Converting Single Phase Power to Three Phase Power

Phase ConverterIn order to convert single phase power to three phase power, you will need a phase converter. There are several types of phase converters, a rotary style is the best-selling and most popular on the market today. Investing in a high quality rotary phase converter is the safest, most efficient and most reliable way to convert single phase power into three phase power.

A rotary phase converter consists of a rotating or spinning device known as an idler generator/motor or rotating transformer. They consists of three “legs or windings”” that work together to power equipment. When the idler generator/motor is energized with single phase power, the converter will split part of the two lines of energy supply coming in to create another third line of power. The result is three lines of power instead of the typical two lines supplied from your utility company. Below is a basic, step-by-step list of what happens when you switch on your single to three phase converter:

  1. Single phase power is supplied to the idler generator/motor.
  2. Motor start capacitors are energized on the third winding to jumpstart the motor.
  3. Now energized, the converter uses energy from the single phase power and shifts part of the power to create the third line.
  4. All three lines are now shifted to 120 degrees.
  5. Motor run capacitors are used on the output to provide a balanced and consistent voltage as loads are added.

Keeping all lines at equal voltage is extremely important, as an unbalanced phase converter will cause significant increases in the electrical current. This will inevitably create heat that can easily damage your motor and cause problems. A well-balanced phase converter allows the electric motor to operate close to or at maximum horsepower capacity.

One key benefit of utilizing a 1ph to 3ph converter is the convenience and cost-savings of operating a converter instead of installing utility three phase power. Three phase power is often unavailable or expensive to implement.

If you have additional questions about how single phase to 3 phase converters work, contact us or check out our Rotary & Static Phase Converter FAQs. If you are unsure about properly sizing your phase converter, take a look at our guide on How to Size a Rotary Phase Converter.