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Installing 3 phase in your shop

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Whichester1
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:19 pm    Post subject: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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big jt
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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504
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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Whichester1
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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k6zrx
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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JMOR
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Whichester1 wrote:
(quoted from post at 23:19:32 02/01/14) 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.
Just 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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old bc
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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bison
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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NCWayne
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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Wile E
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:19 am    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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MarkB_MI
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:01 am    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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Bill in IN
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:24 am    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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John T
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:55 am    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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dr sportster
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:32 am    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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Jim/IN
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:39 am    Post subject: Re: Installing 3 phase in your shop Reply to specific post Reply with quote

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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