220 vs 110v

Rjgooden

Big Ron
User
I am sure this has been hashed over before but, other than the amperage draw are there any performance advantages to run tools that are setup to run 110/220 volt motors on 220 volts. I know that the efficiency is better with 220 but do you think the tools perform ( guicker starts, less bogging down etc.).
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I do not believe there are any advantages from the standpoint of a woodworker. You can use smaller wire with 220V since the higher voltage cuts the current in half. The main electrical loss is the current squared times the resistance so there is a little less loss with 220V. But if your shop is already wired it doesn't help you and the difference in loss is not significant IMHO. It is not practical to have machines above about 1.5hp on 120 volts because the current gets too high for common conductors and outlets. So bigger motors need 220V. But changing a 1.5hp motor to 220V will not really change it's performance in any significant way.
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
I run 220 on everything I can. I do see a real improvement over 120. Tablesaw is vitrually instant to max rpm.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
I agree with Skymaster. All of my tools on 220 perform better.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I am sure this has been hashed over before but, other than the amperage draw are there any performance advantages to run tools that are setup to run 110/220 volt motors on 220 volts. I know that the efficiency is better with 220 but do you think the tools perform ( guicker starts, less bogging down etc.).
It depends. If you have a dedicated 20A circuit for your table saw, with minimal voltage drop, you will not see any real difference running on 240V instead of 120V. However, if you're running your table saw on a circuit that also runs your lights, dust collector, espresso machine, etc. and the outlet was already far away from the breaker panel, you'll see a big difference. Also, with 240V, you'll see less of a voltage drop when the saw is under load, which should help get the blade back up to speed faster.

Remember - horsepower == watts, and watts = voltage * amperage. Higher volts, lower amps, and vice versa the other way around.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
220/240 voltage is cheaper to wire, power factor is easier to keep at optimum efficiency (if you are into that). Higher voltage will mean lower amperage for the same HP 34 amps needed to run a 3 hp motor (so #10 or #8 wire needed to feed the motor) on 120v vs 17amp on 220 (#12 wire only needed). Also as others pointed out it start is way better. Final thing 220 will be cheaper if the motor is starting and stopping all the time (highly unlikely) but that would be the only time it would show any savings in power use albeit small.
 

Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
So the Europeans had the right idea all along with 220 being a de facto voltage? How did the US get saddled with a 120V standard anyway? Was it a safety issue?
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
Europeans lagged the US in electrification. Edison's original light bulb worked on 110V (DC). Edison lost the battle over DC versus AC but the 110V, later increased to 120V, remained. Europe electrified when bulbs that worked on higher voltage were available. A lot of this is pretty arbitrary. Europe also is 50hz where our power is 60hz. That means a typical European turbine spins at 3000 rpm while ours spin at 3600 (nuclears are half with four poles). 120V is safer. What will kill you is enough current across your chest. At twice the voltage enough current is easier to get.

I don't think that what Europe does is generally better and it isn't in electricity. The original two companies that pioneered electrification were both in the US, GE and Westinghouse. Westinghouse is gone (CBS owns the name) and GE is struggling. But the rest of the world copied the ideas of these two pioneers.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
120V is safer. What will kill you is enough current across your chest. At twice the voltage enough current is easier to get.
240V definitely will wake you up. I've managed to shock myself a couple of times, luckily without any ill effects. But I can't say 120V feels any better :)

In the Netherlands, most houses actually receive 3 phase power. For household use, only one phase is used to provide 230V, but you do have the option for using 3-phase power for bigger appliances such as a wall oven. It also makes it easier for small businesses, woodworkers etc. to use more powerful equipment. But I suppose that's a matter of population density, you can get 3 phase power in the US but it's often very expensive to get it installed separately.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
basically, 60 cycles was considered by Tesla it was more efficient or something like that thin it related to 3 phase calcs. US being 60.

