Motors and drives might be thought of as the elegant workhorses of HVAC and refrigeration systems. They combine old-school toughness and durability with the latest in Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, and manufacturers are constantly striving to make them more efficient and versatile and easier to monitor and control. Here is a look at the latest advances from some of the HVACR industry’s leading manufacturers of motors and drives.


VLT® HVAC drive FC 102

Danfoss’ Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)-certified VLT HVAC drives are engineered specifically for HVAC pump, fan, and compressor applications. According to Danfoss, the drives are designed to precisely maintain the exact flow or pressure required using four auto-tuning, multi-input, multi-control, proportional–integral–derivative controllers (PIDs). 

The VLT HVAC drives feature several HVAC-specific communication protocols, such as BACnet MS/TP and BACnet/IP, designed to provide flexibility of installation in both new and existing building automation systems (BAS).

According to Danfoss, the Wi-Fi local control panel and the newly released MyDrive® Connect app — developed for iOS and Android devices — allow customers using the VLT HVAC drive FC 102 to stay in control of applications; monitor data, including power usage and efficiency; and make changes to parameters.

MyDrive Connect is designed to function with the wireless LCP 103 communication panel to commission and service the drive.

In addition, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) communication 802.11 Wi-Fi connection provides safe and secure communication with advanced encryption standard (AES) using secure, encrypted communication through WPA2.

Boima Morray, vice president of marketing, American region, Danfoss Drives, noted the VLT HVAC drive FC 102 is IoT compliant and has the ability to be monitored and controlled via Wi-Fi.

“The Wi-Fi connectivity for both monitoring and control is an important enhancement that sets this drive apart from the competition,” Morray said.


Rescue Select programming app

The Rescue Select programming app from Nidec Corp. was developed to streamline programming of the Rescue Select truck stock motor — an electronically commutated (EC), constant torque, aftermarket motor developed for use in residential and light commercial blower motor replacement applications. Powered by a cloud-based web service, the Rescue Select motor programming app can be accessed via any smartphone or compatible Wi-Fi-enabled device.

According to Nidec, the Rescue Select truck stock motor comes pre-programmed, yet it can also work in tandem with the programming app to help service contractors identify an original blower motor’s horsepower ratings and operating parameters (torque load, fan speed, rotation direction, etc.), and program an in-stock replacement motor to mimic the original performance profile.

“This allows a service contractor to stock a smaller range of aftermarket motors and use them to replace nearly any original blower motor,” said Morgan Silvey, director of aftermarket distribution, Nidec Motor Corp. “Programming and installation are streamlined directly at the point of replacement.”

The Rescue Select  programming app is driven by a continuously updated database populated with thousands of motor profiles. In addition, the app provides service contractors with options to customize or develop new performance profiles that match special or unique application requirements.


Ex9S32 manual motor starter

Noark Electric has released the Ex9S32 manual motor starter, which provides manual isolation, manual motor control, and overcurrent protection in one unit, according to the company.

The Ex9S32 manual motor starters are electro-mechanical devices that combine a number of functions in one device, including disconnect for motor branch circuit, manual motor control, branch-circuit short circuit protection (magnetic protection), overload protection (thermal protection, trip class 10), and switching (manual).

According to Noark Electric, the Ex9S32 is designed to handle more amps and accessories than previous models while providing increased electrical and mechanical life.

The Ex9S32 is available with up to 32A at 600V, UL 508 Type E self-protected combination motor controller (Type F coming soon), and built-in fault indication.

The unit also offers a full-range of accessories including under voltage release contacts, shunt release contacts, power connection adapters, extended rotary lockable handles, and waterproof enclosures.



Q-Sync from QM Power Inc. is a patented motor technology designed to improve the performance of EC permanent magnet motors through advanced electronic circuit technology.

According to QM Power, Q-Sync allows a motor to “sync” with the AC power flow. It does so by eliminating the constant power conversions from AC to DC and back to AC through the synthetic creation of a new AC wave on the primary circuit board by a process called pulse width modulation (PWM).

“The Q-Sync circuit improves the power factor of the motor by removing all failure-prone capacitors from the power stage,” said Michael Grossman, senior business development manager, QM Power Inc. “Q-Sync’s simpler electronics also result in higher efficiency because it eliminates the power required by the primary circuit board to perform the obviated power conversions and PWM processes after line synchronous operating speed is reached in the first five seconds of operation, after which the PWM circuits drop out, and a much less energy-intensive ‘pass through’ circuit takes over, allowing the grid-supplied AC power to sustain the motor’s ongoing operation.”


Motor efficiency calculator

Regal Beloit Corp. has broadened the capabilities of its Browning® Toolbox Technician™ app with the addition of a motor efficiency calculator. The calculator is designed to enable comparisons between various generations of integral horsepower electric motors. The Toolbox Technician app is a free toolset for HVAC contractors and maintenance professionals, which features calculation and conversion tools as well as installation and troubleshooting guides.

The motor efficiency calculator helps users identify potential energy efficiency gains by allowing a user to select operational parameters and automatically display projected returns on investment.

“Recognizing the financial impact that can be realized through energy reductions, this tool will help facility managers, building owners, and those tasked with managing energy consumption identify ways to lower that consumption and save money,” said Don Sullivan, director of marketing, HVAC
and belt drives, Regal Beloit America Inc. “Motor upgrades present a great opportunity to reduce energy, and this calculator will help users compare efficiencies to make informed purchasing decisions.”

The calculator allows users to input the published efficiency from the motor nameplate or use a default Energy Policy Act rating. According to Regal Beloit, the app will automatically compare the efficiency of the motor to a NEMA Premium® motor of the same horsepower and display projected annual energy savings.

Other adjustable parameters include motor horsepower, number of units, days of operation per week, hours of operation per day, and expected motor life. By inputting premium efficiency motor cost and adjusting these parameters, users can calculate annual cost savings, total cost of ownership, and projected payback window.


HRSRM motor and controller

Software Motor Corp. offers electric motor technology comprised of two parts: a fundamentally new type of electric motor system called an HRSRM (high rotor pole switched reluctance machine) coupled with a real-time controller and close proximity control software.

The motor is designed as a drop-in replacement for fan/blower-type and compressor-type HVAC applications and, according to Software Motor Corp., has demonstrated operational efficiencies of more than 90 percent. The controller and control software take advantage of embedded sensors that continuously monitor temperature, efficiency, torque, and speed. This allows real-time demand-response and optimization of individual fan systems as well as building and campuswide control.

“The application for this technology is for fan-motor systems that can sense and individually respond to the world around them,” said Mark Johnston, CEO, Software Motor Corp. “One direct application is in building management. While many buildings and applications are becoming increasingly intelligent in their management of HVAC, they collect limited information from each motor, have only a few sensors, and perform control only in limited zones. Retrofitting our motor and controller systems to air-handling units and rooftop units allows buildings to match HVAC loads to operating conditions exactly, saving up to thousands of dollars per year per motor.”


Z1000U HVAC Matrix drive

The Z1000U HVAC Matrix drive from Yaskawa is designed to provide low harmonic distortion in a space-saving design. This single-component solution achieves low distortion levels without the need for additional countermeasures, such as passive filters or multi-pulse arrangements, according to the company.

The Z1000U’s matrix technology creates a variable output by switching directly from the input power (no DC bus), and it provides the same user experience for those already familiar with commissioning and maintaining the standard Z1000.   

Publicaiton date: 1/29/2018

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