208 Volt-3 Phase Power Explained and Why You Need It

208 Volt-3 Phase Power Explained and Why You Need It

What is 208 volt-3 phase power? In the world of industrial electricity, these terms are as common as amps and volts.

The difference between 208 volts vs. 208 volt 3-phase power may seem minor at first glance. However, understanding the nuances of each type of voltage will help you make the right choice for your business or industrial operation.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes 208 volt-3 phase power different from a standard 208-volt service, and why you might need it if you operate certain types of machinery. Let’s get started!

What is 208 volt single-phase power? 

First, we have to understand 208 volt single phase power. The “single phase” part refers to the way the current is delivered to your facility. With 208 volt single phase power, there is one leg of the circuit, and it cycles through the line at the same time.

A 208 volt single phase circuit will be powered up during half the cycle of the power source, and then shut off during the other half. It’s basically like having two circuits in one.

This is the standard voltage found in most commercial buildings in the United States. 

Why You Need 208-volt 3-phase Power 

208 volt 3 phase power is different from single phase 208 volt power in several ways. First, it has two legs, or two sides of the power source.

This allows the voltage to be distributed evenly throughout the circuit. It’s important to note that these legs are in phase with one another, hence the “3 phase” part of the name. When two machines are running off of 208 volt 3 phase power, the voltage between them will always be the same.

This means that the current running through both machines will be equal. Single phase 208 volt power, on the other hand, can cause one machine to draw less current than the other.

The difference between 208 volt vs. 208 volt 3 phase power comes down to the frequency of the current. Single phase 208 volt power has a lower frequency than 208 volt 3 phase power. This means that 208 volt 3 phase power is more efficient at transferring power over long distances. 

Understanding 208 volt 3 phase power 

For 208 volt 3 phase power to flow through your facility, there has to be a 3-phase transformer present.

The transformer will be connected to your single leg 208 volt circuit breaker. The transformer will then feed current to the second leg of the circuit. There will also be a 208 volt 3-phase meter present.

The difference between 208 volt vs. 208 volt 3 phase power comes down to the number of cycles per second that the current cycles through the circuit. A single phase 208 volt circuit’s current cycles at 60 hertz (cycles per second).

A 208 volt 3 phase circuit cycles at 100 hertz.

What is 380 volt 3 phase power? 

380 volt 3 phase power is very similar to 208 volt 3 phase power in theory. The main difference is that 380 volt 3 phase power cycles at a higher frequency.

This is due to the fact that 380 volt current has lower voltages per phase than 208 volt current. It’s important not to confuse 380 volt 3 phase power with 380 volt -3 phase power. 380 volt -3 phase is 208 volt 3 phase power with a 380 volt single phase circuit connected to it.

While this method of distributing current will work, it’s not the most efficient setup. 

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