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HP versus Brake Horsepower
2

HP versus Brake Horsepower

HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
I seem to be the only one in my company that believes that BHP is the power available to the system before losses due to appurtenances, e.g. a belt drive for a fan. For simplicity sake,(I may not be using an accurate analogy) I suggest that the BHP is the NEMA or nominal horsepower. For example, Greenheck on their cut sheets for fans shows the "Operating Power" then below in the section that tells you the motor size 10 hp or 5 hp . . .
I talked to an EE friend of mine and he told me that he checked a couple of other sources and he was not sure that he agreed with me.
These are a couple of websites that I used in my discussion;
www.wisegeek.org/what-is-brake-horsepower.htm
www.differencebetween.net/tehcnology/difference-be...
Seems pretty clear to me.
The term BHP comes from the early days of measurement where they actually would apply a brake to the output shaft and calculate HP from the force on the brake.
I could always not be accurate, or the other case is that the term depends on context of usage . . .

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Lead Engineer,

If you want to test the mechanical power something puts out, you use a brake, hence, brake horsepower. Does someone telling you the output of something, have to use the word "brake"?

Quote (Your second source)


Today, you can easily convert HP into different units, like 1 HP that equates to 746 Watts. It can also be converted into British Thermal Units, or BTU, joules and calories.

Watts are okay. Everything else, no.

Back in the day, car engines were rated by gross horsepower and net horsepower. This reflected the amount of stuff attached to the engine.

--
JHG

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
It is not about the units of measurement.
Maybe I made the question too complicated. Other engineers in my company are saying that BHP is the power to operate the system, and that HP is the nominal or motor size. And I do not agree. The context is for electrical motors that are driving a mechanical system.
Should I just agree to end the discussion, or just agree to disagree? I have had this discussion with more than a few engineers.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

You are all wrong.

It is about the method of measurement.

Brake horsepower is the horsepower available at a shaft as measured by a brake dynamometer.

The shaft has no consumer attached during the measurement.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Wellll with electric motors, BHP and net HP are the same. There aren't any accessories between the system and the motor to absorb power. Power delivered by the motor is power delivered into the system.

With a mechanical system being driven by a motor of any kind, I would specify the power required for the system to operate, in HP.

using 'BHP' at all is pretty much reserved for engines in motor vehicles, where there is a need to differentiate between total power output by the engine, and power put into the drivetrain (engine power output - power consumed by engine-driven accessories).

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
This conversation sounds like there is no one answer, it sounds like the context of usage defines the meaning. That said, we specify a lot of fans for various systems and Greenheck when you use their sizing program the cut sheet for the given fan has two fields for horsepower; operating horsepower and HP which is the motor horsepower 5, 10, or what have you.

I am hearing that I should just drop the subject because there are too many ways to interpret these two terms; i.e. BHP and HP.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

MintJulep,

I am trying to recall all the stuff I did in college thermodynamics. Indicated horsepower is the work done to the pistons inside the cylinder. Friction horsepower is the rate of work required to overcome friction in the engine. Brake horsepower is the power you measured at the output, with a brake. The OP is discussing electric motors.

IHP and BHP are meaningful terms if we are testing an instrumented piston engine on a dynamometer. Is there a standard out there that absolutely requires motor hardware to be attached or not attached when you test for "BHP"?

My experience with electric motors is small ones, rated in Watts. I have never seen the term BW or BHP used for them. You can test power output of an electric motor with a brake. I have never seen the electrical power input rated in horsepower. To me, the terminology is power in(put) and power out(put).

If the electric motor is attached to some sort of inefficient drive like a worm gear, then you have power out of the motor, and power out of the drive. I can test either one with a brake.

HP and BHP probably are the same thing.

--
JHG

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Quote (Lead Engineer)

the cut sheet for the given fan has two fields for horsepower; operating horsepower and HP which is the motor horsepower

'Operating Horsepower' = the power the system requires to operate

'Horsepower' = the maximum amount of power the motor is capable of producing

This isn't really that complicated.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Quote (Lead Engineer)

Other engineers in my company are saying that BHP is the power to operate the system, and that HP is the nominal or motor size.

You and your other engineers are confusing yourself with this terminology.

Forget the "horse" and Brake Horse" bit and what are you left with - POWER.

Now in a motor driven system you can measure that power in several locations from start to finish and the figures will all be different. There is though no defined location where the term "Brake Horse" is universally accepted.

