Thread Number: 32240
Coverting a 220V dryer to 110V
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Post# 486243   1/3/2011 at 23:57 (4,941 days old) by Pulsator (Saint Joseph, MI)        

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I know this can be done and relatively easily but, I can't remember for the life of me how. Also, can this be done to a new dryer? One that's computer controlled? Or would the computer totally freak out?

Post# 486248 , Reply# 1   1/4/2011 at 00:14 (4,941 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I'd bet that the computer is running off one side of the  power supply on 110 so I would think it's possible, you'd just have to determine which side to use.  Now, if it had sensors to monitor power usage it might have a fit, but I doubt any do.

I'll be curious to see if you succeed.

Post# 486287 , Reply# 2   1/4/2011 at 09:45 (4,940 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
I am not sure what the goal is here

Most new dryers (in the USA) run a 120 volt AC motor and 120 volts to the step down transformer or switching supply for the logic.

In the USA 240 volts on a home dryer is usually just for the heater on full heat.

With 240 volts across many electric home dryers; one gets typically about 5400 watts. If the unit has a low heat mode, one just has 120 volts across the coil and gets about 1400 watts; roughly 1/4 the heat.

Having grown up with a 120 volt dryer from the 1940's, all I can say is you better allow 2 to 4 times more time to dry stuff. Many of us had clothes lines for blue jeans, a 120 volt clothes dryer is like a handheld 9 buck hair dryer, ie super whimpy.

Older dryers marketed over say decades ago had instructions on how to install the plugs lugs for 120 volt service. My dryer from 1976 can be used with 240 volts, 120 volts or 208 volts in Y too. Having 240 volts at house was really not required until post WW2 about say 1947. In that era there were 120 volt and 240 volt dryers; then they made them for dual usage.

Sure a modern new 2011 home dryer can be switched to 120 volts with some tinkering.

I am not sure what the goal is here. With 1/2 the voltage one has 1/4 the power. A load of clothes that takes 1 hour becomes 4 hours.

Get a schematic for your dryer if serious and post it. 120 volts is doable.

Post# 487977 , Reply# 3   1/10/2011 at 15:44 (4,934 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        
Nothing in the dryer to convert. you will simply be USING th

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Hi Junior:

Write to me offline

I made a custom extension cord with a standard 30a 220v female (for a US dryer) and a heavy duty 120v 20a male for my electric dryer. My new apartment doesn't have 220v,

I also made one for GadgetGary. Perhaps he will be so kind as to post a picture for us all.

By simply giving the heating coil 120v (hot and neutral) instead of 220v (two different "hots") the whole thing is quick, non-invasive and enables a US dryer to work on a 15a or 20a 120v circuit. As stated above in a prior post the heating coil's wattage goes to 25% of what it is rated as (when used on 110 v nstead of 220v) enabling the dryer to use a regular outlet. Other than the heater, all the other (other) components use 110v.

The bsst type of system to us on 110v is a SENSOR dry.

Be nice to me (as you always are, LOL), and I will consider making one for you at cost + shipping (i,.e. no profit for me)

Let's talk.


This post was last edited 01/10/2011 at 19:12
Post# 488032 , Reply# 4   1/10/2011 at 19:10 (4,934 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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Almost any 240 volt dryer can be wired to run properly on 120 volt power, the only difference will be that the heat output will be reduced to 1/4 of the wattage that is achieved on 240 volts. The 1/4 wattage will usually result in about 3 times the drying time that 240 volts gives, alltough due to the increased running time and air flow it doesn't take 4 times as long to dry the same load, the dryer will actually use about 15% less total power on 120 operation. All that said all you need is a standard 3 wire 120 cord-set of at least 14 ga. copper wire and a strain relief to install on the dryer where the cord goes into the dryer. You then connect the white or neutral wire to the center neutral terminal of the dryer { disconnect the neutral ground wire or strap first ] then connect the black wire to the black terminal. Then connect a jumper wire from the center neutral terminal to the other outer terminal usually a red wire is on that terminal. The fully electronically controlled WP built dryers will shut of after about 110 minutes of drying if they don't sense dryness before that time as a safety precaution. And some of the newest machines may give you a fault code if they don't sense 200-240 power. But otherwise you should be ready to roll, keep in mind even though people often use the term 220 volts that there are no 220 volt lines or dryers in the US, this is important to keep in mind if you are ever trying to figure amp draw or wattage for any appliances.

