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Trying to power a new electric gate from the pump wiring, which is very closeby.

The power supply for the gate is rated:

100-240V ~ 50/60 Hz, 150 Watt. It has a standard 110V 3-prong plug.

The pump wiring consists of 3 black wires from the power pole, each connecting to a red, a black, and a yellow that go to the pump. There is a green wire from the pump that is not connected to anything.

I understand that in this configuration, there is no neutral, so I cannot create a dedicated 110V circuit. However, can I:

  1. Hard wire the black and white gate power wires to two of the existing black wires? Or is this a diffrent type of 220V than the power supply is rated for?

  2. Run a step-down transformer 220-110, and then hook up the gate power supply to the 110 side of the transformer? If so, what rating of transformer will provide the 150 watts continuous, 180 watt peak?

  3. Run a step-down transformer 220V AC-24V DC, and connect the 24V DC straight to the gate controller? If so, again, what rating of transformer?

Thank you very much!

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    Red, black and yellow would tend to mean something like three phase power. A bit unusual. Can the yellow be a dirty white?
    – crip659
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 21:58
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    You need to get some name plate information from the pump and get some reading to determine exactly what you have from the power pole. Your question is way too vague and you're asking too many questions.
    – JACK
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 22:14
  • I will work on the nameplate, however, the owner says its 3 phase low voltage. So I'm assuming its 230V. This is a farm area, not residential.
    – Kamal
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 22:54
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    @Kamal -- is the pump controller located at the pump, or remotely from it? I'm concerned that what you might be looking at is a switched supply from the controller (motor starter) instead of always-hot 208Y/120 3 phase power. Also: if the pump controller is located at the pump, then what's present at the pump for overcurrent protection? (you may need to add a subpanel, or even a transformer, here) Commented May 15, 2023 at 1:50
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    I’m voting to close this question because "the owner says..." Implies to me that you're an electrician doing a job for someone else and that doesn't fall under "Home Improvement".
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 18:11

1 Answer 1

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So you have a 3-phase "delta" electric service coming from the utility to a well. This is non-residential, clearly. You want to tap the supply there.

This is going to be complicated.

Your tap will need overcurrent protection separate from the well pump, meaning there'll need to be a (sub)panel there if there isn't. This makes the work too complex. This isn't "tap a 120V receptacle or lamp". It'll blow right past the "trivial" exception for non-qualified persons, and obviously the "homeowner-occupant of a single-family home" exception doesn't work either. A pro electrician needs to do the work.

For all we know, this pump is 480V delta... in fact I'm not sure why it wouldn't be.

So we need a ton of information even to advise, and it's almost certainly going to cost some money. And this is my problem. If I'm having you do a power cut to insert a service panel to support more than just the well, we are blowing right past the cost of a battery/solar system, given that we're talking about under $200 of batteries assuming you just grab random deep cycle wet cells, cheaper is possible - and $50 of solar + charge controller. The gate vendor may have some pricy bundle, but that's not necessary.

I know you want a "hook my 2 wires here" solution, and I realize it can suck when there are 5 other guys all to happy to do the work illegally and unsafely (and that may not even work if the service is 480V).

Think hard about a battery solution.

Here is the secret to gates. Think about how much power your gate requires to move. It says 150 watts, yes? Well, if you ran the gate motor for an hour, that would be 150 watt-hours. Except the gate motor only runs for a few seconds in reality, yes? So less than 1 watt-hour per opening - this is a tiny amount of power actually.

A typical car battery is 1000 watt-hours (or 1000 openings), just for comparison.

As such, this application lends itself very, very well to batteries and solar, and then you can forget about the shady AC power connection.

Once when I said this, a fella got real mad and said "the HOA won't let me put up solar panels". This guy was imagining a huge solar panel array big enough to shade a car...and would not let go of that picture. I was thinking more like one the size of an iPad, stuck vertically on the side of the motor lol. The HOA would never be aware a solar panel was there. Which would be 10 watts, which would refill the battery with enough power for 50 openings on a bad day.

Anyway, the gate manufacturer is way ahead of me. They carefully chose "24 volts DC" as their operating voltage. That's a mighty odd pick, isn't it? Why not 120V? The reason is they are expecting you to put it on battery. It's just such a naturally useful application for it.

You DIY that by wiring two 12V batteries in series, or just choosing a 24V battery which might be lithium. To charge, you use a solar panel of almost any size ($20-ish) and a solar charge controller designed to charge the type of battery you use. I'm fond of Morningstar; a top brand. Sort of the Snap-On of solar equipment.

If the customer doesn't like it, I would just slap in a battery/solar "temporarily" while you run down the AC power question, and then let them have awhile to realize battery really does work.

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  • I agree with you, but I'm trying to get the gate hooked up to the electric service. If you can't help with that, then I appreciate your efforts.
    – Kamal
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 3:52
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    To the OP: I don’t want to sound harsh, but you’re stuck in the weeds. A battery/solar is an excellent solution to what sounds like a complicated problem. Commented May 15, 2023 at 15:54

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