Sizing gensets for motor starting A practical guide to understanding how motor-starting loads affect genset performance

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2 Letter Designation to minimize the impact on the other connected loads that may be affected by voltage dips or frequency dips. Therefore, when sizing a genset, it is critical to accurately predict voltage dips and to understand how much excess starting capability is available in the motor and what amount of voltage dip can be allowed. The most common methodology for sizing gensets for motor starting focuses on understanding allowable instantaneous voltage dips, as the primary criteria. However, there is one manufacturer that considers allowable sustained voltage dips as the primary criteria for motor-load starting. The motor-starting KVA can be determined by the motor s nameplate. The National Electrical KVA per Horsepower with Locked Rotor A B C D E F G H J K L M N P R S T U V 22.4 and up Figure 1: Locked Rotor Indicating Code Letters Source: 2006 NEMA Size Manufacturers Association (NEMA) sets design standards for motors and has established a NEMA code-letter designation for classifying motors according to the ratio of locked-rotor KVAs (LRKVAs) per horsepower. These code letters range from A to V, covering motors with an LRKVA-per-horsepower ratio of 3.14 or less to a ratio of 22.4 LRKVA-per-horsepower or more. See Figure 1. For example, a 50 hp Code F motor requires LRKVA per horsepower upon starting (50 hp x 5.59 LRKVA per hp = LRKVA/hp). LRKVA is also known as starting KVA or SKVA. Small motors have a higher NEMA code letter and correspondingly higher LRKVA-perhorsepower requirement than large motors. Typical motor sizes and codes are shown in Figure 2. The KVA requirements of a motor running at full load and rated speed are normally less than one KVA per horsepower. With the possible exception of small motors, it would be overly conservative to size a genset set simply by matching the alternator s KVA to the motor s KVA. This would typically result in a genset with more than twice the capacity necessary. However, due to the dynamic interaction of the system components, several characteristics combine to make this approach impractical. Code Locked Rotor KVA/HP 1-2 HP L or M HP K HP J HP H HP and up G Figure 2: Typical Code Letters for Various HP Motors Source: 2006 NEMA p. 2

4 Line Circuit Start Closed Transition Time system, consult the voltage/frequency limitations of control components from the manufacturers or suppliers. Voltage dips also reduce the torque a motor can supply to its load. A common NEMA Design B motor will develop 150 percent of rated full-load torque during starting. Torque is proportional to the KVA delivered to the motor, so a 30 percent voltage dip that reduces KVA to 49 percent also reduces torque to 49 percent of its rating. If the motor starts unloaded as most fans, centrifugal pumps and motors used with elevators do this torque reduction produces no problem other than a somewhat longer acceleration time. Other types of loads, such as positive displacement pumps, may require more Run Figure 4: Closed Transition vs. Open Transition Starters Line Circuit torque than the motor can develop at reduced voltage, which prevents the motor from reaching full speed. Additional consequences could include tripping of breakers or overheating of the motor. To ensure proper motor starting in these applications, it is necessary to compare the torque curves of the pump and the motor at reduced voltage Start Open Transition Time Run MOTOR STARTERS CAN REDUCE The high inrush current and high starting torque associated with full-voltage starting of motors on utility power may create problems with the equipment driven by the motor, or the voltage dips may raise objections from the electric utility. To circumvent these issues, many facilities use various types of motor starters for their motors. Some of these devices also benefit motor starting when running on genset power, often allowing a smaller genset to be utilized. Reduced-voltage starters Most reduced-voltage starters connect the load to the power source in two or more steps. The starters may be either open - or closed -transition starters, but only closedtransition, reduced-voltage starters are helpful when running on genset power. As seen in Figure 4, open-transition starters create an unacceptable spike in KVA demand when switching between steps occurs. Part-winding starters Part-winding starters are used with motors that have two identical windings intended to be connected in parallel. These windings can be energized in sequence to provide reduced starting current and torque. Since part-winding starters are inherently closed-transition starters, the maximum inrush current occurs at the moment the first winding is energized, and the maximum inrush KVA load on a genset set will be reduced to percent of normal. See Figure 5. Autotransformer starters This type of starter provides reduced voltage at p. 4

9 ABOUT THE AUTHORS Dan Krueger is a Senior Field Applications Engineer with Kohler Power Systems-Americas. He has worked within the power generation industry for more than 15 years, in manufacturing, product and business management, and sales both domestically and internationally. Krueger joined Kohler in 1998, primarily working with the engineering community, supporting system sales and providing training on KOHLER products and paralleling switchgear systems. Rick Van Maaren is a Senior Staff Engineer with Kohler Power Systems- Americas. He has worked in alternator development of standby, marine, residential and mobile generator sets for more than 25 years. He holds a BSEE from Michigan Technological University, is a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin, a senior member of the IEEE and a holder of four patents. He has authored an IEEE IAS paper titled Rotor Lamination Design for Surface Permanent Retention at High Speeds and a chapter of the EGSA On-Site Power Generation reference book titled Permanent Magnet Generators. To contact us by phone, call or visit us online at Kohler Power Systems Kohler, Wisconsin Printed in U.S.A. G26-7 KPS 103 7/ by Kohler Co. Use of this material for reproduction on the Internet and World Wide Web is strictly prohibited without written permission from Kohler Co.

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