Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cook on Clay with American Rotary Phase Converters

As part of our trip to the Pacific Northwest earlier this year, we visited many unique businesses and many great business owners. One of those was Cook on Clay.

Cook on Clay specializes in making cookware with what’s known as “flameware” clay, which differs from the more commonly known stoneware. Because of their specialization in this variation of clay, they are able to set themselves apart from other potters that focus in cookware.

Despite making things with their hands, there is a lot more machinery involved when it comes to pottery than you might think. This where American Rotary is able to help so they can run a full operation doing what they love. Watch below to learn more.

Customer Profile – Cook on Clay

Cook on Clay – My American Rotary Setup

To learn more about how American Rotary can help your business, visit our Application page.

Home Auto Shop Layout – The Top 5 Things To Consider

A lot of us are “Jack’s of all trades”. So, chances are we are working on our car or a friend’s car at some point in our lives. If we know our way around a car, chances are that we have a good arsenal of tools at our disposal to get the job done. But, there is always one more tool we can get. We recently talked to our customers who are both hobby mechanics and professional mechanics about what are the best tools and tips to have at your disposal in your own shop. Below are the most common answers we received.

Air Compressor – An air compressor will save you a lot of time and elbow grease. Whether you are doing a simple tire rotation or brake job to a complete car restoration an air compressor will help you get the job done more efficiently. There are numerous pneumatic tools that an air compressor will run to help you complete your task. Some examples are an impact wrench, grinder, paint sprayer, and a sander.

When looking at air compressors make sure you purchase one with enough volume to sustain your needs. You don’t want to have your compressor constantly cycling or have to wait for enough air pressure to rebuild to complete your job. Hose management is also a key factor when using an air compressor so you do not have hoses running all over your shop creating a tripping hazard. This can be as simple as a retractable hose wheel to plumbing air lines with different connection points throughout your shop.

Lift – While a floor jack, jack stands, and a creeper are a good way to get under a car, it is not the most comfortable way of doing it especially if it is a large task. Having a lift in your shop with save you lots of pain and time. While this can be a sizeable investment for some there are lots of solutions out there for the different style lifts to best fit your needs.

For example, there are motorcycle lifts, two post lifts, and four post lifts just to name a few. It is best to look at all the options available and what their primary purposes are to see which style works best for your shop. Having a lift will help save you some pain and allow you to utilize your vertical space in your shop.

Jack Stands – Jack stands are a very important tool to have at your disposal whether it is for storing a car for an extended period of time to prevent flat spots on your tires or for adding in the additional safety measure when you have your car elevated with a floor jack in the case of failure. Jack stands are fairly inexpensive, easy to store, and quick to set up when needed.  One important thing to remember when using the jack stands is where to place them under your car.  Always make sure they are on a solid frame structure of

Jack stands are fairly inexpensive, easy to store, and quick to set up when needed. One important thing to remember when using the jack stands is where to place them under your car. Always make sure they are on a solid frame structure of the vehicle’s body.

Lights – Having good lighting is key. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to do a task with dim lights or a poor lighting set up that is causing shadows to be cast over your work surface. Hanging lights at multiple points on your ceiling as well as lights pointing in multiple directions will help prevent shadows. It is also beneficial to have a retractable wand light in your shop as well.

These are portable lights that you can take with you when you are working under the car or in a tight spot under the hood. It is worth the investment to go with one on a retractable cord with a magnet and hook for multiple mounting options so you don’t have to hold it or prop it up against something to hold the light.

Music – While this is not a hand-held tool, this is something that came highly recommended from fellow mechanics. Most tasks involving cars are a couple hour job. Time can really drag on if you are working in a dead quiet shop. Having music or even talk radio can help pass the time and make the time in the shop less boring (although work on a hobby isn’t supposed to be boring).

Some enthusiasts go as far as making different playlists for the different tasks they are doing. They’ll have one playlist for doing body work and a different one for doing engine work. Your music set up could be as simple as a portable speaker to a complete sound system wired throughout your whole shop.

Following these tips can make your time spent in your shop more enjoyable. Always do the research on any products that you are buying to make sure you are getting the right one for your application. Once that product is decided on, make sure you follow the manufactures recommendations on product use. Using these tips can help make your American Dream a reality and a better one at that!

For more information on American Rotary and how you can get high-quality power for all of your three phase power machines, see our Industrial & Automotive applications page.

A Beginners Guide to Sizing a Rotary Phase Converter for Your Machine Shop

Well, you’ve done it! You have your own shop just like you’ve always wanted and it is in the perfect location. There is only one problem. You have the equipment of your dreams in your shop, but it is just sitting there, not being able to be used or make you money because it is three-phase and your shop only has single phase power. What do you do now? Well, the good news is, American Rotary is here to save you! With an American Rotary phase converter, you can get your three-phase equipment up and running just like it would run if you had utility three phase power. Below are common questions and tips that will smooth the process of picking out the right phase converter and proper set up for your needs.

Where do I start with sizing a phase converter?

