# VFD Motor Testing. Technology Track

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2 Figure 1 Figure 1 shows a time domain graph of a 3-phrase 60 Hz voltage and current signal. Phase 1 has a zero crossing near.01 seconds. The next zero crossing occurs at 180 degrees, just before.02 seconds and completes a cycle at 360 degrees. This is considered the 1st or fundamental harmonic. Figure 2 Figure 2 shows the same 60 Hz fundamental signal (dark color) with a second harmonic overlaying it. Looking at the same phase 1 it can be seen that the second harmonic (lighter color) completes two full cycles in the same period of time that the fundamental signal only completes one cycle. This makes it 2X or the second harmonic (120 Hz). Figure 3 Figure 3 shows the same 60 Hz fundamental signal with a third harmonic overlaying it. It can be seen that the third harmonic completes three full cycles in the same period of time that the fundamental signal completes only one cycle. This makes it 3X or the third harmonic (180 Hz). Harmonic distortion is not difficult to understand if you remember that the distortion is comprised of signals other than the 60 Hz fundamental, as well as harmonic multiples of that same 60 Hz signal. The signal labels in figures 2 and 3 identify each of the three phases. These figures will aid us in the next topic of discussion: positive, negative and zero sequence harmonics. Positive, negative and zero sequence harmonics exist in all 3-phase systems. Positive sequence harmonics create a magnetic field in the direction of rotation. The magnetic field developed by the fundamental harmonic (60 Hz) must be in the direction of rotation. Otherwise, the motor would run backwards. Therefore, the fundamental is a positive sequence harmonic. This is illustrated in figures 2 and 3 by the phase 1 sequence order following the pattern 1,2,3. Negative sequence harmonics develop magnetic fields in the opposite direction of rotation. This reduces torque and increases the overall current demand required for a given load. The rotation of the magnetic field developed by the second harmonic is in reverse order (as seen in Figure 2). Rather than advancing in the order of 1,2,3, the 2 nd harmonic sequence is 3,2,1. This is in reverse order and is therefore a negative sequence harmonic. Yet a third harmonic exists called a zero sequence harmonic. This creates a single-phase signal that does not produce a rotating magnetic field of any kind. Though this signal performs no real work, it can still increase overall current demand and generate heat. Figure 3 illustrates the 3 phases on the 3 rd harmonic signal on top of each other or in phase. These currents will flow back to the supply transformer and collect on the neutral leg, creating excessive heat in the transformer and neutral leg alike.

4 Figure 5 High 5th and 7th harmonics indicate the presence of a 6 pulse drive influence on the distribution system. Each of the individual harmonics should be <3% of the fundamental per IEEE Figure 6 Figure 6 shows a fundamental 60 Hz voltage signal with 6 pulses occurring throughout each sinewave. This resulted from an unfiltered 6 pulse drive connected to the distribution system. As seen in Figure 7 the general breakdown of a drive system consists of three sections (Rectifier, Storage, and Inverter Sections). Figure 7 The rectifier section converts the AC signal into a DC signal. The capacitor bank stores this DC power, and the inverter section converts it into a variable AC output. Drives designed to operate DC motors function through similar principles. With DC, the strength of the output signal is regulated instead of the frequency. The focus of this paper will be on AC drives.

5 Common classifications of VFDs available today are Variable Voltage Inverters, Variable Current Inverters, and Pulse Width Modulated Inverters. Each operates differently with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Lets start with the Variable Voltage Inverter (VVI). The above example shows the output of voltage and current from the inverter section of a VVI, sometimes referred to as a Voltage Source Inverter (VSI). This type of drive controls the output voltage, as seen in the 6 steps that occur throughout a single cycle of the voltage waveform. The current signal is the product of the relationship between the controlled voltage of the drive and the motor impedance. A Variable Current Inverter (VCI) operates on the same principles as the VVI except that it controls the output current. In the case of the VCI the voltage signal is then the product of the relationship between the controlled current of the drive and the motor impedance. Although it is easy to see the six pulse influence that both the Variable Voltage and Variable Current Inverters have on the motor, we also need to be aware of their impact on an unfiltered distribution system upstream of the drive. In figure 5, shown earlier, you saw a high 5 th and 7 th harmonic influencing the line side of the drive. Again, IEEE 519 has guidelines to follow to minimize the harmonic effects on the distribution system. This can be accomplished through line reactors or filters, best discussed with your drive manufacturer. Figure 8 below is an example of the influence of a drive on line side current. Figure 8 Figure 8 shows actual test data on the line side of a six pulse inverter. Note the drastic variance in amplitude and non-sinusoidal waveforms. The third type of drive to be discussed is a newer class of drives, known as the Pulse Width Modulated Inverters (PWMs). PWM drives utilize the IGBT technology mentioned earlier. Fast rise times, as low as.1 microsecond, can quickly damage older classes of insulation. This is amplified when the surge impedance of the motor is significantly higher than the cable impedance, causing voltage doubling to occur. Improper cable lengths are one cause of this impedance mismatch. As a result, the NEMA MG-31 specification has been re-written requiring motor insulation subject to VFDs signals, to withstand 1600 volt pulses occurring in.1 microsecond or greater.

6 Figure 9 Figure 9 shows the voltage and current relationship at the output of a PWM drive. Figure 10 Figure 10 shows the line to neutral voltage output of a PWM drive. The major difference between PWM and other classes of drives is that PWM drives do not vary the amplitude of the voltage output. Instead they vary the frequency at which the output voltage is pulsed. By controlling the high frequency on and off times of the voltage output, the appearance of a sinusoidal wave form is accomplished. Although the output voltage is very erratic, the resulting current waveform is extremely smooth. Conclusion. It is a fact that VFDs can damage the insulation system of your motor. However, with better understanding, you should be able to prevent the infant mortality that so many have seen. Unless you re looking for a reason to replace the motor, you should not install a PWM drive to an aged class B insulation system. Drive manufacturers have increased effectiveness through PWM technology to deliver a clean current waveform to your motor. But that current comes with the expense of very fast rise time. Keep close to your drive manufacturer and develop an understanding of the limitations in place for the installation of VFDs. This includes things such as cable length, modulating frequencies, and impedance matching of the motor and circuit. Ask them what filtering recommendations they have to ensure a clean distribution system. Consider evaluating other facilities specifications for harmonic influence coming from VFDs. Communicate your plans for installing drive systems with your repair facility (motor shop) as well. Get their feedback on the expectations of the motor insulation systems. Is the motor meeting the NEMA standards for use with drives? Should you be using the new inverter duty wiring? VFD technology is not going to disappear, but it will continue to improve. Just like motor insulation, it will get better over time. Information and communication is the key to longer motor life and a healthy distribution system.

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