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i'm going to break the tab on the hot side of an electrical outlet for my first time.. i understand you can leave the neutral tab connected.. but i still need two neutral wires, yes? i'm going to use nearly all 15A of each plug on this outlet. lol
You need one neutral for one circuit. I assume you have a switch somewhere and don't want two separate circuits, so the best way is to break only the hot tab and leave everything else the same as you normally would if you installed the outlet as-is. In this case, the easy way is right! Adding another wire does nothing becuse it would tie to the same incoming neutral.

Please decribe why to want to break the hot if it isn't for a switched outlet.

If you are using two separate circuits, you do need to completely separate them by breaking both tabs and using separate wire pairs. The two associated breaker trip bars should be pinned together at the panel so both must be turned off together. It's unpleasant to discover an active wire in an outlet box when you think everything is off.

(I'm not an electrician; just advanced DIY.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@RodW i'm running a couple machines and each one is 12amps, so instead of running a pair of outlets that can't have a 2nd outlet in use.. i'm running a single as two 15 amp outlets
 

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I'm just another DIYer. I would recommend 2 separate outlets wired to two breakers. They could both be in a double box if space is an issue. This assumes you want to run both machines at the same time. If it is either/or, they can both be on the same outlet as only one would be running at a time. If startup current is significant, or other things are on the same circuit, you may want to consider the 20amp variety. If having a second outlet on the same circuit is an issue, you can get singles.

Something to think about. The hot and neutral are the same wire size so can pass the same max current. If you are using 2 different hot wires at near max, one neutral can't handle both currents. In this case think one hot, one neutral, one circuit.
 

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@RodW i'm running a couple machines and each one is 12amps, so instead of running a pair of outlets that can't have a 2nd outlet in use.. i'm running a single as two 15 amp outlets
Bad idea. You need two circuits to ensure safety. You can put two boxes side by side, each with one of these, if you want to guarantee nothing else is adding to the power load. (Circuits shoud normally be loaded at 80% or less, so that's 12A on a 15A feed, which you appear to already know.)

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The alternative is to put two circuits in one box the way you started out (with breaker handle tie bars or pins as I mentioned above), but then either machine could trip both circuits. I have a 20 year old house that does have multiple circuits in some four gang switch boxes, but I want to reiterate how unsafe that is for someone who thinks the box is dead after flipping one breaker. It's against code most places, but this is more than a code issue.
 

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Or...
Is here a reason you can't just install two separate "traditional" outlets (two receptacles each) and just stick a child proofing cover into the ones you don't want to be used? That gives you more options later on.
 

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To answer your question directly, you need to break the neutral tab and run a separate neutral. Used to be that You could do a multi wire circuit and share the neutral, but if they are in the same yoke you have to have a handle tie in the panel. If the 2 hots are off different legs of the 220, then if each circuit is drawing 12 amps the shared neutral current will actually be zero! The shared neutral will only carry the unbalanced (difference) between the 2 loads.
There were some changes to the code a few years back restricting the use of multi wire circuits even further, but I can’t remember the details.
I do know that they are hardly worth the trouble anymore. Maybe one of the other electricians are more up on the changes than me.
 

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Yea, what you are thinking of doing will overload the neutral and create a common neutral which is not only against code but dangerous. Besides that, and this is if I'm understanding correctly, with 2 neutral wires on the recept it is obviously not the only device on the circuit.
 

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i ran a separate neutral and broke the neutral tab.. i figured the info i came across was strange. thanks, guys!
why do i want to run a single gang outlet? just feels cleaner.
I just did some quick checking, and they really didn’t change a whole lot With multi wire circuits. It used to be you only had to have handle ties or a double pole breaker if the two circuits were on the same yoke(like in your case). Now it looks like you have to have handle ties or double pole breaker’s in all cases, so that you disconnect power to the whole multi wire circuit. That’s a pretty good idea, as any electrician probably has a horror story of disconnecting in the neutral accidentally on a multi wire circuit. If that happens, depending on what loads are plugged in, one circuit will see a higher voltage than 120, and the other circuit will see a lower voltage.… It tends to wreck things.
Nonetheless, if your two circuits were coming off two separate phases in the panel, then the Shared neutral will only carry the unbalanced current between the two circuits. You would never overload your neutral.
The way you did it is just fine also!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You guys being up a good thought about forgetting to kill two breakers. I'm using a double breaker.. like two breakers in the same package size as one... I'll test out of I can lock them together at the breaker switch without disturbing the trip function of the other.. I'll love tripping breakers from the wrong side. lol.
 

