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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Installing 3 phase in your shop

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Whichester1

02-01-2014 19:19:32
173.30.197.120



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Have seen several posts about converters, etc. to operate 3 phase equipment. I assume the power company has to get involved to install 3 phase in your shop and then you have to hire a licensed electrician. Has anybody done this and could advise a ballpark price. The quality of homeowner/do it yourself drill presses, etc. that operate on single phase has fallen like a rock since the tools have been resourced to China. Thanks,
Bill.

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s.crum

02-03-2014 14:33:21
67.142.181.26



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
I've used a 15 horse rotophase (custom built from a motor and capacitors) in my shop for about 20 years now. Runs on 240 single phase and puts out 120 three phase on 2 legs and the 'wild leg" self regulates thru the load. I just ran a separate 120 volt line to each machine for control voltage. All the output from the roto of course goe's thru industrial three phase equipment. I use an AB size 3 starter on the 240 single phase input to the roto so if we have a "more often than we should" power blip, the system drops out rather that trying to auto restart and blowing capacitors. Hasn't failed me yet.

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Dusty MI

02-03-2014 16:08:10
96.58.50.90



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to s.crum, 02-03-2014 14:33:21  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

With a set up like that you should have a 4 pole disconnect at each machine. Three poles for the 3 phase and one for the 120.



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s.crum

02-03-2014 16:14:30
67.142.181.26



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Dusty MI, 02-03-2014 16:08:10  
No reason for a disconnect. Each motor has it's own magnetic starter. If you're thinking safety. I just shut the system off before I do any work on the machines plus I work alone. It's all good.



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John T

02-04-2014 09:03:31
71.0.64.117



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to s.crum, 02-03-2014 16:14:30  
Last I knew (but that was yearssssssssss ago lol) the code still required a disconnect (NOT just the magnetic starter) in sight and within 50 feet, but of course, that dont mean a person cant do as he pleases, I'm only saying what we had to design to (NEC) in commercial and industrial applications which were subject to inspections and local authority etc which had adopted a particular code.

Take care yall, keep safe

John T

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sflem849

02-03-2014 12:15:09
69.197.84.39



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Can I get 3 ph power from a PV array and then supply 1 ph back to the grid if I have extra? I have been contemplating putting an array on the south side of the barn and that would really make things happen.



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buickanddeere

02-03-2014 13:54:43
216.183.138.241



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to sflem849, 02-03-2014 12:15:09  
Serious or stirring the pot ?



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sflem849

02-03-2014 16:30:39
70.194.136.192



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to buickanddeere, 02-03-2014 13:54:43  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Half serious. Does a PV array only produce 110v power?



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buickanddeere

02-03-2014 21:39:03
216.183.138.241



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to sflem849, 02-03-2014 16:30:39  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see
Inverters can be designed to output single or three phase power. And at any of the common utility secondary voltages supplied to customers.



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puln70

02-02-2014 16:13:20
72.241.3.249



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
If you have 220v single phase all you need is a delta -wound 3ph motor wired in 2-legs & hook up all 3-wires from the motor to your machine.I made a convertor for our mill from a 3-phase motor 10yrs ago & it's still running it.The convertor motor just needs to be more hp than what you want to run.The motor needs to be spinning to generate the 3-ph so we have a 110 starter motor belted up & turn it on first,then turn the 220 on,then shut the 110 off to the starter motor & the mills runs.

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welding man

02-02-2014 14:28:08
216.115.204.175



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
I really don't understand why people make such a big deal out of three phase power. The closest 3 phase that I could get from the power co it 6 miles away. I have a pretty decent machine shop. I bought a phase-a- matic rotary phase converter. It runs at full power with no loss. It cost $1250.00 and will run everything I have at one time. That cost to me is peanuts when you are talking $30 or 40 thousand in machine tools.

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buickanddeere

02-02-2014 18:59:43
216.183.138.241



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to welding man, 02-02-2014 14:28:08  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see
The laws of physics say otherwise.
What you probably intended to say is that everything operates without smoke and makes enough power not to stall.



