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Electricity - 220 or 110?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Ciaran, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    OK, so I began thinking about the electrical in this house and my needs, etc. I tend to be a heavy electricity user with welders and industrial sewing machines and other equipment and am wondering if I should make the move to 220. (Also, is it 110/220, or 120/240? I am getting conflicting answers on the net)

    I was wondering if anyone here would be able to give me some pros and cons of using 220 in my shop. Is it cheaper? More expensive? Reliable?

    My current welder and my heavy duty leather stitcher are both 110, but I want a bigger welder and my next couple of sewing machines have a 220 motor option. I am also plannig on getting more machines as time goes buy and I can afford them.

    Just wondering... is it worth it to have my shop wired for 220? I would not be doing this myself, I'd be hiring a licensed electrician.Thanks for any advice!
     

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  2. stosh

    stosh Darth Bailer

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    220 always!
     
  3. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    FYI, if the voltage at your house is 110v you have a serious low voltage problem!
     
  4. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    Also, 120/208 or 120/240 is far more efficient for machinery with larger current draws.
     
  5. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    Sorry N8, I don't quite grok what you're saying? The wall outlets that my TV and PC plug into are 110, right? (Or is it 120? Like I said I am an electricity dunce and I can't seem to find any good info just yet.)
     
  6. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    I am saying that 110v is not the 'standard' voltage your power company supplies to your home... it should be approx. 120v. 120v is the ideal but plus/minus 3-5 volts is common.

    Depending on the transformer serving your home you should have either 120/208v or 120/240v.

    People often say "110v" when they really mean 120v. However, it's quite confusing for the unknowing.
     
  7. partsbara

    partsbara Turbo Monkey

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    yeah, those grow lights chew up the power :evil:
     
  8. Polandspring88

    Polandspring88 Superman

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    For heavier duty welding applications you would be better off being wired for 220V.
     
  9. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    Ahhh... Ok, now I understand. Ok, so it's 120, not 110... Now I grok.

    And yes! This is all confusing to the unknowing. But then that's why I wouldn't do this myself. But I am learning and understanding this electricity thing more and more.

    So the heavy duty stuff like the welders and Partbara's grow lights should be on a 220v dealie? Now say I have two appliances, both the same except one is 120, and th eother is 220... which will cost less to run. For simplicity's sake we'll use Part's grow lights as an example. Say he has two 500 watt grow lamps... one is 120, the other is 220. He has them on for 8 hous a day... which one will cost less?

    (FYI, JIC, for the LEO's out there - No, I do NOT grow pot. that's a felony. I only consume and carry less than an oz... that's a misdemeanor)
     
  10. Full Trucker

    Full Trucker Frikkin newb!!!

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    Yeah. 220... 221, whatever it takes.
     
  11. partsbara

    partsbara Turbo Monkey

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    12 hours not 8 :)

    awesome... :rofl::rofl:


    do you have the CA medical mary jane ticket ??
     
  12. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    "Beer?"

    "It's 7:30 in the morning!?!?!!!"

    "Hmmm... Scotch?"
    LOL... Sorry, I don't have any experience growing it... just consuming it.

    No medical MJ for me. Mine is purely for recreation.
     
  13. partsbara

    partsbara Turbo Monkey

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    hey ciaran.. whats a LOE ?
     
  14. splat

    splat Nam I am

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    Actually 117 Volt RMS Is the Standard @ 60 Hertz ( for the US that is )
     
  15. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    It's a typo.

    LEO = Law Enforcement Officer. I just don't want Manimal to read this and think I am growing. ;)
     
  16. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    Try ordering a 7200/117/208 volt pad mounted trf sometime... :p
     
  17. urbaindk

    urbaindk The Real Dr. Science

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    I found a standard quoting a range between 110 and 135 for the US. If I remember correctly from my EE classes the reason for the this range is due to resistive line losses. V = IR and R = rho * L /A and all that good stuff. For you potheads, that means that that as your house gets further from the transformer you increase the voltage drop due to line losses. Since nobody lives the same distance from the transformer, you have to have a range of voltages over which your grow lights will be able to say "copacetic, dude".


    Now pass the chips.
     
