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Old 01-04-2017, 08:54 PM   #1
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Default What drives do you prefer?

Our shop in the past used to use AB almost exclusively. Any time I mentioned using something else that I thought was more user friendly my boss would shoot me down. And by more user friendly, I mean for the end user to toggle through the menu, adjust setpoints and view the current system pressure, etc. A majority of the VFD's we install are for water systems, it's a nice bonus to show the customer, "here's the screen and your current pressure and push these arrows up/down to adjust the setpoint."

Does AB offer anything that caters strictly to the pumping/irrigation market?

Yaskawa and ABB both offer irrigation drive packages usually readily available in either a Nema 1/3R enclosure. AB is always 4-6 weeks out with their "special builds" at a considerably higher cost. On top of that their display menu is not nearly as intuitive as the previous two drive manufacturers for the end user to understand what's going on with their pressures and setpoints.

I don't have a problem programming powerflex's to run on pressure, I just wonder why they haven't got on the bandwagon with an irrigation specific drive lineup like the other drive manufacturers have? I'm hoping Jraef can give his input.

So, what drives do the rest of you prefer to use? It could be for anything, not necessarily irrigation specific drives.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:00 PM   #2
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Yaskawa was what the last shop I worked for used unless another brand was specified. I wasn't a fan at first but once I got used to them I felt they were very reliable.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:50 PM   #3
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Another thumbs up for yaskawa here. Very user friendly. The drive wizard software is great too.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:17 AM   #4
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I like AB except that they don't supply manuals anymore though the last ones I installed, I was able to slog through programming without a manual.

My current favorite is Baldor. Easy to program, the NEMA 1 and 3R (or more likely 4X) enclosures are well designed and they send a nice manual with every one.

Most of my work is simply 4-20 in, 4-20 out, a digital in to make it run and 1 or 2 relay outs. I greatly prefer the mechanical relays over the transistor ones. Most of them are wall-mount so the terminal box is a pretty big issue.

I especially like the 3R/4X ones because you can remove the cover and expose the control terminals without having to remove the HMI.

Yaskawas are ok I guess, I've only installed 2 of them, both HVAC. If I remember, I never did figure out how to easily change from keypad control to remote. It can be done but it took a lot more than one button.

Square D is kind of a trick to program until you get used to it, then it's not bad.

I recently installed 2 Hitachis. Not easy to program and the control terminals are less than an inch from the power terminals. Ok I guess but it sure seemed close. On the plus side, you can remove the bottom cover to expose the control terminals (and power terminals) with the drive running.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:26 AM   #5
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I still really like ABB, but I've been doing more and more Yaskawa both new installs and integration and haven't found anything wrong with them.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:16 AM   #6
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I've always had good success with Yaskawa. Both with their products and support.. ALB has been good, once you get used to them.. In our area ABB doesn't have the best support and that was the reason I replaced one of their drives with a Yaskawa....
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:41 AM   #7
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I mostly use the Sq-d one but only because there is good support in my little town but I will not use them on wells. They just don't like it for some reason.
Then I use baldor or what ever the well company wants to provide.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:09 AM   #8
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I recently worked with some Danfoss VFDs and thought they were user friendly. The manual was much thinner than that of an Allen Bradley drive.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:10 AM   #9
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I am starting to love the Yaskawa brand as well. We use mostly Yask, AB, ABB and Automation Direct when price is an issue.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cow View Post
... I'm hoping Jraef can give his input.
Well, given that my paycheck comes from Rockwell, you might expect my opinion to be slightly biased...

Not sure which model of AB drives you are using, but if it's the PowerFlex 4 or 40s, I feel your pain. But if you used the newer PF520 series for small HP, you can set up a custom parameter group that limits users to the specific parameters that you might need them to use. That cuts down the amount of navigation necessary to make changes. But that drive does not have a "graphics capable" display, it is just text.

The PowerFlex 750 series has a graphics capable display, and there too you can "mask" the unnecessary features to create a customized display of just what your customers may want/need to see. So for example if you are using it for setpoint control of pressure or flow, you can create a bar graph depiction of the data you want them to see and customize a display to use the "soft keys" to make adjustments.

But is there a "canned" version of the displays that have this already done for you? No, not yet. It's something being worked on because of customer demand and will likely be available late in 2017, but there is a lot of wrangling about exactly what should or should not be in there.

The problem with having special versions for pumps or fans is that it makes any product less flexible to being used anywhere. If you are in the HVAC business, like ABB, with a dedicated direct marketing group specific to that industry, you can do that. But A-B markets through stocking distributors, not direct through commisioned reps, so inventory must remain flexible or is sits on shelves too long. So the idea is not to make a special VFD (which is a lie anyway, the power portion is always the same anyway), we are looking at just offering a different HIM module.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:34 PM   #11
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I typically use AB- very reliable and I've used them for so long I feel comfortable programming them. Most of my customers spec them right from the start anyway.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micromind View Post
I like AB except that they don't supply manuals anymore though the last ones I installed, I was able to slog through programming without a manual.

My current favorite is Baldor. Easy to program, the NEMA 1 and 3R (or more likely 4X) enclosures are well designed and they send a nice manual with every one.

Most of my work is simply 4-20 in, 4-20 out, a digital in to make it run and 1 or 2 relay outs. I greatly prefer the mechanical relays over the transistor ones. Most of them are wall-mount so the terminal box is a pretty big issue.

