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# 110V vs 220v

Member Posts: 9
I see the neutural wire (ground) but when using the 220 (230)volt line you don't hook up to the neutural (ground)bar - so is all the electricty spent? Compared to the 110 volt where you use the ground? What is the purpose of the ground but to displace the electricity not used...

• Member Posts: 6,928

Carol:

This has confused me forever--maybe you can clear this up.

Electric generation plants move free electrons from the earth, through a load and back to the earth, correct?

With two-phase 220v the electron path is from the ground, through the generator, through a wire, through the load then returning to the generator through the second wire, correct?

With single-phase 110v the electron path is from the ground, through the generator, through a wire, through the load, then returning to the generator via the ground, correct?

If so, does this mean that 110v single-phase is "half wireless"?

If so, why is Tesla's goal of complete wireless power still considered impossible or, at best, dangerous?

Why not open a conduction path (via rarefied air) to the upper atmosphere where electrons are in deficit???
• Member Posts: 306
Mike

First, I don't believe the earth has anything to do with the electric grid. The only reason anything is grounded is for safety. Second, electrons don't flow hardly at all with AC current. They just jiggle around a bit. In a DC circuit, like starting your car where the current just flows in one direction the instant you complete the circuit the electric energy flows from one battery terminal through the circuit to the other terminal at approximately the speed of light. It will take some hours for an electron to make the same trip. As for the 220, 110 bit. You have three wires coming from the pole into your house two black ones and a white one. Picture the transformer out on the pole. Picture a secondary winding, just a coil of wire. The two black wires are hooked one to each end of the coil. In the center of that coil the white wire is tapped in. Black to black gives you 220. Either black to white gives you 110. If you have an amprobe try this. turn off everything in your house. Turn on one 150 watt light that is hooked to a breaker fed by the lefthand black wire. Measure the current draw at the breaker and also the main neutral. Turn on another 150 watt light that is hooked to a breaker fed by the righthand black wire. Make the readings again. Surprise. You now have two 110 volt lights burning and no current flow in the neutral. In fact the only time current flows through the neutral is when the loads on the two black wires are un-balanced and then only the difference flows in the neutral. The electric energy just goes back and forth changing directions 120 times/sec. through the lights and the black wires and the secondary of the transformer. As for the electrons picture yourself as a drop of water in one of Hot Rods four way valve reversing hydronic loops, only the flow reverses 120 times a second.
• Member Posts: 9
110 / 220

Can someone clear up the difference between the 110 and the 220. The Neutral wire has nothing to do with AC as in alternating current. 220 is more effieient then 110 because with 22o all the electric is spent? The nutural wire in 110 circuits is for returning electricity that wasn't used?

I know? Stick to sheet metal Bud:)

www.HeatingGuide.com
• Member Posts: 306
Mike

this is what is coming into your house. You can see that there is no path for the electrons in your house to mix with the utility. I don't believe that there is any two phase power in the US. If there is I have never seen it. There is just single phase and three phase. Residences are almost always single phase three wire. Some of the castles I see being built could probably use three phase but the utilities usually won't provide it.
• Member Posts: 2,144
Electricity

Morning! If my memory serves me correctly Norwich ,Ct.[Among other towns]had their own "Electrical grid that supplied Two phase power" for Industrial use.[1970?]
And 110/220 1ph use the same watts for a given load.Volts x Amps x Power Factor=Watts .Correct?So,a 12k Room AC uses the same ammount of watts being 110v or 220v.!?
• Member Posts: 998

Although the neutral and ground art tied togeather in the main service panel, they are used for entirely different purposes. The ground is ONLY for safety. There should be no current flowing thru the ground on normal conditions.

The neutral is to return current from a 120 volt load. A 240 volt load returns current thru the "other" hot lead.

A 1000 watt 240 volt load uses just as much power as a 1000 watt 120 volt load but the losses in the wires for the 240 volt load will be less since the 240 volt load will be drawing 1/2 the current.

Ron
• Member Posts: 2,343
Maybe this can help...

