Phase Converters and Machinery Electronic Controls

A discussion of using phase converters to power shop machinery that has complicated or sensitive onboard electronic circuitry. March 22, 2013

I paid a deposit on a Martin T60 classic 2009 on WOODWEB's Machinery Exchange. I looked at the saw and am very impressed. I paid on condition that it can run on a phase convertor. The seller is not sure that it won't affect the computer. Has anyone tried this? I only have single phase in my shop.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
I went through this with my Casolin slider, which also has plenty of electronics. I've been running mine off my 20HP rotary phase converter for 18 months now and it runs great. I don't know if there's anything specific about the Martin machine that affects this, but I think the important thing is to have either a CNC-rated rotary converter that keeps the voltages on all three legs within a tight range (typically +/- a few % I think), or make sure that the generated leg is only going to the motor and not to the electronic controls. (The main and maybe the scoring motors are likely the only thing on the machine that's 3-phase. Everything else is single phase I'm guessing. So you could call Martin, find out which leg goes to the electronics and make sure that this is not your generated leg.) But overall I think you will be fine. If the Martin has about 10hp total, a phase converter of 20HP should be plenty, though you can likely start it fine on a substantially smaller one. For a while I ran my 9HP Casolin on a 10HP converter. It was a little slow starting up, but ran just fine.

With such a fine and expensive saw, I would think it would justify the 20HP rotary converter. Whatever you do, do not use a static converter.

From contributor M:
I am getting ready to buy a new Martin T65, which is pretty much the same as yours. A Martin rep is coming to my shop this Tuesday, and I was planning on asking him the same question.

From contributor B:
I run a couple of 20 hp rotary phase converters in my shop and one has been there 9 years and is bulletproof. I find that there is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to phase converters and I think some of this misinformation is caused by those that lump static and rotary in the same boat. American Rotary sells a CNC rotary phase converter and they are an excellent company to deal with.

From contributor D:
Mine is also an American Rotary 20-HP CNC model and they were excellent to deal with when I was setting mine up, even though I bought it used. Highly recommended. The idler motor itself is modified or made for the purpose and is buttery smooth and quiet. I'm very happy with the system.

From contributor J:
I'm guessing that's a pretty costly piece of equipment? I get tons of great info from this site and use it all the time, but if I were about to invest a good chunk of change in a piece of equipment from a manufacturer still in business, I'd be inclined to pick up the phone and talk to them directly as opposed to going by advice given online! Carl and Dan at Martin are good guys to deal with and have helped me out quite a bit.

From contributor M:
I talked to the Martin rep today and asked him about the converter. He said they like to see people use a digital converter called Phase Perfect. He didn't know if it is absolutely necessary, but that's what they like to see people use. They are around $3000 new.

From contributor D:
That's made by the same company as our converters - American Rotary. They are very sweet. No generator at all - fully digital phase conversion with really tight control of the output voltages. The 10HP model is $3,100 on their website at the moment. The guy at American Rotary is very helpful and was great with helping me when I bought mine used. You might ask him if the 10HP model is sufficient for your saw... The next step up (20HP) is $4,700.