# Electrical vs electronics

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by floomdoggle, Jan 10, 2009.

1. ### floomdoggle Thread Starter Senior Member

Sep 1, 2008
217
2
Hey all,
The electrical input from the electric company is single phase. No matter if it is 110V, 240V, 440V, or ten billion Volts. The wiring of a device is what utilizes phasing.
Dan

2. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
If it is 240AC with a neutral, it's not.

You are also talking US code, different parts of the world do things differently, different frequencies, amplitudes.

But I would be interested in finding out how L1 to Neutral is 120VAC, L2 to Neutral is 120VAC, and L1 and L2 have 240V.

3. ### floomdoggle Thread Starter Senior Member

Sep 1, 2008
217
2
Hey Bill,
Nope. Delivery is always single phase.
Dan

4. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
OK, answer my question. Merely stating something is so doesn't make it so. The power company actually uses 3 phase, but I know this isn't residential.

5. ### floomdoggle Thread Starter Senior Member

Sep 1, 2008
217
2
Bill,
Good enough is the enemy of the best, your saying.
You are not only incorrect, but perpetuating a misnomer. This is what I am trying to correct. The input is single phase, the output is dual to multi- phase.
Dan

6. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
The input to my power transformer (which far away from my house), is single phase. What comes into my home is split phase. The power transformer is in front of my meter.

Widipedia also referes to it as 3-wire, single-phase, mid-point neutral. Refering to it as two phase is incorrect, but we still have two hot lines 180° as I described in post #2.

7. ### studiot AAC Fanatic!

Nov 9, 2007
5,003
521
Not really sure what you are saying.

The company's electricity cables, buried in my road are three phase and neutral (i.e.four core) with a metal armour sheath which is used as earth. Other earthing arrangements are sometimes used.

I can choose to buy a single phase or a three phase supply from the company. It then provides a connection to one of the phase conductors and neutral or all three and neutral.

Only heavy power users will choose a three phase supply, eg Studio T is on a single phase but the Hospital just up the road receives three phase.

So the power company balances the distribution of the users on each phase, along with the street lights.

8. ### mik3 Senior Member

Feb 4, 2008
4,846
69
I don't know how power is transmitted in US but in Cyprus it is transmitted with the same way as Studiot described briefly.
If they use single phase transmittion in US and then split it to two phases with 180 degrees phase shift (for houses) how one gets three phase power? I think they still carry the power with 3 phase systems because it is more efficient and at the end they split one phase of it into two.

9. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
3 Phase in the USA is industrial. I suppose if you wanted it in your home they would cable it (for a cost). Basically the line tap, be it a pole transformer or ground unit like mine (which is great!) takes a single phase signal and splits it, similar to what I showed in an earlier post (and was dismissed by another user). The picture I drew of the transformer and Wikipedia's are pretty similar though.

The reason is we do have appliances in the USA that require 240VAC, this allows for both 120VAC and 240VAC.

I suspect that they balance the loads on the 3 phases between neighborhoods. In the factory I used to work at we just tapped into one of the 3 phases for a 120VAC leg.

Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
10. ### floomdoggle Thread Starter Senior Member

Sep 1, 2008
217
2
Hey Mik,
Didn't know you are in Cyprus. I do not know how single phase is turned into three phase. The transformer is how the electricians tell it. What I am saying is, if only two wires come in, where does the three phase come from? I have three phase motors in my home, yet, only two wires coming in.
The devices, say a dryer, its' motor is wired for three phase. My radial arm saw is three phase, but I plug it into a three pronged plug. I do not see here at AAC answers about AC line input, and some ask those questions. Since I deal with AC on a regular basis, the input phasing is important. I am hoping someone here will explain how it works.
As always thanks for the response, you are one or the best.
Dan

11. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
It may say 3 phase, but it's not. You can't convert between eacy other, though you can use a leg for 120VAC. 3 Phase 207VAC can make 3 separate legs of 120VAC, or 2 legs can substitute for 220VAC (it is a pretty common alternative).

If it were easy the power company wouldn't use 3 wires on their high tension lines, but convert at the substation. A general rule is you can always use one phase of a multiple phase line.

12. ### floomdoggle Thread Starter Senior Member

Sep 1, 2008
217
2
Bill,
Then please explain how three phase comes out of 2, 3, 4, or fifty wires.
I have three phase wiring in my home, yet only two wires coming in. Explain so we all can teach.
Dan

13. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
If you have 2 wires (L1 and L2) then it isn't 3 phase. 3 phase requires 3 wires, and in addition a neutral (4 wires). 3 Phase is just what it sounds like, 3 legs out of phase 120° with each other, hence 3 wires. I'm willing to bet you have split phase, which is the standard in the USA. There are motors and whatnot that actually require all 3 phases, but not for home use. I've wired industrial equipment to 2 phases on a 3 phase system, from the equipments point of view it was single phase (except both wires were hot, but to a transformer that doesn't matter).

As to your home, I'm not psychic. Have you read the Wikipedia article (out of curiousity), or the AAC book?

To tell if you have phasing other than 180° the voltages do not add linearly. The difference between 2 phases is 207VAC, while the individual legs are 120VAC. With the split phase system they are linear, the two legs at 120VAC add to 240VAC.

Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
14. ### mik3 Senior Member

Feb 4, 2008
4,846
69
I agree with Bill. At your house you have a two phase system (in US which is actually a single phase separated into two phases for practical reasons). You have 3 wires coming in your house, two hot wires for the phases and one neutral wire. However this is not 3 phase power. The voltage between the two hot wires is 240V rms and between the neutral and one of the two hot wires is 120V rms. Also, you will see a 4th wire which is the ground wire. If you had 3 phase power you would see 3 hot wires (phases), one neutral wire and one ground wire. If you need 3 phase power at home you have to ask the electric supplier company to install it in your house (if they decide that you need it).

15. ### thingmaker3 Retired Moderator

May 16, 2005
5,072
8
Dan,

It might help clear up your confusion.

If you have a three phase outlet in your garage or shop, but only split phase at your main panel, then you have a gizmo called a "phase converter" somewhere in the mix.

16. ### studiot AAC Fanatic!

Nov 9, 2007
5,003
521
Note in particular the following extract, which couldn't be more true.

which of these connectors does your '3phase' equipment have?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEMA_connector

17. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,477
2,961
A phase converter is a 3 phase inverter, it generates the power signals completely independently of the power company.

18. ### floomdoggle Thread Starter Senior Member

Sep 1, 2008
217
2
Okay guys,
One more time. Why do I have three phase motors from a single phase input? The transformer to my house, or business has two wires coming in. Three out. Plus ground. And I have three phase motors in my A/C, etc...
Why? Because the motors are wired for three phase. 120 degrees. Not 180 degrees.
Dan

19. ### thingmaker3 Retired Moderator

May 16, 2005
5,072
8
Not that anyone is keeping count...

We have not established that such is the case. Why do you assume your motors are three phase?

You describe a standard split-phase arrangement. 240 single phase in. 120/120 split phase with neutral out. Plus ground.