Operating 230 Volt Motors on a 208 Volt System

Pg ED-101

Reliance Submersible Motor Electrical Supply Guidelines

Scope: 208 and 230 Volt 3 phase electrical supply

Over the course of the past 10 years many customers have asked if a Reliance Submersible UL Motor that is rated for 230 volts/3/60 can be used in a 208 volt/3/60 system.

The answer is: Not Recommended

If there is an absolutely stable 208v system where the voltage does not drop more than 1 volt then it is possible to get away with it for a period of time. This is a highly risky gamble. When a 230v motor is used on a typical 208v system the motor becomes “electrically saturated” which will not allow the motor to dissipate heat properly. The result is that the motor may burn up in a short period of time. This is obvious when the motor is disassembled and inspected as to the cause of the motor failure and is not covered under warranty. This is considered abusing the motor. If the end user decides to operate a motor in this manner then it is at their own risk!


1. Use a 200 volt rated motor. “Electrical Saturation” does not occur and the motor will give many years of trouble free operation

2. If the end user cannot wait for 200 volt motor then the end user should install a transformer to supply the proper voltage motor.

Using one of the above referenced recommended methods does not void the motor warranty nor the UL Listing.