Author Topic: What Size Circuit? - Hammer A3-31 Jointer/Planer Or N4400 Bandsaw w/ 4HP Motor  (Read 4328 times)

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Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
So I have seen this topic discussed at a number of different forums around the net and over the years and there is some discrepancy as to what way one should go. Even the different Hammer/Felder reps, resellers and technical assistance resources seem to differ in opinion.


Should the Hammer products running the 4HP motor like the A3-31 jointer/planer combo machine or the N4400 bandsaw (which Im told use the same motor) be run on a 20A or 30A circuit.


I have personally been told by a couple Hammer reps to run my N4400 on a 20A, 220V circuit using 12AWG wire and a 20A breaker and have been doing so for a couple years now and never had any issues. Others have been told that a 30A is required. I have attached an image of the plate on my Hammer N4400 stating 15A draw at 220V. FWIW a max of 15A draw would be 75% of a 20A circuit.


So what do others run theirs on and for those running on a 20A circuit or who used to run on a 20A circuit have you ever had any issues?
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Online RobBob

  • Posts: 1140
I am running a 30 amp circuit for my A3 31 combo machine.

Interesting that your bandsaw says 15 amps and my jointer/planer says 19 amps.  That would seem to explain why you were told to use a 20 amp circuit and the Delaware Hammer technical people told me to use a 30 amp circuit, wouldn't it?

I guess it makes sense that a jointer/planer would draw more amps than a bandsaw?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 09:53 PM by RobBob »

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
I am running a 30 amp circuit for my A3 31 combo machine.

Interesting that your bandsaw says 15 amps and my jointer/planer says 19 amps.  That would seem to explain why you were told to use a 20 amp circuit and the Delaware Hammer technical people told me to use a 30 amp circuit, wouldn't it?

I guess it makes sense that a jointer/planer would draw more amps than a bandsaw?

Yes that would make sense. The only thing that makes me wonder is that I have been planning to buy an A3-31 for some time now and i was told a couple times that the A3-31 and N4400 share the same 4HP motor which would mean they should have the same current draw. Perhaps that information was incorrect and the two actually use different motors. That would kinda suck as I ran the outlet for the A3-31 as a 20A. Guess Ill have to re wire that and run a 30A now. Lame.


I also wonder if they changed the motor too. They might have used the same motor back when I bought my N4400...
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Offline Max Fracas

  • Posts: 81
The documentation that came with my A3/41 includes a sheet that reads:

"Attention!  Maximum upstream protection not to exceed 20A at 3KW (S6-40%) 1x 230V/60Hz." 

I run my machine on a circuit with a 20 amp breaker.

Offline Huxleywood

  • Posts: 122
I am running a 30 amp circuit for my A3 31 combo machine.

Interesting that your bandsaw says 15 amps and my jointer/planer says 19 amps.  That would seem to explain why you were told to use a 20 amp circuit and the Delaware Hammer technical people told me to use a 30 amp circuit, wouldn't it?

I guess it makes sense that a jointer/planer would draw more amps than a bandsaw?

Yes that would make sense. The only thing that makes me wonder is that I have been planning to buy an A3-31 for some time now and i was told a couple times that the A3-31 and N4400 share the same 4HP motor which would mean they should have the same current draw. Perhaps that information was incorrect and the two actually use different motors. That would kinda suck as I ran the outlet for the A3-31 as a 20A. Guess Ill have to re wire that and run a 30A now. Lame.


I also wonder if they changed the motor too. They might have used the same motor back when I bought my N4400...


The A3-31 has a 4hp motor (3 kw) the N4400 has a ~3 1/3hp motor (2.5kw) which covers the difference in FLA. 

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
The documentation that came with my A3/41 includes a sheet that reads:

"Attention!  Maximum upstream protection not to exceed 20A at 3KW (S6-40%) 1x 230V/60Hz." 

I run my machine on a circuit with a 20 amp breaker.
And see its the stuff like this that keeps throwing me off. What year was your A3-41 made and what does the plate on it say?
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Offline otis04

  • Posts: 135
The breaker is intended to protect the wires, not the equipment.  What size wire is the cord, 12 ga 20 amp, 10 ga 30 amp. 

Offline Max Fracas

  • Posts: 81
@ben_r_

Hope you can read what's on this photo of the data plate.