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NCWayne

02-02-2014 19:49:54
173.188.169.54



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to buickanddeere, 02-02-2014 18:59:43  
Why do you say that "it operates without smoke and makes enough power not to stall"? Reason I ask is that there are quite a few rotary converters out there now days designed with 'tolerances' tight enough to run computerized CNC machines....with ratings up to, and probably in excess of 60 HP. Fortunately for those of us running nothing but 3 phase motors the tolerances don't have to be that tight so getting, or building a converter that works is a lot cheaper and easier. The main thing you need for it to work right is to size the idler motor, and capacitors in such a way that the three legs are kept pretty well balanced. If you can manage to do that you'll have no problem developing full power without making any smoke or having any other problems. Personally I built my own out of a 10 HP motor and a bank of capacitors about a year or so back. When I got it all together and started my mill for the first time I machined a piece just to check it out. I then put an amp clamp on all three legs with the spindle motor, and the feed motor both under a good load . What I found was that both the two legs 'supplied' from the power company, as well as the third 'manufactured' leg, all three were within one amp of carrying an identical load. It doesn't get much better than that....especially for home made....

That said, there is a big difference between a rotary converter and a static converter. With a static converter all you've got is a bank of capacitors wired in such a way that they will get the motor spinning and essentially your running a three phase motor on two legs. In doing so your right, it does run and doesn't create smoke, but you cut the power available by at least a third, if not more, depending on the design of the motor. Too a static converter will not run more than one motor at a time where a rotary will. In fact every 3 phase motor you start off the converter also begins to act as an idler, and actually only adds to the power actually available.

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buickanddeere

02-03-2014 07:24:10
184.151.63.249



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to NCWayne, 02-02-2014 19:49:54  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see



There isn't a rotary phase converter made that produces three identical sine waves of voltage and current that is 120 degrees apart.
Anything other than three matching some waves cause losses inside the three phase motor. The rotary converter is good enough for a majority of the loads , most of the time. Fortunately most machine shop three phase motors operate at less than 100% load. There is enough reserve cooling and load capacity in the unbalanced phases to carry the load. Without the a average operator being aware. Do you think a manufacture of a converter is going to say anything else but their machine works wonders ?

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NCWayne

02-03-2014 19:33:56
173.188.169.54



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to buickanddeere, 02-03-2014 07:24:10  
In answer to your question, no, I don't think there's a converter mfg. out there that's going to tell you their product doesn't work. That said I also can't see any of them selling a $4000 converter to someone with a $250,000 plus piece of CNC machinery knowing that it's not going to work without making that machine 'create smoke' either right away or within a very short time frame. I just can't see any company, much less quite a few of them, being able to pull off such a feat and say in business for any length of time. Thing is there are quite a few converter mfgs out there that have been in business for a lot of years, and have their products in use for a lot of years, without any problems at all.

So, are converters, rotary or otherwise perfect, most likely not, nothing is. Now are they good enough to do the job they are designed for without 'smoking' the equipment they run, to that the answer has to be yes because, as they say, 'the proof is in the pudding'.........

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Martin Reeceeece

02-02-2014 14:21:42
69.49.39.52



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
David , I have a 15 hp rotary phase converter in my shop. Works very well. I run 2 or 3 machines at the same time. Had an electrician hook it up charged me 4 hrs at $70/hr. I had all the wire and bits and pieces. all of my machines are 220 volt, so we are using the 220 volt from the panel. If you have other voltage motors you would also need a step up transformer.
The power company would not need anything as you are still using the single phase coming from the pole. Unless you are installing a larger service panel.
Martin

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David G

02-02-2014 10:59:01
205.215.206.18



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
It really depends on your utility company. I have Alliant in eastern Iowa, they charge for everything.

You need to talk to them first.



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Dick L

02-02-2014 10:52:52
50.51.156.222



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
I have 400 amp 440V 3 phase into my shop. The demand meter is not an extra cost. It just lets the power company to charge for the power you use uncharged on the standard meter. It will wind up a total lesser charge than on a single phase 220V setup. You do see both the charges on your bill which might make a person thing the were getting higher costs. If you want to lower this charge you can put capacitors on your machines. They buffer the peaks.