Post# 488189 , Reply# 5   1/11/2011 at 12:14 (4,933 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Typically a 220 volt labeled dryer is an older one

The nominal voltages to houses has just gone up and thus eons ( a century ago! ) stuff was labeled 110 volts or 220 volts.

Later dialog was 115 and 230 volts, or 117 and say 235 volts.

Even later stuff is labeled 120 and 240 volts.

In slang saying one is using 220 volts often means one has been around awhile. The actual voltage one has at an outlet varies by location of the country, location to the sub station, time of day, air temperature is folks are using their AC units.

The 240 volt here at my business is typically about 242 to 243 volts and sags to 235 to 230 in the summer during a passive peak hot day. One big machine has "taps" where one can set the input lugs to be 240, 230, 220 or 208 depending one ones local conditions, 208 is for 120/208 Y .

Older dryers in the USA are actually often labeled 110/220 volts if from the 1940's to even 1960's.

My 1976 dryer has 240 volts, 208 volts in Y, and 120 volts on its patent plate. Other machines in that era often say 115/230 volts too.

A dryer coil kit for my 1976 Westinghouse comes precut for an obscure 255 volts as is. Yes 255 Volts. This is obscure.

One has this coiled giant spring like NiChrome coil that is about say 6 feet long. One cuts off a few inches to run it at 240 volts, a tad more for 230 volts, a tad more for 220 volts, and a tad more for 208 volts. This is in the offical Westinghouse coil kit.

When I was a kid the house's lines were called a 220 volt lines. Most older motors and ones stuff was called 110 volts. One still Today has socket adapters at Home Depot that convert an Edison bulb socket to a 2 prong plug. These are often labeled 660 watts max, this goes back over 100 years. It is from 6 amps at 110 volts. This was the max load with many plugged things 100 + years ago.

Here I have several old AC induction motors in my junk box that are labeled 220 volts and even a 30 amp 220 volt watt hour meter and a 110 volt 30 amp watt hour meter for a house.

In a California Apartment I had awhile back in the 1990's, the nominal 120/240 volts of today was never that low. I was right by the substation a the start of the feeder and the voltage was about 126 to 127 normally. I never saw it go below 122, once it was at 132 volts.

When I lived in the Midwest in the early 1960's at the end of a feeder our houses "220 or 230 volts" was normally closer to 220 volts. One has a massive amount of legal things as to what was actually required to be delivered to a house or business and often in the past it was lower.

220 volts was once the NORM in the USA eons ago, it just went to 230 then later to 240 volts. In the 110/ 220 volt era the bulk of the stuff sold was marked that way, a good swag is this is mostly pre WW2 stuff. Thus my pre WW2 Westinghouse Copper cozy glo heater is marked 110 volts and 5 amps.

Not all old 220 volt AC motors will/would tolerate running on 240 volts, thus power companies if the raised the nominal from 230 to 240, one old plant might have a transformer with its input taps set lower to serve the older motors.

If one looks at the USA a century ago, there was no 230 or 240 volts, it was 220 volts and 110 volts. Even a 1930's EE book has the voltage on the poles as 2200 volts or 440 volts and the supply to the factory is 110 /220 volts.

The USA old voltage standards of 110, 220 and 440 volts goes back to the Tesla AC days and his war with Edisons 90 to 110 volts DC.

A 1880's lamp with a carbon filament sort of set the rough spec, it was about 100 volts. If one went higher the filment got very fragile. 110 was the voltage more like at the begining of a line.

If one looks at watt hour meters from 100 years ago for houses and buildings houses were mostly 110 volt units and a small business had a 220 volt meter with 2 hot wires.

