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3 phase on single phase service question

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Forum topic by Jerry posted 07-31-2013 01:57 AM 880 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jerry

2195 posts in 2199 days


07-31-2013 01:57 AM

So I might buy a power feeder. I am thinking it is 1 hp but I know it is 3 phase. The seller says it works fine.

Here is the power feeder:

So my question is this. I have never done anything with 3 phase equipment and have read a few threads. But I really don’t know my options but I know I don’t want to spend a lot but would like to get this thing to run on my single phase 220 electricity. I know any power loss due to the converters probably will not be any issues.

Thanks for the input or advice in advance.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net


20 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7545 posts in 2300 days


#1 posted 07-31-2013 02:17 AM

Build a rotary converter. You can find a 5 hp motor
locally for almost nothing as I’m sure you know.
I bought the panel on ebay from a guy,
“phase-craft”. You can make a panel yourself but
I doubt for a whole lot less.

I did try a VFD before making the rotary unit… it’s
cool but if you don’t need to do the electronic speed
changing a VFD makes feasible, I think the rotary is
a better long-term investment. VFDs may not hold
up year-in year-out, but a rotary phase converter is
real simple and tough…. plus you can plug any 3 phase
machine into it. VFDs have to be configured for the
specific machine they are running usually.

You’ll be wanting to look at acquiring case boring machinery
in the future and you’re going to need 3 phase for
most of those units anyway.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2195 posts in 2199 days


#2 posted 07-31-2013 02:30 AM

Thanks Loren, that sounds perfect. I have always known I will have to venture into 3 phase eventually since most used equipment can be had on the cheap that is actually great quality stuff but is older 3 phase stuff. i will look into a phase converter set up.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Dorty's profile

Dorty

20 posts in 1105 days


#3 posted 07-31-2013 12:26 PM

I agree with Loren, you guy buy phase converters on ebay from several different companies. When i was in the market for one i called a couple of them and told them what i was trying to run. They were able to tell me exactly what unit i would need.

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1737 days


#4 posted 07-31-2013 01:48 PM

I agree with Loren, but on that feeder, I would definitely want to hear and see it run before i paid very much
for it. It looks like it has not been taken care of with all that rust on it, but if the motor was kept dry and
works, the rust may come off easily and let it move on the shafts. If you have used a feeder, you know that
you will be moving that head quite a bit to get the rollers set right.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1255 posts in 724 days


#5 posted 07-31-2013 09:01 PM

Agree with Bluepine… there are a lot more power feeds in our area for sale man… get something better. Doing all that work for 3 ph on a power feed seems a little much IMO. Unless you have it in a location where it is running 24/7 the first place you want to go is your cabinet saw or DC. Seeing your shop and other posts that is what I am thinking. We are in the process of converting to 3 phase. That has entailed a lot it turns out. Just today we had three trucks throwing up a new pole and three transformers. Mind you this has a lot to do with the whole building, and other code situations that came up, and fortunately fell on the landlord for the most part, but I would get a consult from a commercial electrician before you really go there. The biggest bonus to true 3 phs is the same power with less energy. I am not sure if you get the same thing from a converter maybe some will weigh in on that.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2195 posts in 2199 days


#6 posted 07-31-2013 10:54 PM

With Joey’s advice against buying the power feeder, the majority vote weighed against buying the power feeder, however I already had bought it.

I am most excited about the large beast of a bandsaw made by rockwell. It is a 16” bandsaw but it is very large, built heavy and like a tank. It seems to be as big or almost as big as our old PM 20” bandsaw. I did not need another bandsaw, but for 150.00 and it is single phase and working condition, I knew it would be a fun restoration project. I will either re sell it some day or keep it with a small 1/4” blade on it.

Back to the Power feeder. Now after reading the posts so far I am sort of regretting the purchase. My friend has 3 phase at his shop so I offered to sell it to him but he declined. Well, the plan is to just set the PF up in one position and leave it be. Surface rust does clean off and a little bit of lube and it will do fine I am sure. I currently have a 1 hp PM feeder that was mfg in the 80s and the two power feeders look in similar shape. My PM is a little rough but it certainly gets the job done.

