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3 Phase Machines

3 Phase Machines

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Published by shang_0004

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Published by: shang_0004 on May 28, 2009
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Welcome To The 3 Phase Power Resource Site
The 3 Phase Power Resource Site
is a not-for-profit organization which helpsindividuals and businesses answer questions and give resources about where, howand why "3 phase" power is used. For information on3 phase wiring,mathematics and power calculation, principles of three phase power solutions see the links to theleft and 3 phase power notes and articles below.
3 phase power 
is a common form of electrical power and a popular method of electric power transmission. This is due to its inherent benefits for high powertransmission and its smooth wave form quality which allow3 phase electricalequipmentto run smoothly and last longer. There are many other benefits to 3phase power. Three phase has properties that make it very desirable inpowerdistribution. First, all three wires can carry the same current. Secondly, powertransfer is constant into a linear and balanced load. Most domestic utility suppliedpower is single phase only. In most cases three phase power either is not availablefrom a utility company to domestic houses, rural business and farms, at all, or inrare cases where it is, it is split out at the main distribution board. See3 phasepower generating phase convertersfor solutions to getting 3 phase power whereutility companies do not offer it or where it is cost prohibitive. In these situations 1phase power can be converted to 3 phase power with a phase converter from acompany such asACE Phase Converteror TEMCoPhase Converter. The 3 phase power generated from some of today's high qualityRotary Phase Convertersis betterbalanced with closer voltage tolerances and a smoother wave form than utilitysupplied power. For this reason the 3 phase power output from these 3 phasegenerating converters is preferred for sensitive equipment than what is availablefrom utility supplied 3 phase power.
3 Phase Power Wave Form
Pictured to the left is one voltage cycle of a3 phase system. It is labeled 0 to 360° ( 2 πradians) along the time axis. The plottedlines show the variation of instantaneousvoltage (or current) over time. This powerwave cycle will repeat usually50 (50Hz), 60(60Hz), or 400 (400Hz)times per second,depending on the power systemfrequency(Hz). The colors of the lines are in theAmerican Color Code for 3-phase wiring. It isblack=V
Three phase systems may or may not have a neutral wire. The neutral wire allows 3phase systems to use a higher voltage while still supporting lower voltage 1 phaseappliances. Inhigh voltage 3 phase distributionsituations it is common not to have aneutral wire as the loads can simply be connected between phases (phase-phaseconnection).
The 3 phases are typically indicated visually in electrical diagrams by colors. Thestandards for these colors vary by country. See the3 phase wiring color code table 
for details.Conductors of a 3 phase system are usually marked by color code, to allow forbalanced loading and to assure the correct phase rotation for3 phase inductionmotors. Colors used vary widely and may adhere to old standards or to no standardat all, and sometimes vary even within an installation. However, the current NationalElectrical Code (2005) does not require color identification of conductors other thanthat of the neutral (white or white with a color stripe), the ground (green or greenwith a yellow stripe), or in the case of a High Leg Delta system, the High Leg mustbe identified with orange. Click here to read more on3 Phase Wiring and ColorCoding.
There are severaltypes of 3 phase power generators. These can vary from a utilitypower station, to a prime source power generator toportable diesel (and other fuels)generators, to3 phase generators which run on 1 phase power (some models of phase converters). The most common fuel type are generallydiesel generators. At a utility power station, an electrical generator converts mechanical power into a setof alternating electric currents (AC), one from each electromagnetic coil or winding of thepower generator. The currents are sinusoidal functions of time, all at the samefrequency but with different phases. In a three phase power system the phases arespaced equally, giving a phase separation of 120°. The frequency is typically 50 Hz inEurope and 60 Hz in the US (see List of countries with mains power plugs, voltagesand frequencies). SeeFrequency Converters for changing 50 Hz to 60 Hz or thereverse of 60 Hz to 50 Hz frequency. (See also Motor-GeneratorFrequencyConverters) Read more about3 phase power generators and power generation here.
