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any advantage to using a 240V lead melter?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by John E., Apr 24, 2009.

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  1. John E.

    John E. Member

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    Howdy all,

    I've been looking at casting my own bullets and see two versions of lead melters - 120V and 240V industrial/export models

    I'm pretty sure I can get 240V out of an unused dryer outlet, so is there any advantage to using that sort of model?

    Thanks
     
  2. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Member

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    If both products are rated for equal output then there would be no advantage to the 240. Also, unless I am seriously wrong, most US dryer outlets are 220.
     
  3. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    A 240/220v will heat up faster.
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    But you have to have the right plug. I doubt the Euro 220 is the same as a US dryer receptacle/plug.

    Ask the vendor before you buy.
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    220/240 volts won’t necessarily heat up faster but will allow you to run a more powerfull element. It’s because of the relationship that volts, amps and watts have.

    Watts = Amps x Volts

    15 amps at 120 volts results in 1800 watts of power. 15 amps at 240 volts will give you 3600 watts or twice the power at the same current.

    Also, the breakers on most home 110/120 volt circuits are no more than about 20 amps, while it’s not uncommon to see 40 amp 220/240 breakers in the home. That’s a much larger difference in power 2400 watts (20 amps of 120 volts) vs. 9600 watts (40 amps of 240 volts).

    FWIW Most foreign 220-240 volt electricity is generated at 50Hz (cycles) we use 60 Hz.

    To melt the lead in my machine I used a 3500 watt element so 110/120VAC was not an option as 3500 watts at 120 would be just over 29 amps (my breakers are only 20A).


    [​IMG]
     
  6. Funderb

    Funderb Member

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    not being able to plug it in anywhere?
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    In the event of an accident, you can get shocked or electrocuted pretty good with 120 V.

    You can really get Crispy Fried with 220V. And not just occasionally, but every time!
    Great Balls a Fire! :what:

    I wouldn't use 220v for anything on a casting bench unless I was a commercial bullet caster with a hard wired casting machine.

    rc
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    It's the amps that kill you. 110 has killed as many people as anything. 220 is two legs of 110, so unless you grab both legs, you just get 110 anyway.

    Now 277, that hurts. Trust me. :scrutiny:
     
  9. woodsoup

    woodsoup Member

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    220/240 50~ or 60~ makes minimal difference through a resistive circuit. You MIGHT not notice as big a jump in your electric bill using 220/240, depends on how your utility measures usage. You can change either the old dryer outlet to a standard 220/240 volt outlet or change the cord and plug on the pot to a compatible dryer cord with attached male plug, or, or, or..... It will work no matter what you decide. Unlike 3~ electrical circuits the only critical connection is the neutral line (usually white) the 2 HOT (usually red and black) legs make no difference unless you are hooking up an electric motor.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Not on single phase 110 or 220, only on 3 phase where switching any two legs will reverse the rotation of the motor. On 110 & 220 you have to reverse wires internally.

    My home made melter was a stove eye (220) Worked like a champ.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    But who wants a dryer cord attached to your bullet casting pot???

    Just get the 120V model and don't look back!

    rc
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    If I was buying a melter, it would be 110, for sure. Just easier all around. My home made one had a regular plug. It was home made, after all.
     
  13. JWF III

    JWF III Member

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    1-the plug can be cut off. Go to Home Depot or Lowes, you can buy matching plugs and recepticals (used for clothes driers)

    2-120v will give you a little tingle, kind of like hitting your "funny bone"

    3-240v I don't know what it'll do to you. I "respect" it more than 120v.

    4-Volts don't hurt you. 1000 volts at 1 amp won't hurt you. Refer to #2.

    5a-There is nothing to wiring a circuit in your house. Just turn off the main breaker before you get into the panel.

    5b-If you have it wired wrong, the breaker will kick. Just start over with the connections. And try again.

    5c-If you have a properly working panel. There is no wrong way you could connect the wires that will cause a fire. The breaker will kick before that.

    6- I am NOT an electrician. I just understand the basics of how it works. I am a remodeler, and run into live circuts often that have to be moved or removed. I have often times used a saw zall to cut live wires and kick the breaker, all at one time.

    7-However I'm not familiar with the difference between 120v and 240v casting furnaces. So i can't help with the questions on their performance. But the manufacturer is the only place I'd trust to answer those questions, simply because each manufacturer may be different.

    If you decide to go with the 240v furnace, there is nothing to pulling a new circut for it. Just get a book at your local home improvement store and read up BEFORE you start. If you are remotely handy around the house, you can do it. If you don't fill comfortable doing it, work overtime until you can afford an electrician. (Depending on the distance) I'd guess this job would run anywhere from $500-$800.

    Wyman
     
  14. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Watts = Volts x Amps

    many home circuits are only 15 amps (14 gage wire)

    at 110 volts, a 15 amp circuit limits the max. heating element to 1.65 KW

    on a 20 amp circuit (12 gage wire) your limit is 2.2 KW (and this assumes no other loads on the circuit)

    a larger heating element may require more current than a typical 20 amp outlet can provide.... you'll either trip a breaker or worse..... start a fire.

