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I have a 50 amp wire capped from a previous oven that was removed. I want to put a receptacle in where this is located.
When I wire it up my tester shows my hot/neutral reversed no matter how I wire it.
The 50 amp has a red, a black and a ground??? No white unless the white was stripped and used for ground.
This is an older house so I'm not sure what I should do

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  • 50 amp wire probably too big to fit a regular 120 outlet/device. It is also two hots and a ground. For 120 you need one hot, one neutral, and a ground. Might be lucky that there is a white neutral in the cable(is it a cable?). Don't think you can use a non white/grey wire for neutral.
    – crip659
    Aug 25 at 21:36
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    @crip659 There's a situation when non-white/grey is allowed for neutral or ground: when the conductor is 4 gauge or heavier. In that case it can be taped or otherwise re-marked for neutral or ground -- but it's not likely Haley's cable is that heavy. :-(
    – Greg Hill
    Aug 25 at 23:34
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    Can you post photos of the inside of the junction box in question please? Aug 26 at 2:37
  • Yea its 2 hots and a ground.
    – Haley Boyd
    Aug 31 at 16:48
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This will be a brief answer; I'm sure others could be more complete.

The short answer is yes only if the existing wiring is a multiconductor cable such as NM and not individual wires like THHN in conduit. However, it has to be done carefully.

You have to change to a normal 15 or 20 A breaker for your typical 120 V receptacle or it wont be protected from overcurrent. You can use the red as neutral if you connect it properly in your panel and mark it with white tape at both ends (this is where the multiconductor cable is important - according to 2020 NEC 200.6, this would not be permitted for individual conductors such as THHN where the neutral wire must follow strict color rules).

The wire gauge is not an inherent problem, but likely the 15/20 A breaker and the standard receptacle will not accept the large wire gauge. You must pigtail it to a #14 (min for 15 A breaker) or #12 (min for 20 A breaker) first (with the proper wire nuts).

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    You likely are wrong. Re-marking non-white wires to neutral is only an option for 4Ga and larger (50A circuit is likely 8 or 6) where white is generally not manufactured.
    – nobody
    Aug 26 at 1:07
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    First understand the NEC calls the neutral the "grounded" conductor, this is different from the "grounding" conductor. The 2020 NEC 200.6 Means of identifying Grounded Conductors (E) Multiconductor Cables. Exception No. 1 "Conductors within a multiconductor cable shall be permitted to be re-identified at their terminations..." Aug 26 at 2:07
  • Thank you, NoSparks, that's an important detail that I have added to my answer.
    – blarg
    Aug 26 at 3:22
  • Understood. Now this circuit also runs my thermostats. I have radiant heat wiring through my ceilings. So I really cant change out from red (hot) to a nuetral right?
    – Haley Boyd
    Aug 31 at 16:52

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