Tag Archives: Phase Converter

Customer Spotlight: David Evelyn with Precision Power & Air

American Rotary does not only service our customers throughout the United States but we are also worldwide. Not long ago, David reached out to American Rotary looking for a solution to bring three phase into his building located in the Caribbean. The only power available was single phase 120/240v. David’s company needed to test UPS (universal power supplies) and did not have the ability to do so.  

At first, they could only test and repair the devices at their customers’ facilities, which they felt was not the best practice for their company’s image. They then invested in a generator to provide three phase power during the testing.  Although this option did work, it was not the best solution. It was very noisy, inconvenient to operate, and was an annoyance to the neighbors while it was running. David knew there had to be a better solution out there.

When David called American Rotary, he was searching for a solution that was easier to operate, ran quieter, cleaner, and was more cost effective than a generator. Fortunately, that is exactly what we had to offer him. He spoke with one of the Application Engineers and they went over all his current and future needs.

Based on that conversation, it was determined that an ADX60 would be the best solution. We also determined adding a transformer to the three phase side of the phase converter was a good addition as well. This will give David the option to test the equipment at different voltage settings if needed off of the same phase converter.

With the American Rotary ADX60, David is also able to let the phase converter run overnight to supply power to his UPS systems to charge the batteries. If he was not able to do this, they would lose the use of the batteries over time and would not be able to periodically charge them. This is all possible now with the phase converter.  

David found the ADX60 a great investment which will pay off in a short amount of time. He is now able to sell more UPS systems and repair them in house. The installation of the converter was easy and worked the first time he turned on. He highly recommends this as a solution for anyone or any company that needs three phase power where only single phase power is available.

Phase Converters are an efficient alternative to three phase power.  An American Rotary phase converter can be tailored to fit any of your three phase power needs whether it’s being used domestically or internationally. Please call one of our Application engineers today to discuss how we can help your hobby or business grow. 

Your Most Common Questions Answered When it Comes to Three-Phase Power

frequently asked questions phase converter

Recently, Jim out of California called us and inquired about who exactly American Rotary is and why we do what we do. He was starting up a shop in his pole barn behind his house and had acquired a few solid pieces of three-phase equipment but only had single phase power.  It was a great conversation had by all. From the viewpoint of American Rotary, we were excited to be part of another customer following their American Dream. From Jim’s standpoint, he was very educated about what he needed, to begin with. However, he did have some very good questions we find others ask as well and wanted to share them with you.

How do I size a Rotary Phase Converter and what information is needed to have someone help me size?

To size a rotary phase converter, you want to look at the type of machine you are running and the power requirements the machine needs. Typically, the power requirements are listed in a few different types of measurements; HP, AMPs, kW, or KVA. You will also want to verify the voltage the machine requires. These numbers are typically listed at 208-250v, 380v, or 480v. Once you know this information you can reference one of our load charts at or call one of our Application Engineers to help size a phase converter for your needs.

How does American Rotary stand apart from the competition?

American Rotary features a number of industry leading benefits and patented technology.  With all American Rotary 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.

Within our Digital Rotary phase converter line (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.

In addition to industry leading technology, American Rotary also offers industry leading support. When you purchase an American Rotary phase converter you become part of the American Rotary family.  We will support you with the best tech support in the industry and back you with the best warranties in the industry. The American Rotary Digital Series (AD, ADX, AI) panels are backed by a Lifetime Warranty.

I’ve read on forums to stay away from rotary phase converters, is this true?

Depending on the technology behind the rotary phase converter this can be true.  Phase converter companies that are using old technology, can produce imbalanced power which can have a negative effect on your equipment. This is not the case with an American Rotary phase converter. American Rotary has a lot of patented technology standing behind it. With our Patented VIT Generator producing a true three-phase sine wave and our patented Microsmart controller monitoring and controlling your voltages, your equipment is receiving very clean balanced power. To give an example, typical utility three-phase power is balanced around 10%. With a Digital Series phase converter, you will get roughly 2-5% balance. This means with a Digital Series phase converter, you are providing your equipment with cleaner power than utility three-phase.

I do not want a loud motor running in my shop.  How loud is the rotary converter?

This is another advantage to using a phase converter that utilizes the custom designed VIT generator versus a standard three phase motor as the idler. Our Induction Generator runs much smoother and quieter than a typical three phase motor. The idler will operate less than 60 Db which is comparable to a box fan running. In most cases, your three-phase machine will drown out the sound of the phase converter.  There are also options available for outdoor rated phase converters if that is desired.

