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Old 04-07-2007, 10:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Shop Wiring ?'s

I am planning on building a new 6000 sq ft shop this summer. Where I am stuck is on my wiring choices. I currently have 240 volt single phase running to the shop with a 20hp rotary 240 volt 3 phase converter for my mill, bandsaw, and soon to have lathe. I would like to run a 3 phase air compressor in the new shop for the volume. I talked to the power company and it is going to cost about $12,000 for a 400 amp 3 phase system to my shop. If I went with a 200 amp 3 phase system, it would be about $10,000. The above mentioned are 240 volt systems, so if I went with a 208 volt system it would be about $1500 less from those numbers. My final choice is to just run a 200 amp 240 volt single phase line to the shop and use the phase converter to power everything needing the 3 phase which would only cost about $500. In addition to the mill, bandsaw, lathe, and air compressor, I would love to be able to run 3 phase lights. Is it worth it to just pay the rediculous amount and have the 3 phase wired in, or would it be more cost affective to run my converter. If running the converter, would you recommend the 3 phase lighting. This is only a shop for me, so there will not be a lot of machinery running at the same time. Thank you for all of your help. - Cory
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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wtf???? run a 220 compressor and 110 lights and call it good.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I want to know (ACCORDING TO YOU) why you think you need 3P lighting.

While you have 3P machinery, those can be powered with the appropriate converter, which you already own. Perhaps, the greatest benefit with running 3P lighting circuits is the ability to send high voltage on smaller gauge wire. Essentially, a small cost saving measure. But, 3P fixtures and ballasts cost more and don't necessarily last longer than conventional lighting. Also, IMO I can't tell a BIG difference in 3P lighting and "normal" shop lighting (Merc./Sodium Halides).

However, if you ever planned for a big expansion and needed a lot of power/amps...a 480v 3P service would provide it.
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We just have a 3 phase converter in the shop and it powers a compressor, bandsaw, mill, lathe, cold cut saw, shear, ect. The lights overhead are all 1phase 220. No problems what so ever.
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. The only reason I considered 3 phase for the air compressor and lighting was because I was told that they pull less amps to run, thus making them more efficient. Same with the compressor. I.E.: 8hp, 80 gal., single phase, 27cfm@ 175psi needs 34.2 amps for$3995, while a 10hp, 120 gal., 3 phase, 40cfm@175psi needs 24.3 amps and it is $5299 (from Snap-On). I only have a 1300sq ft shop right now with a 60 gal 5 hp compressor, so it is pretty mild. Money is a small issue, but I want it done right the first time.
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Power is power. A 10hp compressor uses more energy than an 8hp. There is a small efficiency difference between a single and 3 phase motor, but not 2hp worth. 3-phase draws current on 3 'hot' legs vs. 2 'hot' legs.

You may want to look at other repercussions for having a 3-phase service. There may be different rates, power-factor surcharges, and demand-based billing as they may consider you a commercial customer.

One reason to stick with 3-phase motors on your machines is for a variable speed/frequency drive. Some of these units "create" 3-phase on the fly also. This may be more attractive than a phase converter (non-variable) for a secondary 3-phase distribution panel.

IMO 3-phase lighting doesn't have any advantage in a smaller building. There is a savings to be had on the wiring - even moreso at higher voltages - but you need to at the scale of dedicated lighting panels and contactor control to really take advantage of it.
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