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issue: April 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
Electric Motor Test System

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A new electric motor test system is reportedly capable of directly measuring parameters such as no-load speed and current, cogging torque, bearing and windage loss, and back-EMF generation.

One hardware configuration for the DynoLAB EM system involves the FieldPoint I/O, which allows the data acquisition and control hardware to reside near the unit under test with a single network wire running back to the control computer. CLICK to see full-size image.
The DynoLAB(TM) EM test system from Sakor Technologies Inc. (Okemos, MI, U.S.) is said to be versatile and able to perform a wide variety of tasks, such as performance testing, engineering evaluations, durability cycling, quality-control validation, and in-use simulation with a single system. When paired with the company’s Accudyne(TM) motoring dynamometer, the new system is also capable of direct measurement of paramaters such as true no-load speed and current.

“ The DynoLAB EM is extremely flexible due to its modular design,” says Randy Beattie, president and CEO of Sakor Technologies Inc. “The system was not designed for a specific configuration, rather it can be expanded to monitor and control equipment from other vendors.” All types of dynamometers, power supplies, active and passive electrical loads, hipot and surge testers, and precision-resistance monitors, as well as solenoids, valves, heaters, coolers, and other devices used to test pumps and compressors are just some examples of what can be used with the configuration, Mr. Beattie says.

The DynoLAB EM is a data acquisition and PC-based test cell control system, which includes I/O devices, signal conditioning, and the software necessary to control a test system. The Accudyne dynamometer is a four-quadrant, motoring dynamometer that is capable of not only performing precise loading of motors, but is also capable of driving the motor or other components being tested, Mr. Beattie says.

“ Many electrical motor test systems involve spin-up of inertial weights, which are estimates based on purely electrical signals (with no actual load on the motor) or standard ‘load-only’ dynamometers such as eddy current, particle brake, or hysteresis brake unit,” Mr. Beattie explains. “This type of setup can perform only one test and is not capable of directly measuring such things as true no-load speed, true no-load current, bearing losses, windage, cogging torque, or back-EMF generation. Since these units are dependent on acceleration to generate torque, they are not capable of performing testing at static speeds/loads.

Mr. Beattie says that the appliance industry, like many others, is being pushed to provide systems that have higher performance, with smaller size and weight, and at a lower cost. “Since electricity generation involves burning of fossil fuels, improved electric motor efficiency is being mandated by the government. Design engineers can use the DynoLAB EM to validate the performance of constantly changing motor designs,” he explains.

DynoLAB EM Run Screen. CLICK to see full-size image.
The DynoLAB EM system has control rates up to 100 Hz and acquisition rates of more than 5 MHz and also has an easy-to-use, menu-driven interface that creates complex test sequence without complex programming, according to the company.

“ Many people forget that a properly equipped system is capable of separately driving and testing the components normally driven by the electric motor,” Mr. Beattie points out. “This is a single system that can test the complete system, rather than just the electric motor.”


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