Offline HAXIT

  • Posts: 166
My both machines are made in 2016. The plate on my N4400 is 14.7 amp and A3 31 is 19.8 amp. Both machines are running on 20 amp breaker and never had any problem.
Here is the document for N4400



and here is the one came with A3 31.You can see the wiring diagram in the second picture where it shows the breaker box(L1,L2) at the top left hand corner. Under that it said Maximum upstream protection per chart! which is 20amp.



 

Online RobBob

  • Posts: 1140
"Maximum upstream protection not to exceed 20A at 3KW"

That phrase is confusing to me.  Wouldn't MORE protection mean a lower amp circuit breaker?  Therefore, 15 amp circuit breaker is bad while a 30 amp breaker would be OK?

Maybe Rick can help us sort this out?  @Rick Christopherson
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 10:00 AM by RobBob »

Offline HAXIT

  • Posts: 166
This is the review for A3 26 that I found under e-shop. I do not care about the review but if you go dawn and read the comments, the first comment by Rod Sheridan said he only needs 20 amp for his A3 31. I think but I am not sure that Rod is electrician and I believe he works for felder. He is active under different sites where I am not a member but if someone is, could bring this up for him and to see what would be his answer.

    http://www.makingsplinters.com/2012/08/hammer-a3-26-review/

Offline HAXIT

  • Posts: 166
If someone is member here might want to ask Rod or invite him here. I am sure that he is using some festool tools anyway. [smile]

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?155620-20amp-machine-on-30-amp-circut

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 912
There are two factors that can influence the running amp draw under load that aren't mentioned here.  First is the voltage.  If you're seeing 240-245V as opposed to 220V, you'll be pulling less amps.  Second is the spiral cutters put much less load on the motor compared to the straight knives.  There is a video of the A3-31 out there comparing the straight knives to the spiral cutters.  Mostly it covers noise, but they do hook up a meter to show the lower draw as well.  I don't have the link handy unfortunately, but maybe someone can post the link when they find it?

So if you're a  little sketchy about the circuit sizing but you have a stable 240V+ power supply and you're running the spiral cutter head, you'll be well under 20A running load (I think the video showed it might be closer to 12A but my memory isn't all that good).  If you've got 220V and straight knives, maybe you want to spend the extra time dissecting the contradictory information presented here, but still look at that video, I think it might add some clarity about what the machine needs, though I can't recall if they showed the voltage available. 

Edit:  My memory sucks.  I found the video (5:20 mins in) and it compares a conventional segmented carbide cutterhead against their silent power cutterhead.  No straight knives compared at all.  The amp draw was 27 vs 19, so not the 12A I mentioned above.  And there was no mention of voltage.


« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 11:15 AM by RKA »
-Raj

Offline HAXIT

  • Posts: 166
There are two factors that can influence the running amp draw under load that aren't mentioned here.  First is the voltage.  If you're seeing 240-245V as opposed to 220V, you'll be pulling less amps.  Second is the spiral cutters put much less load on the motor compared to the straight knives.  There is a video of the A3-31 out there comparing the straight knives to the spiral cutters.  Mostly it covers noise, but they do hook up a meter to show the lower draw as well.  I don't have the link handy unfortunately, but maybe someone can post the link when they find it?

So if you're a  little sketchy about the circuit sizing but you have a stable 240V+ power supply and you're running the spiral cutter head, you'll be well under 20A running load (I think the video showed it might be closer to 12A but my memory isn't all that good).  If you've got 220V and straight knives, maybe you want to spend the extra time dissecting the contradictory information presented here, but still look at that video, I think it might add some clarity about what the machine needs, though I can't recall if they showed the voltage available.



Offline Mismarked

  • Posts: 120
Rod Sheridan has a lot of posts about the electrical requirements for, and other aspects of, his Hammer A3-31 and is very knowledgeable about the machine, and I reviewed his posts when deciding to make the purchase. 
If you Google "Electrical requirements for Hammer a3-31," that thread it the first thing that comes up.  It was started in 2010 but continued in Feb. 2017.  As of 2010, he had been running on a 15A circuit for 2 years with no problems and said he could have used 20A but not 30A because the equipment manufacturer specified the max for its equipment.  He's in Canada and follows Canada code requirements.  I will try to get his attention and see if he has any interest in weighing in here.
     I stated this in the original thread, but now that we have a dedicated thread, I will reiterate that I am running on a 30A circuit, but had a 20A subpanel made that is attached with magnets to the back of the A3.  It was quick and easy for the electrician to do, and it has worked without a hitch.  I got the idea from a Youtube video posted by Thomas Gadwa.  He has several showing how he tricked out his Hammer.  "Power service connection for Hammer A3 31"
   Hope this helps.

