Industrial Electronics Repair

Industrial AC Drive Start Up Tips

Posted November 2, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: AC Drives, Blog, Industrial AC Drive, Industrial Electronics Repair

If you need help with your AC drive start up, call us. We can help.

Here are some tips to help you with an industrial AC drive start up.

Before You Start

• VFDs are mounted in an appropriate environment and required input circuit protection.
• Install all electrical conduit, if needed, prior to the AC drive start up
• The electrical in/out 3Ø power cable have been pulled and are terminated onto VFDs.
• The AC motors are mounted and are uncoupled from the load, if possible, to facilitate an auto tune of the VFD with access to the motor name plate data.
• The communication signals are pulled and are near the field connection terminals on the VFD.

AC Drive Start Up Steps

• Verify the drive model number to ensure it's the correct model
• Ensure the area surrounding the drive complies with specifications
• Verify that the drive is properly sized to run the motor
• Confirm there is proper circuit protection as specified by national and local code
• Properly wire drive terminals R/L1, S/L2, T/L3 & R/T1. V/T2, W/T3 and control wiring
• Properly ground the drive and tighten control and grounding terminal according to specification
• Program the VFD according to the motor nameplate data and customer’s expectations
• Perform Auto-Tune based on control mode and other operating conditions.
• Verify rotation.

Innovative-IDM is an Authorized Service Provider and Distributor for Yaskawa VFDs. When we do your Yaskawa AC drive start up, you receive an additional year on your Yaskawa factory warranty -- a total of two years.


If you have a drive that needs to be repaired, we can help you with that, too. If I can be of any help to you, email me and I'd be glad to walk you through whatever I can. If you're not using VFDs, you could end up like Lucy in the candy factory.

Juan Silva is a field service technician out of our Houston store. You can reach him at

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Electronics And Heat Don’t Mix

Posted July 10, 2017 by Omar Mediano

Categories: Blog, Electronics Repair, Industrial Electronics Repair, Industrial Maintenance, Innovative-IDM

Tags: , , ,

As we here in Texas groan about high temperatures of summer, it’s important to remember that we aren’t the only ones suffering from the heat. Electronics and heat don’t mix and the combination can be disastrous.

As temperatures rise the number of businesses that lost power or experienced brown increase. During that time, many people turn on their generators or use battery power to keep machines running. What they didn’t realize was – the heat could be damaging their equipment.

Circuit systems within electronics work best at lower temperatures. Allowing systems to run for prolonged periods of time in high temperatures can decrease the longevity and reliability of devices. Solid state electronics actually begin to break down and fry at temperatures much above 120 degrees. However, the hotter the temperature – the less functional the machine will become. Most systems tend to run 10 to 20 degrees hotter than room temperature.

Within the era of technology electronic devices such as drives (VFDs), programable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces(HMIs) and power supplies have dramatically decreased in size. This causes a lot of systems to run with a higher heat density. While many companies have worked to include cooling systems within their products – cooling systems cannot keep up when devices are left in areas without air conditioning. Believe it or not, just surfing the web on your cellphone or playing games on your laptop may sound like the perfect idea during a blackout, but that heat can even damage them!

When the power is off or it is not stable and rooms temperatures are high, limit use of electronic devices.  Cooling units similar to small air conditioners can be purchased and installed to keep equipment cabinets cool.  Placing a fan in front of a cabinet with the door open will provide temporary relief, but could cause more environmental damage to the drive by allowing foreign material, dirt and water into the cabinet.  Just remember. The longer the use, the hotter the object will get.

If you experience issues with any electronic device after exposure to heat send it to Innovative IDM and we will provide a free evaluation. IIDM also stocks and sells new world class VFDs, PLCs and HMIs and can do turnkey installations. So, if you have a piece of equipment you’d like to check on repairing, contact your IIDM sale representative or email us at

Marc Phelps

Marc Phelps is manager of the Innovative-IDM repair facility in Houston. You can contact him at

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European Industrial Electronics Often Visit American Repair Shops

Posted June 28, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Electronics Repair


Industrial electronics made for European applications end up in American repair shops.

In the repair industry, one of the highest fail items we see are European made products.

The power grid in Europe runs at 50Hz or lower.  In the US, Mexico and Canada the power grid runs at 60Hz.

So how can running at a different frequency effect how a machine runs?

European made equipment is designed to run at 50Hz, were as American made equipment is made to run at 60Hz. It is not that big of a deal on TVs, computers and other commercial electronics. But in the world of Industrial electronics it is huge.

The primary difference between 50 Hz (Hertz) and 60 Hz (Hertz) is, well, 60Hz is 20% higher in frequency. For a generator or induction motor pump (in simple terms) it means 1500/3000 RPM or 1800/3600 RPM (for 60Hz).

