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Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are among the most useful devices in the industrial world. They allow the
speed of a 3-phase AC electric motor to be altered whenever the behavior of the motor's load — i.e., the
device the motor is driving, such as a pump, fan, conveyor belt or lathe — changes its demands on the motor.
Choosing the Right Cable By changing its output frequency and voltage, the VFD allows the motor to modify its RPMs to respond to
for your Variable Frequency those demands.
Drive (VFD) System
By Brian Shuman, What Are the Benefits vital role in optimizing VFD system component
Senior Product Development Engineer of Using VFD Motors? longevity and performance. (See Figure 1.)
Belden The cable must be able to withstand the operating
Why is this motor speed-changing ability so
conditions caused by the drive system itself, yet
important? AC (induction) motors are extremely
at the same time influence in a positive way the
common in discrete manufacturing and process-
life of other drive system components.
ing plants throughout the world. Imagine that all
those motors could only spin at one speed, even
when their loads are modifying their demands, Why Choose a Purpose-
and even when process variables — like tempera- designed VFD Cable?
ture, pressure, force, etc. — are varying. With
motors delivering products at a constant speed Like many engineering solutions, VFDs present
regardless of new, changing conditions, scrap not only benefits, but drawbacks as well. For
would pile up and energy would be wasted. example, the same fast switching rate of the
(See Sidebar entitled "Torque, Speed, Horsepower transistors inside a pulse width modulated VFD that
and Load” on page 2.) can accommodate an abrupt speed change in a
Table of Contents motor (and offer precise control of processes) is
However, when using a VFD, motor speed can be also capable of generating unwanted noise in the
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 changed almost instantaneously to address load drive system cable and in the drive itself.
and process changes. And, as a bonus, VFDs can
What Are the Benefits of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Electrical energy flowing in the cable contains
Using VFD motors?
increase the precision of process control, given
their ability to control motor speeds to within frequencies as high as 30 megahertz. If this radio
Why Choose a Purpose-designed . . . . . . . . . . 1 0.1% tolerance. frequency energy is not contained within the cable,
VFD cable? it can radiate out to interfere with the proper
Several types of VFDs are available, but the pulse operation of nearby electronic equipment, less-
Attributes of a Well-designed VFD Cable . . . . 2 width modulation (PWM) design has become the than-robust, or commercial-grade Ethernet
most common, because it works well with motors systems, and simple instrumentation wires — even
A Methodical Way to Choose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
a VFD Cable that range in size from about a half horsepower circuits that have absolutely nothing to do with
on up to 500 hp. It is also reliable and affordable, the VFD system itself.
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 and offers significant electrical energy savings.
When a motor is run at half its maximum speed, This noise emission can sometimes be very diffi-
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 cult to track down and eliminate and is likely the
it consumes only about a fourth of the energy it
Belden Industrial-grade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 needs at full speed. In this sense, you could say single most significant problem associated with
VFD Cable Matrix VFDs represent a “green” engineering solution. VFD systems today. Unless a proper cable shield-
ing design is present to control it, noise emission
VFD System Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 The list of benefits goes on. A VFD can provide a from a drive system cable can disrupt plant and
"soft-start" capability for a motor, decreasing the factory operations. Moreover, because a longer
mechanical stresses associated with full voltage cable radiates more noise, the length of cable
start-ups. In other words, a motor can be ramped runs must be limited. That, in turn, puts a limita-
up to desired speed instead of being abruptly tion on factory layout. (See Sidebar entitled "A
thrown on line at full RPMs. The result is lower Few Tips for Better Management of Cable Noise
maintenance costs and a longer motor life. Use Interference” on page 5.)
of a VFD can also help avoid overheating that
can gradually destroy a motor.
The way in which the components of a VFD Drive

system — drive, cable and motor — are selected, R U

matched to each other, and operated will impact S
reliability of all of the components of the system, PE

as well as of adjacent systems. The cable con- V LL

necting the VFD to the motor, positioned center

stage within the drive system, plays an especially Figure 1. Diagram of a typical VFD system.

