If you want any definite answers, we have to know exactly what kind of
service you have. The next step is either a voltage tester or maybe a
Are the breakers all single pole? (one switch each)
If one is double pole, you still may be ok.
On Sunday, November 30, 2014 6:57:09 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
I was rather surprised to see electric boxes exposed in hallways and basements in Germany rather than in closets, and to be covered in plexiglass rather than steel. And yes, you could see 3 phase connections clearly that way.
But were those single-residence dwellings or multi? I've seen it in
England as well but was always in hotels and/or apartment complexes, not
single residences. It's the latter I've never poked around in when
doing the B&B thingie; figure that's a little "over the top" for an
in-house guest even if it is a routine of the household to host... :)
I've not been anywhere in Asia other than one trip to S Korea for a
business purpose following a nuclear power plant man-replacement robotic
system delivery for which had done most of the software. That was a
very uncomfortable trip in the mid-80s when made it and was glad to "get
the heck out of Dodge" when it was over. Outside the plant I saw
virtually nothing and we were escorted everywhere...think China wouldn't
have been any less restricting at that point.
Anyway, the general rules I've always figured were more-or-less
universal simply based on the equipment and end use would be something
like the following --
"2. Residential Service at 120/208 Volts:
In areas where the secondary distribution system is 208Y Volts, three
phase, 4 wire (grounded neutral), residential buildings with one or two
dwelling units are served through a single phase, 3 wire, 120/208 Volt
Residential buildings with three or more dwelling units are served
through a three phase, 4 wire, common service and the individual single
phase, 3 wire, 120/208 Volt sub-services to the individual dwelling
units shall be balanced as nearly as possible on the three phases.
All services, other than residential, are served through three phase, 4
wire services except small establishments with limited loads requiring a
service of 100 Ampere or less capacity. They may be served through a
single phase, 3 wire service."
OP in this thread never indicated despite being asked about what the
facility itself was other than clearly was his residence. Sorry he
seems to have disappeared w/o ever getting to the bottom of it.
Yes the OP eventually said there were only 2 wires at the building
entry so the whole thread is confused by that.
As for Distribution.
you must live in the splendid isolation of the USA. 3 phase is very
common in residentials in the real world. :-?
In the 50 hertz world-- A lot (I cant say all) distribution is 3 phase
230/400 volts from a big transformer (the one at my front gate is 400
KVA) that serves a number of single residences, most of which get 3
phase because they have 3 phase air conditioners and this has been the
practice for many many years.
Of course the use of air cons has risen dramatically as the standard of
living has risen.
120/240 single phase and 120/208 three phase and small pole pigs is a
system limited to the 60 hertz world and certainly not universal.
Too often statements are made as Absolute Facts in various news groups
when really they are only the very limited experience of the poster :-Z
As said, nothing was said as "absolute" simply an impression from what
I've seen in what overseas I've been at...and while that's a little
limited, my time in Germany and England didn't run across any 3P in the
single-family housing with which I came into contact -- and that was on
the order of a couple dozen I'd guess w/o a firm count. Of course, I'm
not sure there was a single one of them that did have A/C; don't recall
While particular voltages/frequencies are US, still distribution is 3P
until the transformer...and again, it's been mostly 25 yr ago or so
since was there a lot and time in Germany was back in the 70s when
employer here was trying to start a series of European co-ventures.
Babcock-Brown/Boveri in German, Babcock-Atlantique in France, ... All
were rather short-lived with the demise of nukes in the US there was no
piggy bankroll any longer.
On Monday, December 1, 2014 6:50:50 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:
Another angle on 3 phase showing up in typical houses in other
countries would be if it is done, what's the purpose? I see extra cost,
but I don;t see a benefit. The loads are all single phase, just like
they are here, aren't they?
No The general household loads are of course only single phase.
In the past some Electric stoves were spread over 2 phases but with
increased capacity in the whole system I think that practice has ceased
Many Aircnditioners have 3 phase compressors and single phase 240volt
control and fan circuitry.
In recent times there has been a growth in "INVERTOR" air cons and I
guess they are only single phase as they are supposed to be more
I have no idea why we have 3phase 400 volt compressors and the USA
manages with just single phse 240volt compressors but that is a system
designers area not a simple electric technicians job :-?
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