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Thread: electricity sine wave

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    Default electricity sine wave

    My father acquired some power tools that were intended to be used with the European 220 volt electric circuits, but we live in the States. We do have a few 220 volt electric circuits in the house (which are 2x 110 volt ones). I'm fairly certain that the US 220 volt circuits are 2 different sine waves, with a 1 radian phase shift difference between the two (so when 1 sine wave is at its peak, the other is at its trough(? think thats the word, bottom). In Europe they have different circuits that are just a sine wave that has a much higher amplitude.

    Now getting to my point. Would my father's tools get damaged or possibly break if they are used on one of our 220 volt circuits?
    Last edited by Fenix-Dark; 11-27-2006 at 02:57 AM.

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    You are correct about the 2 vs. 1 sine wave.

    What this does to power tools.... Good question!

    I know a full sine wave will allow the motors to run cooler, but I'm not sure what two sine waves may do. Make the motors run hotter?

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    The house really has two phases of 110 just put on one wire? That's pretty crazy, IMHO.

    I think it should be fine for many consumers including lights and most things with power supplies - but motors (including power tools) might have serious issues.

    Why not get a transformer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix-Dark View Post
    My father acquired some power tools that were intended to be used with the European 220 volt electric circuits, but we live in the States. We do have a few 220 volt electric circuits in the house (which are 2x 110 volt ones). I'm fairly certain that the US 220 volt circuits are 2 different sine waves, with a 1 radian phase shift difference between the two (so when 1 sine wave is at its peak, the other is at its trough(? think thats the word, bottom). In Europe they have different circuits that are just a sine wave that has a much higher amplitude.

    Now getting to my point. Would my father's tools get damaged or possibly break if they are used on one of our 220 volt circuits?
    Most US 220v sockets, (Dryer/Electric Oven plugs?) are split phase, or basically two 120v lines, at least according to wikipeida...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_phase

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix-Dark View Post
    I'm fairly certain that the US 220 volt circuits are 2 different sine waves, with a 1 radian phase shift difference between the two (so when 1 sine wave is at its peak, the other is at its trough(? think thats the word, bottom).
    That would be a Pi/2 radian phase shift. In that case, one of 'em is a sine and the other is a cosine.

    You are right about the amplitude being higher everywhere else in the world. It could damage a rotary tool (unless the tool has a compensation mechanism in place), so I'd be careful. Note that most rotary hand tools may have a single phase motor. If it's a muti-phase motor, you would have no problems

    Although I'm not 100% sure, I believe the single phase motor would heat up due to the jitter induced by two out of phase waveforms.
    Last edited by Super Nade; 11-28-2006 at 10:37 AM.

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    yup, I was wrong, i wasn't thinking straight, pi/2 radians = 90 degress, so its a pi/2 radian phase shift.

    Any obvious signs on how to tell if the motor is single phase or multi-phase?

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    Usually a 3-Phase unit will have 4 wires, Black, Red, Blue and White. You may need some kind of a NEMA arrangement though. I'm not very sure about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lead Head View Post
    Most US 220v sockets, (Dryer/Electric Oven plugs?) are split phase, or basically two 120v lines, at least according to wikipeida...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_phase
    Let's see...
    Two phase system with opposite phase (180 degree phase shift) wire in place of neutral produces sine wave with double voltage so that would fit to 220-240VAC tolerance of most European devices.
    In three phase system (120 degree phase shift) voltage between two live wires is live to ground voltage multiplied with square root of 3. (400VAC here in Europe)

    RPM of electric motors is dependent from frequency so that could be problem in some cases. Also there could be other problems.

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    The difference between 2 Sine waves (of the same frequency) that are out of phase is still a sine wave, again of the same frequency, so long as the phase difference remains constant.

    The frequency change (50->60Hz) shouldn't be a big problem for commutator based motors.
    Last edited by ashiekh; 10-27-2017 at 09:48 AM.

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