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Old 08-20-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
cruelkix
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Default 3 Phase power questions

So I'm opening a small brewery: Brewery Build thread

I just got off the phone with my electrical engineer and he said that the building has 3 phase 240v (rare I know) and that I can provide enough power for my 6 x 5500 watt heating elements with 2 x 50 amp plugs on 3 phase?

3 phase has always confused me. Do I have to change anything I am doing? He is going to provide everything to the plugs. From the plugs I was going to come into distribution blocks in my panel and then go to the SSRs and such.

So the real question here. Do I wire anything differently than I would for single phase other than accounting for the differences in amp draw?

Thanks!

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:23 PM   #2
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Depending on if you have three wire or four wire three phase... shouldn't be hard to convert to single phase

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntb View Post
Depending on if you have three wire or four wire three phase... shouldn't be hard to convert to single phase

IIRC, that's not three-phase that you posted; that's single-phase 240V with neutral.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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Sorry, I don't mean to offend Huntb, but that is entirely incorrect. You are showing single phase wiring, and it's incorrectly labeled.

Cruelkix, I've built three phase control panels before, and it's not that hard to do. A fully variable controller with individual element selectivity and control and PID integration is as complicated as I've built yet, but it works. One thing you will need to do is run three elements per 3ph circuit. You state you want to run 6 5.5kw elements, where would each element be?

If you are interested in what a 3 phase panel could look like, here's one I built not long ago.

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by _swede_ View Post
Sorry, I don't mean to offend Huntb, but that is entirely incorrect. You are showing single phase wiring, and it's incorrectly labeled.

Cruelkix, I've built three phase control panels before, and it's not that hard to do. A fully variable controller with individual element selectivity and control and PID integration is as complicated as I've built yet, but it works. One thing you will need to do is run three elements per 3ph circuit. You state you want to run 6 5.5kw elements, where would each element be?

If you are interested in what a 3 phase panel could look like, here's one I built not long ago.
Thanks. I would have 3 elements in my HLT and 3 elements in my BK. So if I can hook 3 elements up per circuit that works perfectly. I can just put each kettle on a circuit right?

I guess at that point I'm just wondering how 50 amps is going to run 3 elements?
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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the formula is watts = amps x volts

What voltage are your 5500w elements?

If you have a 240v 50A service then you have 12000 Watts of power total on the service. The problem may be that your voltage won't match your equipment and you may end up replacing some transformers.

In general you are going to run into 2 types of devices - 120v and 208v. The 120v is a normal household device - like a lamp. A 208v device uses two legs (phases) of 120v and combines them to get a total of 208. If this is new to you then you really need to get an electrician involved.

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Old 08-20-2012, 09:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by brycelarson View Post
the formula is watts = amps x volts

What voltage are your 5500w elements?

If you have a 240v 50A service then you have 12000 Watts of power total on the service. The problem may be that your voltage won't match your equipment and you may end up replacing some transformers.

In general you are going to run into 2 types of devices - 120v and 208v. The 120v is a normal household device - like a lamp. A 208v device uses two legs (phases) of 120v and combines them to get a total of 208. If this is new to you then you really need to get an electrician involved.
Yeah that all works on single phase stuff. I'm aware of all that. I'm wondering if 3 phase is going to change that up.

Like the original post says, the building I'm going into has 3 phase 240v, and I have an electrical engineer working on this project. Did you read the first post at all?

I have already built an electric brew rig that works just fine with 2 5500 watt heating elements. Whats new to me is 3 phase and what that changes.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:08 PM   #8
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Each leg will see a current draw that is equivalent to 1.73 of two elements. So, 2*5500/208=52.88amps / 1.73 = 31 amps per leg roughly.

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Old 08-20-2012, 09:08 PM   #9
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Yeah that all works on single phase stuff. I'm aware of all that. I'm wondering if 3 phase is going to change that up.

Like the original post says, the building I'm going into has 3 phase 240v, and I have an electrical engineer working on this project. Did you read the first post at all?

I have already built an electric brew rig that works just fine with 2 5500 watt heating elements. Whats new to me is 3 phase and what that changes.
No insult intended - if my comment wasn't helpful please accept my apology.

If you're working with 208v heating elements you're already working on more than one phase. Each leg in a three phase system is normally 120 degrees out of phase with the others. This is the reason that 120v + 120v = 208v not 240v. If you combine two legs (phases) of power that are in phase with each other then 120 + 120 = 240.

three phase 240 is unlikely to give you the voltage you need if you're re-using equipment from your previous brew house that was located in your house. Standard home wiring in the US is two phase 120 - allowing you to sum phases in order to get 208 for electric stoves, HVAC, dryers etc.

What voltage are your heating elements looking for? My guess would be 120v or 208v - neither of which is going to come out of a three phase 240 panel.

Now, it's possible that your EE is referencing a three leg 120 system where all legs are in phase - but that seems unlikely.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brycelarson View Post
No insult intended - if my comment wasn't helpful please accept my apology.

If you're working with 208v heating elements you're already working on more than one phase. Each leg in a three phase system is normally 120 degrees out of phase with the others. This is the reason that 120v + 120v = 208v not 240v. If you combine two legs (phases) of power that are in phase with each other then 120 + 120 = 240.

three phase 240 is unlikely to give you the voltage you need if you're re-using equipment from your previous brew house that was located in your house. Standard home wiring in the US is two phase 120 - allowing you to sum phases in order to get 208 for electric stoves, HVAC, dryers etc.

What voltage are your heating elements looking for? My guess would be 120v or 208v - neither of which is going to come out of a three phase 240 panel.

Now, it's possible that your EE is referencing a three leg 120 system where all legs are in phase - but that seems unlikely.
No offense taken. Sorry if I came off snippy.

The heating elements are 240v. So I think like swede is saying I'll be seeing 31 amps per leg.

edit: my house has a 240v panel in the garage. In the US most houses end up with 240v where as most commercial properties get 208v. Oddly enough the commercial building I am going into has 3 phase 240v. Which is not very common in the US thats for sure.
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