3 Phase Power Troubleshooting

Many people aren't comfortable doing their own 3 phase power troubleshooting and repair because they aren't familiar with how they work. 3 phase power is an electrical power system that uses three wires. It is very efficient and carries a balanced power load. Most domestic homes are powered by single phase power, but industrial facilities and electrical motors use 3 phase power more than any other component. Most times, if a motor is failing it will be replaced immediately. However, troubleshooting a 3 phase power motor can actually help you fix the problem and get it working again. Repairing and reusing a 3 phase power motor is much more responsible than throwing away a motor that could be used with minor repairs. You will not only be promoting a greener lifestyle, but you will also save money.  

Step 1 — Take the Voltage

You will need to take the input voltage of the motor. All three phases should be reading the same voltage.  You will need to use a volt ohmmeter with probes. If the voltage is reading correctly, proceed to Step 2. If the input voltage is not reading correctly, you should check the circuitry and breakers. If those don’t prove successful, you should make sure that you check the power cord. If it has become damaged, this will be an easy fix and your motor will work like normal.   

Step 2 — Examine Connections and Terminals

If Step 1 didn’t solve the problem, you will need to examine the connections and terminals on the motor. In order to do this, you’ll need to turn the off the power to the motor. Examine the motor and determine if any of the wires need to repaired or replaced. Once the repairs have been made, see if the motor will work properly. If not, proceed to the next step. 

Step 3 — Disengage the Motor

The motor may be running a machine that is damaged and not operating properly. By disengaging the motor from the machine, you can determine if the motor is malfunctioning or is the machine needs to be serviced. To begin this process, you need to remove the voltage from the motor. Once that is done, you can disengage the motor from the machine. Reconnect the voltage to the motor and check to see if the motor will work properly. If it does, the issue is with the machine and not the motor. Schedule the machine for service and engage the motor once the machine is operating properly. If that doesn’t work to solve the problem with the motor, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4 — Check for Signs of Heat Damage

Check the motor to see if there are any signs of heat damage. If heat damage has occurred, there will probably be a distinct burnt smell present. At this point, it is best to clean all of the windings and the housing. You can do with a small vacuum attachment. These are standard issue with most industrial vacuum cleaners. After it has been cleaned, try to restart the motor. 

If the motor doesn’t work properly after going through each of these 4 steps, you can be sure that a replacement is necessary.