Ugly's electrical references.....
• Member Posts: 6,928

I'm still confused. All neutral wires I see lead into the ground.

Yes, I understand the difference between neutral and ground, but is the ground itself being used as a "wire"?

Originally, most homes only had one-wire 110v service. Still plenty of them left in my town even.
• Member Posts: 6,928

Am I totally off base believing that the electrons in the 4600V source are transformed to 110V via magnetism?

Center tap "grounded at pole". What is "ground" to the utility company seems to be "neutral" to the house...

What about those old 110V two wire services?
• Member Posts: 998

No the Ground is not being used as a current carrying wire.

The Neutral is connected to Ground but it should only be connected to ground at one place (usually the Main Service Panel) in the house.

Also remember the old 110V two wire didn't even have a "Ground".
• Member Posts: 306
Mike

This goes back to your buddies Tesla and Westinghouse. Edison's set up used DC. DC doesn't work with transformers. Tom had to generate the power and distribute it at the same voltage it was going to be used. The wire had to be short and fat. The amount of current converted to heat in wires is I^2R. It is a big advantage to keep I small. If I is small then E has to be large to trasmit the same amount of power. So with AC we put a transformer at the generator and raise the votage(E) to hundreds of thousands of volts. When it gets close to where we are going to use it we use more transformers to bring the voltage down. Usually in steps. There are several between your house and the generator. They are all magnetic couplings.
• Member Posts: 17

I have tried to understand the whole idea that Tesla had for wireless power transmission, but don't get it. Can someone explain in a very basic way, please?
• Member Posts: 998

Tesla's wireless power transmission was basically radio. It was EXTREAMLY inefficient.

Ron
• Member Posts: 6,928

The facts of Tesla's life are proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

He, not Marconi, was the inventor of radio. The US Patent office finally declared this to be so, but only after all it was too late for him to receive a penny from his invention. In developing "secure" remote control via radio, he invented the logical "gates" (and, or, nor, xor). Bell Laboratories tried to patent them, but were denied because Tesla had invented them decades before.

He came to the US with a letter of introduction that he presented to Edison. Edison prompty gave him a job and promised a VERY high reward if he could fix a problem that Edison considered "unfixable". When Tesla did so and tried to claim his reward, Edison told him that he'd encountered "American humor".

He developed the complete system of alternating current still in use today. His preferred motive power was falling water and his first system was installed at Niagra Falls. He developed the "grid" system, transformers and A/C motors of every description--constant speed, variable speed, reversible, etc., the basic designs of which are so perfect that they are still used today. The only improvements come from more accurate manufacturing and better materials--the designs themselvves are flawless. Many people in the industry did (and still do) say that they don't really understand how these things work--they just know what they do, how to use them and how to make them.

Tesla's early partner/financier was Westinghouse. When he claimed to be in a desperate financial situation due to the "current war" with Edison, Tesla tore up a signed contract that guaranteed him royalties on every horsepower of electric energy generated. This contract would have made him among the richest (if not the richest) man in the world.

His laboratories were illuminated wirelessly via fluorescence decades before fluorescent lights were available. His famed "Tesla coil" is a truly bizarre device whose construction gives almost zero clues to its operation. A version of the Tesla coil is the "flyback" transformer in every CRT tube. He invented an open vacuum tube. He invented the speedometer. His "bladeless turbine" engine patent still awaits full exploitation--the design works flawlessly, but materials are still a problem and it's only used in limited circumstance--like moving heavy crude oil. He also has a "cosmic energy" patent where a capacitor is charged (day or night) by way of being connected to the ground and a simple metal plate on a tall pole.

He was obsessed with resonance and wireless transmission of energy. He accurately computed the resonate frequency of the earth--used to this day for communicating with submerged submarines. His experiments demonstrated properties of the upper atmosphere that took decades to confirm.

Those are just a few facts of his life.

Most suspect that his patent drawings/applications became increasingly crude for a reason--he'd been burned so many times that he described things in increasingly vague terms.

