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    Default Opinions on lower cost VFDs?

    I am putting a BP 2J1.5 into my garage for home use. I have chosen to use a VFD instead of a rotary. I am avoiding the extra-cheap eBay VFD's and am looking at units from AutomationDirect.com or FactoryMation.com. Most of the VFD's I've seen from those vendors start in the $250-$300 range for what I'm looking for (230V 1ph input, 230V 3ph output, 2hp). I do expect they are probably Chinese made. Does anyone have any experience with them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarbell View Post
    I am putting a BP 2J1.5 into my garage for home use. I have chosen to use a VFD instead of a rotary. I am avoiding the extra-cheap eBay VFD's and am looking at units from AutomationDirect.com or FactoryMation.com. Most of the VFD's I've seen from those vendors start in the $250-$300 range for what I'm looking for (230V 1ph input, 230V 3ph output, 2hp). I do expect they are probably Chinese made. Does anyone have any experience with them?
    Engineering and QC are all about major brand NAME, and the preserving OF it, not where major-brand puts the factory. MOST are in PRC.

    Your dealer choices are OK. More crucial is which brand of the many they carry suits you.

    "Cheap" seems always to be paid for twice, unplanned down-time and arse-tube pain part of that. A mere hundred bucks, up front, can make a large diff in longevity in these smaller sizes.

    Personally, in 2 HP, I'd use the same maker as my DC Drives. KB. No digital readout or number pad, yah set it up with a screwdriver.

    But the MAIN reason is the great NEMA 4X die-cast "washdown" rated CASE with protected switches and such so it can mount right where you need it - no controls to "remote". A more vulnerable VFD has to live up in the joists or over on a wall - even the other SIDE of a wall.

    OTHER makers offer NEMA 4X cases, too. They charge more. KB seems to use the one case for nearly all their drives, AC or DC, so they have a bit of volume advantage to that, plus many years of experience.

    BIG budget? Yaskawa. The "industrial" models. Wire and forget.

    2CW

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    When a company with a reputation to preserve sells them, they may be better.

    On epay, joe blow and han chung can be here today and gone when the problems start.

    Note that one notorious brand" or source is not even allowed here... we just are not gonna supply free support for the POS'.

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    We just had this thread a couple weeks ago. I use one of the Automation Direct GS2 VFDs with my surface grinder and couldn't be happier. The price is decent and IMO there's nothing second rate about them. Naturally they're only as good as your ability to read the manual and use it exactly as directed.

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    Of the two choices you offered, neither of them is the actual MANUFACTURER of the VFDs they sell. AutomationDestruct is copmpany based out of Japan who started life as Koyo Electronics who brand-labeled PLCs for big companies like GE and Allen Bradley. When those companies, moved on to sell their own products. Koyo reinvented themselves as a reseller named PLC Direct and when the Internet came to life in the 90s, started using the name AutomationDirect.com, then eventually changed their name of that reseller arm to that. Koyo only makes PLCs, but the AD arm eventually came up with their own brand name of VFDs, "Durapulse" which are brand-labeled from a Taiwanese manufacturer named Delta. Delta makes a decent drive and in fact they make many of the small inexpensive drives that you see marketed under some of the big names in the industry. They are of decent quality but are not spectacular, they are a drive intended to get the job done, nothing more.

    FactoryMation is a US based reseller as well, although they don't go the extra mile to create their own brand name, they just sell drives made by TECO (Taiwan Electric Company). As it happens, Teco owns the lion's share of FactoryMation, that's why you don't see them selling other brands. TECO drives are also decent quality, but what FactoryMation sells are last year's models; they are essentially the "factory outlet store" for TECO so that they don't technically compete with TECO's other authorized distributors. Is that a bad thing? I happen not to think so, but the one aspect to be wary of is that the cheapest versions they offer are the oldest ones, so they are either no longer manufactured, or soon will be taken off the market. That matters in terms of features and benefits, as well as long range support. Once a company stops making something complex like a VFD, the parts to fix them start becoming rare. But here's the thing about that; these drives are too cheap to fix anyway, they are all "throw away" drives. So take that as you like.

    I've used both, they are fine but i GUESS i PREFER THE TECO drives over the AD / Delta ones.

