Phas a matic Rotary Converter Rip Off?

OK group... what am I missing? I just bought a brand new surplus, 1 HP commercial Phas a Matic rotary converter. Retails for $405.00 new..
bought it for $50.00. I figured it was worth 50.00 as it is truely brand new.
Went to their website http://www.phase-a-matic.com/RotaryDescription.htm , read all the great stuff about how good their rotary is blah, blah blah , and well, I figured got a good deal. So lets see whats inside......
Opened up the metal enclosure on top to see the guts of the unit and what do I see.... nothing but a SINGLE 30 microfared oil filled capacitor. No potential relay, no banks of capacitors to balance the phases, no fuses, no nothing else. One single starting capacitor.
THIS is worth $405.00 retail.. a 1HP Baldor motor with one single 30 uf capacitor?????
Is there something special in the rotor of the motor that I am missing? Is there something in the wire? Please someone let me know why and how Phase a Matic gets away with this BS!!!
Steve Koschmann
Second question... can I parallel a standard 2HP 3 phase motor with this 1 HP unit and try to get a 3 HP converter going? Should I balance the phases of the 1 HP unit and or the combined 1 and 2 HP (=3 HP) units?
Steve
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People will spend 1-2$ for bottled water 20$ for the parts 200$ for the name "Profit" is the name of the game
Happy Holidays! tt
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Just like folks always tell me when they see some of my projects. How could you build that, those things are made in factories.......duh! I would say a little too much money in the persons pocket and not enough initiative or willingness to tackle building one from scratch........why I bet it costs them a lot of money to have their stickers drawn up and made...........Phas-A-Matic, has a special ring to it, doesn't it? No wonder it costs the $$$ they ask for it! If you wholeheartedly think you were ripped, imagine what those folks reading this thread feels like that paid the Retail price......... Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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Koschamnn says...

It's not a *motor*. It's a phase converter.
Now you know why most of use here roll our own.
Make the idler big enough, and you can leave out the capacitor, too.
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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On Mon, 08 Dec 2003 21:09:03 GMT, Steve Koschamnn put forth the notion that...

It is a rip-off, but they're a big company with a lot of overhead. You're paying for a name.
You want a good 3 HP phase converter? Try one of mine:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item%80033737
This model doesn't have run caps. Phase voltages vary by approximately 10% maximum. The same converter tuned with run caps will be balanced to approximately 3% or less. In most applications, the run caps aren't necessary. My converters use a contactor through a DPST toggle switch to turn them on. A voltage sensing relay switches the starting cap(s) out of the circuit when the user-provided idler motor comes up to speed. Startup to full speed takes just a fraction of a second.
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snip

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Sounds like the one or two or three that I have built as well as what most of the regulars here have built already and also like the one Bob S has an article in HSM on. I have plans for it on my website for FREE Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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On Tue, 09 Dec 2003 01:41:24 GMT, Roy put forth the notion that...

Yep, it ain't rocket science. The circuit has been around for ages. I've had people tell me they wouldn't bother trying to build one for what I sell them for. I'm not getting rich doing it, but I'm retired now, and I enjoy building them... plus it keeps me out of trouble. BTW, I stumbled across your web site long before I found this group, and I must say, you've got some great information there.
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Checkmate wrote:

Your units seem to be priced pretty reasonably.
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 02:42:18 GMT, ATP put forth the notion that...

I make maybe $40 on the small ones, and that's only because I'm buying the parts in large enough quantities to get a bit of a price break. Still, I'd rather be making these every day than only selling one or two a week. I've got three to build tonight... otherwise, I'd just be lying on my ass watching the tube.
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On Mon, 08 Dec 2003 21:09:03 GMT, the renowned "Steve Koschamnn"

A guy trying to sell one to me used the line that he'd never attach his expensive machinery to a home-made converter..
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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There's one born every minute .. - GWE
Steve Koschamnn wrote:

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Steve Koschamnn wrote...

