Installing Easytouch 4 - Electrical Question

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
310
Arlington, Texas
Replacing my old timer based panel with the easytouch 4. There are currently 2 circuits run from the main to pad. The first one is a 120V, 14 gauge, 15 amp circuit with just a hot and a neutral. The second is a 240V, 12 gauge, 20 amp circuit with 2 hots and a ground. I have changed plans several times, but I think I am going to hook it up similarly to how the existing panel is. The 120V feeds a GFCI outlet, and the 240V feeds the rest of the equipment.

I know where the 2 hots go, what goes to the neutral bar? Should I pigtail the neutral from the 120V circuit?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,730
Bedford, TX
A,

You can do many things, but not all of them are up to code.. I don't think you can use a neutral out of another wire, but then I am not up on what the code says.

You should have run a 4 wire 240 volt line with a neutral and ground..

Let's see if Allen knows.. Calling @ajw22

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
310
Arlington, Texas
A,

You can do many things, but not all of them are up to code.. I don't think you can use a neutral out of another wire, but then I am not up on what the code says.

You should have run a 4 wire 240 volt line with a neutral and ground..

Let's see if Allen knows.. Calling @ajw22

Thanks,

Jim R.
And, I am somewhat trying to stay within code as we are on a 5 year plan at this house. I inherited the wiring, and am really hoping to not hear run cable. This upgrade has already turned into a few more dollars than I had planned on.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,254
Northern NJ
Is the 120V circuit wire and the 240V circuit wire running in the same conduit from the main CB panel to the pad?

Your problem is the neutral is 14 gauge wire and the 240V circuits are 12 gauge wire. The neutral to go along with the 240V pair should be 12 gauge and capable of handling 20 amps.

What are you hooking up within the ET 4?

You should not put more then 16 amps on a 20 amp circuit or 12 amps on a 15 amp circuit. With the two circuits through your timers you could handle 28 amps of load. If you try and run everything through the 20 amp 12 gauge circuit you can only put 16 amps of load on it.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
310
Arlington, Texas
Is the 120V circuit wire and the 240V circuit wire running in the same conduit from the main CB panel to the pad?

Your problem is the neutral is 14 gauge wire and the 240V circuits are 12 gauge wire. The neutral to go along with the 240V pair should be 12 gauge and capable of handling 20 amps.

What are you hooking up within the ET 4?

You should not put more then 16 amps on a 20 amp circuit or 12 amps on a 15 amp circuit. With the two circuits through your timers you could handle 28 amps of load. If you try and run everything through the 20 amp 12 gauge circuit you can only put 16 amps of load on it.
I am running the ET with SWG, pump, and 2 pool lights that rarely get turned on. Pump is 10amp on high, ET and SWG are 3 amps together from what I can tell. However SWG is wired to only low speed. Not sure about the old style lights.
The 2 wires are run in the same conduit. I know this isn’t ideal by any means, but other than switching the intermatic timers for the easy touch, this circuit already ran everything. I realize the 14 gauge neutral is a problem.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,254
Northern NJ
this circuit already ran everything
Those TWO circuits ran everything. Now you are trying to squeeze everything on one 20 amp circuit.

Old style lights can have 500 watt incandescent lights. Two 500 watt lights at 120V will pull about 9 amps.

Wire the pump, SWG and ET to run all on 240v through the ET load center.

Wire the 120V circuit directly to a high voltage relay, not through the load center CBs, to control the lights.
 
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Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
310
Arlington, Texas
Those TWO circuits ran everything. Now you are trying to squeeze everything on one circuit.

Old style lights can have 500 watt incandescent lights. Two 500 watt lights at 120V will pull about 9 amps.

Wire the pump, SWG and ET to run all on 240v through the ET load center.

Wire the 120V circuit directly to a high voltage relay, not through the load center CBs, to control the lights.
Gotcha. What about the neutral bar on the ET?
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
356
Central Texas
Just a thought: Could he not use the 12AWG wire for L1, L2 and Neutral on the ET Load Center main lugs, then use the 14AWG wire for the GFCI outlet (running through an ET relay if he wanted ET control over it) and the other 12AWG lead to the ground strip on the load center?