Hence for something like and electrically driven pump set, you have incoming electrical power (Pe). Then you have outgoing motor or shaft power (Ps). Then finally you have liquid power of the fluid you're moving (Pl) Pe>Ps>Pl.

How much will vary dependant on the inefficiencies of the various parts of the system.

The term BHP came about predominantly from the automotive industry where various fiscal and simple calculations were made on engine size etc to arrive at a fiscal or nominal horsepower. E.g. in France the classic 2CV (2 Cheval Fiscal).



Now anyone unfortunate enough to ever drive or be driven in one of these crates on wheels will know that they are not over endowed with real power, but they have more than 2HP (1.5kW). Hence to act as a term of "real" power from a car engine, people then started using the term Brake horsepower meaning "real" power delivered at the engine shaft output. Put any car on a rolling road and measure power transmitted to the road after going through gearboxes, having power sucked out by A/C, hydraulic pumps, alternators etc and it will be quite a lot less. However it is difficult to measure this so the term BHP has become synonymous with engine power / speed / acceleration.

SO in short forget BHP and HP and just say motor shaft power or shaft power or fan output power or wherever you want to define your power measurement location.
[Added] Electric motor power rating is normally quoted as shaft power coming out of the motor with its fan etc.
Electric power in is higher and is commonly expressed in terms of Full load current and its power factor

Or just use kW and a specific location within the system. There's no such thing as BkW....

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Quote (drawoh)

Is there a standard out there that absolutely requires motor hardware to be attached or not attached when you test for "BHP"?

Sure are. Standards for whatever you want. That's the great thing about standards, there is always one for whatever.

Wiki does a good job of explaining. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsepower#Brake_hor...

Key points:

"Brake Horse Power"

"Horse Power" is the unit.

"Brake" is the method of test, specifying how and where. With a brake dynamometer at the output shaft of whatever you are testing.

There is nothing explicit nor implicit in the definition of "Brake Horse Power" about the unit under test.

Multiple other standards exist that define the required condition of the unit under test.

Stating "345 BHP" without citing the test standard used tells you exactly nothing.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

I believe the HP rating of an electric motor is the power available at the shaft, under conditions defined by NEMA or ASME or somebody, and the kW rating of the motor would be the HP X a factor.
And vise-reversa.

Th electrical power (kW) that must be supplied to the motor is not the motor's power rating, although is of interest to the folks paying the electric Bill.
The equivalent for purchasing an engine would be the Brake specific fuel consumption, which would be multiplied times the out put HP.
BSFC varies a lot on the engines load.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

kW = hp x 0.746

The electrical input is of interest to the electrical engineer to design cables, starters, switchboards etc.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
I want to thank all of you who replied to my question. I did not expect such a variety of responses.
What I am hearing is that the difference is more or less moot because of the variety of contexts in which these terms are used.
This all started when one of my engineers used BHP on a drawing and the information in the field was operating or operational power. So to be more clear, I think that I will change the column titles to: "MOTOR SIZE" and"OPERATING HORSEPOWER" so that there is no question about the information contained in each field.
Thank you all very much for your help 😊.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

'Motor Size' could very easily be confused with 'Frame Size' which defines the physical dimensions of the motor, usually corresponding to one of a number of standard 'frame sizes'.

A more technically correct pair of descriptions would be "Motor Rating", or even more accurately "Motor Capability", and "Fan Absorbed Power".

Note that 'rating' is the motor capability at a specific set of conditions, typically sea level and at 40°C ambient, where capability is the power output the motor can deliver under a given set of conditions which may not be those at which its rating is stated.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

"Should I just agree to end the discussion, or just agree to disagree? I have had this discussion with more than a few engineers."

I find this statement a little worrisome. Engineers do not agree to disagree. They should develop a common understanding. Your discussion does involve some semantics which can be unclear so an engineer's job is to understand the science behind an issue and use scientific terms to describe it so that everyone can understand unambiguously. Asking your question here was one step in that process.

I see that you are a mechanical engineer. I've noticed that new mechanical engineers often do not understand electric motors very well. There are many types, and it can get complicated. But most industrial electric motors are induction motors which run at almost constant speed regardless of load. A five hp motor can provide up to five hp continuously without overheating, when the ambient temperature is 40C. But if the load only uses two hp then the motor will only provide two hp, and the motor will consume only that much electrical power. This defines what five hp means with regard to an electric motor. You need to define every term you use in similar ways so that you can reach a common understanding with your coworkers, customers and suppliers. And none of this "agree to disagree" unless you are talking politics or religion (or auto mechanics).

