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  #1  
Old April 26th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Rotary Phase Converter

I need three phase. I'm on a rural electric coop and three phase service isn't an option.
I have procured a 7.5hp 3ph motor. Has anyone here built their own rotary phase converter ?

I'm about to go down this road and this forum has proven a wealth of information on virtually every subject, just thought I'd see if there were any electrical guru's out there.
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  #2  
Old April 26th, 2014, 10:45 AM
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others I know have tried it and ended up getting a single phase motor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
I need three phase. I'm on a rural electric coop and three phase service isn't an option.
I have procured a 7.5hp 3ph motor. Has anyone here built their own rotary phase converter ?

I'm about to go down this road and this forum has proven a wealth of information on virtually every subject, just thought I'd see if there were any electrical guru's out there.
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  #3  
Old April 26th, 2014, 10:53 AM
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Looking on line I found the control panel already made up
http://www.wnysupply.com/index.cfm/f...id/0/id/328115

Seemingly You run 230 single phase to the control box and wire into the motor and then out to the outlet, done. You are an electrical design guy tell me what I'm missing ?
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Old April 26th, 2014, 11:06 AM
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You're missing the rotary part, click on the $490 dollar square in the upper RH corner. 157 pound lump of iron that will need to be shipped to your place. How much was the 3ph unit? I think Ben tried all this and kept cooking things as the wiring on his 3ph motor was funky or something. Of course it is doable but in the end he just bought the 1ph motor. This was to run a big craigslist-bought 3ph compressor that AFAIK is still not working. IMO should have got one of the many 1ph ones that were available at the time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
Looking on line I found the control panel already made up
http://www.wnysupply.com/index.cfm/f...id/0/id/328115

Seemingly You run 230 single phase to the control box and wire into the motor and then out to the outlet, done. You are an electrical design guy tell me what I'm missing ?
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Old April 26th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ching View Post
others I know have tried it and ended up getting a single phase motor.
As he said, what you are looking at is snake oil

I used to have a big compressor and fitted a petrol engine on it, for the amount of time I used it, it was great
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Old April 26th, 2014, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ching View Post
You're missing the rotary part, click on the $490 dollar square in the upper RH corner. 157 pound lump of iron that will need to be shipped to your place. How much was the 3ph unit? I think Ben tried all this and kept cooking things as the wiring on his 3ph motor was funky or something. Of course it is doable but in the end he just bought the 1ph motor. This was to run a big craigslist-bought 3ph compressor that AFAIK is still not working. IMO should have got one of the many 1ph ones that were available at the time
DB-give me a little credit,read original post. I have the lump of copper and steel sitting on the floor waiting and it is pretty heavy....
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  #7  
Old April 27th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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Doug. I bought a phase converter a few years back to run some shop equipment. Not expensive and works great. Also has a small dial where u can adjust the output or motor speed on lathe. Really cool
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Old April 27th, 2014, 08:04 AM
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I know very little about the technical aspect of the phase converters but I asked the instructor from a diesel class I took about them after I had found it was going to double the cost of my drill press. He said that the simple digitally modulated ones have come a long way. They don't require the big winding or a second motor, etc. Just a small box. My problem is I don't even know enough to be sure I am ordering the right one. From what I could tell it was somewhere around 200 to buy one to run a mill machine so probably much cheaper if you could build it yourself.
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Old April 27th, 2014, 08:13 AM
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Yeah trey are around 200. Small box. Was way cheaper than changing out the motor of the machine. I'm not great with electric stuff but it was simple to hook up and run. When I get home in a few days I will post a pic of what I have
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Old April 27th, 2014, 08:16 AM
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Doug, get ahold of the the guy Sparks from "Down Periscope". I sure he could help......
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Old April 27th, 2014, 01:28 PM
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The best ones are the VFD Variable Frequency drive As noted in this thread you can dial in the speed of the 3 phase motor with these type units as well as overcome the lack of 1 phase versus 3 phase.
In my area we have a lot of 3 phase equiptment that sells inexpensive from the aircraft industry. A lot of folks can balance capacitors to make 3 phase equipment work. I have seen it firsthand often but have not duplicated it myself. But I have used the VFDs before with good success.
There is something to be said about just replacing the motor as said earlier, depending on the application.
Good Luck
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Old April 27th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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I want the ability to generate 3ph for whatever I may aquire in the future. The small digital units require a box on each device.
In reading the following I made the decision to go rotary.

