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How to Wire a 3 Phase Air Compressor
Wiring a 3 Phase Motor for an Air Compressor: The Basic Requirements for Wiring Electric Motors, 3 Phase Motor Circuits
Air Compressor Electric Motor
This electrical wiring question came from Cody, in Enid, Oklahoma.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Cody.
Wiring a 3 Phase Motor for an Air Compressor
The Basic Requirements for Wiring Electric Motors
- Every motor should have a name plate which is typically attached on the side or end of the motor. The information found on the label tells all about the motor size and electrical requirements. To stay on track with this question, the shop where the motor is to be installed must have an electrical service which supplies either 3 phase 230 volts, or 3 phase 460 volts.
Electrical Service Panels
- Just like electric motors, an electrical service panel should be equipped with a label which is attached either on the cover or inside the door. The information on this label will be specific to the make and model of the electrical panel along with the voltage and amperage rating. Here in the USA, a typical home electrical panel may be 120/240 volts 125 amps. The actual amperage capacity of the panel is best known by examining the Main Disconnect or Main Circuit Breaker, which will have the amperage rating identified, such as on the breaker handle.
Electrical Power for 3 Phase Motors
- Without getting too technical, a 3 phase electrical service panel will produce 3 separate lines of electrical power. A 120/240 volt single phase panel found at a home or shop can only provide up to two separate lines of power, therefore this type of electrical service could not provide the necessary power for a 3 phase motor.
3 Phase Motor Circuits
- As described above, a typical 3 phase motor circuit will have 3 separate insulated wire conductors for the power and the ground wire. A neutral wire is not required for a 3 phase motor.
A Summary of Wiring 3 Phase Motors
- Identify the required voltage and amperage.
- Determine if the electrical service panel has the same voltage and available amperage capacity.
- Electric motors are typically wired to a motor controller or motor starter which is sized appropriately to the horsepower of the motor and has thermal overload protection.
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