Are rotary phase converters safe to run on CNC machines?

The simple answer is YES! When running a CNC or other computer controlled machine we recommend going with one of the Digital Series (AD, ADX, AI) converters since they are going to produce the tightest voltage balance. The digital phase converter produces power well within a CNC voltage tolerances. Running a CNC machine off of one of American Rotary’s phase converters is a common practice.

I have many different three-phase machines I wish to run; do I need a separate phase converter for each individual machine? 

When you are running a rotary phase converter you can tie in multiple three-phase machines. When going through the sizing process it is a good idea to know which machines will be starting at the same time and which machines may possibly run at the same time if started separately. This is important to know so you can get a phase converter that is going to be large enough to allow for current and future use. Typically, when multiple machines are in use a three-phase load center is added. In this setup, you would come out of your phase converter and feed the three-phase load center which would work as a distribution panel to each machine.  When sized properly, we have customers who power their whole shop off the phase converter.

We hope this helps answer some of your questions when it comes to three-phase power and using a phase converter. Please feel free to contact us should you have any additional questions. One of our Applications Engineers will be happy to go over your plans to ensure you are getting the phase converter that will work best for your needs.  All of us at American Rotary are proud to be part of making your American Dream a Reality!

How to Get Affordable Three-Phase Power on Your Farm

Look for a Rotary Phase Converter with These Three Fundamentals

Most farms lack access to the three-phase power grid, and paying the power company to bring three-phase power onsite is expensive.

However, there is a cost-effective way to gain three-phase power for irrigation pumps and tower pivots, hullers and balers, grain dryers, and any other heavy-duty agricultural equipment your operation requires. A phase converter can give you the precise power you need while keeping your costs low.

So, what makes a good rotary phase converter? The right solution should provide these three advantages:

1. Durability to Withstand Extreme Conditions
2. Voltage Balance
3. Automated and Wireless Control Options

three-phase power for farming

1. Durability to Withstand Extreme Conditions

As with all your equipment, you need your phase converter to handle the rugged physical conditions, swings in temperature, etc. on your farm. A few things to look for in a durable phase converter include:

— The ability to withstand temperatures ranging from -50 to 120 degrees
— The ability to tolerate rain and snow
— The ability to combat wind and dust
— Fully enclosed housing with rodent screens
— Heavy-duty mounting capability

2. Voltage Balance

It’s important to look for a phase converter that has variable impedance technology built directly into the idler/generator. This will drastically reduce inrush (starting) current for reliable starts, every time, with no voltage drop.

Unfortunately, many phase converter manufacturers claim that they have such technology, when they instead use a regular stock motor, rewire it for low voltage and cut off the exposed rotating shaft, which is also a huge safety hazard. If you’re not sure whether a particular phase converter actually provides variable impedance, feel free to contact us.

Additionally, a phase converter should be rated to run single or multiple motor loads. This capacity is only limited by the single-phase current available. By selecting a converter with precision balanced from a “no-load” condition, you can easily run a small motor together with larger ones using the same phase converter. More importantly, it should also be able to operate with no load engaged for an indefinite period, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your converter while your equipment loads are not operating.

3. Automated and Wireless Control Options

When you’re running a physically demanding business like a farm, you don’t have time to waste. Having to constantly start up or check the performance of your machinery throughout the day can really drag down your operation.

Options to add wireless remote starters and SDDO (Start Delay, Delay Off) timers can alleviate these issues regarding your phase converter. A long-range radio frequency remote starter can allow you to simply start your phase converter without having to go out to the converter itself, wherever it may be on your land. An SDDO timer lets you take the convenience a step further, automating when your machines turn on and off — a feature that can be valuable with a pivot irrigation system, for example.

With these three key attributes in mind, you have a good head start toward finding a rotary phase converter that best suits the demand of your equipment and output on the farm. But if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

In the meantime, here’s an example of how a 30-acre pickle farm in Indiana is running their entire irrigation system with the help of rotary phase converters.

Save on Your 2016 Taxes When You Buy an American Rotary Phase Converter

Taxes are costly. Fortunately, there are incentives such as Section 179 that can help you save on your taxes so you can grow your business.  

Who qualifies for this deduction? According to Section179.org, “all businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $2,000,000 in new or used business equipment during the tax year 2016 should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.” In other words, you get to deduct the entire purchase price of your equipment from your gross income in the tax year that you purchased it.

