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Question DetailsAsked on 8/12/2015

change a 3 wire cord to a 4 wire cord on a dryer

On the new 4 wire cord, i know where the red, white black and green wires go but where do i connect the white ground wire that remains that was used with the 3 wire cord?

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1 Answer


Whoa - hold the electric ponies here. Sounds like you REALLY need an electrician, because I think you are getting yourself ready for a Fourth of July (OK - Labor Day) fireworks display when you plug that in.

If you had 3 wires - presumably black (live), white (neutral or return), and green or bare (ground), that is a 120V cord and device and almost certainly had a standard 120V cord end - commonly like one of these -

If you have 4 wires in the device/cord, like with a standard 240V dryer - typically black and red or black and blue but sometimes black and black for the two live wires (120V each with 240V between them), white (neutral), and green (ground) - and depending on amperage rating would have a special type of cord plug end and socket for each different amperage - typically like the last two photos in this blog by Kirk, for a 30A dryer for example -

Try to rewire one for the other voltage and you are looking at either a failure to operate and possibly internal failure and circuit overheating; or frying the device because the voltage is twice what it is made for. Also, hooking a device up that does not match the rating of the circuit would either result in immediate and constant tripping of the breaker, or the device having too large a breaker so it would not be propearly protecting against overload.

If you previously had a 3 wire device there ( a tiny apartment dryer maybe or a gas dryer - or are you trying to plug the dryer into the washer outlet ?), and now have a standard 4-wire 240V dryer, you will probably need to have an electrician install a dedicated 240V circuit for that device.

Manual for the device will say what the voltage and amperage rating of the device are - the outlet has to match that and be dedicated to the dryer, at least assuming it is an electric dryer. That may be your issue - previous may have been gas, which commonly uses only 120V because it needs a motor to turn it but no electricity for the heating.

BTW - white is neutral, NOT ground. Get an electrician.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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