Which Motor Voltage Do You Need?

Posted: 1/18/2016

While deciding on a single- or 3-phase motor and choosing the voltage (115V, 230V, or 460V) might sound confusing at first, March Pump is here to help. You don't need to be an electrical engineer to understand the benefits of the different motor types we have available, so we've had one of our tech experts answer a couple of the most common questions about motors. 

What is the Difference Between Single-Phase and 3-Phase Power Motor?

  • Single-Phase Power is found in most homes and businesses in America and supplies plenty of power for motors used in homes and in non-industrial jobs. Single-phase motors are ideal for small, less demanding work and are capable of producing up to 5 horsepower or so, though they draw greater current than 3-phase motors.
  • 3-Phase Power is found more commonly in larger businesses and manufacturing and uses three alternating current waves with peaks 120 degrees apart to deliver a consistent stream of power. 3-phase motors are often able to be much smaller than their single-phase counterparts.

To get an idea of the advantage of a 3-phase motor, imagine paddling a canoe by yourself. When you remove the paddle from the water, the canoe coasts on the momentum from your last stroke. With two other paddlers with you, they can have a paddle in the water while yours is on the backstroke, consistently moving you forward. 

But which voltage should you choose?

Should You Choose a 115V Motor, a 230V Motor, or a 460V Motor? And Why?

Single-phase motors are available in both 115V and 230V models while 3-phase motors can operate at 230V and 460V, but how can you know which operating voltage is right for your needs?

  • 115V motors can be connected to the average household outlet, and these single-phase motors are ideal for home uses, particularly with our beer pump systems.
  • 230V motors are available in both single- and 3-phase designs and require an electrical connection like that used to power a clothes dryer. These motors can bridge the gap between residential and industrial grades.
  • 460V motors are ideal for more industrial settings, allowing the same amount of power to be delivered to a motor at a reduced current. Because of their improved efficiency, these motors are available in 3-phase designs.

The main reason to choose a higher operating voltage for a motor is to allow for increased efficiency and decreased current. This is why the 3-phase motors that prioritize efficiency are found in 230V and 460V models while the single-phase motors can be found in 115V and 230V operating voltages.

Do You Have More Questions?

Remember that if you ever have any questions about one of our blog posts or need to learn more about our products, you should feel free to contact March Pump online or by phone at (847) 729-5300. For determining what your facility has or is capable of having, please contact an electrical engineer.

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