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Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4772
Experience:  Electrical Contractor
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Just plugged in a dryer to an existing 220 outlet in the laundry

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Just plugged in a dryer to an existing 220 outlet in the laundry room of this house I'm renting. as soon a I plugged it in had big spark, and the beaker didn't trip off! I shut the beaker off, pulled the outlet out and just the black wire (3 wires total) was burnt/broken about 1/2 down from the outlet.

I didn't even get to turn on the dryer; it just popped as soon as i plugged it in. Any help on what could be a cause?
When you re-installed the power cord to the new unit, how did you wire it up?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It was a three wire set up on the dryer. Just wired left one to the left connector, middle to to middle and right to to right. None of the connections on the dryer power cord were colored they are all grey. The dryer has a sticker on the back saying that it's self grounded. so there were only three wires.

The 220 outlet on the wall has three wires. Red to the left side, Black to the right (which is the one that melted) and white on the bottom.
Did you wire it like I show here in this diagram?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It's similar except there was no ground strap on the center terminal, no red wire and no white wire to the middle terminal. Mine has a white and green wire that is looks like it's grounded to the dryer with a bolt. It would be off to the left looking at your photo.

Can you take a picture of yours and post it here for me to see?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Here's a pic of the power cord connection on the dryer.

Download XXXXXXXXX ..jpg (342.9 KB)

When I plug in the 220 dryer cord to the wall outlet it sparked at the wall outlet and fries the black wire the goes from the wall into the 220 outlet.
Your picture did not come through. Upload it to and paste the link here for me to see.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Sorry. Try this:

Ok, there is one issue I see here but in reality I dont see why it would have arched the way it did unless the receptacle for the dryer was wired wrong. Be sure to double check to be sure that you outlet is wired correct before attempting to power up again.

But here is how yours should be wired up:

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Could I just use a 4 wire plug and have the same result? I bought one before I had a chance to open the back of the dryer and see that I needed a three wire instead.

Also regarding the wall outlet. The black wire in the wall is pretty short. would it be acceptable to add a little more wire to it? Like a pigtail or somthing? Just want tot keep it safe........

Thanks for your help so far.
If its a little short, you can add to it so long as you have the room to do it. Also just for your reference, here is how a three wire outlet for the dryer should be wired:

Just in case you dont have a red wire in your cable to the outlet, the red will then be white. But I show red as an illustration.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. I'll give it a try adding a ground wire off of the middle dryer terminal, adding a little more black wire to the wall outlet, give it another try and report back.

Pretty scary when that thing arched! I was just suprised that the breaker didn't trip first.
Just keep in mind that it is possible something was in the On position when you tried to plug it in. Turn the breaker off, plug it in and then turn the breaker on. That is always the best way to go.
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