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Dick L

02-02-2014 10:56:02
50.51.156.222



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Dick L, 02-02-2014 10:52:52  
800 amp 440V 3 phase in my shop. I started with 400 amp and added another 400 amp later.



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wile E

02-02-2014 12:28:23
71.82.72.107



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Dick L, 02-02-2014 10:56:02  
What are you running that you need 800 amps? Is this an industrial building? Mfg plant where I was a maint. engineer the amperage off the pole was 1000.



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Dick L

02-02-2014 13:58:49
50.51.156.222



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to wile E, 02-02-2014 12:28:23  
9 injection molding machines and a mold building shop under one roof.



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Davis SC

02-03-2014 18:25:06
70.210.3.153



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Dick L, 02-02-2014 13:58:49  
Is that a Nissei? What Tonnage?



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Dick L

02-04-2014 13:05:15
50.51.156.222



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Davis SC, 02-03-2014 18:25:06  
The one in that picture is a 360 which is 400 ton.



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wile E

02-02-2014 14:53:54
71.82.72.107



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Dick L, 02-02-2014 13:58:49  
So this is an industrial building in an industrial area? Or a Barn behind your house? I know of a guy that has a barn at his home with 400 amp service, he has a complete machine shop. Full time business, 4 employees. He did over $400k last year in sales.



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Dick L

02-02-2014 15:25:38
50.51.156.222



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to wile E, 02-02-2014 14:53:54  
On the farm that I lived in at the time I started in 1976. The buildings were built for the business. At 75 I work mostly by myself with one full time helper plus my wife in the office. Bring in part time help when I get behind. Normally make a buck or two over expenses. Manage to work on tractors and raise miniature horses as well.
When your old and set down for long ya die dontchyaknow.



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wile E

02-02-2014 16:32:56
71.82.72.107



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Dick L, 02-02-2014 15:25:38  
I wish my dad had the motivation that you have.

My dad is 73 and sits and reads books, goes to the gym to stay active plays golf when the weather is good. Dad was a sales manager for years, no real blue collar skills to do anything like wood working or fabrication.

I agree that if you sit and tell yourself that your career is done then your mind says......time to check out.



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ken combs

02-02-2014 09:12:38
76.254.213.30



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
It seems like every location has different options available.

In my case, my shop is behind the house, about 300 ft from the road and power line. It has always had it's own meter as it was built before the house. It was wired with a main panel with one 100amp breaker that fed a nearby panel with the individual circuits.

It had been there since 1967. One morning I found no power due to the main breaker had failed. Since I had a good 3ph panel from an auction purchase, loaded with breakers available, I asked the local electric supplier if I could get 3 ph.

The answer was yes! I then went to the permits offices and got a permit to self-install the panel. Then picked up a new meter base.

Our local utility is operated by the city. The meter base is supplied at no cost, I did the install, got it inspected, city guys pulled the additional wire from the street and installed an additional transformer and connected at the weather-head.

Total cost to me: permit $25, used panel w/breakers $25, wire from meter to weather-head, about $50.

No added monthly cost, beyond usage, as I can now run more machines!

The moral: Check with the local utility, you may get as lucky as I did.

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WyoDave

02-02-2014 07:45:34
75.228.154.53



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
You really need to make a phone call to your power supplier. I just had 3 phase installed into my shop for the exact reasons you're talking about. Most people here told me it'd be too expensive, and would be a waste of money. I knew I had 3 phase 175 feet from my shop, so went ahead and asked. The power company hooked it up for free. Even supplied me with a 200 amp fused connect for free. It is an additional $16 a month meter charge for the 3 phase.

I did the trenching, laying conduit, and wiring myself. I figure it cost an extra $1000 for installing 200 amp 3 phase vs. installing 200 amp single phase. Required extra wire, larger conduit, and more expensive panels. Am I glad I went ahead with it? Absolutely. I've already picked up a 3 phase commercial air conditioner for cheap, and got a good deal on a large 3 phase air compressor, and welder. I'm planning a shop expansion next year for space for a lathe and mill, and an indoor wash bay. Lots of options out there if you have 3 phase. Of course there are other options if it's not available, but there is an initial cost associated with all of that as well as a maintenance cost. Anything is possible. Just takes time and money, like everything in life.

