# 240VAC single phase from three-phase?

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Ulysses, Mar 29, 2010.

1. ### UlyssesGuest

Hi. I've been googling and read a lot about three phase power but didn't
find the answer to my specific question...

I have a vacuum-heat press that operates on 240 VAC single phase. The plug
is a 20 amp twistlock so I'm assuming it draws less than 20 amps at that
voltage. The vacuum motor runs from 120 volts and is included in the
circuitry. I can't seem to find the wiring diagram so I'm guessing that
either one leg of the 240 supplies the pump and the other supplies the the
heating elements OR one leg supplies the pump and one heating element and
the other leg only one heating element (this seems unlikely to me).

So, I have three-phase power in my store and the voltage across any two hot
lines is about 209. BUT, the voltage between any hot line and ground or
neutral is 120 volts. SO, since I'm not going to be running any 240 volt
motors etc, and the pump is running from 120 volts anyway, can I simply
connect the vacuum-heat press to two legs of the three-phase plus neutral
and ground? As far as I can figure I will be supplying the pump and heating
elements individually with 120 anyway. Unless for some reason the heating
elements require 240 but that seems like it would be an unbalanced load with
the pump drawing only 120 from one of the lines.

The wiring diagram is somewhere and I'll consult it before doing anyway. If
this won't work what are my options?

2. ### GordonGuest

Most likely the heating elements are wired across the 240 volt legs
and the vacuume pump goes from one leg to neutral. Sure it's
imballanced,
but that is not a problem.
The reason that two legs of a 3-phase supply read 208 volts is because
they are 120 degrees out of phase. A single phase 240 volt (residential)
secondary. The two legs are 180 degrees apart.

So on a 3 phase supply, one leg will rise up to 120volts, but the other
leg will not be at -120 volts. It will be at about -88volts (if i did

Any way, hooking that machine up the 3 phase will cause the heating
elements to run cooler. that may or may not be a problem.

3. ### danny bursteinGuest

misc note: That "120 degrees out of phase" is only coincidentally
the same number as 120 Volts.

Misc note #2: in some areas of the country, such as NYC, you
don't get that "single phase 240 volt", but rather, you're likely
to get the 208 volt deal.

The way the wiring works is that you have four wires from
the street. You've got "hot legs" of "A", "B", and "C", each
of which are 120 degrees apart. You also have a neutral.

If you tap from any of the legs to ground (neutral) you'll
get 120VAC.

If you tap hot-to-hot, you'll get the equivalent of 208V.

In a typical setting the first apartment has legs "A" and "B"
(plus neutral and a safety ground). The next one has "B"
and "C". The third has "A" and "C". Rinse lather, repeat.

All three legs go to the roof to feed the elevator motor
and the central AC chiller.
Note that it's NOT a mere 14 percent difference (208 vs. 240),
but is in the case of resistance heaters, about a 25 percent
reduction. That's because with the voltage dropping,
you get a corresponding reduction in amperage...

So you've got roughly 75 percent of the heating capability.

If you've got, say, a typical kitchen oven, it simply means
it'll take longer to heat up. But oce it does, everything
will be fine.

But if you're trying to boil water on the top heater, the lower
voltage will take about 33 percent longer...

4. ### UlyssesGuest

I found the installation instructions (finally) but there is no wiring
diagram. You seem to be sure about how the heating elements are wired so
perhaps you are familiar with the type of press I'm talking about. It turns
out the 208 volts is "acceptable" as per the instructions so that should not
be a problem. I guess my question was not clear (or too many questions at
once) but IF each heat element was connected to a different leg and neutral
THEN each would be supplied with 120 volts and the 208 volts would be
irrelevant. Is this correct? The only three-phase I ever worked on before
was with small alternators and I always used all three legs and was only
concerned with the total output. In any case I've worked with 240 volts so
I'm sure I can do the wiring without any major mishaps. The vacuum press
has controls for setting the desired temperature and shows the present
temperature so it should work, just take a little longer to heat up as was
mentioned. There is a card included with the instructions that tells what
the voltage readings should be at an accessory outlet (120 volt) on the
front of the machine so that should tell me if everything is wired
correctly. I does, however, leave out one hot lead..... The hot leads
that I indend to use are each connected to 20 amp breakers and nothing else
is being used on those circuits so I think I'm good-to-go. Thanks everyone
for the help :-D
That's what I have.
As of this moment I have no doubts, but if any arise I'll get the
electrician.

