pulling 100 amps from my 200 amp pole


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Old 01-15-04, 12:52 AM
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pulling 100 amps from my 200 amp pole

Hello!

I am about to invest in a heavy duty machine that has a large pwoer requirement. It requires 3-phase 60 amps. I don't have 3-phase, so I will need a converter to run this machine. The proper converter requires 100 amps to put out the needed 60 amps to the machine. I have a 200 amp service pole. There is a 60 amp breaker in it for the home, and a 40 for the shop. How can I run power to the machine? When I turn on the machine, is it going to create such a power surge that my home electronics will be affected?
 
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Old 01-15-04, 07:39 AM
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Are you saying that the main panel is 200A? If it is, then all you need is to put a 100A breaker in there, and run it to where the converter is.
 
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Old 01-15-04, 09:34 AM
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You may have 200 amps available from the power company at the POLE if they have the proper transformer installed up there, but you also need a 200 amp drop (that wire going from the transformer on the pole) and a 200 amp service entrance and breaker panel to get you the 200 amps you need. Look at your breaker panel to see if you have a 200 amp main breaker installed. If you don't you will probably have to upgrade your electrical service to run a machine requiring 100 amps. What about the branch line going out to the shop. It sounds like at the moment it's only 40a. The starting load on such a machine would be considerable (probably 200 amps plus) for a second or two and would cause a goodly sag on even a 200 amp service. If you want to run a three phase converter requiring 100 amps you should consider getting a separate 200 amp service just for your shop unless you want to run your machine in the dark without anything else on while your running it. You might even consider getting a three phase drop, but hold on to your wallet when you do.
 
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Old 01-15-04, 08:29 PM
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Thanks! The machine and converter are matched, and the max draw of the converter is supposed to be 100 amps, so I assume that would be the limit. Is that true?

The machine I want to run has 5 motors. Each is turned on individually, but most of the time all of them will be running at the same time. I think starting each motor seperately will reduce the initial demand of amperage on startup.

I do have a 200 amp main breaker in the panel. If at all possible, I would like to use the existing panel and service, IF it won't cause problems in the house. I have 2 computers that I don't want to smoke, and a good bit of stereo equipment. I understand power fluctuations can cause problems with this stuff, and want to be fairly comfortable that I won't create a fluctuation bad enough to hurt this stuff. The machine, for now, probably won't run more than an hour or two at a time, and probably 2 times per week. Do I have to put it on a seperate service pole? I'm not sure funds will stretch that far after getting the machine.

Also, if I can use the existing panel and pole, I will need to run the wire about 50-60 feet. What size triplex would you reccomend?
 
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Old 01-15-04, 09:09 PM
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I suggest that you get professional help. You are trying to run equipment off residential power that was never intended to run off residential power. The number of factors that need to be considered is very large. It is best done on site.
 
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Old 01-15-04, 10:34 PM
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There are, indeed, lots of things to consider when operating a piece of equipment of this size on a residential service. The fact that you have 200 amps available is good. You are also lucky that not all the motors on the machine will need to start at the same time. The other thing to consider is just what is the nature of the single phase to 3 phase converter. On the ships whe call such a rig an MG set for motor-generator set. It's really just a single phase AC motor driving a 3 phase generator on the same shaft. I've seen a lot of them and when the motor starts there is plenty of draw on the single phase line. These days the same thing can be done with a solid state converter. You didn't say which kind you had for the machine. The other thing I might consider in the same circumstances would be to just get a diesel or gas driven generator that will generate 3 phase since you won't be running the machine that often. As for the size of the cable, it would be hard to answer. You have to know just how long the run would have to be and the voltage drop you can tolerate. There are some other things to consider also, but you are in the catagory of AWG 1 or 2 assuming copper wire. As for your electronics equipment, I would just get a combination surge supressor/UPS and run your computers and/or home entertainment stuff on those. That's what we do on ships where the power isn't always the best and there is PLENTY of heavy equipment running on the same power supply. If you want to do it yourself you will have a good sized job getting everything running, but it's probably possible. Mistakes can be costly though.
 
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Old 01-16-04, 03:24 PM
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You stated the max draw will be 100 amps. If that is the case you should be using a 125 amp breaker. Or does the instructions say to use a 100 amp breaker.
 
