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Thread: 3 phase electric

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kernville, Ca USA
    Posts
    201

    3 phase electric

    I have just ran into another hurdle as were setting up our addition for our brewpub. Electrican say's could cost as much as 20K to get 3phase ran out to our site(I never saw this one coming)...Anyone out there not have 3 phase? And if so what kind of problems are you running into.. I understand that alot of my equipment needs the 3 phase: pumps,chiller,compressor for walkin,keg washer etc. I really dont see anyway around this.. Am I correct or am I missing something here??

    Any feedback is very helpful?

    Kyle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    304
    Hey, Ky.........

    Have you purchased your equipment already? Also, please refresh my memory as to what size Brewery you were building.

    3 Phase is really great for keeping line amperages down as low as possible (and thereby reducing wire size as well). It's also a lot friendly on electric motors because of their efficiency at start-up. However, 3 Phase is not an absolute requirement.

    When we started our first 7 Bbl Brewery, all we had was access to parts of two 200 Amp breaker panels. One had more "room" in it for growth than the other, but we are really burdened for power at B1 anyway. There, we used 110v for pumps and general control circuits and 220v for our chiller and walk-in compressors. Not the best situation, as I had to run some insane bundles of 6ga (or was it 8ga?) wire to the chiller.

    Just remember one thing, as your phases increase (single, "double", and 3Ph), your amperages go down. As an example, a 1hp motor on 11ov "single" phase can peak at 18A - 20A at start-up and drop to 12A - 15A during run. On 220v "doube" phase, that amperage draw drops significantly down to the 9A - 12A range, and by using 3Ph, you're down even lower to the 4A - 6A. BTW - as an anecdote, an "old timer" electrician got me hooked on calling 220v "double phase" because it uses two separate phases to create the electromotive potential between two "hots" in lieu of a "hot" and a "neutral". Everywhere else you'll see it called single phase.

    Why is reducing amperage draw a big deal?

    Because the fewer amps you draw, the more you have to use for other equipment. Using 3Ph for compressor motors can actually extend their life because of start-up efficiencies, and that saves money in the end.

    However, there is a light on the horizon for your problem, Ky. Go to McMaster-Carr.com and look up "Single-Phase to Three-Phase Voltage Transformers". It's not uncommon to have small machine shops that use single phase everywhere suddenly need a 3Ph drop at a single location. Are they cheap? No............but cheaper than a $20K facility transformer and drop.........not to mention all the 3Ph wiring you have to run on top of that.

    You can save your plan by running all smaller motors and such on 110v and 220v single phase. Install an individual transformer for refrigeration compressors. If all your equipment is 3Ph, compare the cost of several units throughout your site. Of course, you'll still need the 3Ph wiring in all cases. I believe the transformers shown in the M-C catalogue are "Delta High Leg" and that is important to know. Look over your equipment (if you have it) and compare the voltage/amperage/phase requirements for each item and chart them.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kernville, Ca USA
    Posts
    201
    Thanks again Brian, The brewery will be a 7BBL and yes we have already bought our equipment. The two pumps that I have are Baldor 1 1/2 horse 3 phase. I will give mcmaster website a look. Thanks alot for all the usefull info!!

    Kyle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kernville, Ca USA
    Posts
    201
    Hey Brian, I went to McMaster-Carr and found the Single Phase to three phase converters. Didnt find the delta high leg, but anyways this looks like this could be my solution? It looks like I could get away with possibly one for the transfer pumps and 1 for each the compresser for walk-in and the glycol chiller. Anyways I think I might be on the right path now..

    Thanks
    Kyle

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    304

    Delta High Leg

    Delta High Leg electrical panels and some transformers will have a triangular image on them with these voltages shown...........

    "A" Leg to groung = 120v
    "B" Leg to ground = 208v
    "C" Leg to ground = 120v

    A, B, and C together create 240v 3Ph.
    Oftentimes, Delta High Leg motors will have something like 208v/230v 3Ph stamped on an ID plate somehwere.

    I would call M-C and ask for their technical support and ask someone if it is of this type.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    27
    in setting up our three barrel brewery, we have replaced our only 3ph piece of equipment, a glycol pump motor, with a 1ph motor for about $100 dollars at the local electrical/motor supply house.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Sterling Heights, MI.
    Posts
    51

    Hvac

    If your building has an HVAC unit it may already have 3 phase electric. The electrician could use that as a source, and that would save $$ compared to running fresh wires. It would be worth looking into.

    Ray

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    Oddly enough, this is the first time I recommend looking beyond McMaster-Carr. Search online for phase converters. My Miniking and mill motors were all 3 phase before I moved to a single phase location ($20k as well to add 3 ph). I'm pretty happy with mine. May be a wash to replace only two motors vs. the converter. Refrigeration can be found in single phase. It is all trade-offs yet workable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kernville, Ca USA
    Posts
    201
    Hey Moonlight, Did you convert all of your other pumps and glycol chiller over to single phase also ? Also with the phase converter do you see any problems with your pumps or does everything run smooth?

    Kyle

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    27

    VFD's

    you could also take the phase conversion a step further and go with a variable frequency drive (VFD). these units will do conversion from single phase to 3 phase. they will also allow you to modulate the pump speed by electronically controlling the motor electrical supply frequency by adjusting the control panel.

    i've always thought this might have some neat brewery applications for minimizing turbulence, etc. a note of caution: slowing motors down considerably, say more than 2:1 rpm reduction depending on the motor, could affect the motor cooling capacity. double-check your pump specifications before attempting a turndown ratio more than than 2:1.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Bisbee,Az
    Posts
    8

    3 phase options

    I have several 3 phase pieces of equipment and have used /use a few cheap tricks. A static phase converter costs about $150 from ENCO and will produce about 2/3 the nameplate hp. I use this for my d e filter 1 1/2 hp ,and for a cooling pump. For our enos labeler I use the static inverter to run a 3600 rpm 3 phase motor ($100 off ebay) which then runs the 3 motors , at full power, on the labeler. I have also used a vfd ($150,ebay) to run the labeler at faster than normal speed(75 htz as apposed to 60htz) however the vfd is somewhat delicate
    and have burned one out.
    Way less than 20k.
    e.dave
    (520) 249 4459 cell

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    My refrig units needed to be changed at this location for other reasons, so I bought new single phase. All I had left in 3phase were mill and kegwasher.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kernville, Ca USA
    Posts
    201

    good news

    good news for once. The power company came out to survey for me and said that 3 phase is accessible from the pole behind the "to be " addition. I will have to pay for the drop and the panel. Thanks for everyones help with this issue. You guys are awesome... Now on to other issue's!

    Thanks again

    Kyle

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ontario, Oregon
    Posts
    65
    My understanding is that the 3 phase panels alone run around 5K. I have the same issue and I'm evaluating single phase using convertors and transformers vs. a full 3 phase install. The convertors all seem to be around 100 - 200 dollars. The transformers around the same or not much more. My question is how much more power do you use and how much equipment do you burn through using these workarounds? If the cost to replace a burned out pump is a couple hundred dollars every now and then, it would take many burned out pumps, installed converters & transformers, and increased power usage to justify the cost of installing 3 phase. How much do you really save with 3 phase?

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