    And lest you make a mistake and elicit some ire, from the Taiwanese perspective Taiwan is NOT China...

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    In the past 6 months or so I've purchased 2 Teco FM50 2 HP drives from Factorymation. One for my Bridgeport, one for my SB lathe. I've been very happy with both. Good price, free shipping and no sales tax. The drives are simple to connect and set up.

    Sure, there are better drives out there, but none that I know of for the price ($167 shipped). I don't care if they are old stock. Hey, if I bought them a few years ago they would have been state of the art!

    Ted

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    I have used several of the automation direct drives and they have been great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jraef View Post
    And lest you make a mistake and elicit some ire, from the Taiwanese perspective Taiwan is NOT China...
    That cuts several directions.

    The Republic of China (Taiwan) gave up its claim on the Peoples Republic of China (mainland) long ago.

    When Marco Borries was still running "Star Division" out of Hamburg, Germany, his krew must have still been rooting for Chiang Kai Shek's ghost to arise and retake the mainland. "One China" mentality, but not the usual one of recent years.

    The OS/2 version of StarOffice was perpetual beta in English language, but solid Gold in German. No problem, that affected the menus, but not what one composed or printed. So I'd order the German one.

    TWICE they shipped my software to Taipei, Republic of China.

    The weird part, of course, is that Hong Kong had not yet been 'handed back'. We were still a BRITISH Crown Colony.

    Nought to do with either entity, save begging mainlanders to flush their toilets more often, summertimes so we had water to purchase - and of course - pretend to purify.

    Having long-since out-populated our rainwater catchment areas and reservoirs is the "real reason" the UK gave up the "perpetual" lease on HKG Island along with the time-expired one on the "New Territories" (Kowloon side, mainland bordered).

    Back to inexpensive - or nearly so - VFD,

    JRaef? Anything new on Hitachi, Weg, or Lenze?

    ??

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    The Teco L510 is inexpensive and commonly used with BP/clone manual mills. They work well enough and they run around $175. They can be run in sensorless vector and support 3 wire control, but the 200V versions do not support an external braking resistor. Less of an issue in contrast to a lathe.
    Teco-Westinghouse, L51-22-H1, 2 HP, Variable Frequency Drive 23 Volt, 1 Phase Input, IP2, at Dea

    I have also had a number of installs with the Automation Direct VFDs, I recommend the GS3 over the GS2, the latter does not have sensorless vector which gives better low speed control. The next level up and about $100 more, there is the ABB, Hitachi WJ200, Yaskawa V1000, to name a few. All will work well, but programming is a bit more intimidating. I have had issues with some of the KB models, so short of using them for a grinder application because of their NEMA 4 rating. Teco also makes a similar model with better programming.

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    Slightly different question in the vein of inexpensive VFD’s - opinion on getting a used Siemens Micromaster in the same power range as I need for about the same price? Better deal or not worth the risk for a used unit? It would be a local purchase, not over flea bay.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarbell View Post
    Slightly different question in the vein of inexpensive VFD’s - opinion on getting a used Siemens Micromaster in the same power range as I need for about the same price? Better deal or not worth the risk for a used unit? It would be a local purchase, not over flea bay.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Price OEM all new capacitors first. Not used or NOS. Check the OEM's manuals, find typically 7 to 9 year recommended refresh, mebbe 12 years on a Yaskawa "industrial" grade.

    They may live longer. Or NOT.

    Reason my Schneider Altivar 71 went to scrap. Good VFD in its time. Too expensive to keep that way.

    That's how they get onto ebay. Company with priorities just buys new ever now and then BEFORE they hit the wall. Cheaper than caps or downtime.

    VFD are like tires or shoes. Consumables.

    You want to be in the bizness of making and selling them. Not buying and using them.

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    Default Opinions on lower cost VFDs?

    I have an ABB ACS150 3hp wired up to my Bridgeport. I have had it a few years now. It works well and wasn’t super expensive. The manual was hard to decipher though. I don’t do Industrial Electronics for a living, only enough to make my machines operate. I think I paid $250-$300 for it locally from Galco Industrial Electronics (Galco Industrial Electronics).