Rotary and Static Phase Converters
Phase converters provide 3-phase power from a 1-phase source, and have been used for decades. The simplest type of old technology phase converter is generically called a static phase converter. This device typically consists of one or more capacitors and a relay to switch between the two capacitors once the motor has come up to speed. These units are comparatively inexpensive. They make use of the idea that a 3-phase motor can be started using a capacitor in series with the third terminal of the motor. It is almost guaranteed that a static phase converter will do a poor job of balancing the voltages on the motor. Unless motors operated on static converters run only for short periods or deliver significantly less than half of their rated output, they will be damaged from overheating.


Figure 1. Static Converter Scheme: L1 and L3 are the single phase legs going to your motor application and L2 is produced when motor starts turning. Cs is the start capacitor which is switched out after the internal motor starts. Cr is the fixed run capacitor.


Figure 2. Rotary Converter Scheme: L1, L2 and L3 are the three phases of the internal motor. Cs is the start capacitor which is switched out after the internal motor starts. Cr is the fixed run capacitor.
How Does a Static Converter Work?
The Static Converter is made up of two small components: A voltage sensitive relay and a standard capacitor (Cs) connected to your motor application. The capacitor delays waveforms (or shifts the phase) during the start-up of your motor application. The relay disconnects this start capacitor after the motor has started. From this point, the motor will continue turning on the single phase supply. The performance of such a motor is fairly poor and can be compared to a car motor running on only a few cylinders. Motors operated on a static converter will produce about 50-60% of their name plate power. When you add another low cost run capacitor to the simple design, rated power goes up to around 70% of the motors name plate power. To help with understanding, the Start Capacitor (Cs) is used only to start the motor and then it is switched out completely. The Run Capacitor (Cr) is always in the circuit and is carefully sized to balance the voltages at one load rating (generally around 50% full load). Since Cr is fixed the voltage balancing at either end (0% and 100%) is quite poor.
The second type of old-technology phase converter is generically called a rotary phase converter. This device consists of a 3-phase motor (usually without external shafts) and a bank of capacitors wired together to act as a single large capacitor. Two of the leads to the motor are connected to the 1-phase power source and the third lead to the motor is connected in series with the capacitor bank to either one of the 1-phase inputs. The output leads from the phase converter are connected across the three motor terminals. Typically the motor used in the phase converter is larger than the loads it is supplying. For example, a rotary converter designed for a 5 kW load might use a 7 kW motor frame. The electrical interaction between the capacitor bank and the free-running phase converter motor generates a voltage on the third motor terminal which approximates the voltage needed for a balanced 3-phase system. However, it usually isn't a very good approximation. For example, measurements on a 5 kW rotary converter in an actual machine shop installation resulted in line-to-line voltages of 252 V, 244.2 V and 280.5 V, which is about a 12% imbalance in the voltages.
Voltage Imbalance In Percent Derate Motor to These Percentages of the Motor’s Rating
1% 98%
2% 95%
3% 88%
4% 82%
5% 75%
How Does A Rotary Converter Work?
If you add an idle running motor to a static converter, you have a rotary converter. The added motor will compensate for some of the static converter weaknesses and help extend the range of motor sizes and loads. The internal motor is inactive at average load, but works hard when loads don’t match the value of the chosen run capacitor (Cr). Rotary converters are clearly somewhat better than static converters. They can run several motors of different sizes. Large motors will produce up to 90% of their nameplate power, small motors (motor being much smaller than the converters idling motor or pilot motor) a bit more. If the manufacturers oversize these motors, the output symmetry, start capability and capacity will all be increased. This is why manufacturers ask you so many questions about your applications. When in doubt, they will offer a converter with a larger pilot motor or suggest a larger converter altogether.
Variable Frequency Drives
Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are designed primarily to control the speed of AC motors, but can be adapted to function as phase converters. They also have some problems with power quality. While a phase converter will supply a 3-phase output at the same frequency as the input voltage from the power line, a VFD has the ability to create voltages that vary in frequency. A VFD has an input rectifier (either 4 or 6 semiconductor diodes) which charge up a DC link capacitor. Three pairs of semiconductor switches are also connected to the DC link capacitor. Each switch pair is connected in series and has connections to the two capacitor terminals. The center connection of each switch pair is connected to one of the output terminals. If the top switch is on, the output terminal will be connected to the top or positive terminal of the link capacitor. If the bottom switch is on, then the output terminal will be connected to the bottom or negative terminal of the DC link capacitor. Each of the three output terminals is connected to one of the leads of a 3-phase induction motor.