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
This is getting more interesting. That "Upstream Protection" current value is a bit confusing but brings to thought a different angle that I had not previously considered. What if by listing that value the manufacturer is saying: "Please use a breaker of X max current value to ensure the circuit is shut off before the machine draws more than X in order to prevent damage to the motor". If that were the case then running the machine on a circuit that can supply more current than X might mean that damage could be done to the motor should something go wrong and it every draws more than X and the breaker is oversized and doesnt shut the circuit off. I dont know enough about motors to answer that question.
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Offline Mismarked

  • Posts: 120
@ben_r_, what you have stated is consistent with how the Hammer tech explained it to me.

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
@ben_r_, what you have stated is consistent with how the Hammer tech explained it to me.
Interesting. I wish I had more experience with motors to know if this is a normal practice or not.
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Online RobBob

  • Posts: 1140
Rod Sheridan has a lot of posts about the electrical requirements for, and other aspects of, his Hammer A3-31 and is very knowledgeable about the machine, and I reviewed his posts when deciding to make the purchase. 
If you Google "Electrical requirements for Hammer a3-31," that thread it the first thing that comes up.  It was started in 2010 but continued in Feb. 2017.  As of 2010, he had been running on a 15A circuit for 2 years with no problems and said he could have used 20A but not 30A because the equipment manufacturer specified the max for its equipment.  He's in Canada and follows Canada code requirements.  I will try to get his attention and see if he has any interest in weighing in here.
     I stated this in the original thread, but now that we have a dedicated thread, I will reiterate that I am running on a 30A circuit, but had a 20A subpanel made that is attached with magnets to the back of the A3.  It was quick and easy for the electrician to do, and it has worked without a hitch.  I got the idea from a Youtube video posted by Thomas Gadwa.  He has several showing how he tricked out his Hammer.  "Power service connection for Hammer A3 31"
   Hope this helps.
Rod Sheridan states in the "Electrical requirements for Hammer a3-31" thread mentioned above that Felder warns that you should not use a 30 amp receptacle for the A3 31.  Well, Delaware technical support told me yesterday and again 6 months ago to use a 30 amp circuit.

Others have said that the breaker protects the house wiring, not the machine.

So...figuring that we really need a definitive answer on this I called Felder/Hammer a third time.  I spoke to Phillip in the Delaware tech support area (866-792-5288).  Again he verified that a 30 amp circuit is preferable, but that a 20 amp may work.

I asked Phillip to send me an email stating what he told me over the phone to avoid any warranty issues should the need arise.  He agreed to send it.

Here is what Phillip from Felder/Hammer tech support wrote:
"Thank you for contacting us regarding your Hammer A3-31 with a 3kW power system. As we discussed on the phone the specifications for this machine call for 230v single phase power plus or minus 10%, and the machine will be the most efficient and have the greatest service life operating closer to the 230v spec than at the outer edges of this range. Voltage lower than 230v, the starting of the machine, and eventual deterioration in efficiency as the machine ages will all cause some increase in current consumption compared to a new machine running at 230v. I am not a licensed electrician and can not make determinations for what should be installed in your shop - only a qualifed, licensed electrician in your area can do that. The machine's specifications recommends a 20 Amp circuit breaker as that will provide just enough for the machine to start and run, however to have some extra room on the circuit for other devices, to future proof for eventually upgrading to a larger machine, or just to avoid operating so closely to the 20A cutoff if you have voltage within the 10% range below 230v, it is acceptable from our perspective to install and use a 30 Amp circuit instead as long as your local codes and licensed electrician allow.