    Recently I purchased a South Bend lathe and I was going to go the ABB route again until I came across the KB Electronics KBAC-24 and the -27 Hybrid vfd’s. Very simple set up, easy to read directions and roboust operation so far. I can instant forward/reverse as you would on normal line 3phase. The ABB will reverse but coasts to a stop then reverses. The KB was more expensive - I spent $450 for the drive and the Signal Isolator board. KB recommends using the SIAC when remote mounting switches. I used the stock Cutler fwd/rev switch and added a remote pot so I needed the SIAC. I am very happy with the KB. I am considering putting a KB on the mill now.Opinions on lower cost VFDs?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarbell View Post
    I am putting a BP 2J1.5 into my garage for home use. I have chosen to use a VFD instead of a rotary. I am avoiding the extra-cheap eBay VFD's and am looking at units from AutomationDirect.com or FactoryMation.com. Most of the VFD's I've seen from those vendors start in the $250-$300 range for what I'm looking for (230V 1ph input, 230V 3ph output, 2hp). I do expect they are probably Chinese made. Does anyone have any experience with them?
    I use a 1hp Automation Direct Drive to power my lathe. I love it. Has RPM and Jog features that work nicely. Was easy to set up and configure. No issues in the last few years with it. And price was right.

    My BP M-head is powered with a 3/4 hp DC motor and a $50 motor control. It's been that way for over 20 years without issues. 3/4 hp is enough for most tasks on this machine. At the time I set it up the cost of VFDs were prohibitive for my home shop. Today I would go with VFD from Automation Direct. That is if my DC setup ever dies.

    Best Regards,
    Bob

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    I digress to disagree that quality and brand name go hand in hand. This is the common misconception that American elitists want you to believe to endorse their products and finesse people into buying them. There was a day that perhaps this mattered and then businessmen became wise to the idea branding and fancy packaging could double the retail price. Unfortunately Americans are suckers for hood packaging and bragging rights. I see enough bragging around the forums and yet nowadays a Bridgeport casting comes from Taiwan and people complain about home bench mills not being up to snuff. I’m sure this includes Taiwanese built models that cost $12,000. They would simply state you over paid. Point being is that Automation Direct makes a fantastic product. Our shop has used cheap to over prices AB and frankly they’re all made over seas. Take a AutoD vector drive apart and find Texas Instruments and many other brand name parts inside. Now do you find brands that have varying options or needs for the end user? Absolutely. Does this mean it’s of lower quality of it doesn’t offer a specific feature? No but it may bring the price down because features cost more money. Will a Huanyang vfd work? Probably however will it last and provide the features you want? Maybe, maybe not, it all comes down to how often you use your machine and whether or not you understand how to use it and of course components inside. Huanyangs are cheap $100 vfd’s, not vector drives. For a mill, lathe, I would highly consider spending the extra or when you are wanting to tap a part at 10hz you may find your spindle stop by merely attempting the first row threads. We’ve tried them all and dollar for dollar the durapulse is right in line in quality, performance, and price. $350 for a unit that comes with solid support and a warranty you can’t shake a stick at for a product we run 16 hours a day they will prove to be suitable for when the home shop user who may find anything over $100 over priced. Everyone’s got an opinion but few have the experience in operations management where they have used a variety of brands and in a variety of conditions which through the test of time will assert whether you’ve wasted money, broken even, or dealt with down time because you didn’t have a backup on the shelf. Further point is you will get all sorts of opinions and elitists will be quick to tell you misinformation and in many cases have zero experience with a product. For any vfd I would spend no less than $250/$300 and probably no more than $500 even in our commercial environment. Take it for what it is and find one that has features you need or even to future proof your needs. Whether manual or CNC or planned retrofit you may take those factors in consideration when purchasing. Do your research, read the manual, and don’t shame a particular country of manufacturer. The statist suggestion that other world countries don’t take pride in their manufacturing is saddening these days. We’re all human, want to make a living, and typically want to provide quality products to niche markets. For this reason you have cheap to expensive and everything in between. This doesn’t necessitate one is better than the other but right in the middle it starts to get so gray you can often not tell any difference from the pushers of elitist brands demanding they must be better because you paid more. If you use the mill once a month it probably won’t make a difference what you buy and it will last a few years or more. If you buy a Huanyang and use it everyday don’t be surprised when it burns out in 6-12 months. Just inspecting their circuitry they have inferior Electronica and poor internal grounding. This will eventually be the cost of $100 vfd.