  18. splat

    splat Nam I am

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    Naw a 480ct440 750A 3 Phase , Much More fun!
     
  19. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    Usually the power company likes to keep the voltage no lower than 115 volts to their customers... at least the one's I've worked distribution engineering for anyway. If I had 110v at my house I'd be calling to get my service up sized, or the taps incresed on the transformer, or a regulator set someplace on my feeder... at 135v I'd be too busy changing light bulbs to call anyone.
     
  20. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    OK... I don't grok your mouth music, but I am learning...

    Now what's the deal with this 3 phase stuff? Is this seriously industrial stuff?

    And thanks for all the info everyone. I am learning a lot. :thumb:
     
  21. urbaindk

    urbaindk The Real Dr. Science

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    Ha ha,

    Well, regardless of the hi / low limits, the point is that there is a spread for the reasons I mentioned.
     
  22. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    I am pretty sure you don't have 3 phase available at your house... it is possible but unlikey.
     
  23. mastercycleman

    mastercycleman Turbo Monkey

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    ya cool :)
     
  24. partsbara

    partsbara Turbo Monkey

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    i have no idea what your talking about...
     
  25. mastercycleman

    mastercycleman Turbo Monkey

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    sure;) ;)
     
  26. partsbara

    partsbara Turbo Monkey

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    seriously, i don t... i know what you re on about... but i don t grow...


    but, believe what u will... your opinion matters nought to me...
     
  27. lux

    lux Monkey

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    In my state, 3-phase power is not available for residential applications.

    If you had a tasty piece of three-phase equipment and you wanted to use it, there are phase converting transformers available. They are not cheap. Not by a long shot. You could also rewire the machine for single phase/240v use. Also a quite pricey option.

    That being said, and quite elementary to your original question, unless you made a special request and your electrician was willing to circumvent code stipulations, you could have a panel set in your garage which provided only 120v. Otherwise, you will naturally wind up with 240v single phase power in your workshop. Your electrician will need to know the specific power needs of the equipment you plan to use so they he/she may provide the proper wire guage, overcurrent protection and receptacle for each device.

    Does this make sense? If not, let me know and I'll attempt to clarify.
     
  28. S.n.a.k.e.

    S.n.a.k.e. Monkey

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    Standard house power is delivered at 240 volts on two legs (hots), generally called 'single phase'

    So coming into your house you will have 2 hots (Red / Black) and a neutral (white). The voltage potential between any hot and neutral is 120 volts (+/-). The voltage potential between the two hots is going to be 240 (+/-).

    Three phase power is three hots (Red / Black / Blue), and a neutral. Voltage potentials are the same as single phase.

    Ground is obtained by sinking a rod at least 36" into the earth (hence ground). But because the electrical potential of the earth is (theoretically) the same everywhere, the power company doesnt need to string another wire for ground.

    You have to ask (and pay) to have three phase power installed in a residence. Most businesses have a three phase box.

    For the type of equipment you describe, 220/240 is more efficient than 120, but the gear needs to be setup to handle the voltage. Sometimes its as easy as flipping a switch in the power supply, other times it requires a bunch of rewiring (and $).

    HTH,

    Marc
     
  29. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    Here in Louisiana the power company has been know to run 3-phase to a residence but only if the homeowner forks over some bucks, and there is a 2-phase over head line near by. They will supply 480v via a corner-ground set up with the transformers.
     
  30. lux

    lux Monkey

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    N8 and JD -- On the low voltage note. I have found in my 10 or so years of being a sparky, that 115 volts is where single-phase motors start to get unhappy.

    Just the other day I had to install a buck/boost transformer to an ancient hood system in a old diner downtown. The motor was getting a bit long in the tooth and started going in to thermal overload at the ~114 volts it was getting. Transformer boosted to about 126v and the now the old girl is humming.

    Flip side of that -- A new restaurant downtown kept blowing bulbs in one corner of the restaurant. Happens to be the corner nearest the panels and the brand new pad-mounted transformer. I guess ~129 volts is too much for those incandescent bulbs. I threw in a handful of the new florescent replacements and everything's okay now. Just wonder if thier dishwasher (also in that corner of the kitchen) will last very long...
     
