Hitachi VFD... Which One to GET?

I have decided to transition from the Makita to a spindle… and I am seriously thinking about going with a Hitachi VFD and Mechatron spindle… I have seen guys on this forum talking about the WJ200 series… however, I reached out to Mechatron and they quoted an S1 version. BTW: Mechatron is asking 718 euros for the S1 (programmed for the spindle). It appears that both Hitachi versions can be had in the U.S. for $350ish +or-. Hitachi promotes the S1 as “simple Operation” and the WJ200 has sensorless vector control.

So here are the questions:
Does anyone have first-hand experience with the S1?.. and do you recommend one over the other?
From what I have seen, it doesn’t look THAT complicated to program the VFD, especially with good product documentation.
… am I missing something? Would anyone here consider it worth it to pay Mechatron $400 to program it for you?

thanks,
Bill

Hey BillG,

the fact that Mechatron (Shop) now sells the Hitachi S1 (standard series) as accompanying VFD comes from the fact that first the Omron MX2 had availability problems (they sold that one when I bought my spindle) and then the practically identical Hitachi WJ200 became unavailable too. Now they sell the Hitachi S1 instead.

Yes, someone in the forum owns one.

The Hitachi S1 (Hitachi S1 Series Basic Guide) seems to be nearly identical to the Galt G200 (Galt G200 Series Manual (PDF)). It differs from Omron MX2 / Hitachi WJ200 in its settings names and numbers, but its capabilities are comparable. It also has Sensorless Vector Control like the Omron MX2 (Omron MX2 User’s Manual) / Hitachi WJ200 (Hitachi WJ200 User’s Manual).

Should you buy a Hitachi S1 and it still can not be selected in the Onefinity Controller VFD list, nor the Galt G200, you can make the Onefinity Controller to know and run it this way.

You pay much more when you buy the VFD from Mechatron, what you pay for is that they will have set it up for you. What you could do is buy their complete control cabinets. Building up your control cabinet can be a little challenging to beginners, so their ready-to-use cabinets are fine (but also expensive). See here for more information on building your own control cabinet.

I did not buy my VFD from Mechatron, but from a local CNC equipment supplier (360ish € in 2021), I just bought the spindle, the cooling station, the coolant liquid, and the ER20 collets from Mechatron, but I have the knowledge to program my VFD and to build my control cabinet myself.

What I strongly recommend is to buy at least a ready-to-use spindle cable together with the spindle from the spindle manufacturer. It needs a Phoenix M17 connector and you need an expensive crimp tool to manufacture a spindle cable with that connector yourself.

When you buy a VFD I would in any case also buy the matching EMI input filter and a braking resistor. The specification with parts numbers can usually be found at the end of the VFD manual.

EDIT: My Omron MX2 2.2 kW VFD is now available again here, but it is more expensive now with 442€

A good VFD manufacturer that produces in the UK is Invertek. They have Sensorless Vector Control too. Also with this VFD you can find user experience in the forum :slight_smile:

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Aiph5u,

I really appreciate you taking the time to provide this information… I do have limited experience having built one control cabinet for a VFD that I set up for a 3 phase bandsaw… the VFD programming part was simple for that project.

I will take your advice and buy the cable with the spindle and a matching EMI filter and braking resister with the VFD… and I will look into Invertek.

Thank You!
Bill

Hey BillG,

always glad when I can help. At the moment it’s just in between some work periods and I may be absent without warning, but I always came back :slight_smile:

Well then that’s excellent. To make it run in a test run will not be complicated and attaching two wires for ModBus communication with the Onefinity Controller is easy. Great care will be needed for earthing, but that’s nothing new. It will be a little more effort to install two relays to switch spindle coolant and dust collector on automatically, and finally to wire a safety circuit so the VFD can signal a problem to the CNC Controller to its pin 23 (estop).

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I am still on the fence about what to get. I am leaning to one of the VFDs you recommend, Omron or Hitachi, but uncertain about which spindle. While the mechatron looks awesome, I am unwilling to commit to that much for a spindle. Do you have recommendations on spindles available in the US? Alternately, I’ve been thinking about buying a cheap HY spindle paired with a good VFD. Am I fooling myself into thinking that is reasonable solution?

My desires (requirements and needs seem to grandiose for my pure hobby use) are ER20 and water cooled. This let’s me take advantage of my existing 1/2" bits as well as future bits that will light my makita on fire. Water cooled means I don’t have to worry about aluminum chips getting sucked in. I was thinking of the PWNCNC 110V 1.5KW er20. In my current shop, pulling 220V is easy. I may be moving in 2-4 years and not confident I will have as easy access in a future shop. That said, I think I’ve convinced myself that is not a good trade and should just go 220V now letting the future take care of itself. While 2.2KW is overkill for my mostly wood and occasional aluminum needs, it gets me an ER20, a spindle, better control over feeds n speeds, etc.

what are your thoughts and recommendations?

