to split the phases because your load will probably not be perfectly balanced.

Thanks, Joseph. Looking to build (or buy) an adapter (the dryer outlets are four prong) to be able to access 30 amps (or 40 amps from the range) for 120v lights. Splitting phases for two lines would be great, but one line would suffice. The dryer outlet is 30 amp / the range is 40 amp.

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48 minutes ago, Bradley Mowell said:

Thanks, Joseph. Looking to build (or buy) an adapter (the dryer outlets are four prong) to be able to access 30 amps (or 40 amps from the range) for 120v lights. Splitting phases for two lines would be great, but one line would suffice. The dryer outlet is 30 amp / the range is 40 amp.

Here's one that will split the phases of a dryer plug. The wire gauge is only rated for 30AMPS. Although it provides (2) 20 Amp outlets on each side, you can only pull 30 amps collectively from each side.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/AC-WORKS-1-5-ft-Adapter-NEMA-14-30P-4-Prong-Dryer-Plug-to-4-Household-Outlets-with-20-Amp-Breaker-S1430CBF520/311382953?mtc=Shopping-VF-F_D27E-G-D27E-27_3_EXT_CORD_WORKLIGHT_SURGE-Generic-NA-Feed-PLA-NA-NA-EXT_CORD_WORKLIGHT_SURGE&cm_mmc=Shopping-VF-F_D27E-G-D27E-27_3_EXT_CORD_WORKLIGHT_SURGE-Generic-NA-Feed-PLA-NA-NA-EXT_CORD_WORKLIGHT_SURGE-71700000033101998-58700003865786276-92700048704092069&gclid=Cj0KCQiA7OnxBRCNARIsAIW53B8WfBZIaeOVLjETsOrAe3VVZLBOPVM15VnasaZUYwueDKggJSHkHy8aAlxIEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

 

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1 hour ago, Joseph Tese said:

Thanks, for the link, Joseph. However, wouldn't doing it that way mean that each 20amp Edison outlet would only supply 2400 watts to a light? I'm seeking a way to be able to access the full 3600watts from 30 amps to power 2.5k to 3k lights. I apologize for all the questions.

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20 minutes ago, Bradley Mowell said:

Thanks, for the link, Joseph. However, wouldn't doing it that way mean that each 20amp Edison outlet would only supply 2400 watts to a light? I'm seeking a way to be able to access the full 3600watts from 30 amps to power 2.5k to 3k lights. I apologize for all the questions.

You could purchase an existing adapter and then tie in your own connectors, like 60amp bates, or whatever else you need for your distro stuff.. Or, just pay someone locally who knows what they're doing to create this for you.

The other option, is to invest in step-down transformers, which has more advantages.
http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/emailnewsletter_generators.html#anchorTransformer/Distros on Wall Outlets

 

 

Edited by Joseph Tese
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making an adapter is easy enough.

You start by purchasing a Dryer 4-wire power cord and then attaching female connector on the other end that matches your connectors on the lights.

 

for 120v: Hot ( Red or Black wire) , white, ground. NOTE- YOU DO NEED TO CAP OFF THE OTHER HOT WIRE.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-6-ft-4-Wire-Dryer-Replacement-Cord-HD-601-004/202532733

Edited by Ed Conley
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4 minutes ago, Ed Conley said:

making an adapter is easy enough.

You start by purchasing a Dryer 4-wire power cord and then attaching female connector on the other end that matches your connectors on the lights.

 

for 120v: Hot ( Red or Black wire) , white, ground.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-6-ft-4-Wire-Dryer-Replacement-Cord-HD-601-004/202532733

Thanks, Ed. Joseph probably has the right idea about consulting with a local electrician to build something for my needs. I'm the cautious type, and without a tutorial or book I'm hesitant to mess with anything electrical (I've installed many a breaker, wired for 240v in my garage, and other electrical projects, but I've always had a clear tutorial to work from - complete with pictures 😂). Unless you know something I could reference, probably best to leave it to someone more in-the-know.

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19 minutes ago, Joseph Tese said:

The other option, is to invest in step-down transformers, which has more advantages.
http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/emailnewsletter_generators.html#anchorTransformer/Distros on Wall Outlets

Thank you. I contacted them a few days ago, and a transformer certainly does have its advantages, but I was shooting for something more portable and less pricey. I think you're suggestion about contacting someone local to build an adapter is a good idea. As I mentioned to Ed, I'm overly-cautious and hesitate to do electrical DIY projects without clear directions and step-by-step pictures. 😆

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Guy's transformer allows one to get the most out of a 120v/240v outlet.

a 30amp 120/240v outlet can provide *7200 watts but the way it is configured that wattage is only available as two 3600 watt lines at 120v.
* It is technically a 240v circuit- 240v x 30 amps = 7200 watts

Guy's transformer  is quite handy when powering up large 120v lights since it offers 60amps @120v on one circuit if used on a 30amp 120v/240v dryer outlet.


