The lack of general availability of 3 phase power in the USA - Page 8
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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKamp View Post
    Up until this time last year, my place had a 25kva, ...................... the answer was "We're standardizing all rurals on 50kva, as it's cheaper to do this, than stock the smaller units". The 50 wasn't much larger than the prior 20, and he said it was only a hundred-and-fifty pounds heavier... so I guess...
    Interesting.

    Most houses around the in-laws have a 15 kVA.

    Even a prior employer who had 3 phase had it supplied by a set of 3 15 kVA transformers, supplying 208V. And that same set of transformers also supplied a small factory across the street.

    Maybe the powercos are anticipating a large increase in electric usage, after a decade or more of decline.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piek View Post
    ... It cost me about 500€ at the time. Fixed monthly rate is about the same as single phase.
    That's inexpensive compared to the situation in the US - again, the installation costs are negligible but here most utilities price the usage rates with peak demand charges and meter for VARs, not Watts. This isn't a bug, it's a feature, designed to subsidise residential users by charging industrial (read: three phase) customers for infrastructure costs. The single biggest impediment to getting three phase service into residences is a regulatory matter, not a technical one - that is, where population density is high enough to have all three lines present.

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    I can understand charging for (lagging) VARs at up to 8-10% of Watts. Any more would seem to be theft. Leading VARs should either not be charged for or be recompensed, unless there were a poor harmonic content in the load.

    It's generally expected that overall power factor that the generator sees will be between 0.95 and 0.8 lagging and the system is designed and sized for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piek View Post
    Most, if not all, new houses in the netherlands get 3 phases now, but it is not used as such. It is mostly because power consumption per house has gone up and to equally distribute the load on the grid.
    We have two types of house connection here: 230 volts, 30 amps and 230 volts, 3x25 amps. So between lines you get 400 volts and between line and 0 there is 230 volts.
    Interesting... if I'm doing the math correctly, those would be:

    6.9 kVA and 17.25 kVA services?

    The common "two kinds" for present-day USA AFAIK are 200A @ 240 VAC "split" single-phase eg 120 VAC to Neutral. Same-again @ 400 A.

    Those would be 48 kVA and 96 kVA? Even our really OLD 100A service (@ 115/230 VAC) was 23 kVA, and the 60A (@ 110/220 VAC back then..) of my distant youth, was 13.2 kVA.

    So the frugal Dutch are still frugal.. at least by comparison.

    NB: My ACTUAL, not nominal, service-entrance has been stable on 245-246 VAC for the better part of 25 years already.

    For... meahh five or six years? The new "digital" meter and the power bill it makes possible has had a "demand" component, even on residential single-phase .. same as biznesses have long had on commercial 3-Phase. At least here in the Dominion Virginia Power service area.

    I figured Dominion for right rapacious bastid's on the per kWH rate, too.. Until I went and looked-up what the poor hard-done socialist serfs in Kaliphoney-yah are being ripped-off for.. and still having unpredictable outages over huge swaths of the State.

    At least until some clever silly-cone-head valley gurus figure out how to run thermal power plants off of forest fires, IR Photovoltaic off the firelight, windmills off the firestorms, and waterwheels off the following season's floods..


  6. #145
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    The US 200A, and a Netherlands 30A, may not actually be that much different..... The feed for that 200A service is through some aluminum conductors, that even for single wires would need to be 1/0 to carry 200A.

    For "cable", such as the drop from the pole, 4/0 would be required by the NEC (which does not apply to the powerco). The aluminum cable generally is not even 1/0 (looks more like #6, which is rated 50-60A), and is 3 wires bundled.

    So, that US 200A is pretty doubtful. On the other hand, I would suppose the european 30A to be solid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    The US 200A, and a Netherlands 30A, may not actually be that much different..... The feed for that 200A service is through some aluminum conductors, that even for single wires would need to be 1/0 to carry 200A.
    ?? You joking, J ?? Or just up past bedtimes?

    Mine are shiney-wood. And 4/0! Of course.

    About half an inch in conductor diameter. Plus a jacket.

    Except for right at the end where they left it bare going into the lugs.
    Cheap bastards used a grey paste there.

