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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

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 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 of 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

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.

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.

Product Overview: The AI Industrial Digital Phase Converter

Designed specifically for the outdoor demand of agricultural applications and the hard environment of industrial conditions, the AI Industrial phase converter can save you thousands of dollars per year over utility and diesel generated power sources. Need more power? Need more precise power? Just turn on your American Rotary Smart Series Converter and let our technology do the work…

For more information visit the AI Industrial Converter product page or call 888-743-6832.

Product Overview: The American Rotary MicroSmart Controller

The American Rotary MicroSmart controller is a state-of-the-art microprocessor that delivers the RIGHT power and the RIGHT time in both start-up and run. Available in the AD, ADX, and AI models, the MicroSmart controller monitors voltage every 50 milliseconds in order to provide better voltage control, giving you more precise power, and protection to the phase converter and your machines.

See for yourself how American Rotary utilizes leading-edge technology in our phase converters with our Patented MicroSmart Controller:

Need more power? Need more precise power? Just turn on your American Rotary Smart Series Converter and let our technology do the work.

Top 5 Things To Know When Buying a Phase Converter

 

Everyday we get hundreds of calls with questions about phase converters. So, we thought we would take a moment and go over the top 5 things you should know before buying a phase converter.

As you can see, there are a few basic things you should know before buying a phase converter.

As a recap:

1. Make sure you have enough single phase power.

Here’s how to calculate how much single phase power you need:

Take the amount of three phase amps of your load x 1.6 = amount of single phase amps. Then, take the amount of single phase amps x 1.2 = required single phase amps with 20% adder. The 20% adder is factored in as a cushion simply because most towns and cities require you have 20% above what your load is.

2. Understand your load.

Is it light, medium, or heavy? To give you an idea, a light load would be something like a drill press or table saw. A medium load would machines similar to CNC machines. A heavy load would be things like HVAC, air compressors, and refrigeration.

3. The size of your load.

Know the horsepower, amps, and kilowatts. Knowing this will help you find the best phase converter for you. As a rule of thumb, you want to go 2:1 (2 times the size of your load) to find the size phase converter you need.

4. Indoor or Outdoor?

Make sure you buy a phase converter that will stay protected in the environment it will be in. For example, if you do welding you will want to make sure your converter stays protected from metal shavings. Likewise, if you are a woodworker, sawdust. If you are a farmer, you want to make sure your equipment is protected in wind, snow, and rain.

5. Who are you buying your phase converter from?

Make sure you are buying from someone who is reputable. We get calls all the time from people who previously bought a phase converter from someone who made one in their garage and it’s not working right and they have no service. By using a quality product to begin with, you will be able to get the exact amount of three phase power you need, protect your equipment, and be able to scale appropriately as needed.

Filling Scuba Tanks in Maui with American Rotary Phase Converters

American Rotary Phase Converters fill scuba tanks all over North America, from Hawaii to the Camen Islands, to Florida. We were fortunate enough to dive with one of our fans in Maui. American Rotary Compressed Air is the Best! Underwater video shot with a GoPro. The dive location was the Mala Ramp in Lahina, Maui.

American Rotary ADX Phase Converter

The American Rotary ADX “Smart Series” Phase Converter demonstrates the starting power of these converters. We compare the time it takes an ADX to start (2.9 seconds) an Ingersol-Rand T30 20HP Air-compressor to the time it takes a typical rotary phase converter (7.9 seconds) to start the same air-compressor. Just over 2 minutes.

Balanced Voltage Claims – Truth or Fiction?

For years, many companies have used (and continue to use) the inexpensive method of “stacking” run capacitors in order to get a phase converter started. Those capacitors are not taken out of the circuit once the phase converter is running, which results in extremely high voltage and current imbalance. This condition causes current overloads that will burn out motors that are smaller than what the phase converter was sized for (ie. running a 2HP mill on a 40HP converter). Furthermore, this condition will ultimately cause the phase converter itself to burn out.

The justification for continuing to build phase converters this way is that the starting circuit is fail proof. But the consequences of the resulting high voltage and imbalance can be avoided by simply using new designs and updated technology.

With the proven quality and reliability of starting capacitors and contactors, new methods to create starting circuits using these components allow the rotary phase converter to have two stages: starting and running. This gives the best of both worlds – a robust starting circuit, and a balanced running circuit.