I especially like the 3R/4X ones because you can remove the cover and expose the control terminals without having to remove the HMI.

Yaskawas are ok I guess, I've only installed 2 of them, both HVAC. If I remember, I never did figure out how to easily change from keypad control to remote. It can be done but it took a lot more than one button.

Square D is kind of a trick to program until you get used to it, then it's not bad.

I recently installed 2 Hitachis. Not easy to program and the control terminals are less than an inch from the power terminals. Ok I guess but it sure seemed close. On the plus side, you can remove the bottom cover to expose the control terminals (and power terminals) with the drive running.
When I was in the motor and drive business, we were Baldor distributors. Back then they made two types of drives.
The 15H and the 18H. The 15 was just a volts/hz control while the 18 was a closed loop control used with an encoder.

I sold many of these drives after taking the demo to the customer and showed them how to use the menu.
These drives sold themselves as they were simple to program and there were no codes.
Every fault or parameter was in plain english.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Valdes View Post
When I was in the motor and drive business, we were Baldor distributors. Back then they made two types of drives.
The 15H and the 18H. The 15 was just a volts/hz control while the 18 was a closed loop control used with an encoder.

I sold many of these drives after taking the demo to the customer and showed them how to use the menu.
These drives sold themselves as they were simple to program and there were no codes.
Every fault or parameter was in plain english.
Funny you should say that.....just today, I installed and programmed a 15H.

Supposedly, it was in use less than a year ago so I didn't bother to reform the capacitors, and programming was pretty easy. I had to look up the terminal numbers on the customers computer though. Took about 2 minutes......lol.

And yes, I remembered to not yank the cover off. Gently remove it part way and disconnect the phone cord that goes from the HMI to the drive board.
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:25 PM   #14
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I have come to accept that all drives have their quirks, so best is to try to just stick to a brand and get to where you know it inside and out. I work on ABB and AB drives the both have ups and downs. I work almost solely with "integration class" industrial drives and mostly for conveyors and machinery oems. I am spoiled by the ABB ACS880 functional safety capabilities. Rockwell have always lagged behind when it comes to safety functionality. I think they have just released or are about to release functional safety stuff for the PF750 drives. That will be cool. Until they do that I have no use for them. Once that is out and has been out for a while (I am also sick of beta testing Rockwells new products for them) I think it will be great because I use rockwell safety plcs, so the integration wil nicer (cip safety).
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micromind View Post
Funny you should say that.....just today, I installed and programmed a 15H.

Supposedly, it was in use less than a year ago so I didn't bother to reform the capacitors, and programming was pretty easy. I had to look up the terminal numbers on the customers computer though. Took about 2 minutes......lol.

And yes, I remembered to not yank the cover off. Gently remove it part way and disconnect the phone cord that goes from the HMI to the drive board.
Wow. A 15H still in business!
Did you know the drive will continue to operate with the keypad removed?
I'm not sure you can transfer parameters to another control though.
I have a keypad sitting here in my desk drawer.
I can ship it to you if you want it.

Oh....I think I have the longest keypad cable they made. I will look for it. Very handy!
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:21 PM   #16
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I prefer TECO Westinghouse drives but will install any specified by a customer.....i got a few of my industrial customer to start and standardize to TECO....I trained both my employees and the customer on proper programming and installation. My customers maintenance people often mess the settings but they know enough to get the production lines back in service on an emergency switch out.
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:30 PM   #17
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If you want a durable drive that can hold up to abuse get a Toshiba. They are built like a tank.
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Old 01-10-2017, 12:47 AM   #18
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Easiest drive I've ever programmed is a Vacon X series drive. Nice big screen and only a couple buttons to choose from. Still waiting to try one of the new Eaton drives. Have one sitting on the desk in the office. On initial glance they did a good job keeping the low voltage away from the motor and line terminals.

Otherwise, I've installed and programmed about 20 Yaskawa drives so far and they seem to be fairly reliable.
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:55 PM   #19
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Another plus one for yaskawa, then AB, then eaton svx series. I've have a large project coming up with a bunch a customer supplied cerus p drives, 29 of them. I'm really hoping they are smooth.
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:21 PM   #20
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Dirty little secrets...
  • Cerus drives are actually made by LS (the industrial division of LG - Korea) and are also brand labeled as Benshaw and a few others, but you can buy them direct from LS if you can find them.
  • Eaton SVX drives are actually made by Vacon, who now owns Danfoss and TB Woods as well.
  • Baldor drives are now ABB drives with a different nameplate ever since Baldor was bought by ABB. The older 15H and 18H series drives actually made by Baldor (the old Sweo drives) are now obsolete.
  • Toshiba and Schneider drives are made by a joint venture of the two companies and are identical to each other, but in my opinion the Schneider versions have horrid manuals, the Tosh manuals are easier to read but their distribution is sketchy in some areas of the country.
  • Teco drives are technically made by Teco, but are essentially previously obsoleted versions of Yaskawa drives. Taian, the division of Teco that manufactures the VFDs, is a sub-assembly mfr for Yaskawa so when they get bored selling a particular version of drive, they sell the total production off to Teco, who makes them for Yaskawa as replacements. that's why however if you ever go to Yaskawa looking for support on older model drives, they make it difficult to buy replacements, they don't make as much money on them once they have pawned them off to Teco. Yaskawa almost always tries to upgrade you into their newer models (well, we all do that I suppose...)
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