As EC fan technology in our industry moves us towards a more efficient future, and compliance requirements drive fan selections to EC, are you getting the EC fan technology you need?
by Rachael Sparnon-Freeman, Victoria State Sales Manager and EC fan Enthusiast
With any major technology shift like EC fans, new products enter the market to compete with established products. Whilst this is, of course, entrepreneurship at its finest, there is also an opportunity for EC fan products to join the market that don’t meet the exacting requirements of control specifications.
In its simplest form, EC fans will offer inbuilt open-loop analogue 0-10 volt control, often with built-in potentiometers, allowing for quick and efficient control without the need for external speed controllers or variable speed drives.
Fans with full onboard electronics can also offer closed-loop demand control, allowing for sensor/feedback control via digital input. The number of digital inputs available will depend on the motor model. It is prudent to check, particularly if your controls protocol is dependent on the inputs available. Some models will also incorporate RS-485 supervisory control, allowing for remote connections via laptops, PCs and smartphones.
Special features such as power factor correction and integrated PID control are also available. Your supplier should always be able and willing to provide a complete capability list of the fan motor you are considering, as well as any potential alternatives.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as specifying an EC fan; consideration of the expectations of the product in conjunction with the controls protocol of the project is paramount.
Simply put, cheap fans with “EC” on the box and a price too reasonable to be true are exactly that – too good to be true. It is highly likely your project and your customer will be unhappy with the result, and you’ll be facing a revolving door of fan return/replacements.