There are a few limits. The first is that the deduction is limited to $500,000 the first year, plus 50% bonus first year depreciation and normal first year depreciation.

Second, the total amount of the equipment purchased cannot exceed $2,000,000 (making it a true small business tax incentive).

Lastly, the equipment must be purchased and put into service within the applicable tax year, which means the deadline for getting some new three phase power is by the end of the day on December 31, 2016.

As you can see, Section 179 is a simple tax incentive created specifically for small and mid-sized business owners to take action and continue moving their business in a positive direction.

As a guide for how Section 179 can help your business, please see the chart below…..

As always, be sure to speak with your tax professional for more information and if you qualify for this and any other tax deductions. For more information visit Section179.org.

2016 section 179
2016 section 179 tax deduction write off. Image from section179.org

A Primer on Three-Phase Power for Machinists

Here’s What You Need to Know to Make the Most of Your Equipment

Are you confused with the difference between single-phase and three-phase power? If so, you’re not alone.

Although many types of machining equipment operate off three-phase power, owners of this equipment often don’t realize what this means until it’s in their shop. But a lack of proper three phase power can prevent you from getting the equipment you really need, setting up the equipment you have, getting the equipment they really need, or even from growing your business.

So let’s clear the confusion and help you get three-phase power right.

Common Misconceptions about Three-Phase Power

— You have to get a building that already has three- phase power installed.

— You shouldn’t buy three-phase power equipment for your workshop or business because — you won’t be able to install it.

— Your only option for three-phase power is to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get it installed by the electric company.

— You need a diesel-guzzling, dirty, noisy generator to create three-phase power.

Worst of all, some machinists even buy three-phase machinery without knowing it requires three-phase power to run! Now, that’s frustrating!

3 Keys to Optimal 3-Phase Power

Whether you operate a full-time shop or like to tinker around in your garage on the weekends, here’s some good news. For manual mills and lathes, CNC mills and lathes, or machine and turning centers, a rotary phase converter can give you the precise power you need while keeping your costs low.

So, what makes a good rotary phase converter? The right solution should provide these three advantages:

1. Voltage Balance
2. Reliable Start-up
3. Scalability

1. Voltage Balance

CNC phase converters are phase converters that meet the requirements of 3-phase CNC applications by maintaining at least a +/-5% voltage balance. The more balanced the output of the rotary phase, the better a piece of equipment will operate and the longer it will last. Unbalanced voltages seen with non-CNC phase converters can be hard on the equipment, causing undesirable conditions such as excess noise and poor performance.

Rotary CNC phase converters can be used on any type of equipment, especially voltage sensitive machines such as CNC machining centers, milling machines, lathes, PLCs, EDMs and any other type of equipment that relies on balanced input power. But first, verify that the rotary CNC phase converter is rated for the specific kilowatts (kW) that your equipment or machine requires.

2. Reliable Start-up

For years, phase converters have had a reputation of drawing a huge inrush current upon start-up. This disproportionate power draw has resulted in, among other problems, dimming neighbors’ lights, demand charges from the utility and large increases on power bills.

So it’s important to look for a phase converter that has variable impedance technology built directly into the idler/generator. This will drastically reduce inrush (starting) current for reliable starts, every time, with no voltage drop.

Unfortunately, many phase converter manufacturers claim that they have such technology, when they instead use a regular stock motor, rewire it for low voltage and cut off the exposed rotating shaft, which is also a huge safety hazard. If you’re not sure whether a particular phase converter actually provides variable impedance, feel free to contact us.

Additionally, a phase converter should be rated to run single or multiple motor loads. This capacity is only limited by the single-phase current available. By selecting a converter with precision balanced from a “no-load” condition, you don’t need to worry about running a small motor together with larger ones using the same phase converter. More importantly, it should also be able to operate with no load engaged for an indefinite period, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your unit while your equipment loads are not operating.

3. Scalability

One of the great things about phase converters is the ability to scale your energy use as your shop or business grows. However, if you build your own or buy a lesser-quality converter, this is hard to do. You might not get the best fit for your usage and equipment.

High-quality phase converters are capable of phase synchronization for increased capacity to double, triple or quadruple your power.

With these three key attributes in mind, you have a good head start toward finding a rotary phase converter that best suits your needs. But if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

In the meantime, here’s an example of how a machining company is scaling their business with help from rotary phase converters.