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  • Phase Converter choice advice & other

    I have a 2 hp 3 phase motor I want to put on my mill (large Busy Bee knee mill) and need a phase converter for it. As I live in Canada and am in Anaheim California right now, I'd like to buy here to avoid shipping costs.

    I have located a machine shop supply - Western Tool which is local to where I'm staying. They have Phase-A-Matic Phase Converters and I would like to know if anyone can give me an idea if they are suitable & versatile. Price seems reasonable to my budget. If there are better recommendations somewhat nearby that would be great to know. I want the converter to allow variable speed, reverse, etc.

    As far as machine shop suppliers or dealers in used equipment & supplies, any recommendations would be much appreciated. I'd like to pick up small odds & ends, again, to avoid shipping hassles.

    Thanks for your time and help!

  • #2
    The Phase converter will only put out 3phase power from single phase input. I think you mean VFD Variable Frequency Device which can give you variable speed, braking, etc & still change single phase to 3phase.
    If you do want a phase converter do not buy a static one which I know Phas-O-Matic sells as you'll lose 1/3 to 1/2 of the power of your machine. These seem the best bet to me eBay item number:300526178147 10 HP $189 just add your own motor which should be around $100 or less, just a few wires to hook up. This is for the 1725 rpm motor which is what you want. DO NOT use the 3450rpm motor as it will be noisier.
    VFDs are a better choice if you have 1 or 2 machines to power, Teco brand is reasonable & helpful. Good Luck!
    Last edited by flylo; 05-15-2017, 12:02 AM.

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    • #3
      Wanting variable speed means you will probably want a VFD rather than a phase converter. A vfd will probably be cheaper also and quite small. Google up "VFD" and do a bit of reading, or search that here on the forum. The topic has been discussed her many times in depth for exactly the use you have in mind.

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      • #4
        Phase-a-Matic is, in my opinion very expensive and quite over-rated. I've seen two of those fail and none of the American Rotary. I don't know whether American Rotary has stocking dealers, but if you have time I recommend taking a close look at them.

        All that is moot if you are actually looking for a VFD.
        Southwest Utah

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        • #5
          This may be what your looking for. Check your motor specs vs this items specs, i.e. amp draw and motor voltage.
          http://www.ebay.com/itm/272669280244...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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          • #6
            I have 3 phase a matic static converters in use, all are over 10 yrs old and I have never had any sort of a problem.
            A bunch of people on this forum recommend vfd's my experience with one is good luck with any tech support. Some say you can use one on more than one machine not exactly true.
            Also you have a problem using any of the original controls on the machine you hook it to.
            There will be those who will reply that I'm incorrect but buy one and see how disappointed you are!!!!!

            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!!!

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            • #7
              The "solid state" phase -a -matics are little more than a capacitor and a voltage sensitive relay. I use two of them daily. One supplies the starter function for a 3 hp rotary phase converter (pony motor sitting behind the mill) That provides 3ph to both the multi-motor mill and the Wade bench lathe. (push button instant reverse!)

              The other one powers the surface grinder / cut off machine that looks like a DoAll 6/12 SG. ;-)

              Both have performed flawlessly for over 20 years.

              All the other machine tools run off three phase power derived from single phase fed VFD's. No less than five of these. Nearing 15 years of great service an a couple of units.

              Horses for courses!

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              • #8
                I've had a phase-A-Matic phase converter on Bridgeport mill with a 1.5 hp 3 phase motor for over 15 years with no problems. The Mill is has a J2J (variable speed) head so no VFD was required. A couple years ago I purchased a Racine power hacksaw with a 1 hp 3 phase motor. I decided to go with an American Rotary (static) converter for that one since it was 1/3 the price of a Phase-A Matic. Both have worked well.

                If you go with the Phase-A-Matic be sure to purchase the HD model. It's recommended on machines that have an instant reverse. If you use the machine for tapping (especially blind holes) the instant reverse is a necessity. Keep in mind if you use a static converter you'll only have approx. 2/3 the rated hp of the motor. A static converter uses capacitors to energize the third phase for startup only. Once the motor is running the third phase disappears. As I mentioned earlier I've been using a Phase-A- Matic for over 15 years. In all that time I've never had a problem with the motor not being able to have enough power.

                Earlier this year I purchased a 10 hp American Rotary phase converter panel and and idler. If all goes according to plan this fall the mill, saw and another lathe will all be running on true 3 phase from this setup
                Last edited by projectnut; 05-15-2017, 09:08 AM.

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                • #9
                  Sounds like many have had good luck with Phase-a-Matic. My experience has been limited to the units with the idler, not the static converters. They were used in an instant-reverse environment and failed. The American Rotary is the same capacity-to-load ratio and has been happily instantly reversing for 10 years. AND, it cost less than half of what the Phase-a-Matics do.
                  Southwest Utah

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the great advise. I guess I should have indicated that I wanted a VFD but was not aware the Phas-A-Matic was not so it won't serve my purposes.
                    I'll look into the Teco or possibly contact a electrical motor shop to see if I can pick something up while I'm here.

                    Thanks again !!

                    Rob

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                    • #11
                      Build your own low cost and same as buying one

                      Dave

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                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=v860rich;1116514]
                        A bunch of people on this forum recommend vfd's my experience with one is good luck with any tech support. Some say you can use one on more than one machine not exactly true.

                        Buy a brand name. I have 9 Automation Direct VFDs in my shop. Tech support is located in the USA and they speak American English and are very helpful.

                        Also you have a problem using any of the original controls on the machine you hook it to.

                        I have one on my Grizzly lathe and incorporated the fwd/off/rev control that is on the saddle. The speed control is located on the main control panel.

                        There will be those who will reply that I'm incorrect but buy one and see how disappointed you are!!!!!

                        Just buy a good name brand product and you will not be disappointed. I have been using them for 7 years and have converted several machines to 3 phase to allow me to get the benefits they provide. Buy an unsupported Chinese piece of cr*p and you WILL be disappointed. Buy a good one and you will wonder why you did not do this long ago.

                        CPeter
                        Grantham, New Hampshire

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=CPeter;1116577]
                          Originally posted by v860rich View Post
                          A bunch of people on this forum recommend vfd's my experience with one is good luck with any tech support. Some say you can use one on more than one machine not exactly true.

                          Buy a brand name. I have 9 Automation Direct VFDs in my shop. Tech support is located in the USA and they speak American English and are very helpful.

                          Also you have a problem using any of the original controls on the machine you hook it to.

                          I have one on my Grizzly lathe and incorporated the fwd/off/rev control that is on the saddle. The speed control is located on the main control panel.

                          There will be those who will reply that I'm incorrect but buy one and see how disappointed you are!!!!!

                          Just buy a good name brand product and you will not be disappointed. I have been using them for 7 years and have converted several machines to 3 phase to allow me to get the benefits they provide. Buy an unsupported Chinese piece of cr*p and you WILL be disappointed. Buy a good one and you will wonder why you did not do this long ago.

                          CPeter
                          +1 .... I have 3 Automation Direct VFDs in my shop and no problems since first one was installed, 15 years ago. Phase converters of any type became obsolete with the entrance of low cost VFD's into the market.

                          RWO

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                          • #14
                            Go with American Rotary if you end up going with a RPC.

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