Figure 1. Electrical scheme of the VFD


Figure 2. Simplified block-diagram of the VFD
A VFD cannot produce a sinusoidal output voltage. It can only connect the output terminals to either the positive or negative terminal of the link capacitor. For example, the voltage on the top terminal of the capacitor is +170 V and the voltage on the bottom terminal of the capacitor is at -170 V. If during some short time interval the top switch is on half the time and the bottom switch is on half the time, the average voltage at that output terminal would be zero. If the top switch were on all the time, the average voltage would be +170V, and if the bottom switch were on all the time then the average voltage would be -170 V. Thus, the switches can produce average voltages over a short interval that can have any value between +170 V and -170 V.
The inductance of a motor powered by a VFD responds to the area beneath the curve of a plot of the voltage as a function of time. So, even though the voltage isn't sinusoidal, if the on/off times of the switches are chosen correctly then the current in the leads to the motor can be sinusoidal as long as the average value of the voltage is sinusoidal. Since the torque generated by the motor is proportional to the currents and not the voltages, then to a first approximation the motor behaves as if it had sinusoidal voltages applied to it.
Problems can arise with VFDs if they are used to power loads other than motors, if there are multiple loads on the VFD, if the motor needs to provide braking action, if the distance between the motor and the VFD is appreciable, or if the current drawn by the VFD is large compared to the rating of the utility step-down transformer.
VFDs were not originally designed to function as phase converters, in fact most VFDs are powered from a 3-phase source. When used in this manner, six input diodes rectify the 3-phase input signal and are used to charge up the DC link capacitor. If a 1-phase source is used instead, then 2 of the input diodes go unused and all of the current into the unit has to be carried by the remaining 4 diodes. Also, the ripple current in the DC link capacitor will be significantly larger, so the power handling capability of all these components has to be increased if the unit is to be powered from a 1-phase source. This type of input rectifier typically produces large harmonic distortion in the input current. Table below gives typical values of the harmonic distortion expressed as a percentage of the fundamental component of the input current at 60 Hz.
Harmonic 3rd 5th 7th 9th 11th 13th 15th
Percent 73.2% 36.6% 8.1% 5.7% 4.1% 2.9% 0.8%

