The lack of general availability of 3 phase power in the USA - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilho View Post
    The answer is mostly determined by your assumptions.

    Briefly, not all power plants are "fuel" plants. You ignore hydro, solar and wind. (Except to throw the hoax word around, which is poisoning the well )

    .........................
    Seems to me ideal efficiency/GHG emission goals could be attained by solar charging a BEV directly during the day. Dunno why more people aren't doing it. Solar's pretty cheap now- $.50/peak watt panels any reasonably adept DIYer could install.
    Re-read the post, please.

    Solar and wind are NOT included, because they generally are NOT USED when the EV is recharged (at night for most, and I know a number of folks with Teslas, new nissan Leaf, etc.) Solar does not exist, and wind is not reliable, at night.

    Yes, wind is a near hoax right now, as there is no storage, and the annual wind energy available is unusable in many cases, because the high energy events are too high a wind, and the turbines must shut down. Available output also drops like a stone as wind speeds drop.

    Yes, coal power plants themselves are pretty high efficiency, a few very close to Carnot limits. But the reserve plants are not, it is only large base load plants that are efficient.

    However, the net losses between the power plant and the EV motor connections beat that down to a point where is is EASY for an ICE to exceed the efficiency.

    "dependent on assumptions".... well, sure. But those are not at all unreasonable ones. It is up to you to provide more than a "passing jab" as an argument.

    This is rather a side topic, but the main topic seems to have been effectively squashed as a goofy notion, since 3 phase is everywhere in the US, obviously, so........

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  3. #42
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    QT: [since 3 phase is everywhere in the US, obviously, so....] but not in a residential setting.

    I think steve is implying in Germany it is. (?

    RE: qt op [In Germany every house that I know of has a 400 volt, 3 phase service.]

    (but it only takes a few hundred dollars to make 3p, with it having limited amps to what ever your service is.)Likely limited to about 5 or 7 HP I guess.

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    Why would the OP give a rat's ass to what goes on in the USofA ?

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    Have read some regarding this.

    Dc has issues with voltage drop, earl Edison power was dc and distribution was a mess.

    Basic ohms law applies, voltage drop relates to current flow so reduce current then voltage drop reduced.

    E=I x r while p = I x e

    Increasing voltage while reducing amps transmits same power but reducing amps also reduces voltage drop.

    A.c. power allows cheap, easy and safe way as voltage is stepped upwards to say 500000 volts for long distance greatly reducing current flow for same transmitted power.

    Plus adjusting turns at far end he voltage drop can be mitigated.

    Recent advances have allowed for same high voltage transmission using DC.

    this further reduces losses as a.c. couples into anything conductive.

    I understand there are now a few transmission lines in the east.

    It gets converted back to a.c. for local distribution.

    Years ago in the Motorola days we had a trouble call on the west side of the central valley in ca.

    A foggy day in the middle of a farm pulled up to the vehicle with bad radio and about got knocked on my butt when a touched the door.

    Measured about 400 volts to ground, heard a buzzing noise, looked up and discovered we were parked under the main lines that are at 500000 VAC.

    had to jump into truck to get it moved somewhere else.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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  7. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    I am not saying 3 phase is not available in the US. I am saying it is NOT available in residential areas and in many cases will not be installed for free and in many cases installations are denied. Further, if they are offered, the rates are unaffordable even in large cities where general distribution is already there. Nobody on this forum would install a phase converter if 3 phase power was economically available and there many examples of this in the archives.
    ...
    1) it is available in residential areas.
    2) I have 240 volt three phase on the lines right out side of my house.
    3) No it's not free. Yes it costs money.
    4) Never seen installations denied around here (con ed, westchester county)

    but then what do you want, a unicorn?

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  9. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    3phase is just the same as anything else.

    Explain why 208 3 phase to a house would be more dangerous than single phase. Both are 120V to ground, and ol' John Q. would never know the difference.



    Where do YOU live?

    Three phase is absolutely everywhere, except possibly some long lines out in the sticks, with only a couple residences on them.

    There is 7200 volt 3 phase running down the end of my block, and it is across the street from me as well, running behind the houses there in an easement. The powerco policy is NOT to run 3 phase anything to a residence, but it is right there and "could" be run to all the houses.
    Exactly. Very few residential customers need 3 phase so the power company terminates the higher voltage 3 phase distribution into 3 separate single phase "legs" at the final step-down transformers. 3 phase CAN be supplied if needed but additional wires must be run, which is usually not economically justifiable for a single small customer.
    Last edited by Scottl; 07-07-2021 at 09:45 AM. Reason: add missing w to "step-down"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Exactly. Very few residential customers need 3 phase so the power company terminates the higher voltage 3 phase distribution into 3 separate single phase "legs" at the final step-don transformers. 3 phase CAN be supplied if needed but additional wires must be run, which is usually not economically justifiable for a single small customer.
    But if it's available it gets used. My first place here had a three phase washing machine. All the electric stove tops and ovens I've seen have been 3 phase, though you can get 240v single if you want. Since it's always been around the appliance makers offer the goods. I don't see that ever happening in the U.S.