    If you needed more than 20 amps... you would need to have a dedicated circuit wired with 10 gage or heavier wire.

    by contrast....

    the same 12 ga. wire, 20 amp circuit wired for 220 will double your load carrying ability to 4.4 KW.

    A typical clothes dryer or hot water heater circuit runs 10 ga. wire and a 30 amp breaker at 220 volts... almost always wired on a dedicated circuit. This gives you the ability to run a 6.6 KW load.

    Don't ever think you can just put a larger breaker on an existing circuit, as it's the wire type (AL or CU) and diameter that dictates the max. current that is safe to carry... then you size the breaker to limit you to that level.

    Regardless of whether you run 14, 12 or 10 ga. wire... the voltage is limited by the wires insulation and a 600 volt limit is pretty much standard for all three.

    In heavier equipment applications (factories), it's generally less expensive to use higher voltages as all that thick copper wire adds up cost very quickly.

    Disclaimer...

    if you burn you house down, don't blame me.... I'm not an electrician.
     
  15. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    I value my home and family much to greatly to depend on a $5 breaker never ever failing.

    Fact: breakers can and do fail to trip properly.

    Do your homework (the Home Depot 1-2-3 book is an good resource) and KNOW that you are doing it right...... or let someone else do it who does.

    It's not that simple.... yes... current is what kills. But voltage and current are related (V=I x R) so for a given resistance (you), a higher voltage will push more current through to ground.

    The path to ground makes a HUGE difference. Put that 1 amp AC across your chest (left hand on hot wire, right hand to ground) and it will very likely put your heart into "thibulation" (not the correct term, but you get the point) at something like 60 cycles a second = cardiac arrest.

    You better respect that 110 voltage! Back in the day, our shipboard electrical safety training made the point that more sailors die from simple 110 work because they slack off on electrical safety, were as they get "religion" about 480 work.

    Wiring home circuits is not hard. Do your homework and use care.

    But NEVER disrespect 110! I've been bit hard by it once and it was not fun.

    or... you can just by the 110 volt melting pot and be done with it. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    HUGE DITTO!!!
    Yep.
    That's right. If you get into it just right, it will kill you dead as a hammer. :cool:
     
  17. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    You can plug that 3500W melter into a 110V outlet and you'll get about 800 - 900W from it. (should be 875W, but the heating element resistance is probably not linear) It will work just fine; just be slow.
     
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I put the same plug on my casting machine as my welders have so I can use one cord to power everything.

    It would take a larger cord to power an 1800 watt 120VAC element than it would an 1800 watt 240VAC element.

    15 amps at 120 is 1800 watts and only 7.5 amps at 240.
     
  19. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    What's watts, watts is the work being done, watts for the 110v appliance can be the same work being done as the work being done by a 220V appliance, difference? A X B = C, when C does not change but A increases, B decreases.

    I the old days the 6 volt electrical system wires were bigger and connections ran hotter, in 1955 the electrical system went to 12 volt, the watts required to start the engine did not change, Volts doubled from 6 volts to 12 volts, amps dropped 1/2 and the work (watts) stayed the same. Increasing the voltage and reducing amps (current flow-EMF) allowed auto makers to reduce the size of wire, they saved money by increasing voltage.

    110V motors are bigger than 220V motors when the rating in watts is the same, 440V/3 Phase motors are smaller, cost less to run and do not require large wires.

    To answer your question the work being done must be known for both appliances before a comparison can be made. If necessary I would add a plug next to the dryer plug for an additional 220 plug, I would avoid a pig tail adapter, I do not like disconnecting the plug on dryer without flipping the braker, to me it seems like there is always a chance of getting the fingers between the dryer connection and wall plug.

    F. Guffey
     
  20. JimmyN

    JimmyN Member

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    Compare the wattage rating of the two models, if the 120V and the 240V are the same wattage there is no difference. They will both heat up at the same rate, and cost the same to operate.

    The only difference is in the size of the supply wiring. Doubling the voltage cuts current in half. So you might be able to use #14 wire for 240V, but have to move up to #12 if you are running it on 120V.

    If the wattage rating is higher on the 240V then it will of course heat up faster, and cost more to operate since the power company charges per kilowatt hour.
     
  21. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Ouch, I can second that.

    Any hobby type 20 pound furnace or smaller will be under 1,000 watts. Buy the 110 volt pot, no reason to go with 220 unless the only outlet available is a welding outlet. More people have been killed from 120 volts than any other voltage. The reason why is knowledge like this,
    It only takes 5 miliamps to kill you. That's 5 millioniths of one amp.
    Rusty
     
  22. John E.

    John E. Member

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    Wow - lots of advice. I think I'm going to go with 110 for melting ingots to pour bullets. For melting wheel weights, I'm looking at using a cast iron dutch oven heated on a salvaged stove element.
     
  23. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Doesn't affect the hazard but a milliamp is a thousandth of an amp, not a millionth.
     
  24. ants

    ants Member

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    Looking back over a few years of posts, this explains a lot.:neener:

    I'm glad the OP has had second thoughts. The gain of 220v over 115v is minimal or non-existant. The ability to plug into a standard wall outlet and be protected by a properly sized breaker is its own greatest advantage.
     
  25. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Thanks for the correction Jim. I haven't been in those books for 30 years.:D
    Rusty
     
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