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Electrical Wiring in the Home/changing 220 receptacle for welder


I have a Lincoln 175+ 220 welder that has what I believe is a NEMA 6-50P plug.  My garage has a 50 amp 220 circuit that was supposed to have been welded for it, but instead has what appears to be a NEMA 14-50r receptacle, which I think is a dryer receptacle.  I know the hot wires go to the blade receptacles on the 6-50 receptacle, but I see conflicting stories as to what goes to the third receptacle.  The wire coming in to the existing receptacle is #6 with a red lead, black lead (both hot) and a third insulated lead, which I think is white, but has been painted, and a bare ground lead.  Ive seen answers that say use the bare ground lead and cap the third insulated (white) lead, and others that say use the third insulated (white) lead and not the bare lead.  Which is the proper way to do it, or does it matter?


Use the bare ground wire and cap the white (neutral). Using the bare ground VS the white wire you can't go wrong. However there are circumstances where using the white would be incorrect so use the bare copper wire and you'll be fine.



I was kinda tired last night when I answered this so I didn't get into the technical circumstances of why and why not but will here.

If the cable had come from a "sub panel" VS the main panel in a house and you used the white wire as the "grounding" means, then that would be incorrect. However if the cable came from the main panel and you used the white wire then it would be OK. The code does not allow using the white (neutral) as a "grounding" means beyond the main panel. In other words a sub panel that is fed from the main panel has the "grounding" wires and neutrals physically separated from one another inside the subpanel. In the main panel the "grounding" wires and the neutrals can be terminated in the same common location. So if this cable came from the main panel the white wire and the bare "ground" are effectively connected to each other so either wire could be used as the "grounding" means and it would be OK code wise as long as the white wire (if it were used)was painted or taped green. So there you have the technical explanation.

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"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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