Please remember that the design of this single-phase, capacitor-start electrical system requires that you press and hold the start button until the motor is up to speed, then release. The stop button may be quickly pressed instead of held. This procedure will ensure the longest possibly life for your capacitors. Failing to hold the start button until the motor is up to speed will cause premature failure of these capacitors."
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 02:19 PM by RobBob »

Offline HAXIT

  • Posts: 166
Should I start a new thread:
How hard is to plug in your Hammer machine? [thumbs up] [big grin] [big grin] [big grin] [wink]

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
Rod Sheridan has a lot of posts about the electrical requirements for, and other aspects of, his Hammer A3-31 and is very knowledgeable about the machine, and I reviewed his posts when deciding to make the purchase. 
If you Google "Electrical requirements for Hammer a3-31," that thread it the first thing that comes up.  It was started in 2010 but continued in Feb. 2017.  As of 2010, he had been running on a 15A circuit for 2 years with no problems and said he could have used 20A but not 30A because the equipment manufacturer specified the max for its equipment.  He's in Canada and follows Canada code requirements.  I will try to get his attention and see if he has any interest in weighing in here.
     I stated this in the original thread, but now that we have a dedicated thread, I will reiterate that I am running on a 30A circuit, but had a 20A subpanel made that is attached with magnets to the back of the A3.  It was quick and easy for the electrician to do, and it has worked without a hitch.  I got the idea from a Youtube video posted by Thomas Gadwa.  He has several showing how he tricked out his Hammer.  "Power service connection for Hammer A3 31"
   Hope this helps.
Rod Sheridan states in the "Electrical requirements for Hammer a3-31" thread mentioned above that Felder warns that you should not use a 30 amp receptacle for the A3 31.  Well, Delaware technical support told me yesterday and again 6 months ago to use a 30 amp circuit.

Others have said that the breaker protects the house wiring, not the machine.

So...figuring that we really need a definitive answer on this I called Felder/Hammer a third time.  I spoke to Phillip in the Delaware tech support area (866-792-5288).  Again he verified that a 30 amp circuit is preferable, but that a 20 amp may work.

I asked Phillip to send me an email stating what he told me over the phone to avoid any warranty issues should the need arise.  He agreed to send it.

Here is what Phillip from Felder/Hammer tech support wrote:
"Thank you for contacting us regarding your Hammer A3-31 with a 3kW power system. As we discussed on the phone the specifications for this machine call for 230v single phase power plus or minus 10%, and the machine will be the most efficient and have the greatest service life operating closer to the 230v spec than at the outer edges of this range. Voltage lower than 230v, the starting of the machine, and eventual deterioration in efficiency as the machine ages will all cause some increase in current consumption compared to a new machine running at 230v. I am not a licensed electrician and can not make determinations for what should be installed in your shop - only a qualifed, licensed electrician in your area can do that. The machine's specifications recommends a 20 Amp circuit breaker as that will provide just enough for the machine to start and run, however to have some extra room on the circuit for other devices, to future proof for eventually upgrading to a larger machine, or just to avoid operating so closely to the 20A cutoff if you have voltage within the 10% range below 230v, it is acceptable from our perspective to install and use a 30 Amp circuit instead as long as your local codes and licensed electrician allow.

Please remember that the design of this single-phase, capacitor-start electrical system requires that you press and hold the start button until the motor is up to speed, then release. The stop button may be quickly pressed instead of held. This procedure will ensure the longest possibly life for your capacitors. Failing to hold the start button until the motor is up to speed will cause premature failure of these capacitors."

I like it! Thanks RobBob for taking the time to call in and get that email sent. When I get my A3-31 I guess Im going to be running a new 30A circuit for it.
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Offline egmiii

  • Posts: 52
I'd run 10g wire and use a 20 amp breaker. The larger wire size will reduce the voltage drop, thus reducing current. It will also permit a 30 amp breaker if you need to go that route. Using the 20 amp breaker will offer some motor protection, but will also provide a heads up that other problems may exist if it starts popping.

Online RobBob

  • Posts: 1140
After all this talk, I went to the shop this afternoon to use the A3 31 in jointer mode.  It never ceases to amaze me how smooth and quiet the machine is.  I have the silent cutter head and can whole heartily recommend it.

My shop is in the garage.  I was running both the Laguna Pflux 3hp (has egg crate foam for sound insulation inside the cabinet) and the Hammer A3 31 at the same time.  Both on 30 amp circuits.  No one in the house was even aware that I was using the machines!  With ear muffs on, I had to keep looking at the cutter head on the J/P to make sure it was running.  I live in a townhouse so sound is important.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 07:36 PM by RobBob »

Offline Mismarked

  • Posts: 120
It is amazing. That is good information you obtained.  Thanks for doing that

Offline Rick Christopherson

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There is always a lot of misinformation on this topic, which is mainly due to differences between the NEC, manufacturer's directives, and reality.