Europe picked 50 cycles really only because it fit better with metric system
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Why do these questions always go so far off track?. The OP's question was about tool performance when wired for either 110 or 220. It is common to find that motors in the 3/4 to 1 1/2 horsepower range are dual voltage. The term dual voltage means that the motor has two sets of 120 volt windings for the purpose of being configured for either service -- parallel for connection to a 120 volt service or series for connection to a 240 volt service. Internally, as far as the motor is concerned, there is no difference since the current through each winding is the same. Externally, as viewed from the electrical service panel, there is the difference in the required minimum branch circuit breaker sizing . The only advantage of operating from 240 volts would be the convenience of taking advantage of an existing 240 volt outlet if 120 volts isn't conveniently located close to where you plan to locate the machine. That's not much of an advantage, but I wanted to emphasize that as far as the motor is concerned, there is no advantage of wiring the motor for one voltage over the other.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
That 50 cycles in europe really screwed up nations agreeing on an international TV standard. That's how you end up with PAL instead of NTSC. True PAL has a better picture, but nothing (DVDs & tape) is compatible with other nations.

Pop
 

Rjgooden

Big Ron
User
Thank you everyone for the input. I think I will just stay with 110v on my table saw since I would have to buy a new magnetic switch to go to 220v. As usual a treasure chest of knowledge
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I cannot resist adding another not terribly relevant tidbit or two. At one time, in the early days, Westinghouse and GE turbines spun opposite directions. It makes absolutely no difference but it makes the blades different so there is no interchangability. There are a lot of things done arbitrarily differently like that. In the largest power transformers, Westinghouse used shell form design and GE used core form. Both argued their design was better. Statistics didn't really show the difference either way but it was something to use to try and get buyers to develop a preference and keep away from price being the only differentiator. In nuclear, Westinghouse was first with a pressurized water reactor. GE had to be different so they developed the boiling water reactor. I think 50 versus 60 hz is similarly arbitrary. It was a barrier to entry or forced added cost to US manufacturers wanting to get into the European market.
 
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bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
In simple electrical theory, there is no difference.
In practice, 220 wins every time on single phase motor performance.
A 15 amp motor will pull maybe 30 - 45 amps at the moment of startup. For that kind of load to be meaningless, there's going to have to be some mighty thick wires in the walls. Restrictive feed is hard on capacitors and the contacts both in the starter and the motor's internal centrifugal switch.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Thank you everyone for the input. I think I will just stay with 110v on my table saw since I would have to buy a new magnetic switch to go to 220v. As usual a treasure chest of knowledge
You can run 220 through non mag switches. There are several available
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Thank you everyone for the input. I think I will just stay with 110v on my table saw since I would have to buy a new magnetic switch to go to 220v. As usual a treasure chest of knowledge
FWIW, nine of my 120 volt machines have USA-made magnetic starters. Good mag starters are a far better control for motor current. Little motors aren't as needful of current control. Mag starters are also a safety feature since they don't restart after a power interruption.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Watts are watts. With a higher voltage, you can use smaller wire. I run 220 for most things for branch and breaker size. Tiny less drop in the lines maybe give a slight start up advantage, but as under start up, the load is less than working, so not that big a deal. Maybe you could measure stable speed being a couple hundred milliseconds quicker. and drop cord much cheaper in 12 ga than 10 ga.

The mag starter, if only a starter, has nothing to do with motor control or current. It is a self-latching relay. Nothing more. It is held on by the current so if power drops it will drop and not come back on until you tell it to. Now some starter/control boxes have breakers in them, thermal delays, remote control, and such. Do not confuse a simple mag starter with a mag control box. Size and price are a dead give away. A mag switch can be $20, a mag starter control box several hundred.

You can buy stranded outlet box switches RATED for motors. Regular wall switches are not. Read the specs. My compressor is on a wall switch, properly rated. I bought mag switches with big paddles so they are easy to bump off rather than fumbling for a small switch.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Added question pertaining to the subject: If changing a 120v/15A saw to 220v, what would be the appropriate sized 220 breaker to protect the saw motor?
 

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