It can be a bit overwhelming just finding out that you need a phase converter and not knowing where to start looking. There is a lot of information out there about phase converters. Some of it is true and some of it is incorrect. The best thing to do is to contact someone that is familiar with the different types of converters out there and can go over what your current and future needs are. This will help design a phase converter that will not only work for you now but also as you grow and add in more equipment. Once you have that initial conversation, of how a phase converter can benefit your shop, then it is time to start tailoring it to the size converter that you need.

What information should I have available to help smooth the process along? 

There is actually not too much information that is needed when it comes to sizing a phase converter.  All that is needed is the type of machine it is, the machines power requirements (this will be listed in HP, AMPs, kW, or kVA), and the voltage listed. There are different types of phase converters that are designed for different style loads. There are phase converters set up light duty loads, CNC, resistive, and hard starting loads. Each load runs different and has different starting loads. Going over the type of machine will help determine which phase converter will work best. One thing to keep in mind with an American Rotary system is, there is no harm in going with a phase converter for a larger load even if your current load does not require it. It is better to go bigger now than find out later that you need it.

Have an idea on the setup and if you are planning to add in more equipment.

Knowing where you want to place the phase converter will help determine how we tailor the phase converter to your needs. In some cases, the phase converter may need to be portable, you may need it to run multiple machines, or you may need the phase converter to be mounted in a separate location than where the machines will be running. American Rotary has designed many different phase converters options to best fit your particular shop’s needs.

Where does my phase converter have to be installed?

The phase converter can be installed where ever you need it to be. There are different options available depending on where you need the phase converter set up. The unit comes standard as an indoor unit but there are options to split the converter and have the panel inside and the idler outside, vise versa, or even the complete unit outside. There are customers who even have the phase converter split even when installed inside. They will place the panel in one spot and the idler in another. This makes it versatile to meet any shops space considerations and environments.

How loud is the phase converter?

Many people are taken back by the idea of an idler running to manufacture the third leg.  They think it will be very loud and distracting in their shop. As this may be the case with some phase converters, that is not the case with an American Rotary Phase Converter. At American Rotary, we utilize a custom designed VIT induction generator. American Rotary worked with Baldor to design and engineer this custom technology to have an idler that runs very efficiently, quietly, and cool. The VIT generator will operate at less than 60 Db, which is comparable to a box fan running. The idler will also operate at a cooler temperature compared to other phase converters of similar size.

What if my shop is extremely dirty?

The American Rotary Phase Converter is designed to withstand your typical shop environment. But we also understand that there are shops out there that produce more dirt than normal. American Rotary took that into consideration and we designed our AI-Industrial line. This line is designed to be in extremely dirty environments or even installed outside. The AI-Industrial line is made as a full NEMA-3R enclosure with solar reflective paint. It also features a washable air filter to filter out any dust and debris from circulating through the phase converter. Since the phase converter is in an all in one, NEMA-3R enclosure it makes for a simpler installation. You just have to run your single phase in and your three-phase out!

My machine is a CNC, I’ve heard you can’t run CNC Machines with a Rotary Converter, is this true?

This is not true with an American Rotary Phase Converter. American Rotary offers a digitally controlled Rotary Phase converter that was designed to run CNC and other computer controlled equipment. Our Patented Micro-smart controller monitors and controls your voltages across the three legs of power ensuring that clean and balanced power is always being produced and provided to your machine. With an American Rotary Phase Converter that features the Micro-Smart Controlled you can expect to see voltages around a 2-5% balance across the three legs. To give some comparison, utility three phase is generally around 10% balance.

Sizing 2:1 Rule of Thumb

A general and quick rule of thumb when sizing a rotary phase converter is that when looking at the HP rating of your machine, you want to double that to get the size phase converter that is needed. For example, if you have a 10 HP motor then a 20 HP phase converter is needed. This is related to the start load of a machine and the fact that you are pulling from single phase power to operate a three-phase machine. However, there are exceptions to this rule but during your first planning stages of looking at a phase converter, this will give you an idea to help budget and plan towards.

One thing that is worth noting is that not all phase converter companies size their phase converters the same. Rotary phase converters all still apply to the 2:1 rule of thumb, but the label on the different phase converter may not be the same. With American Rotary, we size the phase converter based on the actual size of the converter so that way you are aware of the size converter you can expect. Some other companies will label their phase converter based on the size load it can operate. This can be misleading because you may be expecting a 10 HP phase converter since your load is 10 HP, but in reality, you are getting a 20 HP phase converter. This can affect your planning, cost analysis, electrical rough in, and even breaker sizing.

Following these steps and recommendations will help you get started in planning towards utilizing an American Rotary Phase Converter in your shop.  Having the ability to run three phase equipment in your shop opens up a lot of options for additional equipment that you can run.  A lot of times three phase equipment is less expensive than a comparable single-phase machine due to the availability of three phase.  Always feel free to reach out to American Rotary with any questions that you may have, and remember, if it doesn’t carry the American Rotary logo, it isn’t the real thing!

What is the UL Listing and Why You May Want it

what is a ul listing

When choosing an American Rotary phase converter you may see on the website or get asked about the option for the UL listing. For those of you not working in the electrical industry day-to-day, it may spark some curiosity. American Rotary is a UL approved Company that utilizes all UL approved components as part of the assembly of the phase converter. Understanding what UL means will help determine if having a UL certified phase converter is necessary for your installation.