To attain the balanced voltage, the phase converter requires a high quality custom idler/generator (not a motor), and a very specific balancing of the capacitance across the windings of the idler. Placing all of the run capacitors across one winding will not produce a balanced voltage!

Outrageous claims of voltage balance of 2% or better. The only phase converter on the market that can produce this type of voltage balance, (actually 1% or better) is the Phase Perfect digital phase converter, which we will cover in another post. Please visit www.AmericanRotary.com for more information about this product!

The only way a rotary phase converter might achieve such a voltage balance is if the load is constant (which is very rare), and the capacitance is “tuned” across each winding of the idler. Even then it would be very difficult. Switching in and out capacitors with contactors is a difficult thing to do properly. Switching them out once is fine, but not back in. The contactors just can not handle the “in theory” infinite current and the moment of contact.

It is so important to verify voltage claims! In the age of the internet, pretty much anyone can say anything…All in all, look for a (provable) 5% voltage balance, and that it can be achieved in a range of about 50-60% of the full load current of the converter.

There are several other marketing-style claims that are made by various companies. These advertising methods can be quite deceptive. The best defense is a good offense. We will continue to cover key features and benefits of phase converters, what to look for, what to avoid.

As always…please feel free to email blog@americanrotary.com if there is a specific topic you would like to see covered on this blog!

Integrated Soft Start – How it came about, why it is so great, and why everyone is talking about it.

We thought we’d take a moment to talk about American Rotary’s integrated soft start. 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 things, dimming the neighbor’s lights, demand charges from the utility, and large increases on power bills. The engineering team took this age-old problem by the horns and set out to find a solution.

After investigating various forms of “soft starting” a motor (most of which are inefficient and/or delicate, not to mention very expensive), the lead engineer and co-founder, David Rehm, took it to a new level all together. His original idea was to make the soft start feature solid state (so that no failure of moving parts would ever occur), and to keep the cost down enough that everyone could afford this feature. The team set up meetings with the engineering department at Baldor Electric. After a year of design and development, we were ready to begin the testing phase of the new generator. What resulted surprised us all!

The new generator design achieved an 83% reduction in inrush (starting) current – and was granted a soft start rating. What’s more, is that American Rotary’s soft start phase converters deliver all the power required for hard starting, heavy duty applications, along with balanced pure sine wave output and power factor correction (I’ll address these features in another entry) for CNC and other voltage sensitive applications. This motor-integrated solid state soft start design is proprietary and exclusive to the Baldor/GENTEC American Rotary phase converter generator. It is affordable, reliable, made in the USA, and no one else has it.

Our marketing department launched the new Baldor/GENTEC phase converter with gusto! And the product is everything we hoped it would be. Then, as days and weeks went by, we started seeing the phrase “soft start phase converter” popping up in all sorts of places… Unfortunately, many phase converter manufacturers now claim that they too have soft start when indeed they do not. Many phase converter manufacturers use a regular stock motor by rewiring it for low voltage and cutting off the exposed rotating shaft (consequently, most of these companies are uninsured since the remnant of the shaft is a huge safety hazard). A regular stock motor is going to take the values of capacitance (in microfarads) shown here:

3HP: 240-360
5HP: 300-600
7.5HP: 600-900
10HP: 800-1200
15HP: 900-1800
20HP: 1600-2400
30HP: 2400-3000
40HP: 3200-4000
50HP: 4000-5000

Therefore, one way to verify a claim of “Soft Start” is to check the starting capacitance of the phase converter (How many microfarads are used in the starting circuit – or – how many capacitors and at what values are used?). If the microfarads fall within the values above, it is simply a stock motor and is not using integrated soft start.

American Rotary’s Soft-Start phase converter generator uses anywhere from 1/3 to 1/6 of the capacitance needed to start a stock motor. This also reduces inrush current by the same amount, which virtually eliminates demand charges from the utility and dimming the neighbor’s lights.

Introduction to American Rotary’s Blog

Welcome to the American Rotary blog! American Rotary is the manufacturer and distributor of the largest selection of phase converters and industrial transformers online. American Rotary is the only phase converter manufacturer to offer every type of phase converter: static, rotary, digital, CNC, and variable frequency (inverter or VFD).

We will use this blog to post information about new products, technological advances, community reactions, customer reviews, product evaluations, marketing strategies, and more. If there are any topics that you would like us to cover in this blog, please send your requests to:

ar@americanrotary.com (subject: blog request)

We hope you find this blog to be informative, and we hope you will visit us often!