The heaters if properly sized will protect the motor from over loading and trips the circuit. All do respect, it sounds you button off more you can chew at this time. You may want to get some help on the ground with you
I agree there are better guys for the job, but the unfortunate reality is that I was the only guy available & this had to be done ASAP. I'm not an electrician, I'm an "electronics technician" (overpaid mechanic) & our electrician on vacation. I figured it was better to ask the stupid question from you guys who don't know me than burn up a motor or worse hurt myself. Don't worry, I installed the properly sized heaters; had them hot-shot in.
There is a difference between "over-current" protection and 'over-load' protection of the motor.
"Over-current" protection is supposed to act FAST. With motors, the amount of over-current protection we can provide is limited by the high amount of current needed to get the motor started.
"Over-load" protection is what we use to keep the motor from working too hard for any period of time. This is what the heaters provide. It will, say, keep you from asking that 1-hp motor from providing 2-hp for any length of time. The breakers or fuses for that same motor, by contrast, won't kick in until you're asking that motor to give you six horses - which will be long after that motor is trash.
So, is it like a super slow-blow fuse? if one trips, does it "burn out" and I need to replace it?
Thanks for the input guys!