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories which is an independent safety science company that tests and certifies products in respect to their safety. If the relevant sample passes the test in any given case, it merits a “listing” which can be seen online at Once a unit has been UL listed it means a representative of UL has tested a sample of the product and determined that it meets UL’s requirements. They base these requirements on UL’s published and nationally recognized Standards for Safety.

Having a UL listed certified unit is not legally required. It is, however, a common practice because many large companies will only buy equipment that has passed the UL safety tests. It is also common business practice in the United States to only sell products that have a NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) label. It doesn’t have to be UL per se, but a recognized marking is advisable. If a unit has a cULus Listing on it, that means that UL has tested the unit meeting Canadian and US standards. Having a tested product shows that the equipment meets a nationally recognized safety standard.

At American Rotary, we use all UL approved components in the assembly of our phase converters. American Rotary Phase Converters have been tested and approved by UL to meet their safety requirements. This means when using an American Rotary phase converter you will meet any additional safety requirements that your inspector may require. If you are having your installation inspected by your local inspector, it’s important to check with them prior to ordering your phase converter to see what is required to pass inspection. Some cities require the phase converters to include the UL documents in addition to being UL approved.

When the UL documents are required, this gets you all the information that some inspectors will require. This includes but is not limited to the UL licensing numbers, UL forms showing the phase converter does meet UL safety requirements, and other additional documentation on the phase converter. To prevent downtime, it is better to know what is all required up front prior to any installations.

If you have any questions you can always call American Rotary. We are always willing to help our customers make the American Dream their Reality.

The Benefits of a Rotary Phase Converter Compared to Utility Three Phase and Three Phase Generator

why rotary phase converter

It is true there are other options out there to get three phase power to your equipment. Each option has their pros but it does come down to what is affordable for you and your situation. The options are to get three phase power are through your utility line, a gas or diesel generator, or through a rotary phase converter. Here we give you a breakdown of the costs associated with each option so you can make an educated decision on which route is best for you.

Three Phase Generator

This option is good if no power is available at the site. These generators can run on gas or diesel fuel. Generators are also available in both single phase and three phase options.  There are many different sizes available depending on specific needs. The price is also reflected by the size of the generator and can range greatly.

What we can look at to evaluate this option is the operating costs of a generator.  With a generator, the operating costs will fluctuate with the cost of oil as it would with driving our cars. Because of this, we are looking at an average of $0.46 per (kW-HR) for your cost to create power off a generator. Then, with it being an engine that is running to create the power you have to keep up with the standard engine maintenance schedule. This option does provide three phase power but the quality of the power can vary depending on the manufacturer of the generator.

Utility Three Phase

This is typically the first option that comes to mind when someone thinks about getting three phase power. Three phase power from the utility company is not always available in all areas and if it is, it can be cost prohibited. On average, the cost to bring in three-phase utility power is approximately $50,000 per mile plus site prep costs. The cost on average for usage is about $0.10 per (kW-HR) plus minimum usage requirements and demand charges. With utility three phase power your power quality is roughly at a 10% voltage balance across the three legs. If three phase utility is a route you choose, it’s a good idea to do a true cost analysis to know all of your cost up front before investing in having it brought in.

Digital Rotary Phase Converter

A digital rotary phase converter is a very cost effective option to provide three phase utility to your shop. This choice gives you the option to run three phase equipment off single phase power whether it’s from the utility company, a generator, or a solar power system.  The American Rotary digital phase converter is available in many different sizes. You can tailor your needs to operate one single load at one time all the way up to a whole three phase operation. Since the converter is available in a wide range of sizes, it’s also very affordable compared to the other three phase options.

One item that a lot of people fear when running their equipment is the quality of power they use. This can be a true statement depending on the rotary system that you are running. This is not true however with an American Rotary system.  Within our digital rotary phase converter lines (AD, ADX, and AI) we feature our patented MicroSmart Controller. This digital controller monitors and controls your voltages across the three legs of power providing precise voltage balance to your equipment and adding additional fail-safe features to your phase converter operation. By monitoring your voltage every 50 Milliseconds and providing better voltage control, this helps prolong the life of your converter, allows significantly more load capacity (ADX and AI), and will run your equipment more efficiently.

With all American Rotary phase converters, we utilize a custom designed induction generator as our idler. This features our VIT Generator which is a true soft start idler that uses a 1/3 of the inrush current of a comparable three-phase motor. This technology also allows you to run the phase converter 24/7 a little to no load without any negative effects. Our idlers run very smoothly, quietly, and efficiently.

Lastly, this technology produces a true three phase sine wave allowing you to run your equipment on full three phase power off a single-phase power source. You will have a voltage balance of about 5% or greater when measured leg to leg. The approximant cost to running a phase converter is $0.12 per (kW-Hr).

Having a phase converter saves you from having to worry about the large expense of bringing in three phase utility power, having minimum usage requirements, and having to worry about having fuel on site to run your generator. To find out how affordable it is to make your American Dream your reality, contact American Rotary today.