Henk Pasman
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Distribution of electricity

Distribution of electricity starts at the power plant.
Alternating Current (AC) is generated at the power plant at 50 Hertz in Europe and 60 Hertz in USA both with three fases and a neutral.
See basic picture below:


In the USA general one fase and the neutral is delivered to the house with a voltage of 7200 volt and transformed to two lines (live) and a neutral with voltages of 120 (110-120) between each line and the neutral and 240 (220-240)volt between the two lines.
(60 Hertz)
See picture below:


In Europe general three fases (R/S/T)and the neutral (N) is delivered to the house with voltages of 230 volt between each fase and the neutral and 400 volt between each fase.
(50 Hertz)
See picture below:


History of Alternating Current

Around 1882 the first DC direct current central generating system was established in New York City.

Not long hereafter AC current was invented with the AC- generator and the transformer. It was now possible to transport electric energy over longer distances.
See information about Nikola Tesla at the end of this page.

In the power plant AC electricity is generated at a certain low voltage and transported by raising the voltage with step-up transformers. At sub-stations the voltage is lowered till finally at the last transformer to the household voltage.

The alternating frequency needed to be around 50/60 Hertz (cycles per second) required to avoid flicker in electric lights. Also the voltage needed to be between 110 and 130 volt for the filament of the incandescent light to heat up properly.

In the USA they choose a frequency of 60 Hertz and voltages of 110 and 220, 115 and 230 or 120 and 240 volt.

In Europe they choose 50 Hertz and a voltage of 127 and 220 volt, which after some years was changed to 220 and 380 volt and not long ago this was changed to 230 and 400 volt.

It is generally accepted that Nikola Tesla chose 60 hertz as the lowest frequency that would not cause street lighting to flicker visibly. The origin of the 50 hertz frequency used in other parts of the world is open to debate but seems likely to be a rounding off of 60hz to the 1 2 5 10 structure popular with metric standards.

Nowedays incandescent lights can be made for a higher voltage like 220 volt. TL lighting needed a voltage around 220.

The higher the voltage the less current is needed for the same amount of power.

Low power equipment like small household appliances are made for one phase 120 volt in the States as 230 volt in Europe.

High power equipment is made for 3 phases and higher voltages like 400 in Europe.

Money wise it is not possible anymore to go to one standard frequency all over the world!

History of Alternating Current


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I've been waving his banner in a rather remarkable way since 1983.
I have 16 very interesting pages
containing many photographs of our work.
I'm a teacher.
Please see: link below: <http://www.ntesla.org>.


John Wagner
Ann Arbor, Michigan


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