  31. lux

    lux Monkey

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    Sweet. Bet that **** ain't cheap. I had a customer who inherited an old piece of residential property and the power co. came and took out the three-phase setup in their barn.
     
  32. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    Do the resturant owner a favor and have them ask the power company adjust the taps on the transformer and that should fix his over voltage problem.


    The companies I've worked for like to see their voltage at 120v plus or minus 5%, but no more and no less.
     
  33. kahner89

    kahner89 Monkey

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    take the 200 then you can use it for all your machines when time goes on
     
  34. lux

    lux Monkey

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    Actually, I may have to do it. The trans was installed by the builder's electrical contractor as part of the entire package (renovation of a huge old three-story building -- 800A per floor). Apparently there's bad blood between the builder/EC/building owners. I've done quite a few industrial transfomers in my day, so I may have to venture into this one if they can't get the EC to handle it.
     
  35. lux

    lux Monkey

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    Oh, and Ciaran. To completely and utterly derail what's left of this trainwreck -- I'm headed out your way in August. I'm doing some wiring for my brother who lives on Mt. Pinos in exchange for a plane ticket.

    I think I'm going to ship my DH rig out there so if you're down for some shuttling with a redneck...
     
  36. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    Welder?

    220 for sure. There isn't a 120v machine on the market that can weld anything beyond sheet metal worth a damn. If you want to step up your welding, go 220v.

    220v machines generally have better duty cycles as well.

    3-phase isn't neccesary unless you're welding tanks or ships.


    Note - most all homes have 220v, which is supplied via 2 120v legs. (combined they make 220v - split they provide the power to your 120v outlets) Usually about 100A per leg.

    If you look under the panel of the breaker box in your house you will see two busses that the breakers are attached two. (usually two vertical rows). Each leg of the 220v power splits to each of these.

    Touch them with your tongue to see if they are working.

    :D
     
  37. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    Excellent info! I now know more than I ever did about electricity. Probably just enough to kill myself with. ;)

    OK, I think I am going to have 240 ran into the shop so I can get my bigger welders. My current one is welding 16 gauge sheet and 1/4" rod fairly well, but it's on it's hottest setting with a slow wire speed. If I am going to be able to weld anything thicker I'm going to need more power. I also want to buy a plasma cutter in the near future and I imagine that will require a bit of power.

    Now as for my sewing machines, they run well with the current setup, but if I use 240v motors in them will they be more energy efficient? The welders I use often, but the sewing machines I use every day. These are industrial heavy duty machines, not Singer home sewing machines and are driven by a big electric motor and a v-belt. And the dang v-belt is bigger than a v-belt on a VW Bug.

    Thanks again for taking time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. And Lux, I would totally be down for a little ridin with a redneck! Yee-Haw! :p
     
  38. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    Does your welder handle dual voltage input? You may need a new machine as well.

    May I suggest:

    Miller XMT 304 CC/C


    Rated Output

    * 300 A at 32 VDC, 60% Duty Cycle, 3-Phase
    * 225 A at 29 VDC, 60% Duty Cycle, 1-Phase

    Welding Amperage Range

    * 5 - 400 A, in CC mode
    * 10 - 35 V, in CV mode


    :drool: :drool::drool::drool::drool::drool::drool:


    YES.

    And you'll be able to sew through light gauge sheet metal. :eek: (I've seen it done)
     
  39. lux

    lux Monkey

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    As for your sewing machines, This guy says you'll see no energy savings.

    He also gives you even more useless knowledge than we've put forth here, but it's an interesting read none-the-less.
     
  40. johnbryanpeters

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    Ciaran,

    To get the same power out of a piece of equipment:

    Higher voltage -> lower current, hence smaller cords, connectors, etc.

    Lower voltage -> higher current so the inverse effect.

    The lower voltage is arguably slightly less likely to kill you if you are unfortunate enough to get across it due to defective equipment or stupidity, but this would not be the decision point.

    Three phase is metered differently, peak rather than total power usage, so even if you could get it it would be expensive every month unless you're running all your equipment for hours at a time. It's meant for gear that runs pretty much all of the time.

    Wire your shop for 120/240 in whatever mix you want.

    J