In the 1940's watt hour meters I have on some AC units and big equipment, the nameplate is either 230 volts or 240 volts

Post# 488195 , Reply# 6   1/11/2011 at 12:36 (4,933 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
A NON USA 220 volt dryer you will have issues

Most "220 volt" dryers are not in the USA. These typically have no neutral thus one cannot convert one to 1/2 the voltage with ease. The motor, timer and control electronics are run on 220 volts the electronics of course is stepped down.

Post# 488296 , Reply# 7   1/11/2011 at 19:11 (4,933 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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3beltwesty I really enjoyed the history the gradual rise of voltages in the US. I look forward to hearing more about your appliance ventures, You should fill out your profile or at least give us a name so we don't have to call you 3belt unless you want to be 3belt LOL. Thanks John.

Post# 488301 , Reply# 8   1/11/2011 at 19:25 (4,933 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Anyone Considering A 120v Dryer

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Converted to or built to run on such power had better have either a washing machine with high final extraction speed, or a "spin dryer". Otherwise, yes it can and will take ages to dry loads of laundry.

Being as this may, my vintage Whirlpool portable, running on puny 1350w, and do about 5lbs of wash in 30 to 35 minutes. Mind you the Miele has final spin speeds of either 900rpms, or 1100rpms. Then there is the Hoover or "Paki" spin dryers, both of which hit >2500 rpms.

The only benefit one can see to using a larger drum for 120v drying is the ability to do larger items (comforters, duvets, quilts, etc), but larger loads unless really extracted well are going to take time.

Have always wanted to play around with one of those vintage Frigidaire condenser dryers, the early ones that ran at 1750w on 120v power. Indeed was temped by a recentl post to a CL ad for one. But haven't the room nor mechanical know how to keep such a thing running. Nor willing to put up with the heat/humidity they throw off during the warmer months of the year.

Post# 488319 , Reply# 9   1/11/2011 at 20:18 (4,933 days old) by redcarpetdrew (Fairfield, CA)        

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Launderess, I always enjoy your posts...

John, it seems to me that many of the newer W/P electronic controlled dryers will actually flash a trouble code on the display to alert the owner if it cannot detect proper 220v power from, say, a service breaker with one leg tripped. I'm not sure how they would react to being rigged for 110v operation...


Post# 488384 , Reply# 10   1/12/2011 at 07:32 (4,932 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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Hi Andy yes I mentioned that possibility in my post, now I am going to have to try hooking a new WP electronic dryer too 120 volts and see what it does, I will let everyone know.

Post# 488441 , Reply# 11   1/12/2011 at 12:17 (4,932 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
What is the Goal?

It really is not clear what the goals are here:

Is it too:

(1) Run a 240 volt dryer on 120 volts since one does NOT "have" a 240 volt service?


(2) Is it to run ones 240 volt dryer on 120 volts to drop the heat, ie to slowly dry say some foam piece than might melt?

With case (2); all I do with my 1976 Westinghouse dryer is turn the front panel knob to the "low" setting, and all the heater "sees" is 120 volts, thus 1/4 the heat is used. Many modern dryers do this too, in settings that heat less BUT it might not be clear that one really is just using "one hot 120 volt leg". In case two, there is really no need to modify anything, one just sets the controls differently. A dryer manual whether from 1955 or today is not going to explain that that "low" or delicate setting is just using one 120 volt leg.

Post# 488446 , Reply# 12   1/12/2011 at 12:32 (4,932 days old) by Pulsator (Saint Joseph, MI)        

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The problem is that there is no 240V service available. I dry everything on low heat anyway, but I'd rather not have to wire a new plug. Would it matter what temp I selected if the machine was wired to 120V? Would it complain if I set it to high or would it use a lower temp off of the 120 if I selected low?

Post# 488497 , Reply# 13   1/12/2011 at 15:27 (4,932 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
What is you dryer make and model number?

Have you mentioned your dryer's make and model?

There really is no broad brush general answer since there are so many different dryers. But if one had a schematic via the model number one would have more clues.

The old dryer here just has one cycling thermostat in line with the heater coil and one emergency over temp thermostat that in normal useage never opens.

