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  1. #1
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    Default best inexpensive vfd?

    I am looking at getting some small VFD's to run a couple of bench lathes (3/4 to 1-1/2HP), and also a couple of industrial sewing machines.

    who makes a good, low priced one? are there any of any price range still made here in the USA, or at least not in china?

    i was looking at these, mostly because they are cheap:

    http://dealerselectric.com/item.asp?cID=&PID=999

    does anyone have any experience with these in terms of quality, and are there any particular VFD's that one should avoid all together?


    also, I was wondering if VFD's that can run off of 115V single ° like this GE one I linked to need de-rating for HP/amperage when running off of the lower voltage and outputting 208 3°?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
    I am looking at getting some small VFD's to run a couple of bench lathes (3/4 to 1-1/2HP), and also a couple of industrial sewing machines.

    who makes a good, low priced one? are there any of any price range still made here in the USA, or at least not in china?
    I don't think any of the major brand VFDs being sold here in the US are made in "China" yet, at least not the entire thing. But many are made in Taiwan, and they are very good products. Most are made in Asia somewhere; Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, a few in Japan still. The only mfr I know of left in the US for small HP drives is AC Tech, and I'm not sure if their newest ones are still made here or elsewhere now. A-B still makes their larger drives in the US, but the small ones are all brand-labeled from Asian suppliers. ABB makes their larger drives for the US market in the US (Milwuakee area) but even for them, I think the small ones are Asian. Toshiba used to have a VFD assembly plant in Texas, I hear they shut it down recently.

    i was looking at these, mostly because they are cheap:

    http://dealerselectric.com/item.asp?cID=&PID=999


    does anyone have any experience with these in terms of quality, and are there any particular VFD's that one should avoid all together?
    The GE drives are actually Fuji, a Japanese company, probably made in Malaysia. That's kind of the way things are now with small cheap drives; American company name, Japanese or European engineering, cheap Asian labor for assembly. Good drives though, nothing wrong with them. But understand that Dealers Electric is a surplus house, so most of their product is NOS (New Old Stock) from someone else, not necessarily the manufacturer (unless they are dumping old product when a new line comes out). Some people don't care and like the pricing, but recognize that they are not experts on the drives they sell, they are brokers. If you want support, buy from official distributors who are required to have trained people on staff as part of their dealership.


    also, I was wondering if VFD's that can run off of 115V single ° like this GE one I linked to need de-rating for HP/amperage when running off of the lower voltage and outputting 208 3°?
    Most VFDs 5 HP and under will accept 1 phase in and give you 3 phase out without de-rating.
    Several (if not most) also offer versions like this that have a "voltage doubler" in them which allows you to give it 120V single phase in, 240V 3 phase out up to about 1HP max. The Dealer's Electric web page description doesn't make that clear, but that's the way it works. You can always program a VFD to limit the voltage to anything less than it's rating, i.e. 208V instead of 230V, that is inherent in the design.

    I personally like the Teco drives. For your applications I think you would like the EV Series; inexpensive, very easy to program, good quality. A lot of people who frequent this site like them too. Others like the Hitachi J Series, nothing wrong with that drive either.

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    thanks,

    I will check the teco drives out.

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    Although I prefer american made, I am o.k. with foreign made stuff, but it seems that the PRC is making EVERYTHING now. I don't want to support having one dominant trading partner if we are not going to make stuff ourselves. just gives them too much power long term.

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    I have 2 Westinghouse/TECO FM50 VDF drives I use one to power my lathe and the other for my knee mill I like them very much, thy are solid devices and do a great job for me.

    Marci

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    I can't get anyone to answer this question directly so far :
    Do they or do they not make noise , and if so , is it very annoying ?
    Thank you , Peter .

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    I buy all my drives from AutomationDirect. Good prices, great service. The motors tend to whine slightly when used with a VFD, and no, it won't bother you.

