Us versus German power (was once Re: [rescue] argh, what did I do? (Onyx))

David L Kindred (Dave) d.kindred at
Wed Jan 15 15:46:24 CST 2003

>>>>> "James" == James Lockwood <james at> writes:

    James> On Wed, 15 Jan 2003, Jochen Kunz wrote:
    >> Is three phase power really that uncommon in the USA??? In good
    >> old Germany we have 230 V @ 16 A three phase ...

    James> For businesses, especially in industrial areas, it's
    James> reasonably easy to get. ...

    James> Usual residential power distribution in the USA is
    James> center-tapped 240V 1ph. ...

    James> Usual 3-phase distribution is either 120V/208V Wye (120V from
    James> each phase to neutral, 208V phase to phase) or 240V delta
    James> (240V phase to phase).  ...

Great summation. 

The only other big difference between "us" and "them" is the 60Hz versus
50 Hz one (well I guess there is that whole "plug" issue).

There really needs be a good public FAQ on this stuff.  Even as the son
of an electrician and having had some EE courses I still get confused on
the 110/115/120 notation and all of the various delta/wye choices.  In
moving from building to building for work I've seen where some had 208
and/or 220/240 while others had 440 but not 208 and other combinations.
Annoying when you find you need to buy an extra transformer just to move
a piece of equipment.

David L. Kindred <mailto:d.kindred at>
Unix Systems & Network Administrator
Telesciences, Inc. <>
Support: <>
2000 Midlantic Drive, Suite 410, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
Tel: +1.856.866.1000 ext. 4184
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