The NEC typically specifies circuit requirements that are well above the "reality" of woodworking equipment. For that reason, I will Not address NEC ampacity considerations. I don't agree with them, but neither could I advise not following them. Consult with an electrician as to what the local requirements may be.

Manufacturer's directives are typically all over the map, with some manufacturers known for requiring circuits larger than necessary, to others requiring circuits smaller than required. Without looking at a case-by-case basis, this is typically the least reliable information.

What I will say, in this particular case, specifying a maximum circuit size of 20 amps is in contravention with the NEC tables. That's not to say that a 20-amp circuit is insufficient, only that it shouldn't be stated as a maximum.

On the opposite extreme, I have seen some manufacturers specifying minimum circuit ampacities that are well above the NEC tables. Again, that's not to say that having an over-sized circuit is bad, just that it shouldn't be listed as a minimum.

Personally, I prefer to take the approach based on the realities of how woodworking equipment is used in real life. In that regard, human-fed woodworking tools rarely ever see maximum load, and even then, is very short duration. They also experience significant no-load idle-time between cuts and operations.

But conversely, some woodworking tools may experience very frequent re-starts compared to running or idle time. Any tool that experiences frequent restarts without down-time, should be placed on a larger than typical circuit. The high-amperage start current will heat the circuit conductors (and breaker) more than a continuously running machine.

My reality is that I don't want to work with wires that are bigger and stiffer than necessary, yet of sufficient size to never trip a breaker during normal usage. If a 20-amp breaker never trips, then there is not a reason to have used a 30-amp breaker. So I base my circuit size on the motor's nameplate amperage, because I know that the motor will very rarely ever even reach that amperage, let alone exceed it for any length of time.

Online RobBob

  • Posts: 1140
@Rick Christopherson - Thanks Rick.  That's what we need to know; based on a realistic, practical perspective.

So, my interpretation from all of these sources is that either a 20 or 30 amp breaker is fine for the A3 31 as long as it is in agreement with your local code.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 02:09 PM by RobBob »

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 778
Rick makes it sound like speaker amplifiers. Which makes a lot of sense. These machines spend more time starting up or idling than they do anywhere near their max current draw from a max out motor.
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Offline Richard A.

  • Posts: 50
The best way to protect your motor would be to use a starter with heaters.
Use a 30A circuit breaker.
Run #10 wire from the panel to machine (that includes any rubber cord or flex).
Note: If the run is over 100ft from you panel to you machine, run #8 wire, but keep the 30A circuit breaker.
Mount a 30A starter on your machine.
Install headers in the starter. The heaters should be sized to the amperage on the nameplate.
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Offline Rod Sheridan

  • Posts: 2
Hi, Rick has given some good advice on breaker/wire sizing.

I live in Canada, and at the time I purchased my A3-31 and B3 Winner, the certification agency required that the machine not be connected to larger than a 20 ampere circuit, or one capable of delivering more than 5,000 amperes.

I actually have both machines running on a 15 ampere circuit (not simultaneously).

As Rick indicated, wood working machinery that's fed by people will spend the majority of time at idle, with some time at somewhere between idle and full load. That's why the Hammer motors are S6 40%, they recognize that the machines are typically hand fed, or if a feeder is used, it's still similar to hand fed operation where you pick up a piece, machine it, put it down, go get the next piece.

I often use the feeder for sawing, shaping and jointing if I have a lot of pieces, or need it for precision or safety. I've used the feeder for making flooring for example, which is the most severe duty I've ever used the machines for.

The N4400 is also mentioned, however based upon personal experience it won't start on a 15 ampere circuit, it will however on a 20 ampere. It's a pretty high inertia load, and the one I have appears to have a capacitor run motor, not capacitor start, and doesn't seem to have a centrifugal switch either.

When I asked Felder Ontario about the issue, apparently the new machines don't have the 20 ampere restriction, they do have different electrical equipment and layout than the older machines I own.

regards, Rod.

Offline andygiddings

  • Posts: 22
Have a C3 which is obviously a B3 and A3 bolted together. Motors are the same size. I use 30A breaker and my supply is 240V measured, never had an issue