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View Full Version : Which brand of static phase converter?



mikep379
07-22-2009, 12:56 PM
Which would have the better static phase converter between the two companies, Phase A Matic or American Rotary/Gentec or would there be any difference at all?

Bguns
07-22-2009, 03:04 PM
For 20.00 more get a VFD Variable Frequency Drive.

Will give you variable speed, Ramp up/ramp down starting if wanted, electric motor overload protection is built in, All control wiring is low voltage so no dangerous voltages...

Also many vfds are available that can convert 1 phase 110 to 3 phase 220 easily, up to about 2 hp...

Major problem with Static convertors... only ~ 66% motor power is available. So a 1 hp becomes a 2/3 hp...

A static convertor used to be a cheap way to do it, but the VFD is the modern better way...

Amazed that the tool sellers keep listing static convertors at all..

Rotary phase convertors have their place though.. (High horsepower or multiple machines or motors...) but are expensive to buy (not to build from scrap parts tho) and heavy/bulky.

mikep379
07-22-2009, 03:08 PM
Where do you buy them at that price? What brand do i look for?
For 20.00 more get a VFD Variable Frequency Drive.

Will give you variable speed, Ramp up/ramp down starting if wanted, electric motor overload protection is built in, All control wiring is low voltage so no dangerous voltages...

Also many vfds are available that can convert 1 phase 110 to 3 phase 220 easily, up to about 2 hp...

Major problem with Static convertors... only ~ 66% motor power is available. So a 1 hp becomes a 2/3 hp...

A static convertor used to be a cheap way to do it, but the VFD is the modern better way...

Bguns
07-22-2009, 03:21 PM
dealerselectric
or
driveswarehouse

.com :)

Teco low end but very usable, many here run them so questions easily answered.,

AC Tech is good

Hitachi is good

There are many others
Allen Bradley etc

Really good deals can be had on slightly older units, with less bells and whistles than newer models, on ebay and such....

If you get one, be sure to hook up Line wires to proper connections... as in most things electrical, hooking the incoming voltage up to anything other than where it is supposed to, will make a lot of magic smoke...

Only a few High voltage wires to connect tho. Incoming and 3 direct to motor. All motor switching is done by low voltage circut. Original machine control switches may be reused if wanted (only switching the low voltage control, VFD's do not take kindly to being disconnected from motor while operating..)

Many vfd's offer remote control panels .. kind of $$$. You can make your own for about 25.00 in parts and wire.

A modern Sensorless Vector drive will provide more low rpm power than a older variable voltage/hz model, so if more low rpm power is needed consider that.

wmgeorge
07-22-2009, 07:44 PM
I am just wondering if someone has personal experience with one and can comment. I had on that took 230 VAC and outputted 230 3 phase on my milling machine and loved it.

Now I have a Emco Super 11 lathe that I will need to run on 115 volts sometime in the future. I have it on a rotary converter right now but that won't work on 115 volts. I think it is just 1 HP, not 100% sure unless I go look.

Looking at this one > https://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2009072218330228&item=11-3190&catname=electric
From Surplus Center. I would like to have the controls and speed control remote like I did on my milling machine.

Bguns
07-22-2009, 07:58 PM
Much better prices at links I posted above....

was a 1/2 hp model, works very well on a M Bridgeport Head. with a factory min speed of 275 now can run and have decent power down to 90 rpm or so...

Was for a buddy who's ancient static convertor's capacitor was oozing it guts out...

Wired in a remote, only 1 or 2 switches and a potentiometer in a small box...

Buddy likes variable speed and 110 in 220 out.

If required, water resistant models are made too....

Mcgyver
07-22-2009, 08:21 PM
Which would have the better static phase converter between the two companies, Phase A Matic or American Rotary/Gentec or would there be any difference at all?

I can't compare the two manufactures but used a phase amatic for many years and it worked just fine. I finally built a rotary phase converter and noticed a very slight improvement in surface grinder finishes, but its not huge. so far as power goes, never missed it. With whatever it was putting out i could still get the full sized mill hoping....rotary is better, but to tell the truth i'd probably still be on the phase a matic had i not gone on a quest for surface grinder finish and i needed to add 600V 3P for a new mill.

VFD's are ok, but don't help much if you have half a dozen machines to run, all my machines except surface grinder have adequate speed control built it.

Bguns
07-22-2009, 08:26 PM
Yup for multiple machines as stated above, VFD is not only answer..

However, I bet you would like electrical variable speed on some of those machines :) Reeves drives are a PITA over time... Hydraulic moreso..

My own 1/2 hp M head is a dog with a Phase a Matic Static Convertor (only 1/3 hp out), and NO ROOM for a Rotary.. VFD can mount on wall, weighs 2 lbs...

Motor does not sound as happy as Buddy's on a VFD

Static convertors also are not good for a lot of start stop cycles per hour

wmgeorge
07-22-2009, 09:26 PM
Much better prices at links I posted above....

was a 1/2 hp model, works very well on a M Bridgeport Head. with a factory min speed of 275 now can run and have decent power down to 90 rpm or so...

