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Moving into a new shop, need advice on 3 phase power

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 04-07-2018 12:02 PM 2218 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

438 posts in 1082 days


04-07-2018 12:02 PM

So I am in the process of moving into a new shop. I asked the guy that I bought it off of (before purchasing) if it had single phase power, and he said yes. Well, upon moving in and starting to run some outlets I discovered that the shop was in fact 3 phase. Now I don’t know what to do because all of my equipment is single phase. I have over 30 machines that are all single phase. What do you guys suggest? Most of the time the problems people post about are trying to use 3 phase machines on single phase power, however, my situation is reversed. LoL, I have 1 phase machines and 3 phase power.

Should I call the power company and see if they can change it to single phase? If so, can you guys give me any indication as to whether this would be very expensive to have the power company change it to single phase?

Are there any phase converter machines that take a single phase motor and make it comparable with 3 phase power? If so, can you post a link or make and model?

If I get the power company to convert it to single phase, would I need a new breaker box? Any help you guys could offer would be very much appreciated!


15 replies so far

View Firewood's profile

Firewood

850 posts in 2057 days


#1 posted 04-07-2018 12:38 PM

3 phase doesn’t mean you have to use all 3 hot wires. However, if you only use 2 hots like a typical single phase outlet, you will only have 208v instead of 240v. Usung one hot will still give you your 120v.

It will probably require a new transformer and new panel to convert to single phase. However, your lighting may be using 277v off the 3 phase and would require rebalasting if you convert.

I’m sure others on here are better suited to give solid advice. This is just from my wirk experience.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1591 posts in 4184 days


#2 posted 04-07-2018 12:40 PM

The power coming into your shop is most likely 240 or 480 volt. Consider leaving it in place, rather than suffer the expense of having it removed.

The power company can bring in 240V single phase, with a new breaker box, which will give you both 120 and 240 volt single phase availability.

You will also need to re-wire the inside of the shop for new 120 and 240 volt receptacles. Hiring an electrical contractor would be a good idea to make sure that you are up to code. There might also be permits and inspections required.

This is not a DIY project. Be safe!

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2730 posts in 1645 days


#3 posted 04-07-2018 01:41 PM

Residential 120/240 is derived off of 3 phase distribution lines so the power company can set you up. Keeping 3 phase available has advantages, but check out the “service/meter” charge. Where usually household single phase service has a charge of only a few bucks per month, 3 phase is often many times that amount.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1909 days


#4 posted 04-07-2018 02:17 PM

Do not call the power company and do not do anything but move in and hook up your tools. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1420 posts in 3183 days


#5 posted 04-07-2018 06:07 PM

You will need to invest in a phase converter which will cost from about $200 up. There are two types to my knowledge and you will need some advice on exactly what to get with your arrangement. The manufacturers and sellers can advise you. Phase converters allow 3 phase machines to use 220 – 24 volt single phase which you should already have in your home to run stoves and washer/dryers. My shop taps off my 220 volt single phase washer/dryer circuit.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1583 posts in 3490 days


#6 posted 04-07-2018 07:04 PM

I had it, and general rule if you have 1 tool then get a vfd, if you have a two or more that will need it, get a rotary phase converter. Contact American rotary and get them to spec you what you need great group.

Cheers.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1909 days


#7 posted 04-07-2018 07:05 PM

Planeman, he has 3ph power and single ph machines. So it’s no problem.

Just because your incoming power is 3ph doesn’t mean that’s what the machines have to accept. Very very very common. It just means if you have 3ph machine you can now run them without a converter. Basically.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1420 posts in 3183 days


#8 posted 04-07-2018 07:14 PM

Oops! I should have read that closer.

However, it seems to me that his shop (I assume it is in an industrial area as 3-phase is only found in industrial areas) would also have 110-120 volt single phase power to run office machines, etc. I can’t imagine any area lacking 120-140 volt single phase power as it is necessary to almost everything! If there is any kind of wall outlet there should be single phase 110/120 volt power.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1909 days


#9 posted 04-07-2018 07:45 PM

If it’s 120/208 it’s ready to go. If it’s 277/480 I’d be willing to bet the farm there is a step down transformer feeding a panel somewhere.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1328 posts in 862 days


#10 posted 04-07-2018 08:01 PM

+1


Residential 120/240 is derived off of 3 phase distribution lines so the power company can set you up. Keeping 3 phase available has advantages, but check out the “service/meter” charge. Where usually household single phase service has a charge of only a few bucks per month, 3 phase is often many times that amount.

- splintergroup


-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1420 posts in 3183 days


#11 posted 04-07-2018 08:34 PM

Interesting. I knew 220 V single phase is simply made of two 110 V lines 180 degrees out of phase. Then what makes up 3-phase? Three 110 V lines 120 degrees out of phase? And of course, there is 440 volt 3-phase.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1909 days


#12 posted 04-07-2018 09:50 PM

Yep. 120d out of phase.

277/480. It’s just the next standard size up in voltage.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

434 posts in 2343 days


#13 posted 04-07-2018 10:06 PM

Go tell us what your breaker panel has written on it. Volts, amps, phase.
I would guess TheFridge is right, it was a working shop.
You said you are “running some outlets” what do you mean?
Adding?
Using?

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1509 posts in 1917 days


#14 posted 04-08-2018 03:05 AM

+1 previous comments, Check your breaker panel(s).
Is it 120/208, or 120/208/240? 277/440?

You can run most standard single phase motors on 3 phase system. I highly doubt you have any issues. 208/220/240 VAC motor rating is very common for motors.
Only minor concern that comes from 1PH 220V motors on 3PH system is small voltage drop from nominal 220V to 208V. If you have a tool that lacks power running on 220VAC the small voltage drop will reduce HP slightly and could make an under powered tool struggle little more. Most commercial grade wood working tools are overpowered and this is trivial concern.

Depending on how building is wired (IE type of plugs, or junction boxes), it should be relatively easy to wire 1PH tools into existing 3PH junctions, unless need larger wire sizes for your loads. Any competent electrician with commercial experience should be able to re-plug 30 tools across entire shop in less than 2 days time. Hardest part of job will be planning power balance across phases.
Note: If your electrician determines that you need spend several hundred $$ to replace conduit/wiring for heavier loads, then it MIGHT be cheaper to replace 1PH motor with 3PH motor, but decision would be tool and shop location specific.

FWIW – 3 phase power requires that you understand difference between WYE or DELTA configurations of power source and/or loads.
These references might help:
https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/42043/whats-the-difference-between-three-phase-240-v-and-standard-household-240-v, or
http://www.neilorme.com/3Phase.shtml , or
https://ctlsys.com/support/electricalservicetypesandvoltages/ , or
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phaseelectricpower

Hope this helps.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1909 days


#15 posted 04-08-2018 03:27 AM

If it has 208 on the nameplate it’s insulation will be more than capable of handling whatever you give it. It was designed for it.

A 240v motor without 208v on the nameplate will work just fine for our purposes but may have a shorter life if taxed regularly.

Delta/wye doesn’t really matter.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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