View Full Version : Alternate VFDs for Chinese Spindles

23-08-2017, 03:38 PM
A recent thread here talked about the failure rates of the VFDs that come with Chinese spindles. They are cheap, but could we do better?

I just wondered if anyone had successfully used VFDs sourced elsewhere, with their Chinese spindle? I have used Siemens and Mitsubishi VFDs to drive three phase mains induction motors on my manual mill and lathes with great results, and such VFDs are readily available used on eBay for decent prices. They are well made, and well proven designs, aimed at industrial use. They also appear to support the 400Hz output frequencies that the Chinese spindles require. So if such kit could be deployed with a Chinese spindle, maybe an improved degree of reliability would result?

Keen to hear from anyone with thoughts or experiences on this!


23-08-2017, 08:14 PM
One of the issues here seems to be the high degree of variability in reliability of these things. I'm using the usual HY VFD and have been for around 5 years. If it blows up tomorrow, I'm not sure whether I would junk it and replace with another cheap one, or go down the "industrial" route. I have an ABB inverter driving my three-phase lathe and I have to say that it is built like a brick outhouse compared to the HY, but there's a bit of a price difference...

23-08-2017, 08:55 PM
Here in the US, Hitachi is the preferred brand for use with Chinese spindles. Lots of people are using them.
I went with the Huanyang for $135. The Hitachi is about $350.

23-08-2017, 09:47 PM
I'd agree that the Huanyang is a good option at the asking price, but if you're happy to go used, then bargains can definitely be found. I bought a couple of vector control grade Mitsubishi units, plus a Siemens Micromaster for around the 60 each mark. Sometimes takes a little patience - or luck! But I feel the playing field is a little more level in that case. Question of whether a used industrial unit is a better bet than a new Huanyang. You won't know for sure until one goes pop!

Gerry - do you have a model number for the Hitachi units people like over there? Would be a useful data point.


23-08-2017, 11:32 PM

24-08-2017, 04:34 PM
Thanks for that, Gerry. Had a bit of a look around, and I find no bargains to be had. So in that case, Huanyang wins big time on price!

Taking the question a little further - is there anything special or specific about the Huanyang VFD that makes it a particularly good choice for use with the Chinese spindles? Or in reality can any decent VFD be used? Certainly when I converted my manual machines to variable speed drives, I just chose respectable makes with a good enough spec, when they came up on eBay. It worked well. I kind of see the spindle as a different beast - but maybe it isn't? It obviously runs at much higher frequencies than a regular 50Hz type induction motor, but otherwise? Or am I missing some subtleties here?

24-08-2017, 05:22 PM
The only thing that makes it a good choice is the price. I would imagine that any of the "name brands" would be better, but probably not noticeably better.
One thing I found with my Huanyang is that they don't contain the circuitry for a braking resistor, but the terminals are there. The sellers apparently special order them this way to save money. I found out after I purchased a braking resistor.

24-08-2017, 05:46 PM
Interesting that you say price really is the only factor. But then it truly is inexpensive when compared to the well known brands - almost three to one if you buy new. It seems your experiences with the lack of braking resistor support might just show how some of that price difference is achieved - cut to the bone. I'm sure the branded VFDs also uplift their prices a bit because they can. But for the functionality you get, the Huanyang truly is a bargain.

I think I'll do some trawling for used VFDs of the right power rating, and see what I can find. I'm keen to give this a try, and thankfully I'm in no immediate hurry!

24-08-2017, 06:35 PM
I would have bought a Hitachi, but wanted to test my application with a cheap Huanyang first. I'm controlling two spindles with one VFD, using contactors to switch between the spindles. If I make any mistakes, the VFD will be a casualty.

24-08-2017, 07:37 PM
Not unreasonable!

24-08-2017, 10:16 PM
I am using a Bosch Rexroth EFC5610 and I am very happy with it. Bought in UK and was really not that expensive.

27-08-2017, 10:58 PM
The very last thing you should do is credit someone who, unlike you, could be arsed to Google search some manuals, read them and hand you the results on a platter ;-)

It's all good fun! :D