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Document Type: Tutorial NI Supported: Yes Publish Date: Sep 11, 2006

Controlling a 3-Phase A/C Motor Using LabVIEW and FieldPoint


Three-phase A/C m otors are used in m any industrial applications and can be found on many proces s floors. A motor control circuits, usually located in a special motor control center, start and stop A/C motors and protect m otor integrity. Most industrial applications employ one control circuit for each m otor. A full-voltage, nonreversing motor control circuit can start and stop a m otor that turns in only one direction. The main components for such a circuit are: 1) A main circuitbreaker to connect and disconnect the motor circuit from the feeding power lines 2) A motor starter, consisting of a coil to open and close the three contacts that stop and stop the motor, and an overload device to open the circuit if the motor draws too much current

Figure 1.

Motor control circuits can be controlled by mechanical devices such as pushbuttons and switches, or by dedicated programmable controllers (Fieldpoint 20xx, PLCs, etc.). A typical PLC control circuit for a full-voltage nonreversing m otor control circuit looks like this:

[+] Enlarge Image Figure 2.

When the PLC output is ON, the signal is sent to the m otor starter coil (M). This coil is energized only if the auxiliary contact of the circuit breaker (CB Aux) is closed and the overload device has not been activated. When the m otor starter coil is energized, the contacts of the motor starter close and the motor starts. An auxiliary contact on the motor starter sends a signal back to the PLC input to indicate that the motor starter has been activated. The motor should be running now. An emergency stop relay can be hard-wired to the PLC output. The output loses power if the em -stop is pressed. Motors in autom ated production lines can run either in automatic (auto) mode or in manual m ode. A motors can run in manual m ode when maintenance is being performed on the production line or if a device fails, preventing the motor from running in auto m ode. A programmable controller needs to have variables defined for when to start the motor in auto mode or in m anual mode. Also, the controller should trigger an alarm if a m otor does not start when the controller sends the signal to start it. Below is a typical ladder logic program used to control a full-voltage nonreversing m otor control circuit. The program works as follows: a) If the Auto bit is ON, or the Auto bit is OFF and the Manual bit is ON, the Motor On Output is turned on and the motor starts. b) The ladder program keeps the user from starting the motor with the Manual Bit if the Auto Bit is ON. This safety feature ensures that the motor stopswhen the system is taken out of Auto mode. c) If the Motor On Output is ON and the Input is OFF, the On Delay Timer, or TON, starts timing (TON is the nam e Allen-Bradley PLCs use for the on-delay timer function. Most PLCs have similar functions with different nam es). When the preset tim e T elapses, the TON/Done bit turns ON, triggering the Alarm (in the example, T = 1 s). The timer gives the PLC some extra time to finish scanning and for all of the mechanical devices to close the circuit that sends the Input signal back. d) If the Motor On Output is turned OFF or if the PLC receives the Input signal, TON resets.

Figure 3.

The following LabVIEW VI does the same thing:

[+] Enlarge Image Figure 4

This VI turns on a digital output of a Fieldpoint module if the Auto or Manual control is on. If the Auto control is on, the Manual control is turned off. When the VI writes to the output, it reads the signal on a digital input of a Fieldpoint module. This signal is used as feedback to indicate whether the motor should be running. If there is no signal coming back on the input, the VI waits for a second before turning the alarm on. This VI uses a case structure as the on-delay tim er:

[+] Enlarge Image Figure 5.

a) If the user turns on the output to start the motor but the input signal is not back, the timer waits for 1 sbefore turning on the alarm

indicator. b) If the input signal is back or if the user turns the output off, the tim er and alarm are reset. A complete LabVIEW VI for controlling a full-voltage nonreversing m otor control circuit could look like the following one, which also includes safety features such as deactivating the output if the VI is stopped.

[+] Enlarge Image Figure 6. For a larger im age of the block diagram , please refer to the file full_lv_start.zip.

Downloads full_lv_start.zip

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