    It's pretty cool though; you can have a 3 socket outlet with each one coming off a different phase; you have to try really hard to blow a fuse (still many fuses in service here). And a 3phase socket takes both the standard 3 phase plug, or a standard 240v single ph plug. That's just Switzerland though. Maybe stems from when many folks did piecework at home, one little industrial machine with a 1/10 horse 3ph motor cranking out stuff. But I think it just made sense to run 3ph everwhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    OT: not about Steve's topic of 3 phase power like in Germany might be that good for the USA. I guess w should start talking about fishing or growing potatoes.

    Most larger USA cities have a bus service the will take one often to a half-mile of destination, but this is not as fast and convenient as owning a car. Getting used to walking a mile is common in many countries. likely when the USA goes to socialism or communism that will be the case here.

    All about the world and in Europe rural residents are often 25 or 100 miles away from a travel service like a train or hourly bus service that might be needed for going to work or the like.

    A country built around/along the travel service with cities all in line with the train service would be good, and some countries have that in certain areas.

    But don't beat me up on this because it is just my opinion, not true science... and somebody will argue what about Paris or some other place, Paris has a good travel service but the streets are still lined with cars and no place to park...and petro gas $2 bucks a gallon.

    OH! After the next big war, and a few hundred years for people to get their sheets back together we can design cities that way.
    2$ bucks a liter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Exactly. Very few residential customers need 3 phase so the power company terminates the higher voltage 3 phase distribution into 3 separate single phase "legs" at the final step-don transformers. 3 phase CAN be supplied if needed but additional wires must be run, which is usually not economically justifiable for a single small customer.
    The rational is that residental customers won't be running polyphase motors, and as such won't be supplied three phase power and also as such won't be billed for VARs, only Watts. Conversely customers who do run polyphase motors are industrial and as such are subject to industrial peak demand rates and charged for VARs which is the utilities effort at recovering infrastructure costs.

    I happen to have all three 240 volt phases right outside my house on the the pole, con ed has a switchgear station that monitors them all. But I doubt they would allow me to tie to them. I've only ever seen ONE location that had utility-supplied three phase power, and no peak demand meter, or VAR metering setup. And that shop had been grandfathered in since the 1930's. I told the man buying the place to do his utmost to avoid ever having Con Ed recognize what was there, or to change it any other kind of service.

  14. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post

    2$ bucks a liter!
    My mistake, I thought that my number was very odd when most stuff in France is expensive and they don't have much if any oil of their own.

    7 - $8 Bucks a gallon is going to be hard to swallow in the USA but some want that to happen...

    Likely with a different cam, a gas engine could be turned into a steam engine. I wonder if water-soluble oil could be used for crankcase lube, Just kidding as that is not a good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post


    Three phase is absolutely everywhere, except possibly some long lines out in the sticks, with only a couple residences on them.
    I had true 3 phase "way out in the country" (Orange County, NC) years ago. The dairy farm across the road had it for their milking machines....electric co op ran it to my shop for free. Seven acres and a pond with 3 phase...

    Ironically I do NOT have true 3 phase at my current "high traffic count" commercial flex space. 3 phase running at the poles, and the building could have had it at no charge from the power company... but developer didn't want to spend extra for 3 phase wiring, beakers and boxes. I would never have bought the place except for the advent of Phase Perfect, which suits this situation fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    QT: [since 3 phase is everywhere in the US, obviously, so....] but not in a residential setting.
    ...........
    It typically is within a short distance of most residences here. In residential settings. But, policy is that it is NOT EVER connected to residences.

    In other words, it is "there" and "could be connected", but the decision was made never to connect it.

    That is a great deal different from implying that it is not even RUN to areas.

    There would be an advantage to doing it, because of lower currents per kVA than single phase, and the chance to reduce conductor size. That probably does not offset the cost.

    "Specialized stuff" tends to be expensive in the US. Often artificially expensive. Getting any sort of construction done in the US is even more expensive than "stuff" (much "ordinary stuff" is cheap).

    Basically that is why in the US, we can't have nice things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    "Specialized stuff" tends to be expensive in the US. Often artificially expensive. Getting any sort of construction done in the US is even more expensive than "stuff" (much "ordinary stuff" is cheap).

    Basically that is why in the US, we can't have nice things.
    Beg to differ. "ordinary stuff" IS "cheap" by global standards.

    Shelter, vehicles, fuel, clothing, foodstuffs, even.

    Sane compromises as to "standards" are a MAJOR part of why we have MORE "nice things" annnnnd "leisure time".... than the global averages for any given number of hours of our lives, worked.

    Globally, humans work pretty hard. Everywhere. Not all get much FOR it.

    And far too much of it - even in highly developed nations - is simply squandered as badly applied taxation to specious benefit of those who pay the bill.

