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issue: May 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
High-Efficiency Motor

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Using brushless d.c. (BLDC) technology and on-board electronics, A.O. Smith of Tipp City, OH, U.S. was able to create a high-efficiency motor to help manufacturers meet air-conditioner efficiency standards.

A.O. Smith's new Comfort Select BLDC motor helps air-conditioner manufacturers meet the upcoming 13 SEER requirement.

Part of the CoolBlue™ Solutions line, the companies new Comfort Select motor is integrated with high-speed electronic control capability. The motor was specifically designed with the HVAC industry’s upcoming air-conditioner efficiency standards in mind. According to Bryan Snipes, global HAC engineering manager of A.O. Smith, “The higher efficiency provided by the motor will help the equipment manufacturer meet 13 SEER with minimal material investment on other components.”

Higher efficiency is one of the main benefits of this motor. While permanent split capacitors (PSC) usually only reach an efficiency level of 60 to 65 percent, electronically controlled motors (ECM), such as the Comfort Select motor, reach a higher efficiency of more than 80 percent, according to A.O. Smith.

The motor also features five pre-programmed speeds. While the company offers a variable-speed BLDC motor for high-efficiency applications, Mr. Snipes explains that the Comfort Select was designed for instances when a designer doesn’t require variable-speed capability. “This product also has the BLDC technology with the high efficiency feature, but can be programmed by the equipment manufacturer for five distinct speeds as required by their system design,” Mr. Snipes tells APPLIANCE.

Using the low-speed application, the motor constantly circulates the air. According to the company, this continual circulation creates more constant temperatures, cleaner air, and better humidity control. The cleaner air is achieved when the motor runs in the continuous operation mode and constantly circulates air through filters or electronic air cleaners.

The motor is also said to offer better humidity control. In continuous operation mode, it allows for effective performance of furnace humidifiers while the constant airflow over the air-conditioner’s evaporator coils helps to remove moisture. There is also no need to install relays or other additional components, saving the manufacturer costs. Other features include multiple interfaces, including RS485, 0 to 10 V, thermostat inputs, PWM control, and proprietary customer interfaces.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
A. O. Smith Electrical Products Co.

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