Lower the frequency; you'll get iron losses and eddy current losses.

Lower the frequency; speed of induction motor and generator will be lower.

For example, with 50 Hz, generators will be running at 3000 rpm against 3600 rpm with 60 Hz. Mechanical centrifugal forces will be 20% higher in case of 60 Hz (rotor winding retaining ring has to bear centrifugal force while designing). But with higher frequency, output of generator and induction motors will be higher for same size of motor/generator because of 20% higher speed.

The design of such magnetic machines is such that they are really one or the other. It may work in some cases, but not always, and to change between different power supply frequencies will certainly have an effect on efficiency, and may mean de-rating is necessary. There is little real difference between 50 Hertz and 60 Hertz systems, as long as the equipment is designed appropriately for the frequency. It is more important to have a standard and stick with it.

The more significant difference is that 60Hz systems usually use 110V (120V) or thereabouts for the domestic power supply, while 50Hz systems tend to use 220V, 230V etc., for different countries. This has the impact that house wiring needs to be twice the cross section for the 110V system for the same power. However, the optimum system is accepted as around 230V (wire size and power required versus safety). In most of the US the 110V power system is in tandem with the 240V US system that provides for the higher powered appliances like stoves and clothes dryers, while 110V does wall outlets and lights.

As mentioned earlier, in commercial electronics like TVs and computers this difference is not that big of a deal. In fact many commercial electronics are designed to handle both power sources.

In Industrial electronics, where motors and gears are involved, a difference

Marc Phelps

in Hz could mean a difference in RPMs.  It is very easy to check your systems for European units. Contact me at the email below or any Innovative-IDM representative and they can assist you in identifying them, ensuring they are set up properly, repairing them and even replacing them if necessary.

Marc Phelps is manager of the Innovative-IDM repair facility in Houston. You can contact him at

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Difference Between VFD, Servo Drive Repair

Posted August 31, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Electronics Repair

Tags: ,

Servo drive repair differs from VFD repairs in several ways, including being a bit more difficult to troubleshoot. Also, servo drive repair usually requires that the servo be connected back to its intended system to ensure it's repaired correctly (something that's extremely difficult to replicate in repair shop conditions).

A VFD (variable frequency drive) is generally used to control a squirrel cage type motor, where both stator and rotor are of a wound type to create the magnetic flux.

Servo drives are used to control permanent magnet motors. They are called permanent magnet motors because they use rare earth magnets in the rotor to create a much higher magnetic flux for their given size. This enables the motor to create more torque in a much smaller motor size. This means the motor has a lower inertia to accelerate and decelerate much more dynamically than that of the asynchronous squirrel cage type motor.

servo drive repair

Servo drive repair can be more difficult to troubleshoot in a shop setting than a VFD.

On the controller side, the servo controller can calculate a complex path and maintain the position along that path with varying loads and speeds. Many servo controllers are multi-axis or can be daisy chained to make multi-axis moves to follow complex paths.

Because of these differences, a Servo drive repair is much different than troubleshooting a standard VFD.  When isolating the issue with a servo drive, you must consider the entire system, drive, cabling and motor.  It's difficult to troubleshoot a servo without all three of the main components present.  And since servo drives are designed to run a specific magnetic flux motor, it is close to impossible to test them outside their designed system.

Check These Prior to Servo Drive Repair

We've compiled a list of the top simple issues that should be checked before sending in your unit for servo motor repair. Please note this is not meant to be an insult: I very often spend time trouble shooting over the phone to eliminate simple errors or problems. Double check everything before electing to send in a motor for repair, otherwise time has been lost in both the shipping and evaluation.

  1. Occam's Razor: The simplest explanation is most often correct. Make sure everything is plugged in. Try turning your drive and controller off, and reboot.
  2. Check All Servo Motor Cables. Look for items such as Broken Wiring, Loose Connections, Dirty and Corroded Connectors - bad connections can interfere with the power and signals that are vital to proper servo operation.
  3. Check Overall Cable Conditions
  4. Check Grounds and Shields. Just because a cable is in good shape doesn't mean it is properly grounded. Keep in mind that grounds and shields are important for protecting signal wires from harmful noise that can disrupt feedback communication. Motor power grounds are important because they facilitate the tripping of over current protection devices. If a motor has an inconsistent ground that is not continuous with a drive ground the power cable can throw an unmanageable amount of noise onto a properly shielded feedback cable.


If all this checks out, then you probably have a servo drive issue that requires shop servo motor repair.  Use a repair shop that can help you isolate the problem, but as mentioned above understand it could require some additional testing at your sight AFTER it's worked on at the shop. If your repair facility also has industrial field service technicians, so much the better. They can can help you with onsite troubleshooting of servo systems.

Marc Phelps is manager of the Innovative-IDM repair facility in Houston. You can contact him at

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