Was for a buddy who's ancient static convertor's capacitor was oozing it guts out...

Wired in a remote, only 1 or 2 switches and a potentiometer in a small box...

Buddy likes variable speed and 110 in 220 out.

If required, water resistant models are made too....

So the Westinghouse drives work ok? I checked out the wiring and programming, seems like it will do what I want. And much better price!
Thank you.

v860rich
07-22-2009, 10:21 PM
I've used static converters on 2 lathes and 2 Bridgeports without any problems. One of them has been in use for over 20 years. All of mine have been Phase A Matics.
In the past couple of year I took one of the static converters in conjunction with the 5 HP 3 phase motor on one of my lathes and use it as a rotary phase converter. I now use that setup to run the lathe the motor is mounted on, a variable speed Bridgeport and a 3 HP 16" South Bend lathe.
My step head Bridgeport still runs on a Phase A Matic static converter.
This is all in a shop used mostly for my own projects so they far from being abused.
THANX RICH

People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

dalesvp
07-23-2009, 08:27 AM
I have a next-to-new 110->220 3 phase rotary converter sufficient to power 7HP mill and lathe. We used it a few months before moving into the new shop. message me if you are interested.

Forrest Addy
07-23-2009, 09:47 AM
I have multiple machine and single phase power, I run VFD's on all of them. It's a little expensive but the control and versatility makes it well worth it.

Here's a link to the topic of VFD's You nred to get smart on them to make a good decision pro and con. I'll see if I can find an article I wrote some years ago.

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/forumdisplay.php/transformers-phase-converters-and-11.html

radkins
07-23-2009, 10:23 AM
I have a Phase-Matic for my 3 HP lathe and it works just fine, I suppose there is some loss of power but so far I have never missed it. I had intended to buy a rotary converter as soon as I got this thing set up but after using the static converter it works so well I saw no real need for the rotary, this of course is just my situation and if maximum power truly is needed they may not work so well. These things are a cheap alternative and super easy to install and unless absolute maximum power is needed they work great.

Bguns
07-23-2009, 05:19 PM
VFD vs Rotary / Static

VFD ~same price as a static... a new rotary about twice the cost of a VFD

VFD gives variable speeds plus and minus (reduces belt/gearbox changes, does not eliminate them)... Rotary does not. Static does not.

Got a funny vibration pattern in the middle of a long shaft? Turn knob and adjust it out. Not happening with a Rotary or Static on most machines...

Facing a large disk? Twist knob and bump up speed when approaching center to keep SFM in proper range... again not happening with static or rotary..

Rotary weighs 10 times what a VFD does...Static about the same as a VFD. Shipping costs money.

VFD is 1/4 or less the size of a rotary, important in a small shop. Static about the same as a VFD, or a little larger..

VFD remote controls are all LOW VOLTAGE. No big flash if a wire gets rubbed through going to controls. High voltage on Static and Rotary

(Many quality machines use control transformers, but not a lot of older Home Shop grade equipment with 1 hp or less motors)...

VFD has motor overload protection built in, rotary does not, must add external overloads. Static also provides no motor protection.

Static convertors are not rated for many on off or reverse cycles per hour.

Static convertors provide ~66% of motor hp, not a problem if you have a 2 hp motor, but 66% of 1/2 hp is only ~1/3 hp (50% on a WYE wound motor)

I prefer to use all 1/2 hp on my 1600 lb Milling machine (Bridgeport M Head) If I wanted a 1/3 hp machine, I would not need that beefy :) of a machine.

Rotary can drive multiple motors (each needing its own overload protection...)

Static not so much ( it is done with an idler motor, but again individual protection required for each motor) and now has joined the wiring mess of a homebrew rotary.. and a starting sequence must be used..

Statics were the only cheap game in town until 10 years ago or so, Now just as modern as a Phone Booth...

Rotarys can be home built from scrap/junk... But high voltages everywhere, Cap balancing might be required, tinkering will be needed.... Homebrew rotary burns down shop, I don't think Insurance will cover that...... VFD's are UL CL etc... I have seen many homebrew rotary convertors, not so many running motors equipped with overloads..

Just looked at my Phase a Matic static convertor... NO UL sticker....

Oh, but my little 3 phase machine does not need overloads... B$
If a bearing starts to go, or a brake starts dragging a little, the motor will be toast. And smell like it too.

gnm109
07-23-2009, 08:01 PM
I got a 5hp RPC on eBay from the Arizona company. They gave me free shipping and it was a real turnkey machine. It works very well with the 3 hp Webb variable head machine that I have.

The only other choice would have been a VFD but I prefer the RPC since I have variable speeds with two ranges already.


