Why not higher than 240v for our homes?

Thread Starter

wburnworth0827

Joined Aug 30, 2017
1
Just curious, I guess my google-fu failed me or maybe there isn't a reason.

Only finished DC circuits in the websites textbook, so my uneducated guess is for less arcing. :p

Thanks
 

oz93666

Joined Sep 7, 2010
669
It's all a compromise .... low voltage means you need thicker more expensive wires .... more electricity is wasted .. but not so many deaths from electrocution ....

It's rather strange the US went for lower voltage ... they have the image of being more money orientated , less interested in preserving life , more gung ho and fearless ...Also US has more space , houses more spread apart , this also makes higher voltage more sensible.

I think 240 was a better idea ... particularly now with circuit breakers eliminating most electrocution deaths ....

Higher than 240 may be going too far..too many deaths

Figures for deaths are not easy to unravel usually including work place deaths where voltages maybe higher , but if I've interpreted correctly electrocutions at home in the UK (240V) have fallen from 73 deaths in 1963. to only 3 in 2013.

This extraordinary fall must be mostly due to modern electronic fuses (circuit breakers) which cut power if flow between Live and Earth is detected.
 
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nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
6,288
Most US houses have a 220vac voltage feed to each house for the above reasons. The internal socket distribution of voltage internally is usually 110vac because we actually have more robust earthing rules (directly at the house to a current carrying conductor called the neutral in split-phase 220 power) than most places with a 240vac internal socket distribution because of lightning and other issues with lots of above ground local wiring infrastructure.
 
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jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
7,939
It's all a compromise .... low voltage means you need thicker more expensive wires .... more electricity is wasted .. but not so many deaths from electrocution ....

It's rather strange the US went for lower voltage ... they have the image of being more money orientated , less interested in preserving life , more gung ho and fearless ...Also US has more space , houses more spread apart , this also makes higher voltage more sensible.

I think 240 was a better idea ... particularly now with circuit breakers eliminating most electrocution deaths .... <snip>
The history of the North American grid voltage is not at all strange:
https://www.electronicproducts.com/Power_Products/Power_and_Control/Why_doesn_t_the_US_use_220V_like_everyone_else_in_the_world.aspx
Now, historically speaking, one of the main reasons why the US stuck with 120V as its standard power supply largely has to do with the fact that it was initially tied to carbon filament lighting. Later, a metal filament was created which could be used for more efficient power distribution systems using 220V, but since the country’s power grid was already largely established using 120V infrastructure, there was no real gain to scrapping the initial system just to go with a new higher-voltage system. So 120V was made the standard.
The United Kingdom is one area of the world that did change things up after setting up its power grid. It was much smaller than the United States version, but could not be supported after World War II when the UK began running out copper to rebuild its infrastructure. To fix the problem, it decided to instead build the fuse into their plugs; this, as opposed to having all outlets connected to a fuse box individually. This is why the outlets in the UK are different from those in mainland Europe.
And here:
https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/why-no-standard-voltage/
Originally Europe was 120 V too, just like Japan and the US today, but it was deemed necessary to increase voltage to get more power with fewer losses and less voltage drop from the same copper wire diameter. At the time the US also wanted to change but because of the cost involved to replace all electric appliances, they decided not to. At the time (50s-60s) the average US household already had a fridge, a washing-machine, etc., but not in Europe.
So, in fact, it was cost savings that drove much of the world to a higher nominal voltage. There is no need to criticize your favorite target based on misconceptions.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
19,075
Most industrial equipment coming out of Japan has been 200v for some decades, they also have the 100v system and two frequencies, 50Hz & 60Hz, depending where you are.
UK came up with a ring-main system for 13a outlets, the supply leaves the panel and goes to all outlets returns to to a common 30amp breaker.
Outlet plugs contain a replaceable fuse.
UK residential is one 230v phase and star (grounded) neutral of a three phase transformer.
Max.
 
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