You can definitely increase your power capacity by adding another idler motor. You might want to start the 2HP motor first, and then run the 1HP off that, but with no load on either motor, I'd hazard (!) a guess that you won't damage anything going the other way around. I don't know for sure on the balancing question, but I suspect you want to balance the phases and power factor with both motors running, and perhaps with a "typical" load (electrical) applied.
Jim
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I have seen many, many static phase converters built and used succesfully on all types of motorized equiptment with the exception of air compressors. I use one to power my 7.5hp pacemaker lathe. I have never seen the need to be running an idler if you are only going to be operatiing motors of fractional or up to 1 or 2 horsepower. Mainly the only reason I built my superlarge static unit was to prove it can be done and that it works very well. It also has alot of run caps and all phases are within 2.5 amps of each other under load. I don't call that single phasing at all. My father built about 12-15 STATIC phase converters for a fellow that was moving his whole machineshop from town (3 ph power) to his home (single phase). Since pretty much everything was not under load when started they went the static converter route. That has been 10-15 years ago and as could be expected they have had acouple caps release their magic smoke but no biggie, repairs are quick, cheap and easy and no big motor sitting running turning the ole power meter faster. I plan on setting up a rotary unit in the near future only because a new mill I bought really needs the cleaner power of the rotary unit, otherwise it would be on a static unit. Most small phase converters I have built I have little or no money in them. They can also be used to start a rotary phase converter as well. The 7.5hp static unit I built I had just over 100.00 in it and that was with 100% new components. Oh yes, one other thing I have been an Journeyman wireman(industrial and commercial) for 17 years. My father was a locomotive electrician from the mid 50's till 1964 and then an Industrial/commercial electrician till he retired a few years ago. Looks like I am going to have to run down to the supply house and buy a large lot of goodies and start making up some add-a-phase units, at a 100.00 a crack wowwiieeee,,, Im in the money,,
good luck
tim
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One reason that a rotary converter might be preferred is that it provides plug (instant) reversing for dynamic braking and for operations such as threading to a shoulder.

A 5 hp idler motor consumes about 200 watts of power when unloaded. That's a *lot* less than the lighting load in my basement shop, so I don't consider power draw to be a disadvantage to rotary converters.
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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On 09 Dec 2003 01:29:12 GMT, TSJABS put forth the notion that...

But it is single phasing. It's also acting as an idler and generating power on the third leg... which is what you're measuring, but not utilizing. Your run caps are creating a better balance between the two "real" legs and the manufactured leg, but you're not deriving any benefit from it, because it's the only motor in your circuit, and it's only running on the power from the single phase source. A rotary converter is nothing more than a static converter being used to start an idler motor, which in turn is used to generate power on the third leg to properly run something else. Some people buy my rotary converters and use them as static converters... it just depends on the application. Personally, I'd rather not put a three phase motor under a mechanical load if it was running in a single phase condition. Before I started building rotaries, I used to start up my Bridgeport on a static converter and use it as the idler when I wanted to run my lathe, because the lathe wouldn't start with the static converter alone. Now I can start and run anything, and not have to worry about it overheating.

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I took apart a 7.5hp commercial phase converter - I forget the brand but it was not a Phase-a-matic. It was the Hanrahan self starting circuit with a bucket of caps inside a box mounted on the side of a Chinese imported 3ph motor. I connected it up for my neighbor in his shop. Seems to work just fine, but it is sure noisy.

Yes. Start the 1hp unit first since it already has a start cap, then turn on the second idler.

If you will be running the 1hp unit by itself sometimes, balance it by itself. Balance the 2hp unit with its own capacitors while both motors running if you are going to use it that way.
Fitch
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I built my self starting rotary converter with a $10 surplus 5hp motor and a bunch of salvaged run caps, it works good for my sand mullor which starts under load. Further more it becomes more ballanced as I add more load.
wrote:

1
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