Three-phase electricity is a type of alternating current (AC) that powers commercial heavy-duty equipment. Three-phase electricity is the most common form of power used worldwide because it’s more powerful and more efficient than other forms of electricity. To help you choose a rotary phase converter and other types of equipment for your commercial facility, we have created an outline of the applications for single-phase and three-phase electricity.

What's The Difference Between Single-Phase & Three-Phase Power?

Single-phase power and three-phase power are both types of alternating current (AC) that can be utilized for different applications, but a few characteristics make them distinct.

Single-Phase Power

A single-phase power system has one AC voltage and distributes power through two wires. This type of electricity is commonly used to power household or residential appliances such as lights and microwaves because it’s smaller and requires less voltage. Single-phase electricity provides power at an inconsistent rate because the voltage rises and falls. This type of system is weaker and less efficient than a three-phase system because it contains lower voltage levels.

Three-Phase Power

A three-phase power system has three individual AC voltages and distributes power through three wires. This type of electricity is utilized to power heavy-duty equipment that is utilized in commercial and industrial facilities because these systems are bigger and require more voltage. Three-phase electricity provides power at a consistent rate because the voltage peaks more frequently and at faster rates. These systems are stronger and more efficient than single-phase systems because they contain higher voltage levels.

Single-Phase vs Three-Phase Power

What Is a Rotary Phase Converter?

Rotary phase converters consist of an Idler motor and a control panel, but older phase converters were constructed with a motor and numerous run capacitors. The panel contained enough run capacitors to start the Idler motor, but it never disconnected the correct number of run capacitors to balance the voltage. This imbalance resulted in stronger phase converters due to the high voltage on the generated phase. The strength created wasn’t healthy for the phase converter or the equipment being run because it required the high voltage single-phase transformer to reduce total input voltage. While this reduction was necessary to balance out the equipment, the phase converter was still unbalanced.

Many companies still build phase converters this way. However, the proper way to build them is to take two circuits: a starting circuit and a running circuit. Other circuit types use special wound stators that have less copper, reducing the electrical impedance so it’s easier to start the converter with less capacitance.

Phoenix Phase Converters implements the right combination to get an easy starting converter with a low inrush current that’s also strong enough to handle heavy loads. Low impedance converters must be sized much larger to maintain proper voltage. Often, the proper sizing turns out to be twice the size of the load. For example, a 10 HP lathe needs a 20 HP phase converter. Similarly, for lathes, pumps, ironworkers, granite saws, and CNC spindle motors, you must double the required equipment’s HP in order for it to run.

Some equipment requires even more than twice the size—such as an elevator, car lift, exhaust fan, dust collector, or water jet. Replace an unbalanced phase converter with a Phoenix Phase Converter panel, and use the Idler motor that you already have.

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View our selection of innovative rotary phase converters and equipment. To receive help choosing the correct equipment, give our team a call by phone at (866) 418-9060.

rotary phase converter

What if My Phase Converter Isn’t Big Enough?

If you have a rotary phase converter that isn’t big enough for the job, simply add another phase converter to the circuit. For example, if you currently have a 5 HP rotary phase converter but need one with 20 HP, buy one with 15 HP to supplement the one you already have. Make sure it’s complete with an Idler motor and a control panel. When you do this, you’ll need either a disconnect or a Phoenix Phase Convert AutoLink Box. The AutoLink Box is convenient to use and protects the rotary phase converter.

When pairing two phase converters together, you’ll need either an AutoLink Box or a disconnect after one of the three-phase outputs. This process ensures that the first phase converter doesn’t back feed through the three-phase line and start the second converter. The wire on a three-phase electricity line is too small for that kind of load. Instead, start the first phase converter, then start the second phase converter. Finally, use your disconnect to pair the two phase converters together. An AutoLink Box will pair and unpair the phase converters automatically. If you forget to use the disconnect, you could overload the first phase converter.

Having two phase converters instead of one comes with some benefits. The installation process is much quicker and easier, so you save on material and labor costs. You can choose to start just one at a time or both simultaneously, depending on the job at hand. If one converter malfunctions or shuts down, you still have the second one to work with. Additionally, you can sell one if you ever realize you don’t need both. Having two phase converters reduces your inrush current either by half or to the amount of the largest phase converter. For example, it takes half the amount of current to start two 50 HP rotary phase converters as it does to start one 100 HP phase converter. Depending on the size of service entering the building you’re working in, you might have to use two smaller HP converters instead of one big HP converter. A good rule of thumb is to follow the KVA number of the phase converter. This number must be larger than the HP number. Our team can help you choose the correct size phase converter to meet the requirements of your application.

Single-Phase Vs Three-Phase Electricity: Applications & Benefits

Try Our First-Rate Rotary Phase Converters

If you need a rotary phase converter, we guarantee that we’ve got the right piece of equipment for you. From development to manufacturing, we do everything in-house to craft the highest quality, most affordable product on the market. View our selection of rotary phase converters and equipment. We even make custom phase converters for our clients because they deserve the absolute best. When you become a customer, you receive the following premium benefits:

Benefits of Choosing Phoenix Phase Converters

  • Sizing Guarantee
  • No Questions Asked Return Policy
  • Pricing Guarantee
  • Virtually any electrical needs you have – just ask!

We’re proud to be the top leader in the single to three phase converter industry. Visit our website to learn more about rotary phase converters, or call us at (866) 418-9060 for a free consultation with one of our field experts.

View Our Selection Of Phase Converters & Transformers

View our selection of phase converters and three phase transformers. Our team will help you compare and choose equipment for your application.