Wiring a 220 Volt Air Compressor
How to Install a 220 Volt Air Compressor Circuit: Electrical Circuit Requirements, 220 Volt Single Phase and 220 Volt 3 Phase
Guide to Installing a 220 Volt Air Compressor Circuit
Electrical Question: I am installing an air compressor circuit in my workshop.
- My workshop is setup for 220 volt 3 phase.
- My Lift and air compressor are wired for single phase 220 volt.
- How can I make this work? Can I just plug it in or no?
This electrical wiring question came from: Kevin, a Handyman from Sacramento, California.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Kevin.
How to Install a 220 Volt Air Compressor Circuit
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Work in electrical panels is not recommended for homeowners, non-experienced individuals or non-electricians.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, electric drill, auger bits and extension cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install 220 volt electrical circuit wiring.
Precaution: Identify the main circuit of the panel, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring or installing the 220 volt wiring and circuit breaker.
Notice: Installing an additional 220 volt circuit for a air compressor or other equipment should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
IMPORTANT: Not all 3 Phase Electrical Services are the Same
Three Phase Panels and Voltage Variations
- There are Several Types of 3 Phase Electrical Services, here are a few typical examples:
- 120/208 Volt, 3 Phase, 4-Wire.
- 120/240 Volt, 3 Phase, 4-Wire.
- 277/480 Volt, 3 Phase, 4-Wire.
If the electrical service to your workshop is 120/240 Volt, 3 phase, 4-Wire, then a single phase 220 volt air compressor and lift will work just fine after the proper circuit has been installed.
NOTE: Most AC type 220 Volt and 240 Volt equipment and electrical circuits are basically the same, only the nomenclature is stated differently.
- A separate 2-pole 220 volt circuit will be required for the air compressor and the lift.
- The amperage size of the circuit will depend on the motor horsepower which will be specified on the nameplate of the equipment with the installation of the electrical circuit wiring.
- Circuit disconnects which are required to conform to the manufacturers installation manual and the local Electrical Codes for your specific area will be required.
Electrical Requirements for an Air Compressor Motor
For this application, the difference between 220 volt single phase and 220 volt three phase is just one circuit wire. It may sound confusing however in this case the 220 volt circuit is made up of two insulated circuit wires for the 220 volts and one equipment ground wire for a total of three wires.
220 Volt Single Phase and 220 Volt 3 Phase
- If your air compressor was 220 volt three phase then the circuit would be three insulated wires for the 220 volts (which is measured leg to leg) and one equipment ground wire for a total of four wires.
- The wire gauge or size would be determined by the required circuit amperage, as specified by the equipment.
- If your workshop is in an industrial area then make sure that the three phase panel does not have what is known as a Stinger Leg, or High Leg.
- This is where one of the incoming lines of power has 220 volts, instead of 110 volts.
- These types of services are rare, however they do still exist in some industrial locations.
More about Electrical Circuit Wiring
House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits.
- The circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
Electrical Circuit Wiring
- Take a look at common electrical wiring:
- 120 volt circuits
- 240 volt circuits
House wiring circuits and the circuit breakers
- Install and identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
Home Electrical Circuit Breakers
- A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring.
- When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
Wiring 220 Volt Electrical Outlet
- Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how electrical outlets for the home are wired.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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