Back to basics: Control systems, drives and motors


Control systems known as building automation systems or facility management control systems take several forms including binary, BACnet, Modbus or ASHRAE 135-2001. This presentation will discuss control diagrams, coordination with trades and power outage concerns. Applications of dampers, valves, contactors and sensors will be discussed.

Types of motor drives and controllers also will be discussed including contactor, soft-start and variable frequency drive types. A focus on VFD options include constant and variable torque, types of bypass, line reactors, noise and distortion and the physical environment. Electronically commutated motors will also be covered.

Motor options vary based on application and the presentation will discuss differences between axial and centrifugal fans, efficiency, motor sheaves, shaft grounding and insulation class options. Pump options reviewed will include split case, end suction, in-line and positive displacement. The short circuit current ratings of motors and equipment along with fault current contribution will be discussed.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the basics of facility management systems and building automation systems.
  • Learn about motors, drives and controllers, and in which applications these options best apply.
  • Know that variable frequency drives can make systems more efficient and effective.
  • Review case studies to understand which option is most relevant to a project.

Course Instructors:
Richard A. Vedvik, PE, Senior Electrical Engineer/Acoustics Engineer/Senior Associate, IMEG Corp., Rock Island, Ill.