The harmonic component of the current will be a problem when the current flowing into the VFD is a significant portion of the total current load that the step-down transformer is capable of delivering. If a very large VFD is used or if multiple smaller VFDs are all attached to the same line then there may be problems. The relatively large current drawn by the input circuit of the VFD at the peak of the voltage sine wave can distort the voltage waveform and cause problems for other users on the power system. Input line reactors are often used between the VFD and the power system to help alleviate this problem.
VFDs are designed to drive a single motor load. The manufacturer's recommendations usually are that the wires to the motor be solidly connected to the VFD and that the connections not be broken under normal operating conditions. That is, one would not normally install a contactor between a VFD and a motor because the high voltage and arcing that are a normal part of the contactor opening and closing can have unpredictable effects on the semiconductor switches in the VFD and increase the risk of failure. If multiple loads are connected to a VFD with individual contactors for each separate load, the VFD may not be able to handle the current surges which occur when individual loads are switched on and off. If a VFD were connected to a piece of equipment which contained 3-phase motors as well as other controls, it is very likely that both the VFD and the equipment would be damaged. For example, if there were any capacitors in the equipment connected directly across the VFD outputs, the VFD would have to shut down immediately or be destroyed by the extremely high currents that would flow when the output voltage pulses were applied to the capacitors. The starting sequence of a VFD is carefully controlled to avoid damage. When the start button is pushed, the pulse sequence to the output switches is adjusted so that the average voltage applied across the motor has a low value, with low frequency. As the motor starts to spin, the voltage is allowed to increase and the frequency is increased until the motor reaches full operational speed. A start at full voltage and max frequency would overload the output switches. If a VFD is putting out full voltage at 60 Hz to one motor on its output, and a second motor is suddenly connected by closing a contactor, then the VFD will probably either shut down if it can respond to the overload, or be damaged if it can't. The circuitry in a VFD does not allow power to flow from the motor back to the power system, as is required when the motor acts as a brake. If the application requires this feature, then one or more braking resistors and additional switches must be added to the VFD so that this power is absorbed without destroying either the output switches or the DC link capacitor. Rotary and static phase converters intrinsically have the ability to absorb braking currents because two of the wires to the motor are connected directly to the supply system.
The output voltage from a VFD is not sinusoidal, but rather a series of pulses which have average values that are sine waves. The switches that control these pulses have to make their on/off transitions very rapidly (in about 0.2 microsecond) for the VFD to operate efficiently. The high frequency components of these pulses travel from the VFD to the motor through the connecting wires, which become an electrical transmission line. Transmission line effects are normally not a problem at 60 Hz to the average user because the wavelength of a 60 Hz signal is about 3500 kilometers (assuming the signal travels at 0.8 x the speed of light in the wires). However, at 5 MHz the wavelength drops to about 50 meters and the effects become important. The electrical impedance of the transmission line is unpredictable but typically has values between a few tens of ohms to a few hundred ohms. On the other hand, the impedance of the motor and the VFD is usually just a few ohms. This mismatch between the line impedance and the impedance of the terminations at the motor and the drive causes standing wave patterns to be set up in the line with resultant voltages that can be much larger than the voltage at the drive output. These standing-wave voltages can damage the wiring, the motor and the drive. If the distance between the VFD and the motor is short (less than 3 meters), there shouldn't be any problem. As the distance approaches 15 meters or more, most VFD manufacturers recommend that output line filters be used on each of the output leads. In their simplest form these filters consist of an inductor in series with each output line with a capacitor connected to the second terminal of each inductor. The other terminal of each capacitor is connected to a common point. This filtering does not make the output voltages sinusoidal, and so even with filtering, residual harmonics may have some impact on the wire and motor in installations where the motor and drive are far apart. At distances of 60 meters or more, as would be typical for a deep-well submersible pump, output line filters are a necessity and will add to the cost of the drive installation.
Digital Phase Converters
Digital phase converters are a recent development in phase converter technology that utilizes proprietary software in a powerful microprocessor to control solid state power switching components. This microprocessor, called a digital signal processor (DSP), monitors the phase conversion process, continually adjusting the input and output modules of the converter to maintain perfectly balanced three-phase power under all load conditions.
Like rotary and static phase converters, a digital phase converter generates a third voltage, which is added to L1 and L2 of single-phase service to create three-phase power. There the similarity ends.
A process called double-IGBT conversion generates the third voltage. Double conversion means that AC power from the utility is converted to DC, then back to AC. The power switching devices used in this process are insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT).
The input module, or rectifier, consists of IGBTs in series with inductors. Operating at a switching frequency of 10 kHz, the IGBTs are controlled by software in the DSP to draw current from the single-phase line in a sinusoidal fashion, charging capacitors on a constant voltage DC bus. Because the incoming current is sinusoidal, there are no significant harmonics generated back onto the line as there are with the crude rectifiers found in most VFDs. The electronic power factor correction on the input module also corrects the power factor of any inductive loads so that the utility sees a system that operates at near unity power factor. The power factor correction makes digital phase converters very efficient and utility friendly.
The output module, or inverter, consists of IGBTs that draw on the power of the DC bus to create an AC voltage. A voltage created by power switching devices like IGBTs is not sinusoidal. It is a pulse-width-modulated (PWM) waveform very high in harmonic distortion. This PWM voltage is then passed through an inductor/capacitor filter system that produces a sine wave voltage with less than 3% total harmonic distortion (standards for computer grade power allow up to 5% THD). By contrast, VFDs generate a PWM voltage that limits their versatility and makes them unsuitable for many applications. Software in the DSP continually monitors and adjusts this generated voltage to produce a balanced three-phase output at all times. It also provides protective functions by shutting down in case of utility over-voltage and under-voltage or a fault. With the ability to adjust to changing conditions and maintain perfect voltage balance, a digital phase converter can safely and efficiently operate virtually any type of three-phase equipment or any number of multiple loads.
The solid state design results in a relatively small package with no moving parts except for small cooling fans. The converters are very efficient, operating at 95-98% efficiency. When the converter is energized with no load, it consumes very little power.
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  #13  
Old April 27th, 2014, 03:18 PM
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this is what I'm going for

