Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM)

Contributed to by Functional Devices


These days in HVAC, saving money is the name of game. Whether you’re saving costs by retrofitting rather than replacing, or investing now to save money on costly repairs later, the end goal is all the same. Now I know your next thought is something along the lines of, “What the heck does all that have to do with electronically commutated motors?” Everything! So buckle up and get ready to dive into how ECMs can save YOU money.

Common Motors in HVACR

The top three motors that are typically used in HVAC and refrigeration are electronically commutated motors (ECMs), permanent split capacitor motors (PSCM), and shaded pole motors (SPM).

Now it is important to note that all three motors work in similar ways. They all have electromagnetic fields in common but how those fields are created and controlled differ greatly. And it’s how they differ that makes ECMs stand out!

What makes ECMs different?

Unlike PSCMs and SPMs, ECMs have a controller that can energize each convolution of a fixed ring of electromagnets, more commonly known as a stator, creating an electrical current through said generation of power. And each one can speed up and slow itself down to reduce the energy output of the motor as needed. Meaning, the microprocessor can wield control of the magnetic fields being created and therefore allow you to have better oversight into the electrical currents, minimizing energy losses that are typically seen in those more traditional motors.

ECM equals energy savings!

In applications where ECMs are used, you can have an efficiency range of 60 to 75 percent or more compared to a PSCs range of 30 to 50 percent or an SPMs range of 15 to 25 percent. And it’s all thanks to the increase in motor control in an ECM. They pack a big punch for such a small motor size!

And with these motors being specified for use in newer, efficient buildings that means energy efficiency programs are providing incentives to increase and grow their presence. The capabilities of ECMs are as endless as the energy savings that go with them! To find out more about ECMs and implement them in your next project or retrofit, call Kele today or visit us at kele.com.

Want to do a deeper dive into which components you can use hand in hand with an ECM? Check out this YouTube video below from Functional Devices that speaks to just that!

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