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    My TECO/Westinghouse VFD doesn't make any noise when plugged-in but not actually running the motor. If it makes noise when running the motor, I never hear it. I installed one on my Grob bandsaw:

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterJ View Post
    I can't get anyone to answer this question directly so far :
    Do they or do they not make noise , and if so , is it very annoying ?
    Thank you , Peter .
    They make a high pitch squeak from the motor when running. you can adjust the switching frequency to make it less. usually the machine noise drowns most of it out.

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    Whatever you do make sure you get a complete manual. A friend bought a unit and got nothing but a quick start manual with very little helpful advice.
    Also you need to keep in mind that the VFD must connect directly to the motor, he was not told that until the third call to a tecnician.
    His application is a lathe with a reversing motor and because of the motor protection in the VFD he no longer will use the motor starter in the lathe. There will be much of the control wiring in the lathe disconnected and reversing micro switches in the lathe will have to be tied into the VFD.
    This is a tough area and most VFD's are a great investment but make sure your particuliar application is discussed fully with the manufacurer and you both understand what your objective is!

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    I use both an A&B and a Hitachi SJ 300 sensor less vector on a 5hp
    It dose have a Winnie sound, nothing that is going to blow your eardrums out
    I have been running the SJ 300 for about 10yrs with out any problems. It can display amps or htz mode picked it up from AUTOMATION DIRECT for less than Ż the price than [email protected]

    joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterJ View Post
    I can't get anyone to answer this question directly so far :
    Do they or do they not make noise , and if so , is it very annoying ?
    Thank you , Peter .
    Hi Peter,
    Direct answer to your question.
    Yes they make some noise. The Hitachi SJ200 on my mill is inside the control cabinet and if it makes noise when the coolant pump is on, the spindle is on and the shop radio is on, I can't hear it.

    On My Monarch lathe which I have just installed a GE/Fuji on there is an electronic hum/whine but it is not annoying and is much better than the sound of an RPC running all day. This is not in a cabinet but I think it will be installed in one later for safety reasons and to prevent chips from getting inside it and ruining it.

    The GE/Fuji on my CNC lathe is enclosed in the control cabinet but I haven't run the spindle enough to give an accurate description of its sound characteristics.

    Mike

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    Do they or do they not make noise , and if so , is it very annoying ?
    That all depends on the sensitivity of your ears. If you've shot lots of .44 Magnum, or worked in a factory, most drives are pretty quiet. If you've never been exposed to loud or high pitched noise, a VFD may be bothersome. I like the sound signature, but others hate it

    -----------
    Barry Milton

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    I have three different models of TECO drives, which perform quite well. One of these runs off 115 volts. I must have the same hearing acuity as precisionworks, since I really don't hear any of them with all the shop background noise.

    Their operation does interfere with the AM radio. The other problem with the 115 volt operation is that the VFD unit trips out the most conveniently located GFI outlet. I have to run an extension cord over to another GFI which is not as sensitive to the EMF these things generate.

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    from what I have read, if you use properly shielded cable between the VFD and the motor you can do a lot to dampen the stray frequencies messing with your radio.

    I wonder if the extension cord is somehow dampening the HF on the power inputs that trips your GFCI plug? you can also put a small inductor in line with the inputs to reduce noise into the power lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
    I am looking at getting some small VFD's to run a couple of bench lathes (3/4 to 1-1/2HP), and also a couple of industrial sewing machines.

    who makes a good, low priced one? are there any of any price range still made here in the USA, or at least not in china?

    i was looking at these, mostly because they are cheap:

    http://dealerselectric.com/item.asp?cID=&PID=999

    does anyone have any experience with these in terms of quality, and are there any particular VFD's that one should avoid all together?


    also, I was wondering if VFD's that can run off of 115V single ° like this GE one I linked to need de-rating for HP/amperage when running off of the lower voltage and outputting 208 3°?
    If you are looking for a quality US made VFD for a reasonable price I highly recommend Telemechanique by Schneider Electric. For a new unit a single phase 230v input and three phase 230v output up to 400hZ with RPM settings, discrete I/O and MODBUS the distributor (Graybar Electric out of Tacoma WA) was able to get the price down to $300. PN# ATV12HU22M2. The reason I like them are:

    (1) Solid product
    (2) Reasonable pricing
    (3) EXCELLENT technical support

    I tried communicating with TECO and Lenze, I had to leave messages. Schneider Electric always answered with a very minimal wait time and offered the highest degree of technical support that can be provided...never rude, very thorough, always got through, etc...as far as I am concerned they are the best all around. Hope that helps someone!

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    + on AutomationDirect. Good product, great support f you need it, fast shipping, good manuals. We've installed at least 30-50 here, and maybe 1 failure (covered under warranty) in the last 6 years. Some are older than that. Did I mention they are dead easy to program? If you can't program one of these, give up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TorchHypnosis View Post
    If you are looking for a quality US made VFD for a reasonable price I highly recommend Telemechanique by Schneider Electric ...
    Not US made, not even a US company. Schneider is French and although their larger drives sold in North America are built at a Toshiba plant in Texas, the small inexpensive versions of their drives (ATV 12 and 312) are made in Indonesia.

    The only remaining control products company that is a US corporation is Rockwell now (Allen Bradley), but their small drives (PowerFlex 4 and 5) are designed at their factory in Singapore and made there or in Taiwan.

    Eaton is now an Irish corporation (as a tax dodge), but even though they have factories here for other things, all of their drives are foreign sourced from Vacon (Finnish), who is now owned by Danfoss (Netherlands).

    GE was bought by ABB (Swiss) and nobody knows what's going to happen with their brand-labeled Danfoss drives now. But ABB's small drives are all coming from China, Indonesia or Taiwan.

    Siemens is obviously German but even their small drives are now coming from China and India.

    AutomationDestruct doesn't manufacture anything, they are just a marketing company for products made by others. Their drives are made by Delta out of Taiwan with an A-D badge on them.

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    Most of us in the knifemaking world use the KB Electronics VFD's with great success. They offer a line of Nema 4x/IP 65 sealed inverter VFDs that can run up to 2hp (derated to 1.5hp, 1.5hp and lower are not derated btw.) 3 phase motors on 110v single phase input. I know others can do this also, but this is the supported application for such. The KBAC-25 and KBAC-27D are the ones most use, there's tons of these out in various setups, being exposed to constant abrasive grit and metal powder, along with usually lots of water splash from dunking or wet grinding.

    They offer other drives for 3ph input or various larger sizes, and up to 3HP from 220V single phase input (supported). Myself, I've had a dozen, and a couple of close friends who manufacture grinders for this market, have sold thousands of them, with extremely low failure rates, and KB usually repairs them (domestically) in the sub-$100 price range, with quick turn around. Even when damage is due to operator error.



    Some models are dead simple with old-school rubber boot capped switches and a speed pot (and internal micro-pots and jumpers for adjustment), but pin outs for remote options, or digital with Freq display etc, if you prefer that.

    They're extremely competitive in terms of price, especially for the enclosure/nema rating. I can't say enough good about them. The 2hp 110/220v 1p input model (KBAC-27D) can be found for under $400 new. The KBAC-25 (1hp max, 110/220v 1p input)) is like $250.


    They don't overheat and don't need fans. Dust and coolant proof, washdown rated. Great performance, with enough features to make them tuneable to random non-inverter motors, but without a fucking pile of obscure digital menu bullshit with an equally obfuscated manual. Simple and effective, especially for machines where contamination is a concern.

    For me, machines come down to 3 categories 1) needs a Nema 4x rated VFD: get KB. 2) Just needs variable speed in a location that lets me mount somewhere clean, and is 2hp or under: buy a cheap chinese ebay special for $100 or so. 3) Too big to justify a VFD; hook up to rotary and deal with it's speeds.


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