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
Compositepro,
I find your discussion interesting. However, when the other engineers I talk to are unwilling to discuss it, and simply say parenthetically; this is not a discussion. The electrical engineer that I work with has very little understanding of this topic. As for the difference between electric motors and any other motor for the use of Brake horsepower versus Horsepower, is it not just power being supplied to a system? Thus the power input to that system (according to most definitions I have read) is BHP, and the power to operate the system is HP. How does the fact that the power is coming from an electric motor affect the name of the gross power input to the system, i.e. BHP vs. HP?

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Lead Engineer,

I am not sure what you mean by power input. I can put electrical power into an electric motor, almost certainly quoted in Watts. This cannot be measured with a brake. I get power out of motor as torque and speed, which I can work out as Watts or horsepower. I have never seen the word "brake" to describe power out of an electric motor. I can do power into a transmission and power out of a transmission, which is meaningful if the drive efficiency is significantly below 100%. If it were me doing the specifications and/or analysis, it would be electrical power input, motor power, and output power. The word "brake" tells me nothing useful.

--
JHG

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Quote (LeadEngineer)

How does the fact that the power is coming from an electric motor affect the name of the gross power input to the system, i.e. BHP vs. HP?

Because you should never see 'BHP' on the spec sheet of an electric motor. Electric motors have no accessories. BHP is/was a term developed to determine whether a gasoline engine's power rating was measure with or without accessories.

You MIGHT see 'BHP' on the spec sheet of something like fan or pump which is designed to be driven by a motor of any type, in which case the designer is trying to tell you exactly how much power that device needs to consume to operate as designed. But in my estimation this circumstance would be rare, because for such a device, the meaning of a power rating is pretty clear.

As another poster stated- you can measure power at any point in a mechanical system of any complexity, and each point will yield a different value. When stating power values you need specificity.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
Okay, so what do you call the power available to any system? What do you call the power required to operate any system? As mentioned earlier in this thread, Greenheck on their spec sheets have HP and Operating HP. My understanding of this is one term tells me the motor size, and the other term tells me how much power I need to operate the system at the noted conditions.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Process engineers use the term Absorbed Power to indicate the power absorbed by a fluid (a liquid in a pump or gas in a compressor or the air induced through a fan) as opposed to Driver Rated Power (or driver ISO power in the case of a gas turbine or gas engine).

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
Thank you all for all of your suggestions on how to explain my situation to other engineers in the company. I will take what has been posted and think about how to have that discussion.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Lead Engineer, the screen shot you provided contains some words and numbers taken out of context. I, as an experienced engineer, can't even provide a decent guess as to what the numbers mean. It is possible that some engineer who is familiar with the catalog might give some insight, but those terms and numbers mean nothing out of context and it is pointless to argue about it with anyone. Those terms musts be defined somewhere in the catalog. Realize that catalogs are often put together by non-technical people. You need to know enough to know when you do not have enough information.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

(OP)
Now you are getting it, you can see the problem I am dealing with. The people that I am speaking with are not experts in this area, one is from power plant support engineering, the other is a "rain-maker" for a company.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Lead Engineer - yr post of 6 Mar 21:25 I think got it just about right.

As said before forget the Brake bit and just think about where it is and what it is.

So in your thinking HP would be motor rated shaft power in hp or kW
and BHP would be fan or equipment required or absorbed shaft power or maybe inlet shaft power.

however I'm with composite pro - that little snippet you sent makes no sense.
The 263 (BHP) I would have taken as motor rated shaft output power, but what 300/36 is I have no idea. I thought for a moment it was electrical power and amps, but I was way off.

Incidentally you do need about 250A for a motor of this size and voltage so you're going to have cables the size of your arm going into it....

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

The term Brake goes back to the prony brake that was used to measure rotating shaft torque.
That torque is converted to HP which is a time based measurement, that really has little to do with horses, and was based on an arbitrary figure that was standardized.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

engines rUs.

On the contrary, the term horsepower was originally derived by James Watt in order to properly compare his steam driven engines for removing water from a mine and that of horses.

I know wiki sometimes isn't super accurate, but there are a lot of references here.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsepower

Now they might well have come up with a standardized "horse", but it was actually based on a long term power of a horse or set of horses doing work which could be measured (lifting water a set distance in a set time).