I have been running a cheap chinese spindle on my 6040 machine for a long time, it is only 800 watts but I do work it pretty hard, never missed a beat, for the cost of a G-Penny spindle you can afford to own three of them to one of the more expensive ones, I read somewhere on here that PWNCNC uses the G-Penny spindles so thats my 2 cents worth.
I bought a HY VFD and G-Penny 2.2 Kw for the Elite Woodworker I have on order, runs good on the bench ,near zero runout on the collet bore. I don’t think anyone will come close to using all the power it will make machining wood.
Pat

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Hey Mitch,

I agree with you regarding the Omron MX2 or Hitachi WJ200 VFDs, these are excellent VFDs used in the industry. They are very smart and state-of-the-art and not comparable to the cheap chinese VFD crap. I would also always think of the Invertek Optidrive E-3 since it is produced in the UK (not only this means that it is not produced in China, but I think the UK manufacturers need our support more than ever).

I also agree with you that the Mechatron 2.2 kW 80 mm 24,000 rpm ER-20 (Specs) spindle is not cheap, and at the moment I cannot tell you if it is worth the money. But there are at least three other forum members who own this spindle and have experience with it, who could tell you what they think about it.

But you have to know that the very cheap chinese spindles are very cheap, i.e. they have poor efficiency, are noisy and their bearings probably wear out faster. There may be differences though, I have no experience with them. There is one forum member who has combined a good VFD with a cheap spindle, the Hitachi WJ200 and a cheap chinese air-cooled spindle, as presented here and here.

But what other users have done, finding the Mechatron and other german industry manufacturers too expensive, was not to buy a cheap Chinese spindle, but a more expensive Chinese spindle, namely a Jianken. I have no experience with this, but others here on the forum do. For the price of a Mechatron without ATC you can get a medium-expensive Chinese Jianken with ATC, which can be seen at work here and which was presented in these posts, and for a medium price you can get a Jianken without ATC with 80 mm diameter and ER20 collet. It is worthwhile to look at this direct comparison in terms of vibrations, between a cheap ebay spindle vs. a Jianken spindle (video) (shown is the JGL-100 2.5kw 24000rpm ATC with ISO 25 taper).

:warning: Please be warned that when comparing the power (kW) specifications of the Jianken spindles with European spindles or other spindles, that the Jianken power ratings are not IEC 60034-1-compliant! So if you buy a 2.2 kW Jianken like the JGD-80 2.2 R24, it is in fact only a 1.5 kW spindle and not a 2.2 kW, as explained here. So be aware that if you want to buy a Jianken spindle that has the same power as a Mechatron HFS-8022-24-ER20 that is rated 2.2 kW as per IEC 60034-1, you would need to buy a Jianken 3.2 kW spindle!

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There is a lot to be said for supporting your own economy and not China, Amen.

I would also always think of the Invertek Optidrive E-3 since it is produced in the UK (not only this means that it is not produced in China, but I think the UK manufacturers need our support more than ever. Imagine your economy is a disaster and you stand in the line for access to one of the biggest markets and you have Ukraine and Moldavia coming before you :frowning:).

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Hi Mitch,
I have the Hitachi WJ200 with Jianken 2.2 kW water cooled and I like it quite a bit. In general I think a good VFD with a Chinese spindle of reasonable quality straight from the manufacturer is a good combo for a “medium-level” kit. I’m a hobbyist too, but wanted a bit more quality and room to grow as I learned more about the whole cnc world. Couldn’t justify the price of U.S. or European spindle. I’ve never seen a U.S.-made spindle marketed to the DIY crowd, other than CNC Depot, which is only ATC as far as I can tell, but there may be some company out there.
So water-cooled spindle, 220v, a VFD with sensorless vector control and more options plus a thorough and clear manual, all seemed to fit what I was looking for.
The Jianken so far seems to me like a solid spindle. Uses ceramic bearings from the U.S. Very quiet. It is in reality underpowered for it kW rating, as @Aiph5u pointed out, but so far for any wood, plastic and light aluminum it’s had plenty of power, and it’s ER20.
G-Penny, I believe, is also an actual manufacturer of spindles, and some people like them. I’ve seen reports that their rotor is more robust than other Chinese competition. Could be a good option as well.
Should be fun either way.

