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3-Phase power question


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#1 Jonathan Burton

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 08:00 PM

Hi People.
This is probably a dumb question, but oh well. I am in Australia, so firstly all power is 240v.
I am shooting a night scene at a location with 3-phase power and am wondering if there is a way to convert it to normal australian sockets so i can plug in a bunch of lights? Is there a socket converter that you can buy? I have not found one yet. Any help would be really appreciated!
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#2 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:41 PM

Hi Jonathan,

What type of 3 phase outlet is it?
It is most likely to be one of the following:

20A Clipsal or Wilco(Practically the same)
32A Clipsal or Wilco
50A Clipsal or Wilco

In the second two cases, the best bet would be to get an onset dizzy board. Panalux has them for AU$85 per day. A dizzy board is best because you end up with RCD and breaker protected power.

A cheaper option would be just to get a set of grapes which will break the phases out to single 20A standard plugs that you can plug everything in. But you will be relying on the breaker and RCD protection of where you are filming, which is not a good idea. Also this will be a lot more messy.

If you are faced with a 20A 3-Phase plug you will need to use a 20A-32A turnarround so you can plug the dizzy board or grapes in. Most importantly please realise that this method is only considered legal if it is temporary and the only suitable option to obtain the power you need(ie there isnt a 32A or 50A outlet within 50m) and you are loading it with no more than the lowest rated load, in this case no more than 20A per phase. Also you will have to be very careful in this instance to keep your load balanced(20A wilco has a notoriously small neutral pin that can do damage if you have a high unbalanced load.

Edit: Spelling

Edited by Matthew Parnell, 27 September 2008 - 09:42 PM.

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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:56 PM

Grapes? Dizzy Boards? Clipsal? Wilco? Good God! I thought you spoke English in Oz.

Just out of curiosity: Up here a three phase delta 240 Volt circuit is wired with 240V between the phases and two legs (legs A & C) with 120V to neutral and one (leg B, the "wild leg") with 208 to neutral. A three phase wye circuit is 208V between the phases and 120V to neutral from each leg to neutral. What's the practice downunder?
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#4 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 10:56 PM

We tend to do things uniquely down here in Oz. So here is a bit of an overview for you Hal.

To my knowledge Australia uses the Wye system for all three phase applications as we have a single uniform voltage throughout the country and the Wye system is much safer in terms of ground fault protection.

Our 3 Phase is 415/240 three phase. 415v Line to Line, 240v Line to Neutral. All of the single phase power used on our film sets is line to neutral.

As a bit of trivia, All power from a buildings main circuit breaker/generator in Australia must be accompanied by a protective earth, and only low draw double insulated appliances may not have a protective earth attached to all exposed metal parts. It is now legal for all new buildings and houses to have RCD protection, limiting the earth to line/neutral current to typically 30mA before tripping all the power. Makes working at 240v all the time a little less dangerous.

Standard Australian Plug = Wikipedia here There are 10A, 15A and 20A variations, you will only ever see 10A and 20A on set. Anything single phase above that will be Single phase wilco/clipsal or C-Form.

Clipsal/Wilco = Made by the companies Clipsal and much earlier Wilco, Australia's standard 3 Phase plugs (50A and Under) Picture here. Wilco/Clipsal is also avaliable in a single phase variation. We use C-Form for everything 63A and above.

Grapes = Basically a Clipsal/Wilco male plug with a loom of 3 standard female plugs coming out of it(each plug is wired line-neutral, with one plug per phase).

Dizzy Board = Distribution board. As the name probably explains, the distribution board breaks out 3 phase into a whole load of single phase outlets.

Edited by Matthew Parnell, 27 September 2008 - 10:59 PM.

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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 11:26 PM

We tend to do things uniquely down here in Oz. So here is a bit of an overview for you Hal.

To my knowledge Australia uses the Wye system for all three phase applications as we have a single uniform voltage throughout the country and the Wye system is much safer in terms of ground fault protection.

Our 3 Phase is 415/240 three phase. 415v Line to Line, 240v Line to Neutral. All of the single phase power used on our film sets is line to neutral.

As a bit of trivia, All power from a buildings main circuit breaker/generator in Australia must be accompanied by a protective earth, and only low draw double insulated appliances may not have a protective earth attached to all exposed metal parts. It is now legal for all new buildings and houses to have RCD protection, limiting the earth to line/neutral current to typically 30mA before tripping all the power. Makes working at 240v all the time a little less dangerous.

Pretty much the same practice here...a neutral for power and a separate ground (earth) for safety. Up here an RCD is called a "Ground Fault Protector" and increasingly they're required in new construction for potentially dangerous situations like kitchens, baths, outside outlets, swimming pools, etc.

Standard Australian Plug
= Wikipedia here There are 10A, 15A and 20A variations, you will only ever see 10A and 20A on set. Anything single phase above that will be Single phase wilco/clipsal or C-Form.

They look a bit like the older three wire plugs used on dryers and ranges (stoves) up here, they've been replaced with four pin plugs that have a separate neutral and earth.

Clipsal/Wilco = Made by the companies Clipsal and much earlier Wilco, Australia's standard 3 Phase plugs (50A and Under) Picture here. Wilco/Clipsal is also avaliable in a single phase variation. We use C-Form for everything 63A and above.

Nothing here that looks even vaguely like a Clipsal!

Grapes = Basically a Clipsal/Wilco male plug with a loom of 3 standard female plugs coming out of it(each plug is wired line-neutral, with one plug per phase).

How did they come to be called "Grapes"?



Dizzy Board = Distribution board. As the name probably explains, the distribution board breaks out 3 phase into a whole load of single phase outlets.

That's what I'd call a "Distro".


Many thanks Matthew for the info, all this reminds me of the comment once made about the US and UK: "Two nations separated by a common language". :)
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

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Willys Widgets

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rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Opal

Glidecam