Tag Archives: Rotary Phase Converter

American Rotary Phase Converter Installation Video

If you’ve recently purchased a phase converter or are considering purchasing one, you may be wondering what is all involved when it comes to setting it up.

In this video, we show you the basic installation techniques of the American Rotary Phase Converter Panel. The idea is to show how easy it is to install, and also to provide a video reference for our customers.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your American Rotary phase converter, or which phase converter might be best for your unique situation, give us a call at 1-888-743-6832 and we will be happy to help.

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!

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. 

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.

Life Long Memories with American Rotary Phase Converters

We visit Life Long Memories, a company that has custom equipment to perforate paper to make bookmarks for the funeral industry. The equipment has a regenerative blower, vacuum pump, and several motors that drive linear motion. They are all controlled by VFD’s (variable frequency drives) and powered by an American Rotary Phase Converter.