5. ### amdxGuest

You almost need to think in peak and peak to peak terms when you
are discussing 3 phase and measuring phase to phase.
When one phase peaks it is 169.68 volts above ground, (1.414 x 120V)
The other leg must be -124.43V, because 124.43 + 169.68 = 294.11 Vpp.
And 294.11V x .707 = 208 V
And yes you're correct 88V x 1.414 = 124.43Vp
What I'm a bit puzzled by is I can't find a proper graph.
The negative leg is never at the correct point to show what I have said.

What should be 208 on this graph calculates out to 192Vrms (assumes 0.6 on
the graph)

Ands this one shows 240Vrms (assumes 70.7 on this graph) note labels change
from page to page.
http://www.automotive-res.com/EX/11-14-02/C0190-Figure1.gif

I think both graphs are wrong, ie, poor representation of a sinewave.
The line is in the wrong position at 120 degrees.
Mike

6. ### UlyssesGuest

Well, I didn't *think* I was presuming, maybe just hoping. If I understand
it correctly then IF each heating element was powered by a different leg of
the three-phase supply then there would be no loss of power being supplied
to the elements whether they were connected to single phase or three-phase.
I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just trying to understand it completely.
The total voltage of my three-phase power that reads 208 volts between two
legs would be 360 volts, right (208*sq/rt of 3)? That would make each leg
produce 120 volts between hot and ground, right? With single phase each leg
would also be 120 volts between hot and ground. From what everyone has said
it is common for such heating elements to be connected to 208 or 240 (or
230) volts so I'm just trying to understand why. It seems to me it would be

The motor has a 120 volt type power cord that appears to have Hot, N, and G.
I did not read the label on the motor to see if it could be wired for 240
but I'll have to do that. The motor plugs into it's own reserved receptacle
at the rear of the machine. I will test the voltage at that outlet once I
get the thing connected but since the power cord has a plug exactly like a
desk-top computer I'm *assuming* it's 120 volts. I mean, they wouldn't use
the same type of power cord for 240 would they and be running two hots and
ground through it?
Yes, and thank you.

7. ### amdxGuest

I was responding to Gordon where he said,
"So on a 3 phase supply, one leg will rise up to 120volts, but
the other leg will not be at -120 volts. It will be at about -88volts"
This is true but only at one instant in time, and that would NOT be at
a peak.
A little study of rms vs peak vs peak to peak will show you where
my numbers came from.
I thought a graph showing the voltage over time would be a good way
to show the voltages. I was disappointed that I didn't find an accurate
graph. None have the proper voltage, when line A peaks positive, line B
should be at -124V on the graph. Any graph I have found is either to high
or to low. This just a poor drawing of a sinewave.
Yes it is 208 (Vrms)
It would seem to me they would be 180 degrees out of phase.
Mike

8. ### amdxGuest

Snip
Snip 12 volt battery data.

If you want to talk DC polarity and (phase) note one end of your two
batteries is
'+' of one and the '-' or opposite polarity (phase)

I tried to post graphics from the page, they didn't post so please go
to the URL and page down 3/4 page.
Here is a website that describes the phase relationship of a typical
120/240V system showing the 180 degree phase.

description.
http://www.tpub.com/content/construction/14027/css/14027_75.htm

Mike

Nope, you got it backwards... If they are 0 Degrees apart the meter
would read Zero Volts, HOWEVER if they are 180 degrees apart the Meter
would read 240 Vac. Draw it out, and you can see the Phase relationship.

10. ### amdxGuest

Thanks Bruce,

Things get dificult to explain when the depend on a reference point.

This website shows a graph showing the phase of the two lines 1808 out of
phase.
description.
http://www.tpub.com/content/construction/14027/css/14027_75.htm
Mike
PS. I still have interest in a graph that shows 3 phase ac where I can
accurately extraopolate 208 V.