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Martin,
Where did you buy your Jianken spindle from?..

Thanks,
Bill

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Martin,
Where did you buy your Jianken spindle?..

Thanks,
Bill

From their Alibaba website. Although I ended up just getting a quote from an English-speaking rep named Wafer, I believe, through the contact info on the website. They can also provide a cheap water pump and hoses, as well as collets, and, at the time, a Sunfar VFD, although I decided on the Hitachi VFD instead. Overall, Wafer was quick to answer questions and fairly responsive taking in to account the time difference between US and China.
Keep in mind I think there were some customs fees as well, so you’d have to weigh whether it is worth it to you, or if one of the Amazon,etc versions, or maybe the PWNCNC package, suits your needs.
As I mentioned, I’m happy with the Jianken, although most people seem to go to Jianken more for their ATC spindles than the non-ATC.

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@Aiph5u & @MVall I appreciate your advice.

While I would love a full system, control cabinet to spindle from mechatron, I cannot justify the price when it’s more about keeping an engineer from roaming the mean streets of suburbia and joining a tech gang causing havoc etc (I am sure those exist right? Don’t want to fall in with the wrong crowd!)

A good VFD and better than low end china spindle seems better in both satisfaction and fire safety even for my hobby needs. I don’t mind building a control cabinet but a high quality mechatron makes me wish I could justify it :smiley:

Martin, did you get a cable with the Jianken spindle? If so, is it good quality that you would recommend?

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Hi Mitch,
Well, to begin with, putting my name next to @Aiph5u in the same sentence is kind of like lining up Michael Phelps against the 10-year-old kid who bought a new pair of swimming goggles and is trying out the deep end of the neighborhood swimming pool for the first time :grinning:. But I’ll enjoy it for this time

I’m just a beginner, so if I can add anything, it’s just that I don’t mind reading up and trying something out with a reasonable risk to see if I there’s some good value in it. I think you’ll probably be happy with the good VFD/higher-quality Chinese spindle mix, and, of course, you can always sell and upgrade to one of those very nice looking Mechatron kits some day.

We all need something to keep us out of trouble.

I believe I asked and they don’t normally provide a cable. I bought mine from an Ebay dealer. Automation Direct seems like a good place to find cables too. I did make sure and get the aviator connector though to make sure it was the right fit for the spindle.

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Hey Remik,

Some U.S. users in this forum are running Hitachi WJ200 and Hitachi S1 which were available in the U.S., these are models which Mechatron offered with their spindles when Omron MX2 had a temporary availability problem. Hitachi WJ200 and Omron MX2 are practically identical.

Assuming you have U.S. 240 V single-phase from split-phase electricity and want a VFD for a 2.2 kW motor, the Hitachi WF200-0220SF (which is identical to Omron 3G3MX2-AB022-E, which Mechatron initially sold with their 2.2 kW spindle) costs $360 USD here in the U.S.

The ATO GK3000-2S0022 is available for $238.14 USD. That is indeed less than for a Hitachi or Omron. Haven’t heard of any experience with these VFDs. They ship for free, however if they ship from China you will have to pay customs fees.

Besides the specs overview on the item page, I cannot find any documentation for the “ATO” VFDs. Do you have access to a manual of these VFDs, like the Omron MX2 Manual or the Hitachi WJ200 Manual?

I just had a look at what you pay for the Invertek Optidrive E3 2.2 kW here, (which is not made in China, but in the UK(!)): I pay € 283,71 here: Invertek ODE-3-220105-1F42. That’s a good price for a VFD with Sensorless Vector Control that is not made in China!

A VFD made in UK – would look good next to my computer and controller made in Germany.

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Remik,
Yea… I would like to buy the package from Mechatron… but it appears that they double the price of the hitachi S1 that they are selling now. And besides that,… Mechatron emailed me that they do not sell the integrated control cabinet to the U.S… I’m thinking that I will go with the WJ200-022SF when they are back in stock in April. BTW, welcome to the forum!

Hey Bill, hey all,

I think buying a ready-to-use control cabinet is worth it when you are not able to do it yourself. That they don’t make some for the U.S. is surely because of differing electrical standards. But just to have them make the settings in the VFD, it’s not worth paying what they take for it. I would buy the VFD model you want somewhere you can get it at a low price. That’s what I did with my Omron. But I would buy the EMI filter and the braking resistor with it by part number that is specified in the addendum of the manual as it matches the VFD perfectly. My CNC parts supplier offered these two items with the VFD.

And I would always buy the spindle cable ready-to-use from the spindle manufacturer.