AIUI, grounds are grounds are grounds.
But neutral wires are conductors of electricity, the same amount that
the hot wires carry.
Did he only use ONE neutral wire for all the outlets powered by three
different breakers? So for example, the breakers will provide 15
amps each, 45 amps total, and the only neutral wire has to return up to
45 amps!!!! You can't carry 45 amps on 14 gauge or even 12 gauge wire,
so no, it's not right.
What about the FEC, the Foreign Electrical Code?
AFAIK, the NEC is based on reality, and doesn't disapprove of things
that aren't unsafe, at least somewhat**. Maybe that's not always true,
but anything it says about this sort of thing probably does relate to
**Small risks that people would take, or that they didnt' even know
about , 50 years ago aren't permitted anymore, but why should
non-Americans bear these risks when they are known now?
On Wednesday, November 19, 2014 5:54:03 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:
When there is more than one hot and they are not the same phase,
a neutral doesn't have to carry the same current that the hots carry.
That's how an Edison circuit, otherwise known as a shared neutral works.
You see that used here, even in residential applications.
The OP said 5 wires which is exactly the way Electricity is distributed
in Europe Australia and many other countries.
15 amps in each phase seperated by 120 degrees results in NO NIL
NOTHING in the neautral wire.
Admitadly not all domestics get 3 phase, I have 3 phase because I hava
a split system Air con and so do many of my neighbours.
My previous house did not have A/C until very late and then the supply
was changed to 3 phase.
The NEC is based on the archaeic Edison system and so is not the Bible
for more advanced systems. :-Z
I worked with it industrially for 38 years few of us here (myself
included) made the assumption that the residence was three
phase...though as pointed out...it could be.
The OP did not give enough info for anyone here to know.
Now, if it is a three phase "wye" feed and there are a total of three ,
single phase outlets the neutral current would not be zero unless the
loads at all three outlets were the same...however...if it is three
phase, then the electrician probably did wire it correctly.
You are correct, the neutral current will only be zero when all three
phase loads are equall but the neutral current will never be more than
the total on ONE phase when the other 2 phases have no current.
Hence the wires would be quite acceptable if all were the same size.
It would be nice if the facts were quoted instead of blind assertions
from limted sources such as
"three-phase electricity is rarely used for domestic purposes"
In fact 3 phase is very common outside the USA
I also worked around lots of 3 phase of several differant voltages in
industry. I did not make any asumptions when the OP said not in the US. I
don't know very much about other countries. We did get in some odd ball
(for the US ) 380 volt 3 phase equipment on a project about 25 years ago.
No one told us and we were trying to adjust some 3 phase 300 amp heaters to
480 volts out. Most we cold get was 380 volts. Decided to check the
incomming power and the transfrormers were set for 380 that the equipment
Damn junk from other countries are going to get people over here killed.
Seems that in the large 3 phase cabinets the disconnect is colored backwards
from the old US. If the pointer is on Green, that means the power is off
and it is safe to go in. If Red it means the power is on and it is not
safe. We were used to seeing it the opposit, Red is off and green is when
the power is on.
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From what I've found on-line I guess three phase is fairly common for
residential in Northern and Central Europe.
Due to higher energy costs, Europe has been more energy conscious that
The company I worked for (Enersys) manufactured industrial batteries and
Some years back they bought out a French manufacturer of high-frequency
conversion battery chargers which were more efficient that those being
produced by the old Hertner plant in Cleveland. The Cleveland plant now
builds the chargers used in the US...so it has all worked out well.
Three phase 460v would be rectified then converted to hi-frequency AC
before it was sent to the transformer to reduce the voltage and increase
In a standard battery charger the main transformer could be as much as
350#. The high-frequency transformers can be held in your hand!
The old chargers (both SCR or Ferroresonant) are still being made as
their efficiency can be as high as 80%. The hi-freq chargers can get
closer to 95% efficiency and had been made in Europe for 20 years before
they started getting popular here.
That is where harmonics come in. The triplin harmonic would lag the
voltage to the point where it would show up in the current of an
For this reason, they sell "super neutral" cable with the neutral 2
wire sizes bigger than the ungrounded conductors. This happens where
you have a large component of electronic ballasts and switching power
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