Don’t make the mistake of dismissing variable speed drive (VSD) keypads as simple control panels. Like VSDs themselves, keypad technology has developed rapidly in recent years, with the latest models helping to make drive installation and operation quicker, easier and safer.
The arrival of Bluetooth-enabled keypads is a recent development that is transforming the maintenance of VSDs in hazardous or hard-to-reach areas. By downloading the manufacturer’s app to a smartphone or tablet, the user is able to wirelessly connect to multiple drives and execute any task they could accomplish by directly accessing the keypad, including commissioning, tuning and maintenance.
Bluetooth is typically functional up to 75 metres from the drive in any direction. This avoids the need for maintenance staff to enter the ceiling space or other confined or hazadous areas. This not only improves safety but frees up the time to spend on more rewarding projects. Drive parameters and loggers for each VSD are kept separate and secure by assiging individual passcodes to each drive.
Speaking your language
Today’s VSD keypads support graphics, charts and icons to make complex information instantly understandable. The innovative views, transitions and screen will be very familiar to users of smartphone technology. Modern keypads also support text editing to allow users to switch to language of the application or industry. If you are pumping water, for instance, you don’t need to read the motor’s speed in rpm but rather the actual flow rate in litres per second with scaling factors.
Plain English is much more preferable to codes and symbols that you have to interpret or memorise. Should a problem occur, it is far easier to identify the cause and find the solution if the information is presented in plain, simple language – for example: “Pump 2 failed in bay 6, top floor”.
Today’s VSD keypad can even point the way to developing a preventive maintenance strategy for HVAC applications. This is achieved by the drive’s real-time clock (RTC) function, which date and time stamps trips and faults. These events are almost always a symptom of problems in the wider system. Using this data the end user is able to spot patterns of events and perform preventive maintenance before a major issue occurs.
ABB’s has created a series of eBooks that tackle the technical issues facing users of VSDs in the building services industry, including how to choose the right user interface. Sign up here:
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