    Must have gotten the right one, too as it has been trouble-free for over 35 years already.



    Even so, that's only 175 A-per ..... @ 75 C. And ours are buried.

    One-ought COPPER ain't rated for no 200A over the distance and temp. 150 A, rather.

    And who said Powerco doesn't need to meet code? A great deal OF it is "their baby" from creation to promulgation and enforcement. Why would they NOT?

    "Code" BTW, has LOTS of stuff that is relative to circumstances, so they are compliant more often than "civilians" might realize..

    Previous two homes, I paid extra to have 2/0 Copper (175 A) instead of shiney-wood.

    Oddly, the take OUT aerial, replace with underground was only $81 in 1970-something dollars, including a steel armoured cover down the power pole.
    West Penn (Allegheny) Power, Bethel Park, PA.

    The bare-ground one was over $500 extra. VEPCO, Annandale, VA.

    But those were back around fifty years ago - before they changed the shiney-wood alloy to a better one that didn't "creep" out from under pressure of the clamping bolts.

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    30 Amps at 230 volts may seem a bit low for a family home when compared to the US. Most homes here are heated with natural gas and have no AC. Household appliances like washing machines, driers etc. are somewhere in the 2000 Watt range and are generally smaller than in the US.(based on my limited travel experience over there)
    House wiring is always copper, 2,5mm2 cross section and with a 16A fuse, usually earthed 30mA, 300ms. Street cables here in the older parts of the city are copper in newer parts maybe, but I am not sure. Supply cables to the street or area transformers will generally be aluminium, 10kV supply.

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    This is all about choice. Just because you have 3ph in your distribution box does not mean you must use it. Most of all my household loads are still single phase. Only the stove is 3ph. Standard in house distribution wire size in Europe is NOT usually 2.5mm2. It is 1.5mm2 and fused for 16 amps. Wire sizes larger than 1.5mm2 are for specifically larger loads and/or long runs. I think the 150 responses to this thread clearly indicate the lack of 3ph distribution is not technical. It is an example of where tradition and history gets in the way of better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    Standard in house distribution wire size in Europe is NOT usually 2.5mm2. It is 1.5mm2 and fused for 16 amps. Wire sizes larger than 1.5mm2 are for specifically larger loads and/or long runs.
    Apparently codes vary between countries still. The wire sizes I mentioned are for the Netherlands. 1,5 mm2 is only permissible here for light switches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piek View Post
    30 Amps at 230 volts may seem a bit low for a family home when compared to the US. Most homes here are heated with natural gas and have no AC. Household appliances like washing machines, driers etc. are somewhere in the 2000 Watt range and are generally smaller than in the US.(based on my limited travel experience over there)
    House wiring is always copper, 2,5mm2 cross section and with a 16A fuse, usually earthed 30mA, 300ms. Street cables here in the older parts of the city are copper in newer parts maybe, but I am not sure. Supply cables to the street or area transformers will generally be aluminium, 10kV supply.
    There were houses locally that were single phase 120 volt, 60 amp total service until recently. Oil heat, natural gas hot water, natural gas for the stove. A few 15 amp plug fuse circuits for lighting and a few outlets. We almost bought that house, it was nice. My wife, in her former life, did the closing for the eventual buyers for that place. The bank would not write a mortgage until the electrical service was upgraded. Because the previous owner had died, the estate had to get somebody in to do that work. But there was no insurance on the place at the time so they had to take out a special policy to allow the electricians in to work there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    ?? You joking, J ?? Or just up past bedtimes?

    Mine are shiney-wood. And 4/0! Of course.

    About half an inch in conductor diameter. Plus a jacket.

    .......................................
    Not the case here. And not the case with the service entrance cable either. Nor with the wire from the transformer a couple poles away.

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    An interesting thread.

    I’m pretty simple in my electrical needs at my house. Reliable and inexpensive. Preferably with enough grunt to run my machines that are sub rosa in my garage.

