Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

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Patio
Posts: 1221
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:14 pm
Location: Centralia Wa

Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by Patio » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:49 pm

I figure asking for an opinion would jaw some interest.

I just sold my rotary phase converter, to a customer, so I could put a VFD on my mill. I have a knock off, 2 horse mill, with a three phase motor. I also have a SB10L lathe with a 1/2 horse single phase motor on it. I intend to install a 1hp, three phase motor on the lathe someday. I only have single phase in the shop, in a 90A panel. I think it might be a good idea to over size the VFD for future expansion, as I only am going to buy one. I will run all my machines from it, and understand most of the issues of doing so. My budget for the VFD and accessories is $500.

Questions!
What is, the largest size, most likely needed, for machines, used in a home shop?
What brand do you recommend, because of reliability and features?
Where would you buy from, and why?

Thanks in advance for all replies. I will keep you all posted as to how it all comes out.
Live for the moment!
Prepare for tomorrow!
Forgive the past!

lakeside53
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:44 am
Location: Woodinville, WA

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by lakeside53 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:20 pm

IMO.... the new Hitachi WJ200 series is way ahead of anything else similar. For general purpose use buy a 2.2kw unit (3 or 4hp depending on useage). I just installed one - about $338 including shipping. If you want fast acceleration, a 2hp BP motor will draw current like a 3hp easily (the later BPs simply rated the 2hp motor as "3hp for 30 minutes"); you need to overrate the vfd to match. Your mill motor may or may not have the same characteristics, but for the $ I wouldn't bother with the the 1.5kw.

https://www.driveswarehouse.com/p-2533-wj200-022lf.aspx

JTiers
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Location: Missouri

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by JTiers » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:50 pm

The only "kicker" on using a much oversized VFD is that the overload stuff won't work unless reset to the correct values for the small motors, and then back for the bigger ones later, which you will not want to do every time you switch machines. So you end up with VFD settings good for your largest motor, and capable of frying the smallest, pretty much just like any 3 phase power line.

You could need to have an in-line overload set to protect the smaller motors. Yes, that will put a switch in-line with the VFD output, but don't worry about that. Any decent VFD is proof against damage from that. (I have designed a couple, and I don't even know how to make one that would both *actually work*, and yet also isn't proof against a switch opening the output. )

hammermill
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Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by hammermill » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:43 am

being a sparky pat should be able to find some overload blocks and wire them in series with the stop button( e stop)

i have been using a lot a abb drives of late because i can get oem pricing on them and the motors.

many doit yourselfs are using teco drives and even seeing some machines with offshore drives that look like hitachi,s.

lakeside53
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Location: Woodinville, WA

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by lakeside53 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:28 am

It only takes seconds to change the basic max current for the drive if you change motors. However, a mill is not lathe, so you'd likely want to change your accel, decel and braking also. Then there's the input switches... and.. and... :wink: All depends on how you want to use it.

The Hitachi WJ200 allows you to save two complete profiles and switch from one to the other. Heck, you could leave your computer USB plugged into the drive and change entire parameter sets (many 100's of registers) at the click of a key.

On the other hand... I doubt the SB 1/2hp has any form of overload right now, so...

STRR
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Westminster, CO

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by STRR » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:48 am

Lakeside53,

First let me say, I have no practical experience with VFD's. I went to the web site you linked to. From what I can tell, the WJ200 VFD seems to be pretty impressive compared to a few others I have taken a quick look at.

In the spec. list, I noticed; Location: 1000m or less. Why would altitude affect a VFD? I can understand temp. and humidity, but not altitude. With 1000m being about 3200 feet, I can't use the WJ200 in Denver, Colorado (5,280 ft.), if altitude is a limiting factor. This is puzzling and might be a major consideration for Patio, or not....

Good Luck Patio and thank you Lakeside53.

Terry Miller

joshuaj97
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Location: woodland park CO

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by joshuaj97 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:04 am

check out a brand called AC Tech they are american made, precision electric is the name of the dealer i purchased a couple from, very good people to deal with, cant remember where precision electic is but they also sell off of ebay, shouldnt be hard to find

Russ Hanscom
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Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by Russ Hanscom » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:08 am

The altitude limit is most likely due to cooling as air is less dense at higher elevations. It will still work at higher elevations but at slightly reduced loads.

Most equipment with cooling has some form of altitude load reduction but it may not be well publisized.

JTiers
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Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:55 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by JTiers » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:11 am

ACTech is made for a US company (Lenze Americas), but I am pretty sure they are "globally sourced" (made in "chasia")
STRR wrote: In the spec. list, I noticed; Location: 1000m or less. Why would altitude affect a VFD? I can understand temp. and humidity, but not altitude. With 1000m being about 3200 feet, I can't use the WJ200 in Denver, Colorado (5,280 ft.), if altitude is a limiting factor.
Generally density of the air and cooling..... and they are probably being somewhat conservative, as higher altitudes are usually cooler.

STRR
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Westminster, CO

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by STRR » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:17 am

Thank you gentlemen. I hadn't thought about cooling at altitude. Seems, the indoor ambient temperature, and type of enclosure (if any), would be a much larger considerations. I appreciate your input.

Cheers,
Terry

MarkBall2
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Location: Yuma AZ

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by MarkBall2 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:42 am

I have a TECO drive I purchased through Wolf Automation
http://www.wolfautomation.com/products/ ... nev-series

It's for a 2 hp, 3 phase output, single phase input drive. Go to the website & select the drive you want, the manual is downloaded & tells you how to hook it up. When you are ready to order, call Debbie at Wolf, she is a gem to work with.
I haven't always been a nurse...........

sch
Posts: 276
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 7:51 pm

Re: Opinions needed! VFD, what brand and where to buy?

Post by sch » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:48 pm

Minor consideration, VFD should be connected to a load whenever powered up, J TIers has faith that it will be protected if not but the manufacturers
assume it will ALWAYS be directly connected to an appropriate load when powered up. So, if you unplug your mill and plug in your lathe you risk
blowing the output stages of the device. Might get away with it for a year or so, might not. Best figure out a way to turn the VFD off before unplugging
one machine and plugging in the other. An on/off switch in the VFD output circuit is a bad idea. You need something mechanical you have to unscrew,
flip open or otherwise jog your memory to TURN THE VFD OFF, before switching machines. Oh, just further complicate, those monster capacitors in the
output circuit of the vfd take 5-10 seconds to discharge so it is not OFF til the lights go out. Finally attention should be paid to single phase derating
some vfd have above 3 hp, a few can run up to 5 HP without derating on single phase input, but most derate above 3 HP. Besides J TIers was referring
to the overload scenario, very rare, not the mill to lathe or vice versa switch over.

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