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Thread: L1 & L2 nomenclature

  1. #1

    L1 & L2 nomenclature

    In a split phase residential panel I am accustomed to seeing the legs named L1 and L2.
    I had always assumed that the L stood for leg.

    Occasionally I see 220V devices that label power connections as L1, L2 and N.

    Occasionally I see 120V devices that label the neutral terminal as L2.
    Is this proper?
    In what situations is it proper to use L1 and L2 as labels?
    Would it be proper to use it on the secondary of a low voltage transformer?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
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    21,838
    L = Line
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Chapel Hill, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny watt
    In a split phase residential panel I am accustomed to seeing the legs named L1 and L2.
    I had always assumed that the L stood for leg.
    L usually stands for Line. Thus L1 and L2


    Occasionally I see 220V devices that label power connections as L1, L2 and N.
    This is a 220 device with a neutral connection

    Occasionally I see 120V devices that label the neutral terminal as L2.
    Is this proper?
    I have seen it and I don't like it but I am not sure if it is proper. Neutral should be called N for Neutral

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    11,834
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny watt

    Occasionally I see 120V devices that label the neutral terminal as L2.
    Is this proper?
    Yes, and quite common. Most 2 wire devices do not care which leg is connected to neutral.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny watt
    In what situations is it proper to use L1 and L2 as labels?
    Any time you have 2 wires supplying power. Unless one of them comes off the third leg of a 3-phase system.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny watt
    Would it be proper to use it on the secondary of a low voltage transformer?
    I don't think I have seen that.
    Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    N.C.
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    15,264
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny watt
    Occasionally I see 120V devices that label the neutral terminal as L2.
    Is this proper?
    Actually it is, both conductors connected to the device are current carrying conductors whether the L2 conductor is grounded or ungrounded.

    Roger

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