Understanding the Difference Between Single Phase and Three Phase Electrical Systems

February 2, 2017 2:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

To select the correct new or reconditioned oil circuit reclosers, it will be necessary to have an understanding of the differences between single phase and three phase electrical systems in order to provide power supply that efficiently matches the needs and demands of customers. This guide outlines the basic differences between the systems, as well as some of the advantages of each.

Single phase electrical system

Single phase power supply is achieved by using alternating currents of electric power on a single conductor. This power rotates in a cyclical fashion, and is typically seen with lighting or heating applications. Single phase systems are most commonly used in private power supply situations, particularly in rural areas where the demand isn’t as large and the customers are spread out. Single phase power systems do a good job of using comparatively low voltage safely and efficiently.

Three phase electrical system

The main difference between a single phase electrical system and one that utilizes three phases of alternating currents is the consistency with which power is distributed. Three separate currents means that each line can take on an individual voltage load, and the system as a whole will be able to field more overall demand. The conductors in the three phases of this system peak at different times in a sequential manner, one third of a cycle after the previous phase, and one third of the cycle before the next.

This staggering ensures that there will always be a consistent flow of power supplied in a balanced and even way, which is why this system is used frequently in urban areas with high demand. In addition, three phase systems tend to be cheaper for suppliers to have installed and maintained, and because of the additional currents, they are able to provide the same amount of power as a single phase system using only 25 percent as much material.

To help make the single phase and three phase difference clearer, the canoe illustration is often used. If there is only one individual operating the canoe, only momentum will move the canoe forward when no actual power is being provided when the oars are out of the water. So while the canoe will still be in motion, it will move forward at a slower pace. On the other hand, if there are three rowers working together in sequence to power the canoe, there will always be at least one set of oars in the water to propel the craft at all times, meaning that the canoe will be in full motion constantly.

Regardless of which type of electrical system you use to supply power, the addition of either new or reconditioned oil circuit reclosers to the system will allow you to distribute reliable electricity with fewer and shorter interruptions on a constant basis. To learn more about these electrical systems as well, as the best type of reclosers that are available for each, contact Central Illinois Reclosers Inc., the recloser sales and service leader in the Midwest.

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