At Carotron, we work to provide fast, reliable information about each piece of equipment and product type we offer. We carry both single phase and three phase transformers for industrial leaders and operators in need of power delivery support. The right product for you will depend on your organization’s individual needs.
There are multiple differences between single phase transformers and three phase transformers. At their most basic level, single phase transformers are designed to be compatible with single phase systems, while three phase transformers provide power to three phase systems. In addition, there are many other factors that separate the two.
Main Differences Between Single Phase and Three Phase Transformers
With a single phase power system, power lines are used as an input source, but there is only one primary and one secondary winding that’s required to achieve the voltage transformation. The single phase transformer, therefore, uses these two windings to transform the voltage. Single phase transformers come in various models, which differ based on horsepower range, taps, mounting type (such as wall mount), dimensions, KVA and shipping weight. You might see these labeled as ‘240/480 VAC Primary and 120/240 VAC Secondary, 1 PH, 60 Hz” when ordering, and a listing of models available for this type of transformer.
Three phase power works differently in that power is generated by rotating three windings or coils through a magnetic field within the generator. The three windings are spaced apart by 120 degrees, and generate power as they rotate through the magnetic field. The generated power is then sent out on three different lines, which is why it’s called “three phase” power.
For a three phase transformer to work, it must have three windings or coils connected in the proper order to match the incoming voltage. It then transforms the incoming voltage to the voltage level needed while maintaining proper polarity and phasing.
Three Phase Power for Industrial Applications
Industrial loads are best powered by three phase electricity for efficiency purposes. Three phase power helps heavy duty equipment to operate more smoothly because the voltage can be transmitted for long distances using a smaller conductor. If single phase power is needed, it can be harnessed between any two phases within a three phase system. Single phase power can be implemented between the ground and just one of the phases in some applications.
Using three conductors in a three phase system can provide approximately 170 percent more power than a single phase system, which only has two conductors.
How Three Phase Transformers Work
Three phase transformers have a three-section iron core, with each section having a primary and secondary coil or winding. At the plant, the three primary coils are connected to provide the proper polarity or sequence. The configuration of the primary three windings is called “Delta.” The three secondary windings are also connected at the plant but these will be configured as either “Delta” or “Wye” depending on the voltage requirements.
Like single phase transformers, three phase transformers come in various models and can be differentiated by KVA, Taps, horsepower range, mounting (such as wall or floor mount), dimensions and weight. These may be labeled similar to the following when ordering, “460 VAC Primary, 230 VAC Secondary, 3 Ph., 60 Hz.”
Why Do We Use Three Phase Instead of Single Phase?
Three phase transformers are much more efficient for industrial applications. Single phase systems are most commonly used in residential settings for heating, air conditioning, lighting and home applications. They are less productive when it comes to high-power industrial machinery and systems.
Large motors and other devices can benefit the most from a three phase transformer. While these transformers often work with high-voltage systems, they are capable of handling smaller or single phase applications. Converting to three phrase motors offers high-efficiency power distribution capabilities.
What Is the Advantage of Using Three Phase vs. Single Phase Motors?
Three phase motors have a wide range of advantages over single phase motors, including:
Continuous power delivery: A single phase motor is a type of DC-operated system that often offers pulsating power delivery. This allows the power to change levels or be interrupted at different intervals. Three phase power is continuous and constant, which makes it much smoother and more efficient for demanding applications.
Improved efficiency: Three phase motors offer higher outputs in a smaller size than single phase systems. These strong pieces of equipment often come with self-starting capabilities, which allows industrial workers to make the most of their time with continued use. Three phase systems are suited to fast-paced environments while still delivering the desired performance.
Increased cost-effectiveness: While three phase systems are increasingly powerful and fast, they also provide relative affordability in comparison to single phase motors. The lower costs combined with a strong performance may make them more cost-effective over the long-term. This is ideal for organizations looking to cut down on costs.
Simple parallel operation functions: It’s easier to conduct parallel operations with three phase motors than with single phase motors. If you operate with three phase systems, you’ll have the ability to easily connect multiple transformers to one load.
Loads and Transformers
The type of transformer being used depends on the load. For three phased loads, there must be a three phase supply and transformer. The supply can be either single or three phase with a single phase load; however, the transformer must be single phase and have a connection between the primary and two lines on the three phase circuit.
If you’re in need of single or three phase transformers for your application, check out Carotron’s “Transformers” sections below:
If you need assistance choosing the best transformer for your needs, feel free to contact our team of friendly, highly knowledgeable representatives. Contact us online or call Carotron to discuss your application at 1-888-286-8614.