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As an Electrician by Trade, and a lifelong Woodworker, as I look at quality tools available for sale, many are three phase. I see some very nice Powermatic tools which the seller struggles to get sold, due to the limited number of persons with three phase electrical service. This type of service is normally found in large commercial, and industrial buildings.

My questions is: Does anyone here have any end user experience with a tool which has had a phase converter installed on it, to enable it to work in your shop?
 

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I have a VFD on a Baldor motor for my lathe. This isn't a factory job, but rather someone did a fair amount of work to upgrade the lathe to a variable speed control. The VFD is an industrial GE unit, and the whole thing really works well. If you go over to OWWM a ton of guys over there use an RPC and couldn't be happier. In fact they claim that since the 3 phrase motor is so much more simple to work on having it with a convertor of some sort is far superior to a single phase motor.
 

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As an Electrician by Trade, and a lifelong Woodworker, as I look at quality tools available for sale, many are three phase. I see some very nice Powermatic tools which the seller struggles to get sold, due to the limited number of persons with three phase electrical service. This type of service is normally found in large commercial, and industrial buildings.

My questions is: Does anyone here have any end user experience with a tool which has had a phase converter installed on it, to enable it to work in your shop?
That's easy. You could just install a rotary phase converter in your shop or a VFD. I have two machines that run on three phase and I live in the country miles from three phase. A three phase motor can run on single phase power if you had another motor to get it turning. It wouldn't run very well and would lack power but it would run. Then if you attach a second three phase motor it would run a lot better. This is the concept behind a rotary phase converter. It is a three phase motor rigged with capacitors to get it running and when you turn on your machine the power is there because you have two motors running. The unit I have also has capacitors that will bump up the power on L3 to 220v to make up for the loss of power so it runs nearly as good as regular three phase power.
 

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Every piece of machinery I have is 3phase. I have a 200amp single phase service. Everything is run from a 15hp rotary phase converter.
I am able to buy industrial quality machines for chump change, that will out last my children.
I was wondering, do you keep a back up phase converter. With your shop depending on the converter it would be a nightmare if the thing went down.
 

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I was wondering, do you keep a back up phase converter. With your shop depending on the converter it would be a nightmare if the thing went down.
No back up. If the idler motor melted down, I could have a spare one swapped out in a few minutes. I have a good motion supply house in town. The electrical parts are easily sourced in town, except for the solid state controls, but my panel was built by a shop an hour from home and they would run parts to me if need be.

Other then one bad connection, it has performed flawlessly for 2 years.
 

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No back up. If the idler motor melted down, I could have a spare one swapped out in a few minutes. I have a good motion supply house in town. The electrical parts are easily sourced in town, except for the solid state controls, but my panel was built by a shop an hour from home and they would run parts to me if need be.

Other then one bad connection, it has performed flawlessly for 2 years.
I'm not so lucky. I don't have an extra motor and I would have to go 50 miles for parts. As I'm acquiring more three phase equipment I worry about depending on the converter. It was used when I bought it so I don't know it's history. Occasionally I think I probably should have a back up and was wondering if you had one.
 
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