David

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Jim/IN

02-02-2014 06:39:45
70.198.130.29



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
I priced 3 phase about 4 years ago. Hook on, transformers, 80 ft drop from the street to the meter base was $2,500. That stopped me dead in my tracks, so I didn"t get the interior wiring quoted.



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dr sportster

02-02-2014 06:32:55
69.113.82.161



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
If you buy a VFD or make/buy a phase converter the power company is not involved becuase there is no change to the incoming lines or service you have now. If you need an electrician depends on how you are at wiring the phase converter to desired machine. You will need two spaces in your panel to feed the vfd or converter. You may need no more skill than that however those who have been rapped working in a hot panel may be more comfortable calling an electrician. You are kind of talking about two diferent subjects phase converters /VFDs in the shop .or power company /contractor changing the single phase service to three phase from the utility pole.

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John T

02-02-2014 05:55:11
71.0.64.117



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
The very FIRST thing is to se if theres 3 phase past your location,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Next then check with the Utility provider for their charge to install 3 phase transformers and provide a drop to your shop,,,,,,,,,,,,,Then get price bid from a licensed electrical contractor.

If out side theres ONLY two wires (Hot on top Neutral on bottom) that's only single phase service and unless 3 phase is close by the cost may be prohibitive. If outside theres 3 or 4 wires (Delta or Y) the cost will be wayyyyyyyyyyyy less, only the transformer and service drop

In the event you do get three phase, Id consider using a 120/240 volt Three phase Four wire red leg center tapped Delta so you have regular 120 volt single phase (convenience receptacles and lights and 120 volt loads), plus 240 volt single phase (small welders and 240 volt air compressor perhaps) plus 240 volt three phase (big motors and compressors and other 240 volt three phase loads)

John T

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WyoDave

02-02-2014 07:50:30
75.228.154.53



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to John T, 02-02-2014 05:55:11  
Been meaning to thank you, and all those who walked me through my 3 phase. I'm up and running, and it works great. Thanks again to you, Dusty, Dr. Sportster, B&D and all others that chimed in.

David



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John T

02-02-2014 11:24:23
71.0.64.117



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to WyoDave, 02-02-2014 07:50:30  
Congratulations, thanks for the feedback...

John T



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bill in in

02-02-2014 04:24:57
50.121.4.239



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Most residential three phase installations do not involve three hots and a neutral. Open delta is the common configuration and there is usually not a true neutral, just two energized conductors and a static line (distribution systems generally derive neutrals).

VFD's are a good option as you usually can avoid the meter charges associated with a second service and the BS from the building inspectors unless you convert your existing to 3 phase. You get the added bonus of speed control and motor protection.

Might not be worth the cost for a hobbiest or someone with a limited amount of equipment. The utilities I am familiar with have tariffs that take into account the cost of the installation and the expected usage over a few years so if your usage is hig and the distance needed to power you up is short it might not coast much to have the utility provide it.

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MarkB_MI

02-02-2014 03:01:25
75.241.110.66



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Walk out to the street or road in front of your house and see if three phase is even running by your house. If you see three hot wires plus a neutral overhead, three phase is at least available and you can look into the cost. If there's only one or two hot wires plus a neutral, you don't have three phase available and you can just forget about that idea.



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wile E

02-02-2014 02:19:42
71.82.72.107



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Good advice here, I will mention one more option which is real expensive but possible. A 3 phase gen set, runs off diesel, $15,000. If I were to have a large operation, say a machine/welding shop at my home then this would be a possiblity. I am over a mile from a 3 phase pole.



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NCWayne

02-01-2014 21:39:00
173.188.169.54



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Dad's shop sets about two blocks from the nearest three phase service going to the local VFD. He checked into getting a 3 phase service pulled in about 15 years ago. At the time he was told it would run in excess of $8000 to get the power to the shop, then there would be a 'demand' charge on top of the actual usage every month. Needless to say he spend the money to get a rotary converter that would handle everything on hand at the time and still leave a bit of room for more equipment if needed.

