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Variable speed starters: Eaton’s new take on motor control

22 March 2015

Eaton has developed a new option for motor control – the Variable Speed Starter, combining the simplicity of a conventional fixed-speed starter with ability to vary the speed of the motor.

Variable Speed Starters (VSSs), of which Eaton’s new PowerXL DE1 products are the first to reach the market, provide machine and system builders with a highly reliable and cost-effective alternative for motor control that will be particularly useful for helping them to increase energy efficiency in applications where fixed-speed starters were previously used.

Eaton’s VSSs are also a valuable new solution to ensure standards compliance in constant-speed applications where IE2 motors have to be used as IE3 motors cannot be physically accommodated. Other applications where VSSs provide significant benefits include those involving very high start frequencies and those where there is a high thermal load on the motor.

Eaton is currently offering PowerXL DE1 VSSs in two sizes; the 45mm wide slim-line version is suitable for use with motors up to 1.5 kW, while the 90mm wide model can be used with motors from 2.2 to 7.5kW. Both models have internal motor protection functions as well as motor thermistor and short-circuit protection.

No specialist knowledge is needed to install, commission and use the new VSSs, as they have been designed for straightforward 'out-of-the-box' operation without the need for adjustments or parameter setting. 

They offer trip-free operation that detects regenerative energy fed back from the motor and automatically allows for this. They also provide a dc braking function prior to start up, which is particularly useful in fan applications, and they have the ability to reduce switching frequency to ensure that critical device temperatures are not exceeded. An automatic restart function ensures continuous motor operation after a fault.

While the standard settings will be suitable in the vast majority of cases, for special applications Eaton offers a universal plug-in configuration tool that allows key parameters, including ramp time, motor protection and terminal arrangement, to be set using no tools other than an ordinary screwdriver.

Alternatively, the PowerXL DE1 VSSs can be configured using external keypads with an LED or OLED display and buttons, or the Eaton drives Connect software. Parameters can also be copied from one device to another via Bluetooth.

PowerXL DE1 VSSs have a Modbus interface as standard, and they can be easily integrated with Eaton’s innovative SmartWire-DT wiring system, which cuts panel wiring time by up to 70 percent compared with conventional wiring.

Designed for use in even the most demanding of industrial environments, PowerXL DE1 VSSs have an operating temperature range of -10ºC to +60ºC. They comply fully with CE, UL, cUL and cTick requirements, making them suitable for use worldwide.

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