Electric for a Windmill


I have a windmill that has sadly been sitting in the corner due to improper electric in the building I’m in. I have a single phase 220 line, but the press needs a three phase line to run. What have people done to remedy this? Upgrading the electric in the building is not a possibility. A new motor could work, but someone also recently mentioned to me a phase converter. Anyone had any luck with this method? If so, any recommendations on what converter I could purchase? Any other general advice?


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Updated. A phase converter should indeed do the trick. I work with windmills and we had inadequate power at our last location, and both our Heidelbergs were hooked up to phase converters and ran beautifully. The phase converters made a small amount of noise, but not more than the press itself. They are about the same size as the motor that runs your press, and they sit on the floor at the back of the press. The press gets hardwired through the phase converter and that connects to your building’s power.
We have two of our phase converters sitting in the corner of the new shop, not getting any use. If you are curious, I can check the make and model and that should tell you what will work.
We would be happy to sell one off as well, if it ends up being what you need. Utlimately you will need to consult an electrician for proper instalation because the press needs to be hardwired through the converter. He could aslo tell you if the converter would truly do the trick, based on your current power situation.
—-I just took a look at the ones we were using, and they are a brand called Phase-A-Matic. We have two models, one is called an R-3 (for 3-horsepower) and the other is an R-7(71/2 horses). They have a website, and ours came with an info sheet with lots of details about capabilities of each. They mostly rccommend using a cnverter that has 50% more horsepower than the machine you are running. I suppose this would all make more sense to your electrician.
On their website the converters retail for around $600 for the R-3, and for around $1,000 for the R-7.
-Good luck getting that windmill going. Let me know if you have other questions.

Seems like finding a good-used or new 220V single phase motor would be an alternative. Motor rebuilding shops have used motors and deal in new ones as well. Just a thought.
It’s common to see single-phase motors on Windmills, Kluges, etc.

thanks, natron and racerx1. once i find an electrician that will actually return my calls, i’ll report back on the verdict! natron, are you still willing to part with one of your phase converters if that’s the way we go? thanks again for all of the info.

We would be interested in letting the converter go. I think the 3 horse converter is what you would use on your windmill. I will double check with my boss to see what price she would sell it for, but it would certainly be a bit less thatn the standard retail, and the converter is almost new (only about 1 year of use).
It is really heavy, like 60+ lbs, so we would have to figure out how practical it is to ship, and how far you are. We are in the SF Bay area.
If the new moter, like RacerX1 reccommends, is a more reasonable alternative, than that might be worth looking at too.
We will be in touch.

sell me the press i can give it a good home.


Have you noticed any additional wear on the motor with the converter? I just checked in with an electrician about setting one up at my house and it is possible to run the windmill from your home but he thought it would wear out the motor faster and you wouldn’t get the power you’d get with the 3 phase.

Do you teach at Kala by any chance?

I have not noticed any extra wear, but our presses have been running off of proper 3-phase power for the last 2 years, since relocating, so it would be hard to say.
They only ran on the converters for maybe 1 year, and have since run fine after being installed on standard 3-phase, so perhaps that was not enough time to really gauge if they would suffer extra wear over time, due to the converters.
Your electrician may certainly have more insight on this than I can offer.
I do not teach at Kala, and i am not actually sure what that is.
Something in the Bay Area that i should be aware of?

Updated. The commercial shop I work at runs both their half sheet offset presses off converters. One of which is 660V! They’ve been running here for more than ten years and both still have the original motors. I don’t think extra wear on the motor will be a problem.

Good to hear the motor can handle the conversion. Any other maintenance tips on the motor or the press in general to be aware of? I might be buying one next week and I wanted to make sure it’s feasible to maintain the press myself or know that there’s someone available to fix it if it breaks down. (San Francisco area)

Kala is an art institute in Berkeley at the old Heinz factory, They offer letterpress classes but I think the S.F. Center for the books has more classes.

One other option for running a 3 Ph motor on 220V single phase power is a variable speed electronic motor drive. Available through most bearing/power transmission dealers or motor shops it takes single phase power and converts it to 3Phase. Variable speed control to boot.
Only available up to 2-3 Hp though as far as I know.