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Old 01-17-04, 10:26 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

The electrical requirement for the converter is 100 amps. There is nothing mentioned of any need for anything higher. I haven't gotten the coverter yet, and I don't know what type it is or have any literature on it. It is matched to the machine by the manufacturer of the machine, and the manufacturer tells me that it needs 100 amps of service. I thought about the generator, but the cost of the machine is going to pretty much wipe me out. I won't have any left for a generator of that capability.

The length of run for the cables will be 50 to 60 feet.

John Nelson...My wife tells me I need professional help too...somehow I don't think she means it the same way you do, lol . What other factors do you think I need to consider? I do have experience with electrical work, wiring up panels, etc... but I am no expert by any means.

Also, If I need to run a larger breaker, I can. I can remove the 40 amp for the shop, and install this machine and the shop both on the same larger breaker. There is nothing that will be running in the shop while this machine is running except maybe my compressor occasionally, and it only requires a 15 amp breaker (located in the 40 amp panel in the shop). There is not much that will be on in the house except maybe the wife watching tv and some lights/clocks/and little stuff.

I was hoping it would be as simple as popping in the breaker in the main panel and running cables to the converter and machine. Does it sound like that's not likely?

Jughead...you said mistakes can be costly...what kind of mistakes am I looking for? I almost HAVE to do this myself, because once the machine is bought, there won't be any funds left. It's an investment in my future...trying to make a better living for myself.

Sorry for being so long-winded and all the questions, but this whole thing is a big decision for me, and I want it to work, and I want to be sure I cover all bases and don't make any mistakes.
 
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Old 01-18-04, 04:31 AM
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There is absolutely no way this machine can be ordered in single phase?

Is this some kind of CNC milling machine or multi-axis router?
If it's only motors I would assume they can be replaced by single phase. Do you know the HP ratings of the motors?
 
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Old 01-18-04, 11:10 PM
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Yes, it can be ordered in single phase, but the power of the machine will be reduced by roughly 25%. I need all the power I can get, because the material I will be running through the machine is harder than most and will make the machine work harder than it would under most circumstances. Is it a 4 head molder.
 
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Old 01-19-04, 09:36 AM
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A machine that requires 100amps at 240 volts will need to be wired and fed from equipment that is expensive. If you install stuff that is too small, then you will have to do it again. Buying stuff that is too big will require you to pay more to start with, but at least you won't have to do it again. Trying to find a balance of equipment that is just right given the particular circumstance of your machine, location, electrical requirements, local codes, ect. ect. can be tough.

I remember years ago when we were in the electronics repair business we built a new building for our repair shop. Since we had little money left over after paying for the building (or rather borrowing all the money we could) a lot of sweat equity was required. I spent a couple of days working on the framing, hanging doors, and installing fixures for the required rest rooms. It took quite a while since I was and electronics repair guy, not a carpenter. I was real proud of myself. Our local building inspector came around and within 5 minutes said your rest room isn't big enough for a wheel chair, your doors aren't wide enough, the fixtures aren't the right height and are of the wrong type, ect. ect. I wasn't a happy camper while I tore out all the fixtures, door, and framing and rebuilt the whole thing just to move a single wall over 12 inches.

You know, I think that in over twenty years we ran that repair shop we only had one person in a wheel chair ever want to use our rest room. I think he could have gotten in/out with the way I'd constructed it the first time, but that didn't matter, it didn't meet code. Don't let a mistake like that bite you. That's what I mean by expensive mistakes!

It's funny now, but it wasn't then. Doing it yourself can be exciting but may or may not be cheaper than hiring a professional. It all depends on how many mistakes you are planning to make.
 
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Old 01-20-04, 12:02 AM
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"It all depends on how many mistakes you are planning to make."

LOL...none!!! I don't plan on making any, but hey, that's why they're called mistakes right?

Thanks for the advice. I am talking to a friend who used to run his own electrical service. He suggests installing another service pole completely devoted to the machine. That way I will be sure to have enough power and the power fluctuations won't affect my home. Sounds like a good idea to me. He says he can build the pole complete with panel, weatherhead, and all for around $200-$250.00. Sounds like the best bet I've heard so far...what do you think?
 
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Old 01-20-04, 06:35 AM
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If you can get another power company drop, meter, and panel for your shop and/or machine that would be the ultimate way to go. Just get them to install a 200 amp entrance you have the problem solved, there will plenty of power for a new machine and lights in the shop.
 
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Old 01-20-04, 06:53 PM
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Cool.

Thanks for the help jughead!
 
 

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