Really???

12. ### Bob FGuest

As I see it, if the voltage polarities were the same - 0 degrees apart, the
neutral would carry the sum of the load currents. If they are 180 degrees apart,
the neutral would carry 0 current.

Yea, Mike's thinking is kind of "Out there" electrically speaking. You
don't compare DC and AC when trying to explain AC and Power & Phase
Relationships. As another commenter pointed out Vectors don't work in AC
very well, because they lack the Time Element, and that time element is
a critical part of AC evaluations. You need to know just where in the
cycle you are talking about, when looking at instantaneous Phase and
Power with the vector analysis.

I still remember the quiz in EE 102 that dealt with all this... and I
got 95%, but not without some heavy bookwork, the night before and lots
of scrap paper.... back in my college days... many decades ago....

14. ### amdxGuest

I think all our difference with mike boils down to the reference point and
maybe
some semantics. I kinda gave up on the argument.
I did get some understanding on the 3 phase power problem I had.
I was looking at the wrong point in the waveform, I was 30 degrees of peak.
So using .707 x peak didn't work. Now that I have found the real peak and a
nice graph it all came together.
Note: the dotted line is the voltage that results from adding the voltages
from two of
120 volt lines.
Mike (amdx)

15. ### amdxGuest

I'll give it my best shot.
I'll define the system 240v, 2 wires, no neutral. let me know if that is a
problem.
are in phase.
As the sinewave starts to rise and gets to 30 degrees the voltage is 147
volts,
at 60 degrees the voltage has reached 260 volts and then at 90 degrees, 294
volts.
Now lets get out the oscilloscope, one lead on each wire, at 30 degrees the
voltage on
Line 1 has reached 85 volts and the voltage on Line 2 has reached 85 volts
also, because they're in phase
So the oscilloscope measures the potential difference between L1 and L2 and
gets 0 volts.
This continues through the whole cycle, since the are in phase there is no
potential difference.
If they are in phase, how can there be any potential difference to do work.
*If they are out of phase the real question is, at 30 degrees, does L1 go
negative 42.5 volts and
L2 go positive 42.5 volts.
Mike (amdx)
*Depends on the reference point.

17. ### UlyssesGuest

I probably shouldn't say this but it muddies it up for me. Without seeing
the sine waves and seeing the phases I can't tell if they are in-phase or
out-of-phase. And aside from all of that I thought you got 240 from the two
120 volt coils if they were OUT of phase with each other, not IN phase.
Perhaps I'm just not understanding what IN and OUT of phase means. I
thought OUT of phase meant that when one sine wave is peaking at the top the
other is at zero. Is this wrong? I have rewired generator heads many times
in order to either get 240 volts OR 120 volts in parallel (to balance the
load on the coils) and, in my mind (which can be a frightening place) the
sine waves were going up and down at the same time so 120 was all I was
going to be able to get. Kinda like connecting two batteries in parallel.

18. ### amdxGuest

Hi Ulysses,
Out of phase could be only 1 degree out of phase. What you described,

The could be 90 degrees or 270 degrees out of phase, depends whether the
zero line is headed pos or neg.
180 degrees out of phase would be if L1 is a the positive peak
and L2 is at the negative peak.
9:37 pm , 04-02-10.
See if it helps or if you disagree.
Mike (amdx)

19. ### amdxGuest

Hey guys I got this wrong, The peak of the 120 volt line is 169.68 volts,
however,
when you use two lines to get 208Vrms the 294Vpeak is 30 degrees from the
120Vrms peak. (peaks at 169.68)
At that point in the waveform one 120V line has reached +146.97 and the
other
is at -146.97 for a difference of 293.94Vpeak. This equals 208Vrms.
Here is a very nice graph to show the relationship between the 120V 3 ph
and the
208 V line.
http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r...3waveforms.gif
Mike (amdx)

20. ### amdxGuest

That was a bad URL, this ones correct.
http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r204/Smart_S/3waveforms.gif
Mike