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Reliability Testing - Electric Motor Evaluation
Finding Future Failures Today
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email: carl.cagle@mac.com
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Electric motor evaluation; what is it, why should I use it, how is it accomplished, what do I get in return, and, what problems can be found?
What is it? -  Electric motor evaluation is connecting an instrument to the motor leads going into the motor, usually at the motor control, where measurements are made to determine the condition of the motor.Reliability Testing was first thought of when an advertisement for the instrument we use had a note around a motor in the ad that said. "looking for trouble? If So! You will find it with our instrument".

Why should I use it? – You have the advantage of knowing that a motor is nearing the failure all motors will eventually face. Some come sooner than others due to varying reasons. Some reasons are but not limited to, overloading, and bearing failure, although not detectable with this instrument, other than the readings that are made, then they need to be followed up on.

How is it accomplished? – Quiet simply as a matter of fact. The windings are measured one coil at a time. There are three leads connected to the control device (starter, switch, and so on). The first reading is made between the first lead and the second lead. When these readings are made, the next readings will be made between the first and last lead. After this is made the third reading is made between the center lead and last lead. The results will be displayed on the instrument so that the readings can be evaluated to determine if further motor test must be done at the motor or not. All numbers in each of the categories will be evaluated. If there is a large difference in the readings is noted, a test must be made to determine if the problem is actually in the motor, or if other factors exist. These problems may also be evaluated and corrective action recommended.

What di I get in return? - You get the comfort of knowing that at the time of the test all is normal, or if there is a problem, depending on the severity of the problem, that you have a certain amount of time to get another motor on location. The extra lead time would be beneficial especially where there is a special made motor that takes some time to obtain. Another thing you receive is the eliminating much of the costly down time that would be associated with a non expected failure.

What problems can be found? - The impedance and inductance will be measured. There are indications in this comparison that lets you know that the motor has been over heated, or, there is grease on the windings from being over greased or the failure of a grease seal. The current frequency and phase angle can be read. Abnormalities in these readings indicate that the motor has shorted windings. If the motor is not already failed, the severity of these readings can determine how fast a replacement is needed. One of the readings indicates a short in a winding of one coil in one phase shorting to its self. Another reading can determine if a coil in one phase is shorted to a coil in another phase. This type of short usually means that the motor will be short lived.


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