    A friend, who was a power distribution specialist for my provincial electrical utility has been helpful to my understanding of our electrical generation, grid and options to my yard. As well as the economic calculus behind the utility’s decisions. Simply put, in my area of Canada, electricity is cheap by worldwide comparison (mainly hydro) and very reliable. A good combo in my mind. Three phase is easily available to larger demand users for a higher monthly fee. As it should be imho. My neighborhood, being residential, is split, single phase supply. Again, logical- why run extra wire and transformers to low density suburban housing with low level individual meter demand. The machine and welding shops in my residential neighbourhood are quietly hidden in garages and use some variety of single to three phase conversion. As the number of folks without shops far outweighs those of us with, why should they pay extra for a more expensive distribution system? If we had the population density of western Europe, that would be a different calculation. And if a shop needs more power than 200amps 240v single phase- shouldn’t it be in a commercially zoned area that can provide same?

    I’m happy paying less for electricity and having reliable single phase.

    What I’m not happy with is having various governments force electric cars on us without understanding basics. Dave Kamp’s comments were spot on in my opinion. How logical is it to have much of the electrical generation in the US being coal produced with losses and inefficiencies prior to the the electricity even getting to the charging of a car battery? From a strictly environmental calculation modern gas engines in cars are less harmful than coal fired electricity. How are the batteries being replaced when they no longer hold a charge, recycled, and who pays for this? For those of us who live in a place that regularly sees -35 deg weather, how long do the battery last- and how long do you have heat? A rhetorical question as I have friends with Teslas and they all won’t buy another for this very reason. This is truly a life threatening concern in the winter conditions where I live. To say nothing of range. I previously worked in a northern community that was 600km from my house. No public ground transport. Infrequent and unreliable air service. And one gas station enroute with no electrical chargers and no interest in installing any. Battery powered car for this journey in January? Not a chance! Yet, Europeans and people in densely populated south of my country want electric cars? Stupid.

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    Living in upstate NY, I'm curious about winter battery life too. Teslas are multiplying like rabbits around here. It's become a subconscious game to count them as I drive the 20 miles to and from work. 2-5 each way is typical and it's not all the same ones. Mostly model 3s but a few of the fancier ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piek View Post
    House wiring is always copper, 2,5mm2 cross section and with a 16A fuse, usually earthed 30mA, 300ms. Street cables here in the older parts of the city are copper in newer parts maybe, but I am not sure. Supply cables to the street or area transformers will generally be aluminium, 10kV supply.


    I wired a home I bought in the Netherlands;
    I asked for 3-phase and they said it was no problem, I should use a 6m2 wire for my side.
    Then the linesman came and found the street supply was 220 delta; barely 220, one phase was 208 and when the street lights switched on in the evening it dropped to 190 and all my electronics would reset.

    The supply wire in the street was 1.5mm black fabric wrapped emerging out of the sand. The fabric was falling off.
    This was maybe 20 years ago.

    I had to do a lot of welding, I used a 220v wire wound machine and had a strip of wet cloth around the fuse and a fan blowing on it to keep it cool. The fuse lived but I cooked the welder.

    About 5 years ago they dug up the road and laid in a real power supply cable. Electricians from the power company came to rewire my fuse box and made a hash of it.

    The other day a fuse blew on my old German mill; I saw it was the same as NL fuses, but it turns out they don't exist here in Portugal.
    Just as well, because when a fuse blows on a 3-phase system bad things happen.
    I bought a 4 pole breaker for it (neutral for lighting).

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    ... But those were back around fifty years ago - before they changed the shiney-wood alloy to a better one that didn't "creep" out from under pressure of the clamping bolts.
    Interesting. First I've heard of this. Please elaborate. Creep is no longer a problem with modern Al conductors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    Living in upstate NY, I'm curious about winter battery life too. Teslas are multiplying like rabbits around here. It's become a subconscious game to count them as I drive the 20 miles to and from work. 2-5 each way is typical and it's not all the same ones. Mostly model 3s but a few of the fancier ones.
    I have a Hyundai ev as a company car. (Main motivator was the considerable tax reduction for ev’s here) During the summer I get about 450-500 km of range. In winter (-10C)this drops to 350-400.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan Wo View Post
    Interesting. First I've heard of this. Please elaborate. Creep is no longer a problem with modern Al conductors?
    Not "generally", no. Not for a long time, already. The info about that is online.

