In the course of their daily work, HVAC professionals come into touch with a wide variety of electric motors. Working with motors of all sizes, from little home appliance motors to huge motors powering industrial applications, is probably something they do every day. Fan, compressor, and pump motors are common components of HVAC systems used in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.
Motors drive compressors to compress refrigerants, drive blowers to move air, and power pumps to transport liquids like water and other substances. While compressor and pump motors need a high starting torque, fan motors frequently have a lower beginning torque need.
This task may become much easier if we try to comprehend the fundamentals of the motors that they use every day. When installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC systems, it is important to be aware of the type of motor needed for the work, and choose the right motor when developing new systems or suggesting equipment.
Here is a look at 6 typical HVAC motors and how they operate.
1) PERMANENT SPLIT CAPACITOR MOTORS (PSC MOTORS)
The majority of small to medium HVAC systems use permanent split capacitor motors, a single-phase AC induction motor, to power fans, pumps, and compressors. The PSC motor is the most typical motor used in HVAC applications and is frequently referred to as the HVAC industry’s workhorse. Because they have fewer wearable parts, they can operate more affordably, consistently, and adaptably.
The main winding and the auxiliary, or start winding, are the two windings that power PSC motors. The motor’s circuit permanently engages both the main and the start winding. The motor receives a minor boost in torque both during startup and operation from a run capacitor that is connected in series with the start winding (when needed). The centrifugal switch that separates the main winding from the start winding is absent from these motors.
A PSC motor functions as a two-phase motor because all of its windings are permanently engaged and the start winding is out of phase with the main winding. enabling more torque compared to a standard single-phase motor as well as smoother, more effective functioning.
The drawback of PSC motors is that only around 65% of the input power is converted into mechanical work. Over the next 20 years, the PSC motor will probably lose favor due to changing governmental environmental restrictions.
2) ELECTRONICALLY – COMMUTATED MOTORS (ECM)
Small, brushless DC motors with fractional horsepower ratings and variable speed operation are known as electronic commutated motors. They can operate on AC power because of an integrated inverter, which transforms AC power into DC power for the motor to use. The lack of carbon brushes is due to the microprocessor (computer) that controls commutation in these motors. This computer also manages torque, enabling a greater range of air speed regulation and enabling the ECM to keep a constant speed under various load conditions.
Despite costing more upfront, electronically commutated motors make up for it with ease of speed control, excellent energy efficiency, quiet operation, and compact design. Typically, PSC motors are 40% less efficient than ECMs.
Split phase – The PSC motor and the split phase motor without capacitors both have two windings: the primary winding and the auxiliary/start winding. The split phase motor, on the other hand, features a centrifugal switch that, once the motor has attained between 70 and 80 percent of its maximum speed, disengages the start winding. To offer a little extra torque at startup, the start winding is only activated.
These dual phase motors generally don’t offer tremendous efficiency or torque, but they do offer respectable speed regulation when working with a variety of loads. These motors are often used in low torque applications along with fans and blowers.
3) MOTORS WITH CAPACITOR START AND CAPACITOR RUN (CSCR MOTORS)
With the addition of a run capacitor to the primary winding circuit, capacitor start – capacitor run motors are similar to CSIR motors. The run capacitor increases torque while operating and aids in power smoothing. These motors are often more expensive than their CSIR counterparts because of the second capacitor added. Even yet, CSCR motors are most frequently used in industrial applications with more than 2 HP that need more torque both at startup and throughout operation. This motor runs more efficiently thanks to the run capacitor.
4) CAPACITOR START – INDUCTION RUN (CSIR MOTORS)
Split phase motors with a start capacitor added to the start winding circuit are capacitor start – induction run motors. The start capacitor aids in enabling the motor to drive high-inertia loads by increasing torque up to 4x during start-up. Compressors and pumps, which require a strong beginning torque, are the loads that CSIR motors are most frequently used to power.
Sadly, CSIR motors have relatively low efficiency since the start winding is disconnected after startup and there is no run capacitor.
5) SHADED POLE MOTORS
Of the single-phase AC induction motors, shaded pole motors have the simplest design and are the least expensive. The magnetic forces are unbalanced because they feature a single main winding and a shading coil that covers a section of the main winding. Due to the imbalance, a spinning magnetic field is produced that generates enough torque for the motor to self-start.
Shaded pole motors are straightforward and inexpensive, but they also have limited torque, poor efficiency, and noisy operation. As a result, they are usually only seen operating tiny fans in freezers and refrigerators.
When choosing the ideal motor for the HVAC application, it is necessary to take design, efficiency, dependability, capabilities, and cost into account. Each motor has its own advantages and disadvantages, which determine whether it will function flawlessly or disastrously.