So the GFCI outlet would have 120v being fed from the main panel (through a relay if desired) and it would have neutral being fed from the neutral bus bar in the ET load center.

The ground would be 12AWG, which should be fine though, right? Considering it's for fault protection.

I thought any delta on a 240v circuit which exists between the L1 and L2 legs, travels back to the transformer over the neutral. Wiring it without the neutral connected would have the delta traveling back through the ground, wouldn't it? I get they are bonded at the main panel, but just wondering why the above wouldn't be preferable since it would keep the ground and neutral's separate.
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
356
Central Texas
So you propose switching the 12AWG ground to the neutral bar and the 14AWG neutral to the ground bar. Very interesting.
Right, since the neutral is the return, and the ground is fault protection. But ... I'm no electrician, and know just enough to be dangerous. I'd wait for these other guys to chime in before doing what I suggest.

I think Allen's suggestion works because he's recommending you only run 240v through the ET load center, so the two legs will never have a delta. But, that means you can't ever put a 120v breaker in the load center, otherwise the delta would return through the ground.

Personally, I'd want the configuration in the load center to be standard, without limitations like that; even if just for years down the road when you forget about what you do with it right now. So the ground bus bar and the neutral bus bar are configured as would be expected.
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
356
Central Texas
@Analogbytes : What do you use the GFCI for? If nothing permanent, and it's just an available plug ... you could plug the pool lights into it, and wire it through the ET relay (so you can control the lights through the system), and this would keep your amperage load in line as well (9A of pool lighting through the GFCI to the 15A breaker, the rest of the equipment (13A) through the 240v 20A breaker).

If you use it for a robot, or something else from time to time, you can get a GFCI outlet which allows the plugs to be split (like one of those outlets where you can wire one plug to a wall switch and the other permanent). So you could route one plug on the outlet through an ET relay (for the lights) and have the other plug on the same outlet always hot.
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
356
Central Texas
You are creating what is called a “split neutral” condition. That is only allowed if a bunch of conditions are met. If not done properly when a CB trips the neutral can become hot and present a shocking hazard.
ya, I’ve dealt with split neutrals before, where a neutral was coming from the main panel but hot and ground from a sub.

But in this case, I didn’t think my diagram created a split neutral, since there’s still only one neutral coming from the main. But then again, there’s a lot I don’t know about electric wiring.

how is using the 12AWG for the neutral any different than using the 14AWG? Since they’re in the same conduit, isn’t this code compliant?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,254
Northern NJ
ya, I’ve dealt with split neutrals before, where a neutral was coming from the main panel but hot and ground from a sub.

But in this case, I didn’t think my diagram created a split neutral, since there’s still only one neutral coming from the main. But then again, there’s a lot I don’t know about electric wiring.

how is using the 12AWG for the neutral any different than using the 14AWG? Since they’re in the same conduit, isn’t this code compliant?
The devil is in the details which your diagram oversimplifies. It starts with whether breakers on a shared neutral are on separate or different poles of the power feed. You can’t control that with your design if another 120V circuit is added to the ET.

How many wires of what gauge are in the conduit to begin with?

We were not told the size of the conduit and why the wires can’t be pulled out and possibly four 10 gauge wires run through it.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
356
Central Texas
Thinking about this a bit more, I do now see the potential for the neutral to become hot if one of the breakers in the main panel trips, but the other doesn't (especially if a 120v breaker is added to the ET load center in the future.

To protect against this, can't he position the 240v and the 120v breakers in the main panel to be right next to each other, and then tie them together with a common trip break er tie? So if one trips, they both trip ....

Is that one of those " only allowed if a bunch of conditions are met " crtieria?

 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,254
Northern NJ
You are stretching what is allowed. You can tie together two breaker handles to trip together. You would need 3 handles to be tied together. And I would never rely on zipties for that.

You need to think through the “pole” problems when 120V circuit breakers are added to the ET and you have one rogue CB feeding power into the neutral from the main panel.
 
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