There are Three Phases in my City Block, but which house is connected to which phase?

Thread Starter

animan095

Joined Jul 29, 2019
4
Long story short
I want to make/buy a distribution box that can connect to one or many houses' electric meters. I can make it single phase and use only one house, but I also like the idea of connecting to different houses in different phases and end up with a 3 phase distribution box that can power more equipment, while minimizing unwanted stress on the block's power grid. So the question how do I find out which house is connected to which phase when the electric lines are not visible/identifiable?

Background:
I am a lighting technician for many independent filmakers in the area. As they have grown in their business, so did the power consumption of their lights. To the point where I can no longer safely nor efficiently connect them the outlets of the average location they use for their work. So I need a distribution box which I should connect to the location's electricity meter in order to have a safer power source without risking client's electric wiring. With this idea, I could get either 50A or 100A from a regular household, but in time, and with bigger projects I might need to be able to supply more power to more lamps. So the logical solution would be to connect to more houses, alas that could by itself risk a city block's power grid if they are all connected to a single phase. The solution to this is just to be able to connect to each phase in the power grid, alas city block don't seem to mark which house is connected to which phase, so I have the need to know what cheap, accessible tool I can use to find out the answer to this question.

P.S. I am also aware that it could be simpler to rent/buy an electric generator with the capacity of delivering the power needed, the problem being that small projects, or simply money tight ones, cannot afford this, or even if they can, they cannot get them at a scale large enough to supply all their electric demand.

Question:
What tool can you use to find out the timing of a house's AC hz in order to determine if belongs to a particular phase, and or if it overlaps with a previously measured one? Taking in mind that this phases could be many meters/yards away, almost forcing you to measure them one by one?

Thank you for your attention.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,505
How much is a temporary service box, installed by the utility? They’re ubiquitous at construction sites.

I personally had one installed at an all-volunteer playground construction site. It rained all weekend and we stationed a man to flip the GFCI breakers once everything connected to the circuit was cleared. I have no idea of what it cost me, since it was a municipal construction project, the utility was owned and operated by the municipality and the afore-mentioned situation was an all volunteer effort.
 

be80be

Joined Jul 5, 2008
2,046
Don't work that way 3 phase is at the pole at more then 7000 volts the power company sets a transformer for your house that drops
high voltage down to 240 split phase.
You can't go house to house and make it back.
You would have to get 480 3phase transformer or a 208 3phase transformer
set at the pole to get 3 phase
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
20,884
What part of the world are you?
If in UK or Australia for e.g. the distribution is 3ph with average of every 5 residences being on one of the phases and the common star neutral, N.A. is a different system of using a 1ph transformer.
Max.
 

Thread Starter

animan095

Joined Jul 29, 2019
4
What part of the world are you?
If in UK or Australia for e.g. the distribution is 3ph with average of every 5 residences being on one of the phases and the common star neutral, N.A. is a different system of using a 1ph transformer.
Max.
I reside in Mexico, so N.A.
 

Thread Starter

animan095

Joined Jul 29, 2019
4
How much is a temporary service box, installed by the utility? They’re ubiquitous at construction sites.

I personally had one installed at an all-volunteer playground construction site. It rained all weekend and we stationed a man to flip the GFCI breakers once everything connected to the circuit was cleared. I have no idea of what it cost me, since it was a municipal construction project, the utility was owned and operated by the municipality and the afore-mentioned situation was an all volunteer effort.
I have considered them, but rather than a temporary it is portable service boxes what I have looked at. Since it is easier to set up in the many different places that a project is filmed at, and since depending on the project we could be at place for only mere hours before moving to the net one.

That said I have found out that all of them are made to be connected to generators which I currently don't have access to due to lack in funding.
 

Thread Starter

animan095

Joined Jul 29, 2019
4
Don't work that way 3 phase is at the pole at more then 7000 volts the power company sets a transformer for your house that drops
high voltage down to 240 split phase.
You can't go house to house and make it back.
You would have to get 480 3phase transformer or a 208 3phase transformer
set at the pole to get 3 phase
Reading your statement and Max's, would it be safe to assume that in North America I cannot have 3 "physical" phases without actually having the government or local authority to send their electrics to install special infrastructure.

Though maybe, considering, I phrased my question incorrectly...

I understand that city blocks use the split phases to attempt to balance the possible power demand that the many houses in the are could have.
If I were to have the need to connect, let say, nine 2000 watts tungsten lamps (without the use of an electric generator). I cannot possibly attempt to connect to a single phase of the split-phase. Since it would most likely risk causing an imbalance to the power grid, depending of how it was built.

If I were to make/buy 3 (Or a single Frankenstein one) distribution boxes that could safely supply 3 lamps each, it would be of my best interest to find out which houses I should connect them so as to avoid causing the imbalance in the local power grid.

How can I identify this when I cannot physically see the wiring of the block (like when it is underground)?

Hope this is a better question, I am sorry to say that most of my electricity knowledge has been self learned through reading and some few real life experiences.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,505
I have considered them, but rather than a temporary it is portable service boxes what I have looked at. Since it is easier to set up in the many different places that a project is filmed at, and since depending on the project we could be at place for only mere hours before moving to the net one.

That said I have found out that all of them are made to be connected to generators which I currently don't have access to due to lack in funding.
I understand that concern. But you can make your own boxes and place them on skids. You just need the utility to run a temporary wire from the pole to your box.

At the end of the shoot, once the utility disconnects the temporary power wire, slide the box onto a truck and move on.
 

gerty

Joined Aug 30, 2007
1,287
First thing that came to me was "rotary phase convertor" .. But then I saw you might need 18KW and I don't think I've seen one that big.. You can do a search for "rotary phase convertor" and get a lot of hits, all depends on your needs. Youtube has some design videos for your inner Frankenstein..
 
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