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Chuck Wintle
09-17-2007, 7:07 PM
OK I just received a new switch and was wondering if it a practice to switch both sides of the 110 volt circuit. I know it will work with the line side switched only but is there any reason to switch both the line and neutral?:D

Jason Beam
09-17-2007, 7:22 PM
Hardly an expert, but my understanding is that 110v doesn't need it, but it wouldn't hurt if you did. Of course, you'd need a dual pole switch - those aren't quite as common. They're used a lot in 220v applications, obviously, due to the two hot lines.

Rob Russell
09-17-2007, 9:54 PM
Charles, in the USA, the wiring convention is to switch 110/120v ungrounded (hot) conductors only - not the grounded (neutral) or grounding (equipment grounding) conductors.

As Jason said, you could switch both leads - but would need a 2-pole switch to do that.

Rob

Robert Murray
09-17-2007, 11:12 PM
In some cases switching the neutral can be a bad idea depending on how the item is wired and used. If you are wiring a device with a plug and the device only has a two prong plug then switching the neutral can be a bad idea. It could under the correct settings lead to an unsafe condition.

Stephen Beckham
09-17-2007, 11:14 PM
Charles - not sure what your electrical code may be for your area. But IMHO - breaking a ground any any case could be bad. I know you're talking about the neutral in your post - but back to the code comment - if your place is old enough or wired incorrectly, the neutral may be ran through the ground at some point.

Cut the hot - let the neutral be a return path as it's intended.

If for some strange reason the hot needs to "return" to the source and there's no where to go - it's anyone's guess where it might go. If it can't find ground - then you have the potential to become ground!

Steven Wilson
09-18-2007, 1:21 AM
switch the hot (black) and neutral (white). If this is a tool that can be wired 120 or 240 then by switching both you won't have to rewire the switch if you rewire the motor. Also, by switching both hot and neutral you'll make sure that when the switch is off, power isn't going pass the switch if; someone screwed up and made the white hot and the black neutral, normal conditions where white and black are wired correctly, and the rare encounter with balanced 110AC where black and white are both hot (+60 on black, -60 on white, used in recording studio's to lower the noise floor).

Chuck Wintle
09-18-2007, 6:58 AM
Charles, in the USA, the wiring convention is to switch 110/120v ungrounded (hot) conductors only - not the grounded (neutral) or grounding (equipment grounding) conductors.

As Jason said, you could switch both leads - but would need a 2-pole switch to do that.

Rob

The switch is a 2-pole and the motor is wired for 110 at the moment.

Rob Russell
09-18-2007, 9:18 AM
The switch is a 2-pole and the motor is wired for 110 at the moment.

I'd still only switch the hot leg. The only reason I can think of to switch both legs is so you can use the switch as a 'disconnect', for example to kill a table saw when you want to change blades. I believe it's safer to unplug a machine in those circumstances and have the plug sitting on top of the machine where you can see it while working on the machine.

Chuck Wintle
09-18-2007, 3:40 PM
I'd still only switch the hot leg. The only reason I can think of to switch both legs is so you can use the switch as a 'disconnect', for example to kill a table saw when you want to change blades. I believe it's safer to unplug a machine in those circumstances and have the plug sitting on top of the machine where you can see it while working on the machine.

Makes sense to only wire the hot leg of the circuit when using 110volts. I understand that both sides need to be switched when using 220volts. :)

Rob Russell
09-18-2007, 4:12 PM
Makes sense to only wire the hot leg of the circuit when using 110volts. I understand that both sides need to be switched when using 220volts. :)

Actually, switching 1 leg of a 220/230/240v circuit will stop/start the device as effectively as switching both legs.

If you don't want any power to the receptacle (or a hard-wired machine), you need to switch both legs on a 220/230/240v circuit.

Rob

Cliff Rohrabacher
09-18-2007, 5:17 PM
OK I just received a new switch and was wondering if it a practice to switch both sides of the 110 volt circuit. I know it will work with the line side switched only but is there any reason to switch both the line and neutral?:D

I am not sure how one switch would control both hot and neutral.


However, my practice (and I believe Code) is to wire the switch so that it interrupts the hot wire.

Chuck Wintle
09-18-2007, 5:27 PM
I am not sure how one switch would control both hot and neutral.


However, my practice (and I believe Code) is to wire the switch so that it interrupts the hot wire.

Cliff,
The switch is a 3PST type. I can be wired for 120vac, 220vac or 3 phase.

Russ Filtz
09-20-2007, 8:44 AM
Actually, switching 1 leg of a 220/230/240v circuit will stop/start the device as effectively as switching both legs.

If you don't want any power to the receptacle (or a hard-wired machine), you need to switch both legs on a 220/230/240v circuit.

Rob

I understand that will cut power to the 240V equipment. But with the other leg "hot" and it's accidentally touched or connected to a ground or neutral, you'd still have 120V running through you right? Best to unplug I would think.

Rob Russell
09-20-2007, 10:37 AM
Best to unplug I would think.

Yup. That's what I said too.


I believe it's safer to unplug a machine in those circumstances and have the plug sitting on top of the machine where you can see it while working on the machine.

Tom Veatch
09-21-2007, 3:28 AM
switch the hot (black) and neutral (white). If this is a tool that can be wired 120 or 240 then by switching both you won't have to rewire the switch if you rewire the motor. ...

But, in that case, if the motor is rewired and the same circuit is used, the circuit is also going to have to be modified at the panel to move the white wire from the neutral bus to the other pole of the dual (240v) breaker. That means everything on that circuit will see 240 volts. Not a problem if there is only one outlet, except that the plug and receptacle will also need to be changed to one of the 240v configurations. With all that going on, inserting the 2nd pole of the switch into the newly hot white wire is not much added effort.

I vote for leaving the neutal wire unbroken as long as it's a 120v circuit.

Steven Wilson
09-21-2007, 11:21 AM
Tom, you're assuming that someone is using the same circuit - bad assumption. Just wire the switch once using the two poles that are there and be done with it. If you then want to rewire the motor, do it. If you want to wire in a new plug, do it.

Rick Christopherson
09-21-2007, 12:27 PM
It doesn't matter what you do. Since it appears that this is a switch for inside the tool, and it is already a 3-pole switch, then there is no reason why you shouldn't switch the neutral wire, but there is also no compelling reason why you should either.

Contrary to some previous postings, even if the tool was 240-volts, you do not need to break both hots at the tool's on/off switch. A circuit breaker needs to break both lines, but not the control switch.

Tom Veatch
09-21-2007, 2:59 PM
Tom, you're assuming that someone is using the same circuit - bad assumption. Just wire the switch once using the two poles that are there and be done with it. If you then want to rewire the motor, do it. If you want to wire in a new plug, do it.


Your're right. For some reason I was focused on the switch being in the wiring circuit. Guess that's because I've just completed hardwiring in a dust collector on a dedicated circuit that's controlled by a wall switch. What I said is only appropriate if the switch is located in the circuit wiring. If it's on the tool side of the wall plug, i'll buy switching both conductors.

Mike Henderson
09-21-2007, 5:01 PM
If I had a two pole switch, I'd wire it to switch both sides of a 120V circuit. The reason is that you can't absolutely guarantee that the circuit won't get switched around, with hot coming in on the white wire. You may be very sure of your shop but if you move the tool to a different location, or sell it to someone else, it may get cross wired.

I certainly understand the logic of leaving the neutral side (the white wire) connected and only switching the hot side (the black wire) but I'd switch both.

Mike