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So I want to use "ol big red", my trusty arc welder in my new home. I intend to use the electric range circuit since we have a gas range. I re-routed the range wire and was about to hook it back up and realized that there is no neutral wire, just a ground. The ground strands were connected where the neutral should be in the three prong outlet. Can someone advise on how I should connect it back up?:

  1. The way it was, using the ground as a neutral, leaving the receptacle box ungrounded. (might be difficult to avoid contact between the ground strands and the box)
  2. Use the ground strands to bond the metal receptacle box and leave the neutral disconnected. I do not believe this welder requires a neutral since it says only "230V" not "110/220V".
  3. both (!?)

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  • Is there a plug attached to the welder? – Tester101 Jul 5 '14 at 22:01
  • @Tester101 welder plug is shown in photo #2. – Paul Jul 5 '14 at 23:27
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    I couldn't find any technical documents for the unit that contained any schematics, so I can't say for sure if the neutral is used at all. I'd say since the welder has a NEMA 10-50P plug on it, you'll have to plug it into a proper NEMA 10-50R receptacle. Which means you'll have to install a neutral. You could contact the manufacturer, and see if you could replace the plug and receptacle with NEMA 6-50 devices. Or try and find a schematic for the device, and determine if it uses the neutral at all. – Tester101 Jul 6 '14 at 11:58
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    @Tester101, that is a venerable old school Licoln buzz box stick welder. It says right on it 230v, it does not require a neutral. IMO someone replaced the cord and plug long ago with a standard range cord so they could use it on their range circuit. – Speedy Petey Jul 6 '14 at 12:56
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    @SpeedyPetey That's what I suspected, but I couldn't find any documentation to back it up. – Tester101 Jul 6 '14 at 15:27
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That is SEU cable. That bare conductor is a neutral, there is no ground. This is typical cable for an older range. The neutral also served as the ground (NOT the other way around as many people think).

Also, that plug was replaced on that welder. It IS a straight 240v tool and does not require a neutral. It originally came with a 6-50P plug attached, someone replaced it with that 10-50P.

Personally, if you are only going to use the circuit for the welder I'd replace the plug with a. 6-50 and install a 6-50R receptacle. Using that neutral conductor as a ground is fine, the opposite would in NO way be true though. You can never use a ground as a neutral.

You can however simply install. 10-50R receptacle on that SEU cable and it will work.

  • If i use the 10-50R, should I bond the conduit/box with the neutral? – Paul Jul 6 '14 at 19:12
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I know that this is an old post, however I would never recommend to use the neutral as a ground, and definitely not a ground as a neutral, for just about the same reasons, if the main neutral connection becomes loose up stream (it happens), you could have a hot chassis don't forget, this is the very reason why you can no longer use the neutral to bond the frame of stoves and dryers (too many fires & electrocutions). For this scenario (connecting the welder), I do agree with using the NEMA 6-50P (plug) and the 6-50R (receptacle), but moving the neutral wire from the cable feeding the welder to the ground bar in the panel feeding it, yes bond the receptacle box too.

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I think if you remove the back of the welder and look inside, you will find a schematic calling for connection to a 6-50 receptacle, stating that the third wire is connected to the case of the welder, and presenting the option that the third wire of the receptacle be connected to either a grounded neutral or to plain ground. That would make it clear that someone has changed the plug.

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I have one of these, and I dug out the manual (printed October 1987). It has a sentence that reads: "The center contact in the receptacle is for the grounding connection. A green wire in the input cable connects this contact to the frame of the welder. This ensures proper grounding of the welder frame when the welder plug is connected to the receptacle". So its just a ground, and the existing neutral wire could be used.

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