They dryer's cycling thermostat just turns off a 155F and back on roughly 130 to 135F. With a full wet load the heater is always on until the exit air is 155, then it clicks off then back on at 130 to 135F. The thermostat cycles on and off once over and over until stopped.

The timer stops the heater in the cool down mode. With my dumb dryer, it the low and high just make the coil have 120 or 240 across it when on, it really has no dffernent temp sensor.

They same thing is in a hand held hair dryer, but the coil has taps asn one only has a 120 volt supply.

Post# 488519 , Reply# 14   1/12/2011 at 17:04 (4,932 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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My dryer (which now uses only 110v) has an auto-dry system that uses time and temperature (i.e. not sensors). This type of auto-dry works by having a timer that advances only when the heater is "OFF".

With mine I MUST use a "LOW" heat setting in that the timer would otherwise probably never move. On 110v the heater in my dryer does NOT shut off until the clothing is dry and evaporation stops.

Junior, AFAIK you are going to have to get a heavy-duty 110v (air-condtioner) extension cord that can handle a full 1,800 watts [15a x 120v], cut the female end off and use it as a cord and plug for your dryer, (as 220v dryers here don't come with a cord) or go with my suggestion if the machine already has a cord and plug and made an extension cord that delivers 120v to the heater.

In either case I do recommend removing the dryer's the ground strap that grounds the machine through the neutral conductor and go with cords that have a separate ground conductor.

(i.e. Three conductors for a 110v plug & cord and 4 conductors if the machien is to remain with or have a 220v plug and cord.

My idea I think is more prrctical if you will have a number of 220v (used?) machines in and out of your possession, and dont want to keep outfitting the dryers with new cords to be able to use them on 110v.

Post# 488531 , Reply# 15   1/12/2011 at 18:03 (4,932 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

With the old 1976 dryer here one just jimmies a putty knife under top at the left and right front, then tilts the top back. There at the back right corner the lugs for the dryer; and a diagram under the top that one can look at to wire up the cord.

There are 2 hots and 1 neutral lugs on mine; plus frame ground.

For 120 volts one uses the neutral and the 1 hot that is one motor/timer side and green ground

For 240 volts one uses the neutral and the both hots and green ground if your house or code has 4 wire newer 240 volt sockets.

I could use a cheater cable affair toggleswitch mentions, but onee has to know which hot is got the AC motor on.

If one spits the cord and uses a clamp on AC amp meter, a 120/240 volt dryer will run more current on the legs used for 120 volts, usually about 2 amp more.

Thus a 5400 watt coil on 230/240 volts might have 22 amp on each hot leg and the on leg will draw about 3 amps more with the ac motor on. Thus in 240 volt mode there might be hot/neutral/hot amps reading of 22/3/25.. in 120 volt mode it would be 0/15/15

Post# 488542 , Reply# 16   1/12/2011 at 19:04 (4,932 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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3 belt the only full size dryers that I ever saw that operate the heater element on 120 volts for the low heat setting were older WH machines aprox pre 1988 and earlier and some early TOL GE dryers where the extra low heat setting was labeled economy. Other than those two examples I don't know of any other 240 volt dryers old or new that do use 120 volts for the low setting. Steve if you are going to attach a 120 volt three wire cord to a 240 volt dryer YOU MUST disconnect the neutral ground otherwise if the neutral and hot lines get reversed any where along the way the entire dryer cabinet would be hot with 120 volts. If you read any manufactures instructions about doing this they all advise removing the center ground strap or ground wire.

Post# 488641 , Reply# 17   1/13/2011 at 08:17 (4,931 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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Yes, thank you. I am in full agreement about the ground strap!

Post# 488651 , Reply# 18   1/13/2011 at 10:17 (4,931 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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Steve my apologies about the ground strap comments I read it so fast that I thought you said DO NOT remove the ground strap. I hope its not a senior moment LOL hope to talk to you soon.

Post# 488677 , Reply# 19   1/13/2011 at 12:55 (4,931 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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LOL thanks, but I don't offend easily. I didn't even take note of it really. I actually thought you were backing me up! LOL

And if that was intended to be a stern rebuke, HIT ME HARDER LIKE YOU MEAN IT. LOL

Yes talk soon!