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Old April 27th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDI Guy View Post
Doug. I bought a phase converter a few years back to run some shop equipment. Not expensive and works great. Also has a small dial where u can adjust the output or motor speed on lathe. Really cool
This is what I have. We use it to run a 3 phase lathe. Works pretty good.
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Old April 28th, 2014, 04:18 PM
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I use VFDs, they are not for everything but they work well and are cheap (down to 150 bucks), plus the programmable ramp, up, built-in resistor brakes etc. are nice.

Doug, what do you want to run? If it's anything that has gears or belts to vary speed, look at a VFD, it turned my old-ass Bridgeport into a weapon with infinitely variable speeds instead of having to mess with damn belts every time.
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Old April 28th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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JL,
old Delta Rockwell 5hp 13x6 planer @ present but looking @ other devices.

Since I already have the 7.5hp motor I'm going to proceed with that course of action.
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Old April 28th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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Sounds like you have it, but if pictures help, way I went for overhead crane. Too rural for three phase here. Works good.



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Other stuff is for security system but basically throw switch to engage three phase.
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Old April 28th, 2014, 07:43 PM
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Uncle Douglas:
I have a friend and neighbor who is an advanced electrician and works at the local waste water treatment plants, so he can talk shit...

He works with electrical engineers and does a lot of 3 phase work.
When I bought a 3 phase Onan diesel generator, he checked it out and explained the phase conversion and was very clear how it all worked.
I can arrange a call when I'm not working on an engine for a guy named Richard who has a farm near Lynchburg VA.
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Old April 28th, 2014, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdavisinva View Post
Uncle Douglas:
I have a friend and neighbor who is an advanced electrician and works at the local waste water treatment plants, so he can talk shit...

He works with electrical engineers and does a lot of 3 phase work.
When I bought a 3 phase Onan diesel generator, he checked it out and explained the phase conversion and was very clear how it all worked.
I can arrange a call when I'm not working on an engine for a guy named Richard who has a farm near Lynchburg VA.
Finish the engine you are building for Richard's customer so Richard can install it. Phase converter will sort itself.
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  #20  
Old April 29th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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oilburner
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JL
large pile of parts
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: No guns, no crime, no one
Posts: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
JL,
old Delta Rockwell 5hp 13x6 planer @ present but looking @ other devices.

Since I already have the 7.5hp motor I'm going to proceed with that course of action.
It makes sense for that, big VFDs are $$$$.
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1994 Defender 110 300TDI 3 door
Series/Defender 6BT/NV4500 crew cab project (slowly merging with the above)
Diesel-swapped 1994 80 series Land-cruiser
And a difflocked 4wd turbodiesel Lambo
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