Identifying if I have 3 phase or not

16 Jan 2007
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United Kingdom
Hi all.

I'm looking to install a 2 post car ramp in the coming months in my garage.
I see that they are usually powered by 3-phase supplies.

My question is, is all households supplied by 3-phase to the meter box, then coverted to single phase, from the meter onwards?

I stay out in the countryside and 2 electric poles come into my property. I have 1 meter box that is for my house, but I also have another meter box that is not commisioned (large cables come up to the white connector / fuse, but no meter installed) on my steading. Ideally, I'd like to power my entire garage (still to be built) using this box.

I know you can get single phase to 3-phase convertors, but not sure if they are any good, in terms of long lasting safety/reliability. They go for about £500, but could 3-phase be installed into my garage for less??

Thanks for reading. :)
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Something on back of my mind says White Meter = Economy 7
The only house I have ever seen with 3 phase was a converted chappel.
There are two units to convert to three phase one just converts the other boosts the voltage as well the latter very expensive.
Many small motors can be wired star or delta and delta is for lower voltage and they can be converter for 230v three phase the larger motors also have start / delta but delta is 400v and star is used for starting with less load.
Depending on motor type is if cheap or expensive to use inverter.
I knew someone would ask the obvious of a pic, but it was dark by the time I got home last night. I'll get a few pics tonight and post them up.

White meter - what I mean is a white box, that contains the meter and main cabling. I'm certainly not on Economy 7.
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Nearly all households have a single phase connection, so getting three phase means an upgraded connection is required.

You have two poles on your property. Assuming that neither have a transformer mounted on them, how many wires connect them?

If two, you have single phase, so getting three phase will be expensive.
If four, you almost certainly have three phase to your property even if not metered. Getting three phase connected would be cheap (comparatively).
i may be totally wrong here but could you run the ramp of a single phase in to 3 -phase out inverter?? you could rate it accordingly and set the torque output and output voltage/current to suit the ramps. as it will be a "simulated" 3 phase output then this might cause problems though

just a suggestion but it might work and they are not too expensive if sourced from somewhere like Lockwells or RS.
a picture paints a thousand words mate..

post a pic of your "poles" and you cable heads and we'll tell you..

if we can't see it then we can't tell you for certain if you have or not, just what we THINK you have from your description..
Ask and ye shall receive. :)

Here's the contents of my meter box.
View media item 9744
Here's the contents of the meter box on the outside of my steading (power to the steading itself all comes the house supply)
View media item 9745
One of the power lines
View media item 9746
View media item 9747
View media item 9748

I see that there are 2 cables, so guess only single phase supply. :( I was looking at the power cables going to work this morning and noticed that some have 3 / 4 and did wonder.

I've never played with 3 phase, so it's all new to me, hence the question (and search prior to posting)

I've had a look at invertors and see that I could buy a invertor to be used for workshop applances, such as a ramp, or compressor. Are they worth it, or better off getting a single phase motor?
I have search the net and see that the disadvantage of a single phase motor is that they will struggle to take the heavy start load and will probably fail quicker.
Single phase with no facility for 3 phase without the 11kV lines being upgraded. Sorry :(
Getting a 3 phase supply would be very expensive since they would have to upgrade the 11KV wiring back to whereever it is last 3 phase. Provide a new transformer and redo all the LV wiring from the transformer to where you want your three phase intake.
As said, it's a costly one. The HV needs an extra line throwing up. How far until the HV posts hit a post with three on?

For just a ramp, an inverter is sounding the best option!
why dont you get a single phase ramp?
Anything hydraulic run will be able to get a single phase power pack
Thanks a lot for the replies. :)

I thought as much, when I looked at the power cables that it's single phase. I had a look around and see that those invertors are ssoooo much cheaper than getting Scottish power to send me a huge bill for converting the power lines.
No much point for just a ramp! :rolleyes:

I discovered that a friend of a friend just installed a single phase ramp a the weekend. I'll see how he gets on with that motor and see if it will last compared to a 3-phase one.

Again, thanks for helping me making a decision.:cool:
You can get an invertor that will accept a 230v single phase input and will supply 3 phase 230v. You must then make sure that your 3 phase motor can be wired in star and has 230v windings. 99% of them do.

An invertor will be around £200-£300. This may be comparable with a single phase motr which are more complex and hence more expensive.

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