This post was last edited 01/13/2011 at 16:19
Post# 488684 , Reply# 20   1/13/2011 at 13:21 (4,931 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
No actual details; WAY too much risky jackleg ideas

We can all different on our experiences. Here I am a registered EE in California, thus I do not sign off on a conversion of some device with zero details, it is basically to darn risky.

My experience has been that most all older dryers were simple designs and were designed when I grew up to run on 120 or 240 and the coil in 240 mode went across the 240 volts, and was across the 120 in the 120 volt mode or low heat mode.

The reason most all did this is the coil is simple; it has only two ends and is not tapped. To run on low one just used a switch.

Older dryers did not use an expensive triac to place 120 across the coil, they just used a simple dumb switch.

Basically to say to another that one can convert an unknown USA 240 volt dryer to 120 without knowing the model, schematic with an adapter cord is risky, ie casino betting, loony toons. At best it is a roll the dice and smoke test. ie you plug it in and look for smoke.

The proper way to design to convert running a 240 volt device on 120 volts is to actually provide some ACTUAL details, which is not done here at all.

Using an adapter cord on a totally unknown 240 volt dryer makes you a hero if it works, or wanted man if there is a fire or fault and one has insurance losses or somebody gets killed. Thus with an electrical fire report ones reports eludes to jackleg, or guessing more than solid real engineering.

It seems the trust of this thread is pure generalities; ie never mention the make or model and hope with dumb luck that the conversion works.

Even if it works for chap#2 today , another chap #34 can find this thread in a year and ruin his dryer, get electrocuted, or cause a fire and one might have a legal attack.

****Thus why not rise up and reduce the uncertain variables and provide an actual model number, a schematic?

ie an actual basis of the actual dryer to be converted?

This is the reason engineering is regulated in dealing with public matters, and why many cities have electrical codes with rules. The bulk of home electrical fires are caused assuming.

What is the FEAR in actually providing the model # or schematic?

Post# 488728 , Reply# 21   1/13/2011 at 16:09 (4,931 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

This post was last edited 01/13/2011 at 16:27
Post# 488733 , Reply# 22   1/13/2011 at 16:19 (4,931 days old) by supremewhirlpol ()        

If you are attempting to wire that Kenmore Electronic dryer you got from me to run on 120V, you might want to look in the manual. I know it says something about a special way to do it, but when I looked in that section, it gave no diagram of how to do it. I'd say if you afraid that you would ruin the computer board, (which costs a few hundred dollars to replace) by doing this, just wait until you have the proper electrical supply to run the dryer. If you are good with reading schematics, you could attempt to trace the circuitry of the electronic controls, and see where the two hot electrical lines go, and what they do in certain places in the circuitry.

AT THIS POINT, IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, JUST LET THE MACHINE BE. Wait until you have the proper Electrical suppply before using this machine. (Just sayin)

Post# 488824 , Reply# 23   1/13/2011 at 23:47 (4,931 days old) by Pulsator (Saint Joseph, MI)        
Not the Kenmore!

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It was never my intent to wire up the Electronic Kenmore dryer for 120v! I was thinking more along the lines of getting a new 27in Whirlpool dryer and running it off of 120V.

Post# 488839 , Reply# 24   1/14/2011 at 03:06 (4,931 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        

Jamie, why not simply consider a Tag portadryer, or whirlpool portable. The little whirlys are on CL often, signed plug & play. alr2903

Post# 488851 , Reply# 25   1/14/2011 at 07:34 (4,930 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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All US 240 volt dryers that are made in both gas and electric versions can be easily and safely run on 120 volts either for testing- demonstration purposes or even drying clothes. Anyone doing this must have enough knowledge and sense to make sure that electrical connections are made properly, that the machine is grounded properly and that it operate properly when it is connected to power. If anyone is unsure of doing this they shouldn't do it. All dryers have a wring diagram attached to them and one only need to look at it to see if the conversion is possible and how to do it.

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