5 Most Common Reasons an AC Drive Ends Up Needing Repair

Posted August 28, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

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Hi, I’m Lonnie Muse with Innovative IDM. I'm going to talk a little bit about AC drives this morning. These things are wonderful. They have come into being, they've lasted a long time, and there’s a real great need for them in our plants. But they are put into some places that have difficult environments. So I want to kind of talk about the AC drive failures.

Maybe how to mitigate it a little bit and what causes them. The biggest cause is not the product itself but the things that surround it. Heat is the biggest issue. It does generate a little bit of heat. It adds to the environment that's outside the ambient temperature. All the other products in the panel that are creating heat add to the source. If we don’t get that heat out of there or cool it down, overtime this will die. Especially if it’s a dusty environment or other airborne things that are attracted to the fans in the back of the drive aren’t cleaned out. Or the fan of the AC drive stops, not pulling the air through.

The biggest thing is heat, we need to mitigate that. The next thing is power spikes that come through. Whether it’s caused by machines upstream, lighting, the power company, or somebody hitting a power pole outside, power spikes can kill these drives rather quickly. So we need to take steps to eliminate some of that or at least reduce it. One of the steps could be putting a reactor in front of the drive. That will help keep the power spikes from coming in and damaging the drive.

Another area where a drive fails is because of the other end that is attached to the motor. If the motor is not taken care of or if the bearings aren’t greased, there are issues that a motor – and this is related to heat as well – can short out. And if it shorts, normally it’s going to take the drive as well. It’s going to short internally, draw too much current, and will damage the drive. Check the motors.

The next one is age. The mean time between failure for these typical drives here is 28 years. But I guarantee you if you don’t do things ahead of time and keep it working when it gets to 10 years, 15 years, 20 years we’re going to start having failure. Can you imagine 20 years old and still running? Some of us don’t drive cars that old. Age can affect things. Things deteriorate, change over time, and eventually there’s failure.

The largest one and usually it happens on the front end when a drive is being installed is it’s installed incorrectly. What I have seen in my experience, customers put the input power on the power leads of the drive which just tears it up. It fails. We have 24 volts for the inputs and outputs and we'll put 110 on it. So sometimes it’s installation driven. Not the product itself just improper installation.

If you’d like to know more about this, come see us at www.innovativeidm.com. We’ve got white papers, we’ve got products, we’ve got technical expertise that can help. After all we're the home of legendary customer experience.

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