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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Basic AC Power Systems

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George Marsh

04-23-2013 05:53:04

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Doesn't a transformer with a center tap produce two outputs that are 180 degrees out of phase with eachohter, making the electricity coming to your house 2 phase?

I know we call it single phase.


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John T

04-23-2013 07:14:04

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 Re: Basic AC Power Systems in reply to George Marsh, 04-23-2013 05:53:04  
Good question George, yep that single phase transformer at your house is tapped in the center and the two legs of 120 are 180 opposite (that way only 120 not the full 240) but theres only one transformer and splitting it in the middle doesnt make it two phase. Sorry not a great explanation but we need pictures lol. I think JMOR posted a picture the other day of two phase. A picture is worth a thoudsand words so maybe he can re post it or find it down there below. I'm not smart enough to post a lot of pictures here and that would better answer your question which is a good one.

John T

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George Marsh

04-23-2013 10:49:23

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 Re: Basic AC Power Systems in reply to John T, 04-23-2013 07:14:04  
I have used a dual trace scope and looked at 3 phase waves that are 120 degrees out of phase and two waves from a transformer with center tap that are 180 degrees out.

Doesn't matter how you cut it, when waves are 120 out of phase, you want to call it 3 phase. When 2 waves are 180 out of phase, you want to call it single phase. Do you see the irony?

However, there are motors working on single phase that use a run capacitor on the start windings and you call them poly-phase motors.
Guess you don't want to call a poly-phase motor a 2 phase motor. Poly sounds better!

No need to explain, I understand phase angles, how 3 phase generators are made.

BTW, most alternators are actually 3 phase, some heavy duty are 4 phase.


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