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I'm using a double breaker.. like two breakers in the same package size as one..
If I'm reading this statement right, you're talking about what is commonly known as a tandem breaker or piggyback breaker. Capability of running two circuits out of one breaker, that physically only takes up one space in the panel. I've never seen a handle tie for those type of breakers, and thus by code, are not allowed for multiwire branch circuits, nor circuits that terminate on the same yoke, and in many cases, the same piece of equipment.

In a nutshell, overcurrent devices that supply multiwire branch circuits must disconnect the ungrounded conductors of such circuits simultaneously.

Now, talking about a standard residential setting supplied by a single phase 240v system, you can have a single duplex receptacle with the tab broken on the 'hot' side, fed by 2 ungrounded conductors and a single neutral (and there is an additional rule if the circuits supply more than one outlet. Also, by code, the term outlet is not exactly the same as the term receptacle. They are sort of the same in a sense, but 'outlet' is broader). The 2 ungrounded conductors must be from different phases and must be supplied by an overcurrent device that disconnects both conductors simultaneously. That is typically done with a 2 pole breaker or 2 single breakers with an identified handle tie. It is commonly done in houses at the dishwasher/disposal receptacle. Technically an electric stove and an electric dryer are the exact same setup.

If I read what you did correctly, is that you ran 2 ungrounded conductors, each with their own neutral, to a duplex receptacle. That would still require a means to simultaneously disconnect both ungrounded conductors (like a 2 pole breaker or two single breakers with an identified handle tie). A tandem/piggyback breaker like you described, could not be used.
 
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i'm going to break the tab on the hot side of an electrical outlet for my first time.. i understand you can leave the neutral tab connected.. but i still need two neutral wires, yes? i'm going to use nearly all 15A of each plug on this outlet. lol
The tab is cut only on the hot side of the duplex receptacl. This is done so one 1/2 of the receptacle can be switched on or off. Often done in a living room so a couch end table lamp can be switched on as you enter a room. You wouldn’t have to walk in the dark and struggle with the lamp. As far asyour two neutrals, we would splice the two in the box along with another piece of solid CU of the same guage and twist them tight an wire nut them. Then attached the short spliced wire to the receptacle. We called hardwiring. In the case of cutting the tab on the hot side and adding a switch leg, it was allowed. It was never allowed in lie of a splice on either side hence two neutrals on one side was absolutely never allowed ever.
 
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View attachment 789824 View attachment 789825
I'm going to give these a test.. worst case, I'll tie a loose loop of string through the holes to remind me to turn them both off if I service the outlet.
If you're going to....ahem... go against code and use that to power your 2 ungrounded conductors, at least use a piece of #12 solid or a nail that won't come out. At least they'll trip together where a piece of string won't do jack. You definitely would need 2 neutrals and break the tab on both sides of the receptacle.

Why don't you just do it the right way and get a 2 pole breaker? Less than 10 bucks for a 15A 2 pole Homeline breaker.
 
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The tab is cut only on the hot side of the duplex receptacl. This is done so one 1/2 of the receptacle can be switched on or off. Often done in a living room so a couch end table lamp can be switched on as you enter a room. You wouldn’t have to walk in the dark and struggle with the lamp. As far asyour two neutrals, we would splice the two in the box along with another piece of solid CU of the same guage and twist them tight an wire nut them. Then attached the short spliced wire to the receptacle. We called hardwiring. In the case of cutting the tab on the hot side and adding a switch leg, it was allowed. It was never allowed in lie of a splice on either side hence two neutrals on one side was absolutely never allowed ever.
If it's the only outlet on the multi-wire branch circuit, you don't have to pigtail the neutral. Otherwise, yes, you do. That's the additional rule I mentioned above, without elaborating on it.
 
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I think a 6/32 bolt and nut will fit through the holes in the breaker handle.
 

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Read responses from the electricians here closely. Remember, if you have a fire and the insurance company finds evidence of non-compliant DIY "hacks" they in theory could refuse to cover damages, or at least bury you in paperwork for a year...
 

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To answer your question directly, you need to break the neutral tab and run a separate neutral. Used to be that You could do a multi wire circuit and share the neutral, but if they are in the same yoke you have to have a handle tie in the panel. If the 2 hots are off different legs of the 220, then if each circuit is drawing 12 amps the shared neutral current will actually be zero! The shared neutral will only carry the unbalanced (difference) between the 2 loads.
There were some changes to the code a few years back restricting the use of multi wire circuits even further, but I can’t remember the details.
I do know that they are hardly worth the trouble anymore. Maybe one of the other electricians are more up on the changes than me.
Unless there is a phase shift from the loads. Then the neutral current could be surprising.
 
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