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Author Topic: 3-Phase Power Supply  (Read 3841 times)

Yan Ovtchinikov

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3-Phase Power Supply
« on: November 12, 2006, 10:26:40 pm »

Hey guys i seen these multi-pin connectors at concerts and gigs, and i heard something about that they are 3phase connectors, but not quiet sure of what it is....can any of you guys give some mroe info on that?


Many Thanks
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Michael King

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2006, 12:25:55 am »

Mats Fagerkull

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2006, 08:14:16 am »

Hi Yan,

I guess you are asking about these: http://www.electronics2000.co.uk/data/pinout/socapex.htm

/mats
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Yan Ovtchinikov

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2006, 02:00:52 pm »

Thanks for the links guys, came in realy helpfull there:)


God bless
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Yan Ovtchinikov

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2006, 10:31:52 pm »

Hey guys another question, one thing i dont get is in a usual gig at a theatre or venue how would you get that amount of voltage? for Lighting, Vidieo, and Sound....... from the normal 230V 3pin MAINS outlet and going into this BIG 3-Phase multipin connector....... through the 3-phase cable going into a rack where it is all split up?

Or

Do theatre or those places already have a MAINS unit built into the wall that has a MAINS multipin outlet, but with that BIG multipin connector that gives 3-phases with soo much voltage?.......


Funny thing i found when i was setting up sound on stage at the dominion theatre in london, and there was this Rack Box where this BIG multi-pin connector was getting plugged into.....well that Box said Danger 440V, and the question that i also got is "Why danger when this total of 440V was split up into much smalled voltages anyway???

Hope this is not too much but i sure appreciate your help on this.
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Ron Balsom

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2006, 02:49:46 am »

Hi Yan, I'm not an electrician, but if you have a moment, let me help you with some understanding of power here in the U.S.  First, in Europe, when power is generated, it normally is delivered to the homes, churches, etc. thru a single wire at 220v. plus another wire to go with it which is "common" or "ground". The appearance of those plug-ins are different looking than ours in the U.S.  The light, electric drill, or audio mixer and amp then would be plugged-in and those appliances would work with the 220v. by design. If that particular building was wired with 2 ea. 'hot' 220v. wires and only 1ea. ground, then that appliance should be designed to use 440v.  The reason for the 'warning labels' is because the 220v. found in each of the 'legs' would easily injure of kill you.  Where in the U.S. all the standard legs are only 120v. and human injury is a 'bit' less!!  ( looking at our typical household wall plug-ins, you'll see three holes: 2 parallel and a small round hole. The smaller parallel is the 120v. 'hot'.  The larger parallel is 'common' or 'ground' When used together they will supply our sound equipment with 120v. However, over 20 years ago, our standard was changed to include use of that third round hole as a more "secure" or "safety" ground. Most of our audio/video equipment today will have that type of standard 3-prong plug.)  On that type of equipment you'll usually find that 3-prong plug which is a 'safety' ground to protect you and I from possible 'injury' from touching the outer cases or handles.  I say all that to say this......First, you my find multi-pin connectors with our audio equip. such as running mic signals from stage to the mixer. Also around the mixer to connect the 'outboard gear' to the system.  Let's you and I limit your handling to those multi-pin  connectors ONLY!!!!!  Secondly, you may find a little heavier connector in use around lighting, either portable or fixed lighting that will have 'higher' voltages than audio. Unless instructed, DO NOT TOUCH!!!!.  Thirdly, and probably what you've seen, are multi-pin connectors with 'heavier cable', from stage power panels. These higher power cables usually go to smaller 'break-out' boxes where the power may be reduced to 220 or 120v. connectors.  Again, DO NOT get involved with cables and connectors for typical audio and video other than what you can get to in your standard wall outlets unless you are instructed!!!!!! Sure hope this helps, and by the way, keep being involved in serving as you are, and you can always find help right here!  Just a faithful servant,  Ron Balsom Highland Park Community Church,  Casper, Wyoming.. 307-262-2138 cell anytime!!
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Tom Young

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2006, 07:21:02 am »

Yan-

So far you have received some useful, and some not so useful, advice on what 3-phase power is.

Unlike audio system wiring, which there is an equal amount of misinformation about, electrical power represents very clear danger to those who mess with it and do not know what they are doing.

On the LAB section here at ProSoundWeb we (who have been around audio for some time) generally shy away from offering advice on (at least) the hardware and application of this subject. In the process of offering such advice, should the actions of those who read these posts result in damage, injury or death...... we can be held liable.

Just as is the case with suspended loudspeakers (and lighting, etc) it is extremely foolish and irresponsible to offer guidance that will be used by those who are not qualified to do this work. The only folks who are qualified to do this work or discuss it's application are licensed professionals and these folks understandibly do not provide their expertise for free or on internet forums. At most public venues it is mandated by law that the only person who can tie into 3-phase power is a licensed electrician.

Having said all the above, there have been some useful threads on LAB over the years on the *theoretical* aspects of 3-phase power and the design of power distro's (the portable equipment used to distribute 3-phase power to lower voltage branch circuits). These are worth reading.

There are also a few texts and articles that discuss this. Google.

