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Soft Starters and Power Factor Conditioning?

3911 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  frank
I am new to this forum and looking forward to learning from the collective wisdom of everyone who shares their knowledge and experiences.

If you don't mind, please share with me your experiences, knowledge and views regarding soft starters and devices designed to condition power (improve power factor).


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Hi. And nice to hear from you. I am none too sure what kind of reply your question requires.
All I can say is that I think you are referring to motor installation and installations with High Inductive/Capacitive Loads.

Well. Soft start mechanisms are a must for decreased maintenance and Power Factor Correction a must for larger installations where Electricity costs could out-way the capital costs of a Power Factor Control installation.

In both scenarios it comes down to 2 things. The electrician should recommend them and the customer if he has the capital to hand should accept your advice

Do you think there are situations where this technology could be of benefit in residential or small commercial applications?

Hi bud

I've just recently installed a power factor correction unit at a local recycling plant that has lots of motor for conveyors etc.

Its an 800 amp set up so fairly small.

When i quoted the client to install it he nearly fell off his chair,it alone was nearly £30k ($61K).

Last month the client came up to me and said that by putting the unit in his energy bill was now less than half , he was amazed.

well worth installing


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I have not used soft starters and VFD's for power factor correction, but what I have used them for is to lessen demand penalties that the utilities impose. If you can ramp up the bigger motors, the 15 minute peak demand spike won't be nearly as high as starting that same motor across the line.
Air conditioning supply houses often sell soft start units for the rooftop package units and other various heating/ ac motor loads. The ones they have seem to have a lower purchase price than trying to get a soft start thru Allen Bradley or some company like that. I could see using a soft start on residential ac compressor loads for longer service life. Might be worth the $150 bucks or so. Don't know offhand if they would work for single phase 240 volt supply, but probably will.
There you have it. Good advice all round. Domestic situations are probably not worth the capital cost unless you have lots of air conditioning. Commercial situations are another question and it just comes down to capital cost against saved energy costs.

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