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# 360 volt mexican electricity

#1
09-14-05, 12:37 AM
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360 volt mexican electricity

My neighbor told me a story today or when he was working with a 360 volt system in a shop in mexico that had him really confused. Their equipment kept popping breakers and the motors burned out fast I believe. They decided to connect a light to each breaker on each of the three legs. They used the same neutral for all three lights.

When the turned on the first breaker, the first light came on. When the turned on the second breaker the second light turned on. When they turned on the third breaker all three lights came on even with the other breakers off. He said they disconnected the neutral and just left one wire from each breaker go to each light. Then they turned on the third breaker and all three lights still turned on!

The lights were fastened on to a pice of wood and were not tuching each other at all.

Does this sound impossive, since you need at least two wires to complete a circuit, or is there something about a three pase 360volt system that could accomplish this task?

#2
09-14-05, 02:54 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 719
When you add a series resistance like a light bulb to a motor/some item, it will limit the current going to the motor/item AND create a voltage drop across the motor/item.

I did that as a pre test when fixing electric drills (30 years back), the lower wattage bulbs made the drill run slower.
A long extension cord does the same thing.
If your ext-cord is to long, your motor may struggle to start do to the current limiting from resistance of the cord.
Same series-light-bulb trick for repairing TV sets.

#3
09-14-05, 07:58 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
You have conducted a good science experiment, and your results are exactly what would be predicted. The electrons that flow in through one light bulb are flowing out through the other two, so you still have a complete circuit. When you have a perfectly balanced system (such as three identical light bulbs), no current flows through the neutral, and thus the neutral is not needed.

Even though it's a good science experiment, don't run it in real life without the neutral since the loads are never perfectly balanced in real life.

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