May 11, 2021
In this short podcast episode, Bryan and Eric Mele talk about re-tapping transformers for single-phase equipment in 208v applications.
Most single-phase equipment can work for 230v or 208v, meaning that they can operate with low voltage. However, we typically see 208v in commercial buildings. The sine waves of 208v equipment are 120 degrees out of phase, not 180 degrees (as in split-phase applications). We get lower voltage from leg to leg (208v, though the voltage can be a little higher or lower). Power companies generally put out slightly higher voltage to reduce line losses.
Most systems can work on multiple voltages, but they come with a transformer that's set to the 230v or 240v setting. However, under those settings, you can experience issues in 208v applications. If you put equipment tapped to 230v or 240v in a commercial setting, you may have issues, especially if you're farther away from the air handler. You may not get full 208v and may see contactors that don't pull in intermittently, and you may get intermittent cooling calls. Intermittent problems become worse when you have long thermostat wiring.
In those cases, re-tapping the transformer is your only option. When the original voltage is incorrect, you'll need to re-tap the primary (high-voltage power going in). If you fail to tap the primary correctly, the voltage going out of the secondary won't be correct. When it's time to test the equipment, you'll always want to be sure to test the equipment under load.
Make sure you cap extra wires and cap them independently of each other; those wires do have voltage, and we need to be cognizant of that.
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