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#8285 - 03/16/02 02:27 AM Why no neutral on 240  
Looee  Offline
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 11
Willmar, MN, 56201
I'm an electrician student so I'm kind of new to this. Why is it that 240V circuits don't use a neutral? I have asked my teacher but I'm not sure he understood what I was asking, and nobody else in my class seems to know either.

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#8286 - 03/16/02 08:05 AM Re: Why no neutral on 240  
sparky  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,303
A good Q.
This has had much past attention in this forum, especially via Scott who moderates the theory section.
Consider that some countries have no nuetral in thier grid, and the maladies it causes us in ours... [Linked Image]

#8287 - 03/16/02 01:01 PM Re: Why no neutral on 240  
Bob  Offline
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 182
Mobile, AL, USA
Some 240 volt circuits do require a neutral.
A dryer circuit requires a neutral because besides the motor there are components that
require 120 volts. Therefore the neutral serves a the return conductor for these components. If a device such as a 240 volt welder is used, the power is conducted over the 2 energized conductors. There is no need for the neutral. A grounding conductor would be needed to ground the welder frame.

#8288 - 03/16/02 01:38 PM Re: Why no neutral on 240  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA
A quick and dirty answer is:

The "Neutral" [Better known as the Grounded Circuit Conductor] is no different than any other circuit conductor - only it is usually Grounded.

On a simple 1 phase 3 wire system, the "Neutral" is derived from a "Center Tap" on the secondary winding.
This center tap effectively cuts the winding's normal output voltage of 240 VAC by half, so from each "End" of the secondary winding to the Center Tap, the Voltage is 120 VAC.

It does not need to be Grounded for this to function properly - nor any other "Common Grounded Circuit Conductor".

If you have further questions, I would suggest starting a thread in the Theory area.

Also take a look at some of the Transformer schematics in the Technical Reference area, as they will help explain things better.

Scott SET

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#8289 - 03/17/02 11:52 PM Re: Why no neutral on 240  
Sandro  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 444
Stoney Creek, ON, Canada

Some 240V circuits, like a motor, baseboard heater, AC compressors, welders, etc. carry a balanced load (basically, each conductor carries equal amounts of current). So therefore, a neutral is not required to return the unbalanced current. As mentioned elsewhere, some 240V circuits, like a stove or dryer use current other then for the heating element or require 120V at the appliance, so the load is not always balanced, and thus a neutral is required to carry the unbalanced load.

[This message has been edited by Sandro (edited 03-17-2002).]

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