After numerous further conversions in thetransmission and distribution network the3 phase poweris finally transformed with apower transformerto the standard mains voltage (the voltage of "house" or "household" current in American English). This isdone with step down3 phase transformers. The power may already have been splitinto single phase at this point or it may still be three phase power. Where thestep-down is 3 phase, the output of thistransformeris usually star connected with the standard mains voltage (120V in North America and 230V in Europe) being thephase-neutral voltage. Another system commonly seen in the USA is to have a deltaconnected secondary on thestep down transformerwith a center tap on one of thewindings supplying the ground and neutral. This allows for 240V 3 phase as well asthree different single phase voltages (120V between two of the phases and theneutral, 208V between the third phase (sometimes known as a wild leg) and neutraland 240V between any two phases) to be made available from the same supply. Clickhere to read more about3 phase distribution.
There are severalmathematical 3 phase power calculationsthat you can use tocalculate your3 phase power distributionto make sure that your wiring distributesyour load evenly maintaining a balanced system. These calculations are useful formany purposes including when you have single phase equipment and 3 phaseequipment running on the same power lines. Read more about3 phase power
The most common class of 3 phase loadis the3 phase electric motor. A 3 phase induction motor has a simple design, inherently high starting torque, and highefficiency. Such motors are applied in industry for3 phase pumps, fans, blowers,compressors, conveyor drives, and many other types of motor-driven equipment. A 3phase motor is more compact and less costly than a 1-phase motor of the samevoltage class and rating; also 1-phase AC motors above 10 HP (7.5 kW) are not asefficient and thus not usually manufactured. Many times a 3 phase motor may bestarted with asoft start drivecan be used to start a motor and without as much of an inrush current, or avariable frequency drivewhich can vary the speed of themotor.Large air conditioning equipment(for example, most York air conditioningunits above 2.5 tons (8.8 kW) cooling capacity) use 3 phase motors for reasons of economy and efficiency. There are many other common 3 phase loads such as3phase welders, 3 phase battery chargers, 3 phase lasers, and 3 phase computercontrolled equipment, etc. When the load includes sensitive electronics such as 3phase computer equipment often it is isolated from the power source to protect itwithisolation transformers. Read more about3 phase power loadshere.
There are many places and instances where 1 phase power is all that is available, orwhere the power company wants to charge tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to install and supply 3 phase power. When this is the case a quality3 phasegenerating phase convertercan be run on 1 phase to power 3 phase equipment of any type. Click here to read more aboutpowering 3 phase loads with 3 phase powergenerated from 1 phase power.
3 Phase Converters
Often the advantages of 3 phase motors, and other 3 phase equipment, make itworthwhile to convert single-phase power to 3 phase. Small and large customers,such as residential, rural businesses, or farm properties may not have access to a 3phase supply, or may not want to pay for the extra cost of a 3 phase service, butmay still wish to use 3 phase equipment. A 3 phase generating Rotary PhaseConverter can benefit these situations or where high quality 3 phase power isrequired. Some of the Rotary Phase Converters manufactured today produce 3phase power output that is better quality and will allow 3 phase equipment to runbetter and last longer than the 3 phase power from provided by a utility company.Such3 phase convertersmay also allow the frequency (see alsofrequency converters) to be varied allowing for different equipment frequency requirements(50Hz, 60Hz, 400Hz, etc.) and also for motor speed control (VFDs). Somelocomotives are driven by 3-phase motors with 3 phase converters converted fromthe incoming supply of either DC or 1 phase AC. The two main types of 1 phase to 3phase converters areRotary Phase ConvertersandStatic Phase Converters. One very important resource is the rating system that theU.S. Phase ConverterStandards Organizationoffers of variousphase converter types and technologies. Click here to read more about3 phase converters. Read what this very importantindustry organization has to say about the different technologies. As a non-profit

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