I am trying to connect a new 4-wire range in a new location in my house. When I removed the old cover I see 3-wires connected 1) red 2) black, and 3) green.

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If I understand correctly, red and black are 110v each, and green is ground. I picture a rod in the ground for green. Neutral in another hand, I picture it as a wire taking back electrons to the station.

Now when I open the panel - I noticed that the neutral (white) and the ground (green) are connected to the same bar on both sides of the panel.

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So my questions are as follows:

-- Why are white and copper (ground) come from the same bar?

-- How do I use this setup to connect a 4-wire system?

Side note: My new range allows for a 3-wire setup - maybe all is possible with my house.

  • red and black are 110v each ... measure from red to black
    – jsotola
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:43
  • 1
    @jsotola 110v measured red to neutral and black to neutral. It could 120 v phase to neutral.
    – JACK
    Aug 10, 2020 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


This is your main panel so grounds and neutrals are allowed to be attached to the same bars. You'll need a four wire whip, probably provided, from you new range, to your outlet box. Connect your black to black, red to red, white to white and green to bare copper. The black and the white wires should be 120 Volts phase to neutral and 240 Volts phase to phase. Check your instruction booklet and it will tell you how to remove any jumper from neutral to ground on your range. Make sure your range amperage does not exceed the breaker and wires that are feeding your range circuit. If your range didn't come with a 4 wire whip, you might be able o add the white wire depending on the FMC size.


Luckily for you, you have 4 wires coming in from the wall, and 4 wires on your range, and they're the same color. (Well it doesn't matter if the hots don't match). This particular wiring job is exactly as easy as it looks :)

Why is there a separate neutral and Equipment Safety Ground? Because they tried not having Safety Ground (pre-1966) and it started fires and shocked people. They tried combining Neutral and Safety Ground (pre-1996) and it shocked people.

You can combine them if everything always works perfectly and nothing ever breaks. (In fact, that was the justification of the appliance industry from 1966-96: appliance circuits are rarely disturbed, and rarely fail).

What is the difference? Neutral is the ordinary path for return current: it "works for a living". It's like the 2-3 tracks of railroad heading for the trestle, they all get used for both directions of traffic. Safety ground is exclusively for after something goes wrong, and is a catcher for fault current, lightning and ESD - it's like the weed-grown dirt road that goes down to the trestle so the fire trucks can get to the trestle PDQ and put the trestle fire out.

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