If you don't need all of the available power you can use an adapter.


If anyone cares - the outlet is wired 120v/240v because the heating element uses 240v while the lightbulb and timer on the appliance uses 120v.

 

 

 

 

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On 2/6/2020 at 2:10 PM, Ed Conley said:

Guy's transformer allows one to get the most out of a 120v/240v outlet.

a 30amp 120/240v outlet can provide *7200 watts but the way it is configured that wattage is only available as two 3600 watt lines at 120v.
* It is technically a 240v circuit- 240v x 30 amps = 7200 watts

Guy's transformer  is quite handy when powering up large 120v lights since it offers 60amps @120v on one circuit if used on a 30amp 120v/240v dryer outlet.


If you don't need all of the available power you can use an adapter.


If anyone cares - the outlet is wired 120v/240v because the heating element uses 240v while the lightbulb and timer on the appliance uses 120v.

 

 

 

 

Also true for electric stoves.

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On 2/5/2020 at 12:32 AM, Bradley Mowell said:

How does one go about making/buying an adapter?

Long time reader, but first posting in a long time. Feel compelled to post now because what is proposed here will get your production shut down by an electrical inspector in a heartbeat, or worse.  Should an electrical inspector see this kind of adapter, they will reject it for its mis-use of “Listed” equipment. 

The NEC Article 100 definition of “Listed” is “Equipment, materials, or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services, that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services, and whose listing states that either the equipment, material, or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.”

The important part of this citation is “has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose” by a  Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) like the Underwriter’s Laboratory. The 240V four hole receptacle and two pole breaker backing it have not been tested, labeled, and listed for this specified purpose. And, unless Paladin in Hollywood has ponied up the thousands of dollars required to test, label, and list that adapter for that purpose it will be rejected by an electrical inspector. The Code does not permit Listed equipment to be  modified from its original condition, installed, or used under conditions not stipulated in its listing. The use of Listed equipment for a purpose other than for which it is tested, listed, and labeled is a Code violation - pure and simple. And, god forbid, should someone suffer an injury, or property damaged, from use of this adapter you will be up shits creek without a paddle. The plaintiff’s lawyers will tear you apart and take everything you own. Anyone that suggests you do this is irresponsible. The rock-and-roll era is over. Our industry has grown up. 

Eric “OK Boomer” Jaspers

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NEC only dictates what is installed in the structure- which would be the receptacle or if an appliance is hardwired.

Example: the common 14-50 receptacle can be for an Oven , Kiln or any other appliance , even a 50amp RV power cord uses the same receptacle.

NEC does not have jurisdiction on what you plug into the receptacle.



 

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18 hours ago, Ed Conley said:

NEC only dictates what is installed in the structure....NEC does not have jurisdiction on what you plug into the receptacle.

I am afraid you are mistaken. There is a popular misconception that the NEC applies only to permanent wiring installations. That is simply not the case. Article 520 "Motion Picture and Television Studios and Similar Locations" introduces a whole classification of wiring called portable power.  Article 520  is predominantly about what portable equipment we can plug into what  wired receptacles and how. The NEC devotes a whole article (400) to flexible cords and cables.  Article 406 "Receptacles, Cord Connectors, and Attachment Plugs (Caps)" covers the rating and type of  cord connectors and attachment plugs (cord caps) permitted.

The loads you list share one thing in common, they are all of the same classification: single phase. Which means that they draw power that is diametrically opposed by 180 degrees on two conductors.  The ganged two pole  breaker backing a range plug is tested, listed, and labeled to trip under a single phase load like those you list. What is being proposed here is to draw power on only one pole of that two pole breaker.  The breaker has not been tested, listed, and labeled for that application. And, where it is a code violation to use listed equipment (the two pole breaker) in an application (drawing power on only one pole) for which it has not been tested, listed, and labeled in a Code violation.  Without testing by a lab like UL there is no assurance that the breaker will trip under an over load or fault when power is being drawn on only one pole of the breaker.  The transformer/distros referenced above draw equal power on both poles of the breaker and so meet the code requirement.

Eric Jaspers

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