    Not that we are exactly immune to that ourselves... more's the pity..

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    Skipped.

    There's nothing criminal about it. It's simply a matter of practicality. Your average Jane Doe and Joe Blow who only want to plug in their toaster oven and refrigerator have zero need whatsoever for three phase power. Hell, they don't even know what that means, much less that there are more forms of electricity than merely 'plug-in' and 'battery'.

    Balancing single phase loads on a three phase panel is 50% more of a pain in the ass than it is to do on a split phase one. You have less overhead for future expansion on any single line for a given kVA. Not to mention the introduction of a third line and three phase loads opens up the necessity for magnetic controls ($$$) and the possibility for 'single-phasing' to damage motors in the event exactly one phase is lost, e.g. due to a falling tree. (It happens more often than you'd think.)

    Why fuck around with three phase if it's more complicated & expensive and 98% of your customers in a given area don't even know the first thing about electricity in any form, much less care to begin with? Twice as many transformers and wires... for what benefit? People just want to plug in their cars, TVs and phones... then forget about it. How many homeowners out of a thousand actually want to purchase ton-sized chunks of steel and operate big electric motors attached to them in their free time?

    The real trouble with getting residential three phase hooked up is that neighborhoods are often sectioned off on 'A', 'B' and 'C' phases using single phase transformers. 1st. street runs on 'A' phase, 2nd street on 'B' phase, etc. Requesting a three phase service means you'll likely have to pay for the extra conductors to be strung, at least two more transformers unless you want a 240V high-leg open delta (yuck), the secondary wiring and a new service for your house. Not to mention 208V compatible appliances if you're going for a 'real' 120/208V wye. Once it's hooked up it's no big deal... just an extra $10/mo. service fee or thereabouts.

    Assuming your demand factor is low. Demand charges get expensive. Firing up a 25+HP motor across the line will cost you more than just kWHs. A gas turbine or reciprocating-engine peaking station had to be constructed somewhere to handle the brief 600% starting current that motor periodically demands, and you'll be charged for your fair share of it's usage:


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    Politicians aren’t trying to solve a problem, they awe just corruptly lining their pockets with whoever wants to pay the most…..

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    I had no problem adding 3ph power to the industrial property we are on, and the PoCo did all of the work on there end for free. (and it was a lot of work on their end) It still cost me about $25k to do the work on my side of the connection though. (new panels/disconnect/transformer/permits for 400a of 480v) There is more to it than just simply "having it there" on the pole. Imo if you have a real need for three phase power you can find a location where it is available or already in place, and if you don't need it that bad you can use a simple enough work around such as a phase converter.

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    This is a real can of worms.

    On the one hand power usage is decreasing I'd say overall with lighting converting to LED's and other equipment becoming more efficient. Single phase seems to do really well for the average home.

    On the other hand it seems to me if the power company and local governments were really interested in fostering small business then I would think it would be easier to get. Milacron's example of a dairy farm that had 3 phase indicates that at one time someone somewhere must have had such a thought. It seems these days power companies are mostly completely hamstrung by environmentalists at every turn. I talked to a guy that had worked his whole career for a power company, not ours here. He said he spent the first half of his career trying to sell customers on using power and getting them more and the second half in trying to talk them out of using power.

    I live in the sticks w/only single phase but it's not far away. I would pay a pretty decent chunk to get 3 phase but have not managed it yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    Home shops do not exist in Germany. In Germany, a license is required for everything. However the reason 3 phase power is available everywhere is simply because it is better.
    Most counties/cities in the US aren't ok with somebody installing fadals/hass's etc in their garages and running a commercial operation. I've never lived anywhere that would be allowed. Didn't stop me though (until I outgrew the single and double garage)

    So in the US residential houses have single phase, and enterprising entreprenuers running manual/cnc machines (generally discretely)

    and in Germany, you have residential 3-phase, and no shops in residential locations.

    I think I'll stick with the US and it's criminally inadequate single phase electricity.

    -------------------------------
    I bet Home shops do exist in Germany, you just don't know about them. I ran for years in residential garages, and neighbours never knew what I was doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Beg to differ. "ordinary stuff" IS "cheap" by global standards.

    .............
    That's actually exactly what I said.

    SPECIAL stuff is expensive and construction worse.

    You are not up to your usual standard

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    Most counties/cities in the US aren't ok with somebody installing fadals/hass's etc in their garages and running a commercial operation. I've never lived anywhere that would be allowed.
    I only know about two counties but here's the Sonoma County statement on that

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonoma Gov FAQs
    A small business operated from a home is called a "home occupation" and they are permitted in most zoning districts. A Zoning Permit for a home occupation can be issued "over-the-counter." The application requires a statement describing the business, a site plan, a floor plan of the dwelling, and the owner's signature. Home occupation criteria include: no employees; no more than 8 customers or clients in one day; must be conducted entirely within the residence; and cannot occupy more than 25% of the floor area.
    Marin is similar. You were possibly legal, did you look ?


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