So I have been looking at going the rotary phase converter route as Loren suggested. But then the idea of running a 5 hp motor just to run a smaller 1 hp 3ph feeder seems over kill. But then again, it does not happen that often since that shaper/feeder combination gets utilized about once every couple of weeks or twice a month or so. We only do approximately 2 projects per month. Then I am thinking about a lighter duty method with static phase converter which just offers 3 phase assistance to start the motor then drops out during use allowing the motor to run on single phase. But with this method, we loose about 1/3 of the power which on a 1 hp motor means I will be reduced to 2/3 hp motor. Probably plenty of power.

Joey, I never see power feeders for sale here in San Antonio. If you find a good deal on a power feeder in Austin let me know. I would not mind upgrading my older power feeders eventually.

Any other input is welcome.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Loren's profile

Loren

7545 posts in 2300 days


#7 posted 07-31-2013 11:32 PM

You can make a phase converter out of any 3 phase
idler motor actually. The panel part of a rotary converter
is basically a static converter to start the idler motor. The
idler up to a certain HP rating can be started by hand
with a lawnmower cord or other method, dispensing
with the panel… and that’s the cheapest way to
get into phase conversion.

Rotary converters give you full or close to full power
on the motor being driven. The caveat is that the
idler needs to be about 1/3 more HP than the
biggest motor you want to run. Thus my 5hp
idler can probably start and run up to about a 3.3 HP
3 phase motor. IIRC, my construction line drill is about 2hp
I think and my Holz-Her UF362 is around 2.5hp, so
the converter is adequate. I just bought a stroke
sander at auction, unseen and with an unknown
motor – the model is sometimes found with a 4hp
3 phase motor in which case I may not be able to
run it… but the machine was also shipped in
lower hp and single phase configurations so I’m
not that concerned.

Being set up for 3 phase just really expands your
options. I don’t see how you can really optimize
for efficiency doing cabinets these days without it.
Edgebanders and wide belts mostly require it and
those are real money makers for the busy shop.

P.S. I edgeband with a press, which is a really
uncomplicated machine so the machine going down
is not the nightmare it can be with a fancy
automated European unit.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2195 posts in 2199 days


#8 posted 07-31-2013 11:38 PM

Thanks Loren. I was telling my wife about you just now. I think we think a little alike when it comes to machinery. I used to live in CA, wish I was still there because it was some good times. When I was in the Navy…

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Loren's profile

Loren

7545 posts in 2300 days


#9 posted 07-31-2013 11:53 PM

You’re probably wising-up faster than me. I got so
frustrated and physically exhausted from cabinetmaking
I didn’t do it for a couple of years. I did think about
it a lot though and that lead me to develop the
machinery acquisition direction I’ve gone in.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1254 posts in 600 days


#10 posted 08-03-2013 12:03 PM

you absolutely must contact Phase-craft. The owner/operator is awesome a will answer all the questions you have and advise you as to the size converter you need.

View REO's profile

REO

614 posts in 726 days


#11 posted 08-03-2013 01:43 PM

Loren, I have found the opposite unless running a reversible load 1HP RPC will drive three 1HP tools if started individualy I have been running a 5HP lathe on a 2HP RPC since the early ‘70’s

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1254 posts in 600 days


#12 posted 08-04-2013 12:49 AM

here is a sizing guide from american rotary

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1255 posts in 724 days


#13 posted 08-04-2013 02:08 AM

Just to throw it out there… One of the primary reasons I am converting my shop to 3 ph is the power to cost of electricity equation. Many of the 3 ph tools I am getting I can get the same HP at 40 or 60 amp 220/240. I am still curious, does rotary or other conversion, versus pure three phase (my shop will soon be set up with one circuit of old school delta, and a 5 circuits of new school 208) still give the power savings of having 3 ph off the pole coming in? I am learning as I go on this and these threads have been very helpful. So, to sum up, if you are using a converter, you can get the power, but do you get the savings in overall usage??

-- Who is John Galt?

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2195 posts in 2199 days


#14 posted 08-04-2013 02:34 AM

Good question. Not sure. I sort of think having to run a 10 HP idler motor for example just to run a 7 HP motor seems like one is using more electricity with the additional idler motor running to provide the third leg.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Bill1974's profile

Bill1974

48 posts in 1637 days


#15 posted 08-04-2013 03:05 AM

Straight 3 phase from the pole will be the most efficient. Using any kind of single to 3ph looses some efficiency. The advantage to 3phase is good startup torque with a less pricy motor. Also 3 pH is easier to speed control.

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