But the bottom line remains that no one other than licensed professionals should be connecting to 3-phase, high-voltage power on their own.
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Yan Ovtchinikov

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2006, 11:13:31 am »

Thank you guys for your replies specially.....Ron many thanks to you, you did really explain it in a really simplified way. Where as ofcourse without me knowing and being qualified for this i will never go into playing about with POWER but its just that i often see these 3-phase big power cables connected to this Box where they are all split up into smaller voltages, but my question was:

Where do they get soo much power in the first place, where as here in europe our mains normal household power is 230V, but is it possible that in all theaters they wont have these normal Mains outlets? but have specially designed built into the wall units that will have the BIG multipin connectors into which you connect the 3 phase power plugs that will give you like 600V or something like that.


Again Many thanks for everything, i just want to understand the brief principle of how this works and where they get so much power.


God bless all
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Ron Balsom

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2006, 12:23:39 pm »

Well, here I am eager to give two cents worth and didn't read further to see that your 'out of country' DAAAAAA!!!!!!! However the principle is still the same. (besides, it was late at night, HA!)  Power is always 'generated' at a higher voltage, or pressure, just to get to the building, then step down transformers are used to supply the correct voltage.  Next time I'll read further to make sure what 'country' I'm talking to.  Tom's advice sums it up real well. Our knowledge to understand is important, however, let's all be careful not to touch things that are beyond our responsibility.  By the way, you live in a beautiful part of the world, been through London several times in route to East Africa on work camps.  PTL.  Ron Balsom, Casper,Wyo.
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Yan Ovtchinikov

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2006, 01:01:18 pm »

Yh london is pretty great, real busy i must say.....i wish i lived in the US its more calm in the us, i mean some where like california US is more wide open where as london is getting packed up. OHHH right yh most theatres in london do have a 63amp socket for the high voltage 3 phase connection.
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Mats Fagerkull

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2006, 09:55:31 pm »

Yan Ovtchinikov wrote on Mon, 27 November 2006 17:13


Where do they get soo much power in the first place, where as here in europe our mains normal household power is 230V, but is it possible that in all theaters they wont have these normal Mains outlets? but have specially designed built into the wall units that will have the BIG multipin connectors into which you connect the 3 phase power plugs that will give you like 600V or something like that.

God bless all


You've got this mixed up Yan. Don't confuse the regular *output* (shouldn't be called main) with the *input* (which could be called "main")

The regular output receptable in Europe is 1-phase 230V 10/13/16A. But this is not the *main incoming* voltage.

What you got delivered to your household breaker panel is probably 3-phase 400V (16/20/25A). This is recieved from a transformator station down the block (or village quarter) which probably gets 10-20 000 V (1000/2000A). Which in turn is derived from the suburb or city (depending on size) transformator(s) which takes the 100-400 000 V line(s) from the powerplant. Note this numbers are aproximatly and varies from country to country.

Any theater in London would *minimum* have a *main incoming* around 3-phase 400V 100/200A. This might then be breakdown into several 3-phase 400V 63/32/16A (CEE contacts) and numerous 1-phase 230V 10/13A outlets (on separate fuses).

Once again (as Tom's already said) there is good reading to be found in earlier topics on LAB. And what you really need to read is everything about distros since that explains the principle you are asking about.

You might also ask the lighting guys at a theater how a dimmer pack works (breaking up the incoming 3-phase 400V 63/32A into 1-phase 230V 10/13A ) since it is a distro (with some fancy stuff to regulate voltage on the output just so they can flash their.....)

Best option is if you locally find a licensed electrician to pick on to learn more about powerdistrobution and transformators.

HTH /mats
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Yan Ovtchinikov

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2006, 10:01:41 pm »

OOORIGHT thats alot of that to, yh defintly in next upcoming days gonna give it some nice study and get into more understanding on this subject;) again thats for the info its all really helpful.

God bless
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Chris Penny

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2006, 01:51:42 am »

As pointed out 3 phase is mainly used for higher output applications.

Here in Australia we run with 3 phases @ ~240V AC (50Hz) which added together as 3 phase is ~415V. Here most homes as well as most churches are fed by a single phase. It can be interesting to go outside sometimes and see every 3rd house (or so) blacked out.

Remember for sound ideally you would be running everything to a common ground. However most circuits are limited to a maximum current of 20 A before the circuit breaker/fuse would go. Therefore in high power situations I have been told the thing to do is to actually run from a 3 phase supply, as they have a common ground. This supply is then split up to its three phases allowing you to draw up to 60 amps (20 amps/phase).

It must be remembered for most church situations you are aren't going to challenge a single phase (well that is until they attach a heater to the circuit...), so unless your a pro serving large conferences or mega-churches you don't really need to know that much.

I also recommend the wiki.
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Chris Penny
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Yan Ovtchinikov

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Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2006, 05:13:33 am »

Well i think its hard to say where it depends how big your church requirments are, i mean you can have alot of lighting anf sound equipment, for that mostly you would require 3-phase power. where as here in london our theatres are i think they are 440V at 64amps sockets. So thats alot of power to be split, specially to the lighting guys, hehe they are the ones who usually get fried.


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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: 3-Phase Power Supply
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2006, 05:13:33 am »


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