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His ultimate achievement was to be Wardenclyffe. He publically called it "worldwide wireless" implying that it was "nothing" more than a single radio transmitter capable of broadcasting innumerable distinct signals around the globe. He was always short of money, Westinghouse was either going goony or dead (I can't remember) and he was begging money from J. P. Morgan when he dropped the other shoe. Not only would it broadcast "radio" around the world, it would allow the transmission of usuable power through the earth itself using a stake in the ground and a device of his invention. Morgan essentially laughed him out of the office--even if it worked, how could he charge for the power??

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VERY little is know about how Wardenclyffe was supposed to operate. There is mainly just speculation based on the devices present. It was a tall tower with a big ball at the top. There were a series of UV arc lamps of enormous output arranged in a circle around the top and pointing straight up.

There was a HUGE and DEEP grounding rod.

There was a bank of mercury interruptors each capable of switching millions of amps.

There was an adjacent coal-fired power house generating electricity in the conventional manner. Fairly large but genuinely nothing in comparison to the current carrying abilities of the devices inside the tower.

• Member Posts: 6,928

Thanks for your patience Bob, but I'm still confused.

Transformers are probably the easiest thing for me to "see". Believe me, as a young boy I played with iron filings and magnets of different styles. I also played with coils even if I did have to hide when playing with 110 volts. Might be why I hate working with "hot" wires...

I see the "jiggle" but I just don't understand the system. Aren't A/C generation turbines grounded? Wasn't one of the big advantages of AC vs DC that AC only required ONE continuous wire from the point of generation to the point of use?

What I don't "see" is the return path unless its' actually through the earth.

• Member Posts: 17

So, if power were to be transmitted wirelessly, wouldn't there be a big chance of getting the crap zapped out of you during rain, wet weather? It would seem that every "grounded" (earthed) thing would be a conductor. Am I missing something?
• Member Posts: 6,928

The arc lamp was another of his inventions.

Why use a filament? So what if it makes so much light that it's difficult to build on a small scale?
• Member Posts: 6,928

I really wish I (or anyone) knew the answer to that question. Tesla definitely achieved wireless transmission of usuable power through both the ground and the air in Colorado Springs, but very little is know about how he achieved it. He did destroy the Colorado Springs electric generators during one of his experiments--they had arced to the ground. There is a newspaper account of sparks between the ground and the shoes on horses, but there's so much myth surrounding Tesla that it's hard to figure out what's actually fact. A newspaper account from New York City (where his laboratory burned with loss of a "lifetimes' work") says that he produced an earthquake during one of his experiments with resonance. Supposedly police rushed after receiving calls of the earthquake (Tesla's building at the center) and found him smashing a small devices that he said he'd never use again.

One of his giant Tesla coils in Colorado Springs had an "extra" coil whose function is still unknown. He left Colorado to build Wardenclyffe claiming he knew everything he need to know to make it work. It [appears] that Wardenclyffe was to be the first in a series of such devices.

He made increasingly bizarre claims in his later years in annual statements on his birthday. He claimed that he could "light the oceans", "power airplanes in flight", "crack the earth like an apple", produce a "death ray", wage war completely by remote control among many other things.

While it's known that the US government immediately sealed off and searched his apartment after his death, the details are still classified.

While he developed the system of electrical generation, distribution and utilization still used today, electrical engineers frequently know nothing more about "Tesla" than it being a unit of magnetism. A very convincing argument can be made that he was (and still is to some degree) intentionally and systematically ignored by history--rather like he was truly the man who knew too much.
• Member Posts: 6,928

You're thinking of his "parlor tricks".

He did not require an extremely high-speed camera to understand that lighting has both upward and downward components. Aren't airplanes rather frequently "struck" by lightning without disaster?
• Member Posts: 306
Tesla Trivia

I was in a museum in Telluride CO. They have a rusty old rotor out of a generator sitting there. If you can guess what it is you get in free. It's the rotor out of a generator installed by Tesla. They claim Telluride was the first city in the US to have AC power.
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