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Thread: Dryer Outlet Splitter - Buy or Make?

  1. #16
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    I think that is the single most important point that has been made in this thread so far. I wish more people knew that. The NEC says a lot about permanent installations in an industrial environment that do not apply to individuals and home environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    The NEC stops at the wall. Plug in the cord.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Julie Moriarty View Post
    Buying or making a splitter for a temporary situation means there will come a time when you will throw the splitter in a drawer or toss it. So you have to decide if it's worth the money to buy it for the slight convenience of being able to keep the dryer plugged in all the time. You still have to plug and unplug the rest of your tools as needed. If it's just the inconvenience of reaching behind the dryer, get a short dryer extension cord and use it until your dad can get the sub panel installed.

    But maybe your dad can help you get started on the sub panel and guide you the rest of the way. That's the best option. It's not hard to do that work if you have the necessary guidance. From what you said in your original thread, you certainly need a sub panel so why not take that direction rather than the splitter, which leaves open the possibility of an overload.
    Good questions. The splitter would allow me to have two tools plugged in (while the dryer is unplugged) which would be a further convenience in addition to not having to plug and unplug the dryer all the time. We only do laundry about once a week so planning that isn't a problem. It would also make plugging the dryer back in easier and less of reach. Having to joint wood, then unplug to plug in planer, then unplug to plug in table saw is such a hassle I often skip a step or find a different way that's often not right.

    If I could make the splitter for say $30 I would do that in a heartbeat. I saw the female outlets at HD last night for $7 each and a dryer cord is $15 I think. I'm still not sure how to connect one 10-30 female to the other.

    As for having my dad help, he mentions it here and there but he's also a contractor full time and I think it's months out. it would have to be on a weekend and at 65 I feel bad having him come over and crawl in my attic. He's type A perfectionist and won't let me do it or tell me how, he'd be in the attic and complaining that my garage is mess while hooking up the 220 hahah! I'll ask and see if we can speed it up. Adding a few 220s would also let me look for a bigger bandsaw and install a better dust collector.

  3. #18
    I was thinking you'd use outlets that have to be installed in an electrical box, but apparently you could use surface-mount dryer receptacles that don't require a box.

    If that's the case you'd do it like suggested above. Run the dryer cord into an eletrical box (clamp it) and wire-nut its wires to as many soow/sjoow/whatever cords as you want (clamp them in the box), then terminate the cords with surface-mount dryer receptacles. I'm not sure how many receptacles you could do---three at least, maybe four. I guess that depends on the wire gauge, wire nuts, and the size of the box. But the whole thing would be very cheap.
    Last edited by Bob Bouis; 01-09-2019 at 3:31 PM.

  4. #19
    What Julie said. That's $$$ & time that could be put toward a sub-panel

  5. #20
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    When I wanted to add some circuits to use a metal lathe etc in the garage I would unplug my 5 hp air compressor and plug in this box and receptacle arrangement. It’s breakered for smaller amperages but you can do as you needed. Got the stuff at the Borg.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    I'm not sure I would use one. Too much chance of running two things at the same time and overloading the circuit.
    I don't know that it'd be practical $$ wise but you could install a transfer switch like generators require. Either the dryer or tool outlets would be powered, never both.
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 01-11-2019 at 7:00 AM.

  7. #22
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    When I lived in a duplex I did like others here I plugged a cord into the 30 amp dryer outlet that went into a breaker box. I had a 30 amp dryer outlet coming out of the box and then ran some 240 and 120 outlets off the box as well. I ran the tablesaw and dryer at the same time once or twice and nothing tripped. This was all attached to a scrap of plywood that I took with me when I moved.
    Bill D.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    When I lived in a duplex I did like others here I plugged a cord into the 30 amp dryer outlet that went into a breaker box. I had a 30 amp dryer outlet coming out of the box and then ran some 240 and 120 outlets off the box as well. I ran the tablesaw and dryer at the same time once or twice and nothing tripped. This was all attached to a scrap of plywood that I took with me when I moved.
    Bill D.
    What you're describing here Bill, is a lot like the temporary panels installed on jobsites during construction. Most of the contractors I worked for had panels mounted to a sheet of plywood. Under the panels were junction boxes, each with double duplex receptacles. If, say, the iron workers needed a welder hooked up, they usually provided a temporary box with a cable attached that we'd hook up to the appropriately sized breaker. This temporary installation was used on every building until a permanent service and power distribution was completed. It certainly works. But there is always an electrician on site to fix any problems.

    Depending on the individual, this kind of thing could be used in an application such as what the OP described. But unless the person building the temp distribution knows what they are doing, it's best to bring in some knowledgeable assistance if that's the direction one wants to go.
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  9. Its time to get the subpanel installed.
    Your dryer and your tools are wired differently.

    The dryer receptacle has 3 wires, 2-120vac hots and a neutral, but no ground.

    A dryer uses both 120vac and 240vac power. The 120vac return path is the neutral and for 240vac the return path is the opposing hot.
    Anytime the dryer is plugged in the neutral is energized.

    Your 240vac tools also use 3 wires, the 2-120vac hots just like the dryer, but require a ground. They do not use a neutral like the dryer. When you use the dryer receptacle to power your tools you are using the neutral as a ground. It is against NEC to use a neutral wire as a ground. When you power your tools from the dryer outlet you are doing this. But it works because the neutral bus bar and the ground bus bar are connected at the main panel.

    If you use a splitter and the dryer is plugged in then you will be connecting the ground of the tools to a current carrying conductor of the dryer. This creates a shock hazard to the user of the tools. Even though the neutral and the ground are connected together at the main panel ,electricity will always take the path of least resistance which can be the operator of the tool.