As it says peak power of a horse could be up to 10+ hp, but over a long period of time it settles out at around 1hp as we know it today ( 746 W)

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Maybe so but the number is still an arbitrary number that was decided on.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Like others, I read "brake" to mean "as measured on a brake dynometer." This differentiates it from calculations of power output which are less certain even when incorporating the best available modeling software. That being said, there's no assurance whether the full compliment of accessories and heat transfer systems is in place during the measurement, so I prefer "at the rear wheel," a figure few marketing folks would approve for publication.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Over the last several years snowblower manufacturers seem to have abandoned mentioning the HP of their machines, choosing instead to list engine displacement in ccs or (gross) torque per J1940. Displacement in ccs will be 130 to over 400. Since the torque is measured at somewhere between 3000 and 3600 rpm, the governed rpm of most lawn and garden equipment, it is 5252/3600 or numerically about 50% larger than the HP. Additionally "torque" has become a buzzword when talking (bragging??) about cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Since the power is usually so nicely matched to the machine, the user is satisfied, so as a practical matter, whether 4, 6 or 8 HP is available does not matter very much. Like legend says Rolls Royce rated their cars' power as "sufficient." I imagine Marketing is also made happy, since a Larger number of something per dollar can only help make the initial sale.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Tmoose,

An old co-worker of mine was boasting about his new Camaro Z28. He told me that he never ran the engine over 3000RPM, and I suggested he trade the vehicle in for a mini-van. He assured me that it is torque that makes you accelerate.

Good Newtonian physics. No comprehension of what a transmission does.

--
JHG

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Power is largely overrated anymore. Marketing and emissions requirements for both outdoor power equipment and vehicles have combined to give us what we have today - great big power numbers at rarely used engine speeds and disappointing amounts of torque in the useful range.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

drawoh,

They're related via HP = Torque * RPM/5252 (or Torque = HP * 5252/RPM) and largely equivalent given the proper transmission.

Remember the wheels on an auto, propellers, etc. are typically only turning a couple thousand RPM at most, let's say 2,000 for now. An engine that's turning at 8,000 RPM with 100 lb-ft torque is producing 152 HP and will use a 4:1 gear ratio yielding 400 lb-ft torque at 2,000 RPM. In contrast, an engine running at 4,000 RPM with 200 lb-ft of is also producing 152 HP but will use a 2:1 ratio. The real difference is more subtle.

Friction losses in an engine increase with RPM, and it becomes very difficult to maintain volumetric efficiency (thus yielding a less than flat torque curve). The differences impacting efficiency explain why the world's most efficient piston engines tend to be slow turning marine engines like the Warsilla 31 (https://www.wartsila.com/twentyfour7/energy/wartsi...). Furthermore, though a race driver or a well programmed nine-speed automatic transmission with tight ratios and lock-up capability can keep a high RPM engine with peaky torque at the right RPM, the average driver of a manual transmission typically finds the process difficult and inconvenient in comparison to driving a slower speed engine with a lot of torque.

Rod

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

I think "torQuE" is a little more accurately "low end POWER."

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

CWB1,

People in North America (older people anyway) are used to the old Detroit iron, slow revving, high displacement V8s. This makes it difficult for them to drive the newer, smaller engines that develop power at higher speeds. My understanding is that Europeans rev their engines much more than Americans do.

--
JHG

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

RodRico,

My little anecdote is funny only if you understand torque, rotation speed and power. Everybody here seems to. I hate explaining jokes.

What we are discussing here is official terminology. Some standard, somewhere, defines the term BHP. It is likely that another standard, somewhere else, also defines the term BHP. It is very likely that the two definitions are not identical, even if the second B stands for "Brake", and not perhaps for "Bob".

--
JHG

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

drawoh,

It probably has more to do with the fact that the majority of cars in Europe are or until very recently were, manual drive and how much you revved before changing gear is up to you, not some sort of dumb automatic 3 speed box.

Cost of fuel and tax made smaller engines much more used and in many you had to know how to use the full rev range in order to get the bloody things to go....

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Many folks like myself prefer to run our daily drivers at lower speeds to maximize engine life. I generally could care less about peak power unless I'm on the track, and even then I try to balance available low-RPM power with peak. Because I choose to run slow, peak torque is the more important figure to me than peak power as it speaks to the engine's capability at a useful (to me) RPM.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

From "Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam", Tenth edition, Michael R. Lindeburg, PE

Page 20-4 states: "The actual power delivered to a fan from it's motor is the brake horsepower, BHP, or brake kilowatts, BkW.

The mechanical efficiency, ME can be calculated as; ME=AHP/BHP, where AHP is Air Horsepower, which is the power required to move the air.


RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

All this "brake" business is just legacy wording from the days when horse power was sometimes a theoretical or nominal value and hence something needed to differentiate between that and physical power at a shaft output.

It ("brake") can and should be simply replaced by the location of the power reading.

Hence for cars it could be at "engine crankshaft" or at front or rear wheels or wherever with whatever items are included ( such as water pumps, A/C hydraulic pumps etc etc

In the example above BHP would be "shaft horse power" and AHP would be fan output power (air).

BTW, I have never heard of BkW or AHP before now. and hope I never see it ever again.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

LittleiInch,
Chapter 20 is about "Fans and Ductwork." If that is not your field of expertise, or you are not interested in learning outside of your field, then you do not have to worry about seeing it again.

This was taken from material designed around studying for the PE exam, and therefore trumps any "opinions". After all, More details = Better answers.



RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

" Marketing and emissions requirements for both outdoor power equipment and vehicles have combined to give us what we have today - great big power numbers at rarely used engine speeds ".

I think many if not most mowers, non-electronic controlled standby generators, snowblowers and whatnot are governed to 3600 rpm max, and supposed to be operated there, so reporting HP at 3600 rpm is valid for them. I think the marketing ploy of stating torque is simply to be able to use a "bigger" number in the brochure. Like those tool sets that throw in a bunch of allen wrenches to get the tool piece count up. "96 pieces for $39.99 " "This way to the egress." "But wait, just pay a separate handling fee."

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Sure, but modern ratings have become rather irrelevant to useful and/or efficient work. My "new" garden tractor claims 20 hp at 3450 RPM and is gutless unless the engine is run at that speed. The 50 year old version it replaced claimed 10 hp at 3600 but had plenty of low-end torque. Cutting the same 4' swath at the same tractor speed the "10 hp" chugged along at <2000 rpm while getting roughly twice the fuel economy, making half the noise, and without wearing itself out. After <10 years the new mower is well on its way to worn out, which makes me wish I'd taken the time and effort to rebuild the old one.

Vehicles are very similar. Its great that newer pickemup trucks are ~350 hp at 6k+ RPM. Unfortunately most folks try to get the best economy and life out of them so tend to keep engine speed to <3k RPM where many are rather lacking.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Yes it all comes down to "usable power" and low down torque. I used to take 4 x 4's into the desert for some dune / sand driving. As a group we rapidly noticed that the V6 2.something litre jeeps which could hold their own on the highway and in theory had a decent max power, struggled when the going got sticky compared to the 4 litre V8 / straight 6's everyone else had. We eventually wouldn't go out with them as we were pulling them out of deep sand too often.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

"Cutting the same 4' swath at the same tractor speed the "10 hp" chugged along at <2000 rpm "

I'm curious what the owner's manual for that old mower said about recommended engine ( and blade speed ? ) for mowing.

1 - Running typical fan cooled small engines slow means lots less cooling air flow, just as on an induction motor run on a VFD. Go slow enuff on a VFD, and an auxilliary cooling fan is required.

2 - Rotary mower cutting action depends on a certain blade velocity for blade uplift and cutting action and good grass clipping transport.

"The blade has a sharpened cutting edge at each end with a curved up sail area to create an air flow. This air flow will whip the grass blades exposing them to the blade cutting edge. The air flow also assists in carrying the cut grass blades out the discharge."
"A rotary mower cuts grass by impacting the blade cutting edge against the grass blades at a very high velocity. This cutting action requires that the blade cutting edge is sharp and rotating at an adequate speed."

https://cdn2.toro.com/en/-/media/Files/Toro/Commer...

RE: HP versus Brake Horsepower

Quote:

I'm curious what the owner's manual for that old mower said about recommended engine ( and blade speed ? ) for mowing.

Ask and ye shall receive. The owner's manual provides instructions on setting low and high idle, and other tune-up info but doesnt get too specific about operation nor blade speed. I kept the blades sharp and am very conscious of lawn health. It cut fine across flat ground at 1/2 throttle, occasionally I'd push it to 2/3 on hills or in deep grass but almost never went full throttle. Interesting side note - Both tractors use the usual cable pull lever next to the steering wheel. The old model has a smooth, non detented action allowing the operator to set a seemingly "infinite" number of engine speeds. The modern one has a light spring return and a slight detent to retain the lever at full throttle/rated speed/power making it effectively two-speed. The power curve drops off rather sharply/noticeably even if you hold it just below the detented "full" position.

Quote:

Move the throttle lever to the position where the engine operates best for the load to be handled.

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