    Major change to the Alloy was made 1972.

    Locally, most residences ARE supplied over 4-ought Aluminium - but it stops at the main breaker. Use beyond was pretty much banned outright, any wise jurisdiction, not long after the change ANYWAY.

    As it should be, still-yet, today.
    You do NOT want that s**t under your roof!

    Larger installations, residential service entrance, and "back up the grid" - or transformer manufacture - is handled by those with the requisite goods and expertise to make effective use of shiney-wood, so mostly that JF works.

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    Code-minimum residential service in the US is 100A, 120/240V single phase. Though the service conductors are only required to be sized for 83% of the rating of the main overcurrent protective device.

    If I'm remembering my numbers correctly, aluminum conductors #8 and smaller are illegal. #6 and larger are permitted to be used in conjunction with a corrosion inhibitor. Mind you I've never actually installed the stuff outside of tech school. It's not very prevalent these days outside of residential services and office high-rises (where it's easy to get to for re-torquing on a weekend). Most industries shy away from it - and for good reason.

    You'd be amazed how much the stuff creeps compared to copper. In one particular high-rise switchgear room I helped out in for a 5 year preventative maintenance shutdown, all the copper terms clicked out with barely any rotation, if at all. All the aluminum terms on the other hand required at least half a turn to tighten back up again. So modern aluminum might not be as egregious as the old stuff, but make no mistake - it still creeps over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just a Sparky View Post
    Code-minimum residential service in the US is 100A, 120/240V single phase.

    If I'm remembering my numbers correctly, aluminum conductors #8 and smaller are illegal. #6 and larger are permitted to be used in conjunction with a corrosion inhibitor. Mind you I've never actually installed the stuff outside of tech school. It's not very prevalent these days outside of residential services and office high-rises (where it's easy to get to for re-torquing on a weekend). Most industries shy away from it - and for good reason.

    You'd be amazed how much the stuff creeps compared to copper. In a big switchgear room I helped out in for a 5 year preventative maintenance shutdown, all the copper terms clicked out with barely any rotation, if at all. All the aluminum terms on the other hand required at least half a turn to tighten back up again. So modern aluminum might not be as egregious as the old stuff, but make no mistake - it still creeps over time.
    My 200A 4/0 was put into service sometime around 1985 when the PO added an annex and had to relocate the entrance.

    Well they had to run a new drop for him, anyway.

    Clever Devil had "encouraged" that with rather mundane application of a gadget called a "backhoe".



    So far, so good, untouched since at least March of 1990.

    I don't test the torque. No noise? Contactless thermal reader says it ain't warming up?

    I figure the deformation stayed in the elastic range and leave it TF alone.

    Meddling humans are the Number One cause of Electrical failures.

    Ever look at the loss rate you put some diligent soul to testing and recording at which point a whole box of fuses blows?

    You can get good answers, all right.

    THEN waddya do?


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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7 View Post
    ...
    What I’m not happy with is having various governments force electric cars on us without understanding basics.....
    Force? Lots of encouragements, certainly, but force?

    .... From a strictly environmental calculation modern gas engines in cars are less harmful than coal fired electricity.... .
    By the calculations here. Not everyone is connected to a coal-fired grid.

    But just for the sake of the discussion, let's take that as a true statement and examine it a bit further. Coal fired electricity is harmful, modern gas engines are also harmful, just less so.

    The answer is to stop or reduce the harm, if you really believe that. Do you?

    The argument is a red herring. Clean up the damn grid. Stop burning so many hydrocarbons.

    ....And one gas station enroute with no electrical chargers and no interest in installing any. Battery powered car for this journey in January? Not a chance! Yet, Europeans and people in densely populated south of my country want electric cars? Stupid.
    They live in a different place than you do and have different needs, so want a different rig. Would you commute to work a block away in a Kenworth? Of course not. Inappropriate. But if there were a 40klb load on a trailer that was sitting at home that needed to get to work, prob you would, otherwise you might walk or ride a bike.

    One size does not fit all.

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