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Merrill View Post
    Its time to get the subpanel installed.
    Your dryer and your tools are wired differently.

    The dryer receptacle has 3 wires, 2-120vac hots and a neutral, but no ground.

    A dryer uses both 120vac and 240vac power. The 120vac return path is the neutral and for 240vac the return path is the opposing hot.
    Anytime the dryer is plugged in the neutral is energized.

    Your 240vac tools also use 3 wires, the 2-120vac hots just like the dryer, but require a ground. They do not use a neutral like the dryer. When you use the dryer receptacle to power your tools you are using the neutral as a ground. It is against NEC to use a neutral wire as a ground. When you power your tools from the dryer outlet you are doing this. But it works because the neutral bus bar and the ground bus bar are connected at the main panel.

    If you use a splitter and the dryer is plugged in then you will be connecting the ground of the tools to a current carrying conductor of the dryer. This creates a shock hazard to the user of the tools. Even though the neutral and the ground are connected together at the main panel ,electricity will always take the path of least resistance which can be the operator of the tool.
    How come I dont get shocked when using my dryer then? How does the electrons know my metal planer is not actually a dryer?

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Riseborough View Post
    How come I dont get shocked when using my dryer then? How does the electrons know my metal planer is not actually a dryer?
    Neutral is bonded to ground at the main panel so there is still at least a pathway to ground. Three wire dryer circuits were common for many years just as they were for electric ranges. I believe that four wire may be required at this point for dual voltage appliances, but I could be wrong about that, but existing would be grandfathered. The bottom line, however, is that to do things right, the OP really should have a proper 240v circuit for the 240v tools and a sub-panel would be a good way to take care of that as well as provide some isolation for 120v tool circuits from the existing house circuits, some of which might be connected to "who knows where" from the garage given how many homes got wired when they were built.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Merrill View Post
    Its time to get the subpanel installed.
    Your dryer and your tools are wired differently.

    The dryer receptacle has 3 wires, 2-120vac hots and a neutral, but no ground.

    A dryer uses both 120vac and 240vac power. The 120vac return path is the neutral and for 240vac the return path is the opposing hot.
    Anytime the dryer is plugged in the neutral is energized.

    Your 240vac tools also use 3 wires, the 2-120vac hots just like the dryer, but require a ground. They do not use a neutral like the dryer. When you use the dryer receptacle to power your tools you are using the neutral as a ground. It is against NEC to use a neutral wire as a ground. When you power your tools from the dryer outlet you are doing this. But it works because the neutral bus bar and the ground bus bar are connected at the main panel.

    If you use a splitter and the dryer is plugged in then you will be connecting the ground of the tools to a current carrying conductor of the dryer. This creates a shock hazard to the user of the tools. Even though the neutral and the ground are connected together at the main panel ,electricity will always take the path of least resistance which can be the operator of the tool.
    Not sure what part of the world you are in, but in Canada, installing ungrounded outlets of any kind became illegal at least 50 years ago. And US & Canadian codes don't differ much. There are still some out there in older houses, but if I had one I'd spend whatever it takes to get a properly grounded circuit installed.

  13. #28
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    Many dryers came with a separate ground lead and a clamp. this lead was a single wire that was supposed to be attached to a nearby metal water pipe.
    Bill D.

  14. #29
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    That's true, Bill. Unfortunately, there is less use of metal pipe these days for both whole house plumbing as well as for repairs, so one can never assume that a metal water pipe is actually grounded anymore. PEX and CPVC have become very prevalent in plumbing.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #30
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    Feb 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Irish View Post
    Good questions. The splitter would allow me to have two tools plugged in (while the dryer is unplugged) which would be a further convenience in addition to not having to plug and unplug the dryer all the time. We only do laundry about once a week so planning that isn't a problem. It would also make plugging the dryer back in easier and less of reach. Having to joint wood, then unplug to plug in planer, then unplug to plug in table saw is such a hassle I often skip a step or find a different way that's often not right.

    If I could make the splitter for say $30 I would do that in a heartbeat. I saw the female outlets at HD last night for $7 each and a dryer cord is $15 I think. I'm still not sure how to connect one 10-30 female to the other.

    As for having my dad help, he mentions it here and there but he's also a contractor full time and I think it's months out. it would have to be on a weekend and at 65 I feel bad having him come over and crawl in my attic. He's type A perfectionist and won't let me do it or tell me how, he'd be in the attic and complaining that my garage is mess while hooking up the 220 hahah! I'll ask and see if we can speed it up. Adding a few 220s would also let me look for a bigger bandsaw and install a better dust collector.
    Patrick
    I am going to say something a little bit condescending and not nice, and I apologize upfront. I'm sorry but,,,,,,,,,,,,

    If your understanding of basic electricity, electrical circuits, and skill set, are less than required to build a breakout box, or cord, than please buy the premade, UL approved, "Y" splitter. To make a breakout box, or cord, is very simple for a skilled person, but it has to be done correctly. These are lethal voltages. Not the just kind of "bite you" voltages, but voltages that can put you in a box.
    Do not modify your currently installed receptacle, or daisy chain anything off of it. Any modification you do will most assuredly violate the NEC, National Electrical Code, and could be even more dangerous than trying to make your own splitter, or breakout box.
    In the course of this thread, some of the suggestions have applied to three different configurations of 240 wiring, receptacles and plugs. Patrick's initial photo is showing a two prong dryer cord.( Two hots and ground. No Neutral!) This type of installation, plug/receptacle configuration hasn't been done "new" since the early 1990's. If his machines are configured to adapt to this receptacle, that would be "unique".
    Please buy the cord. The extra 40 bucks isn't worth your risk.
    Once again. I apologize for the tone of this post.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 01-12-2019 at 2:56 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

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