.

gearhead
07-23-2009, 08:20 PM
Mikep379

What size motor are you trying to run? I have replaced my VFD with a 7.5 RPC so I don't need to keep the VFD anymore. I think my VFD is set up for a 1 HP motor...gear

Let me know if your interested. Just PM me

psomero
07-23-2009, 08:53 PM
i also say get a VFD. i purchased an AC tech drive and 3 phase motor from dealerselectric and have had great luck with both...

mikep379
07-24-2009, 05:41 PM
The mill motor is 3hp.

radkins
07-24-2009, 06:51 PM
VFD vs Rotary / Static.......etc



Now you've done it! :mad:

I was perfectly happy with my static phase converter until I read your comparison, suddenly my static converter seems,,,well so inadequate and the part that got to me the most was that the dang thing cost me as much as a VFD! :(

8thscale
07-24-2009, 06:51 PM
I have used phase-a-matic on 1 & 3 Hp mill and 3 Hp lathe. Satisfied customer!



VFD ~same price as a static...


I found this not to be true when I was looking and at the two suppliers listed above. If you find a 3Hp VFD for <$150 please let me know.
However, I would get the VFD for a lathe first - jog capability.

Your mileage may vary!
Dave in So. CA

SteveG_CT
07-24-2009, 07:27 PM
I was perfectly happy with my static phase converter until I read your comparison, suddenly my static converter seems,,,well so inadequate and the part that got to me the most was that the dang thing cost me as much as a VFD! :(

Keep in mind that the additional material needed to use a VFD adds a good bit of cost as well. I probably spent as much money on the enclosure to house the drive, switches and enclosure for the external controls, and flexible conduit to connect everything together as I did on the drive itself.

mikep379
07-24-2009, 10:25 PM
I ended up going with a static converter.I ordered one from American Rotary for $98 shipped 1- 5hp dual range.It has a low and high switch that is 1-3hp and 3-5hp.I hooked it up and so far is doing good.I have a Phase A Matic static converter on my lathe that works fine but i did not go with a Phase A Matic this time because of cost.($170 plus shipping)

v860rich
07-24-2009, 11:39 PM
I ended up going with a static converter.I ordered one from American Rotary for $98 shipped 1- 5hp dual range.It has a low and high switch that is 1-3hp and 3-5hp.I hooked it up and so far is doing good.I have a Phase A Matic static converter on my lathe that works fine but i did not go with a Phase A Matic this time because of cost.($170 plus shipping)

Good decision.
THANX RICH

People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people

Bguns
07-25-2009, 12:59 AM
Over 2 hp Statics are cheaper......

I don't scrimp on things powering expensive machines... and why give up 1/3 of your hp to save a buck? That 3 hp mill just became a 2 hp mill...

But shopping around on ebay should get you a decent price on a slightly older 2 + hp VFD. Saw lots of new 3 Hp 220 single phase in for 240.00

Even though 2 + hp VFD's cost extra money, you get a lot more.

And a UL Sticker.... Phase A Matic seems lacking.. American Rotary at least can prove some kind of UL approval..( for Box or whatever ) Just my observations, Not binding, Blah Blah...

In regard to extras... An older steel Computer case ( for VFD) , a 2k Ohm pot and shielded multi conductor wire, some grommets, a couple switches and such, makes a nice enclosure, and remote. No need to spend a fortune protecting low voltage lines... Heck even garden hose would work to keep
out Coolant and chips... Not very classy looking though :)

And disregarding advertising hype..., true 3 phase generated by something other than a single (or = set of several) simple capacitor layout is best..

I will let the EE's argue that one..

And this is all extras, machine will run fine with no remote (no handy variable speed).

tmc_31
07-25-2009, 01:04 PM
I bought a 3 hp rotary phase converter from American Rotary about 6 months ago. Price was right, they shipped it right out (I had it on my doorstep in 4 days) and when I called with questions about hooking it up, they were ready, willing and able to help. If I need such a device in the future, I will definitely call them first.

Tim

Richard-TX
07-26-2009, 11:58 AM
I have a Teco FM50 on my Griz 12x36. I use the variable speed so often that I don't know if I could live without it.

The lathe is quiet, smooth and everything that it should have been from day one.

Cutting threads with a VFD equipped lathe is a joy.

Do yourself a favor. Get a VFD. It will be the best upgrade you will ever do.

factorymation.com and dealerselectric are good.

Static converters are a hack BTW. EIther go RPC or VFD but don't bother with a static.

Alistair Hosie
07-26-2009, 12:55 PM
Mark Jones.(Aboard Epsilon) gave me good advice and I bought the big rotary phase convertor he suggested to me.A vfd invertor or a static will not work on all machines as I found to my horror when the vfd invertor and the static I had (which were great machines) would not drive my lathe because of built in speed control . Neither of the others would work and I blew up the static and had to get it overhauled with new parts even though it was powered for 7.5 hp and the lathe was only 3 hp.I did get it to run on the static eventually but would not take a load and cut out after twenty mintes also if I touched the speed controls on the lathe it cut out .The vfd would not even look at it.Alistair