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    The idea that "china" produces low quality is not really "elitist".... it is a "learned response" because much of what is made in china IS low quality.

    BUT, there is a kicker in this.... the low quality is what was DEMANDED by the importers.... They could get high quality, but they CHOOSE to get the lowest cost from an already low cost source. That gets the importer the most profit.

    But, the US importers are really the ones who are to blame for low quality from china. In fact, it gets worse.... they have "trained" a whole class of contract manufacturers in china to always choose the lowest cost approach. I went through this when a prior employer sourced from china. We had a really hard time getting quality, because we were always offered the lowest cost option, even though we were sourcing our same design, just made there. The manufacturers would substitute low cost poorer components because they "knew" we really wanted the rock bottom cost.

    Well the purchasing dept ended up over-ruling us, and accepting the crappy version, because it was slightly cheaper. But this was NOT because the chinese could not do any better, it was because they were basically told to make it as cheap as possible.

    For very little more, we could have had quality equal to or superior to what we had made ourselves. And the cost would have still been perfectly acceptable, and cheaper than our factory, which was the goal. But purchasing deliberately chose to go to the bottom, The chinese vendors simply assumed that was what was wanted, and it ended up that they were correct.

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    +1 on the Hitachis. Used TECO in the past, they do fine. The autotune
    feature on the hitachi was pretty good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uguessedit View Post
    I digress to disagree that quality and brand name go hand in hand. This is the common misconception that American elitists want you to believe
    I will grant this post with credit for making some clearly true statements, but:

    When one invests time in making such a long response, it is best to avoid 'fighting words'. They paint you as a fool. Second, avoid run-on sentences. Third, separate your ideas in paragraphs. Finally, with your profile (country Uganda, state Colorado, occupation Making Money... ), it impossible to be considered a trustworthy opinion while hiding in the shadows of anonymity.


    ON the subject:

    I have VFDs on most of my active machinery, including, but not limited to Allen-Bradley 1305's, 1336 and 1336S VFDs, a couple of KB's, and an Omron.

    I bought the KBs new, and they work fine for smaller machines. One of the KBs is a DC drive, and it's down right snappy quick. The VFDs... they're okay... As others said, the HMI programming is done with same screwdriver you connected the wiring, which is pleasant in it's own right.

    The REST of my drives... on my lathes, my BP, my radial drill, even my 3hp 3ph electrically-driven power trowel... are one of the old A-B units. They all came to me second-hand, all running the original capacitors, all being fed single phase.

    I'm probably an 'eliteist', and my shop is a 'personal', not commercial business venture- my budget is entirely avocation-grade, but I use these tools to develop solutions for my occupation, and while they don't run 24/7/365, and aren't an uptime-critical thing, I do NOT like to be fixing things each time an electrical storm passes through... and fortunately (knock knock) I have yet to have any problems with ANY of it.

    But I see lots of cheap junk elsewhere, and I'm unfortunately stuck being the guy that has to fix it, so I don't buy it.

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    I put a WEG CFW7 drive on my lathe (3hp) and its pretty decent. I would not hesitate to put one on a Bridgeport. You definitely want to run it in sensorless mode and use a braking resistor. This is Automation direct link but it can be bought cheaper elsewhere. Made in Brazil. I know WEG very well and have been at the plant probably at least 30 times.

    AC Micro Drive: 240 VAC, 2hp with 3-phase input, (VFD) (PN# CFW300A07P3T2NB20) | AutomationDirect

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    That was the 3 phase input. Below is the single phase input, and better yet the one on the bottom is 3 hp single or 3 phase input (that's the one I have on my lathe).

    AC Micro Drive: 240 VAC, 2hp with 1-phase input, (VFD) (PN# CFW300A07P3S2NB20) | AutomationDirect

    AC Micro Drive: 240 VAC, 3hp with 1-phase and 3-phase input, (VFD) (PN# CFW300B10P0B2DB20) | AutomationDirect


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