Your best bet to operate several pieces of three phase equipment is to simply buy, or build, a rotary converter and call it good.

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old bc

02-01-2014 21:29:58
69.29.156.220



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Around here the power companies have a demand charge for three phase. It makes it very expensive unless you can justify the cost.



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JMOR

02-01-2014 21:22:57
72.181.173.171



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to seeJust ask your power company for a quote. Their answer will be enough to re-route your thinking! Be better off to buy a large three phase engine powered generator.



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bison

02-01-2014 21:33:36
69.168.144.137



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to JMOR, 02-01-2014 21:22:57  
I have phase converter on the wall in my shop to power my 3 phase lathe and hacksaw.

I bought the converter and control panel brand new from an outfit that builds them and installed and wired it in myself.

The converter can run up to 7 hp motors.

Paid around 2 grand for it 20 years ago.



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k6zrx

02-01-2014 21:10:04
64.175.37.108



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
In my very small shop I have a lathe and drill press, both for 3 phase 220. My house is an older place, not wired for 220, but I do have a 30 amp 110 circuit to my shop. I use a little Baldor variable frequency drive. I mounted it to the wall and have an old three phase motor direction switch to route the output to which ever machine I want to use. The only caution is to not switch the output of the VFD while it is putting out power. For control, I built a small remote control box that is wired to the VFD with a small armored cable. The box has a switch for direction, stop, a control for speed, and a meter that shows speed 0 to 100% (100% is 90 cycles for a little extra speed, so 66% is normal speed). This has worked out very well so far.

Josh

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Whichester1

02-01-2014 20:33:58
173.30.197.120



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
I would like to operate machine shop tools. Heavy duty drill press, milling machine, lathe, etc. Used/resharpened drill bits with a Morse taper that are typically used in 3 phase machines are much cheaper than reduced shank drill bits. 3 phase opens up a whole new world of machine tools at reasonable prices that are built a much heavier than single phase machines.

Plan B is to buy older (heavy duty) single phase machinery and rebuild or go through some sort of converter or replace electric motors as suggested.

Thanks,

Bill.

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big jt

02-01-2014 20:18:48
206.72.54.246



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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to Whichester1, 02-01-2014 19:19:32  
What sort of machinery are you looking to run?

True 3 phase from the power company is just not a possibility unless the power company already has it on the pole in front of your place. If it is there probably not wise just to run a hobby shop. I have talked with people in this situation and you are charged for the other two meters that are required on local REC. If you are running something on a daily basis (livestock equipment/manufacturing) it paints a different picture.

If you are occasionally running some machine tools for hobby use I will relate what I have done. If possible repower with single phase motor. In my case I have two drill presses I have done this to. When I did these I also put in a Jackshaft to further reduce the speed.

Now on to phase convertors for powering machines that it isnt' realistic to repower. In my case the first was a Lathe with a two speed motor. I suffered with a static phase convertor. Didn't work well as static convertors are sized to the motor. Worked well on the high speed side but the slow speed was also half the horsepower and the thing would just sit there and thump. when I got a Mill I realized something better was needed. Made a stab at making my own rotary and then went shopping on ebay. The one I found on ebay was so reasonable I quit messing around and just went with that.

220 volt three phase motors will run on 220 single phase current just at a reduced power. Problem is they won't start on their own. Static convertor gives a delayed wave to the third leg to get the motor spinning then cuts out and the motor runs on two of it's three windings. If you're largest load can run continuously when all the other machines are used you can get a static sized to that motor and it will generate the third leg for the rest of the machines. Rotary phase convertors work on this principle. They are a three phase motor with a static convertor and a bit more circuitry to stabilize the waves.

hth

jt

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02-01-2014 20:25:10
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 Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop in reply to big jt, 02-01-2014 20:18:48  
We tried to get 3ph several years ago into the restaurant(used 3ph equipment is cheap)It was on the pole that ran over the building, and the power co wanted something like 2,000.00 to run it.



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