There is another potentially serious concern with
use of VFDs: With an improperly selected cable,
Load, Torque, Speed, and Horsepower • Acceleration torque: The torque neces- voltage waves reflected back from the motor
sary to bring the load up to operating toward the VFD along the cable can produce
A handful of terms are used to describe the speed within a given time frame. excessively high voltages in the cable's conductors,
operation of an industrial AC motor controlled because they add to the voltage that is already
by a VFD: load, motor speed, motor torque • Running torque: The torque required to
keep a load moving once it is functioning there. Peak voltages of up to 2.5 times the
and motor horsepower rating.
at any speed. nominal system voltage are sometimes present in
• Load: The device that a motor must drive the cable. As a result, voltage reflections have
• Peak torque: The maximum torque
or move, that offers resistance to the been known to cause a number of in-service
occasionally demanded by the load. For
motor's turning action. motor failures. There is also some concern over
example, the torque demanded when an
• Torque: The twisting force that a motor especially heavy crate is suddenly dropped possible long-term cable damage under high
shaft applies to a load, a force that tends to on a moving conveyor when the motor voltage — especially with VFDs operating at
produce rotation. An electrical motor's task had previously only been dealing with 575 volts and above.
is to develop enough twisting force to meet small boxes.
the requirements of its load. In addition, high voltage levels in the cable can
• Holding torque: The torque required by sometimes cause a corona discharge to occur
• Speed: The rate of turning of the motor the motor when it serves as a brake, as between the conductors, an effect that can
shaft expressed in revolutions per minute. when loads are moving downhill and must
damage not only the cable itself but also the
• Horsepower rating: The maximum rate be slowed.
motor, motor bearings and the drive. This can
at which the motor can perform the These important concepts are related lead to failure of the entire system, with ensuing
mechanical work it is assigned, given by the following formula: production downtime.
the way the motor is designed.
Power = Speed x Torque The problems of noise emissions, voltage reflec-
Motor loads can be categorized by
one of the following general types: At a constant horsepower rating, when motor tions, overvoltages, and corona discharge can
torque goes up, motor speed goes down, be substantially reduced or even avoided by
• Constant torque loads: These are com- and vice versa. choosing the appropriate VFD cable. Special
prised of most loads present in general attention should be paid to the cable’s insulation
industrial machines (excluding pumps and The first thing to do to properly match a
type, impedance, and shield/grounding system.
fans). Examples include general machin- VFD and VFD cable to a motor tasked with
ery, conveyors, hoists, printing presses, driving a given load is to understand the The payoff will be drive/motor system longevity
positive displacement pumps, certain nature and requirements of the load. The VFD and reliability.
extruders and mixers, reciprocating and cable must have sufficient current Unfortunately, some users attempt to use
compressors and rotary compressors. capacity so that the motor to which they
unshielded tray cables or hookup wire for their
supply power can produce the required
• Variable torque loads: Mostly found in drive system cabling. VFD installations with
torque its load will demand at any time. Motor
variable flow applications, like those these products can suffer from low reliability,
torque ultimately depends on the current
using fans and pumps. Applications a complex, costly installation, or both. Neither
passing through the motor (while the motor's
include fans, centrifugal blowers, pro- construction effectively mitigates the problem
speed depends on the voltage applied to it).
peller pumps, centrifugal pumps, turbine
of noise emissions generated by VFDs, nor do
pumps, axial compressors and agitators. The VFD and cable should be sized to the
they properly address corona discharge.
• Constant horsepower loads: Most often motor based on the maximum current
found in the machine-tool industry and required by the motor under peak torque
certain winder applications. Examples demand — not on the basis of horsepower Attributes of a Well-designed
include core-driven reels, winders, considerations. Failure to adhere to this can
lead to problems in many applications.
VFD Cable
wheel grinders, lathes, large driller
machines, planers, core extruders It is important to select a motor drive cable that
and boring machines. has been properly designed and engineered to
Every load in an industrial setting presents its
address all the key technical issues faced by such
own individual, varying torque demands on a component. (See Figure 2 on page 3 for a closer
the motor. Here are the main types of torque: look at the anatomy of three types of VFD cable
— and to aid in understanding the following
• Break-away torque: The torque needed to descriptions of essential cable attributes.)
start a load moving from a motionless
state (this is usually greater than the
torque required to maintain motion
once it is going).

A well-designed grounding configuration: An A less effective approach would be to connect motor or drive enclosure housing and the cable
electrical grounding system provides a reference a single conductor drain wire from the shield end passes through its middle. The portion of the
voltage, ideally zero, for all other VFD system to the motor housing or connector. Unfortunately, cable jacket that lies inside the fitting is removed
voltages. Sometimes it is not possible to bring the this creates an opening in the shield — a place so that the braid or the copper tape of the shield
ground voltage to a true 0 V level, but the ideal where the shield is no longer continuous — is exposed for mechanical contact. A conductive
reference can be approximated by bringing all where energy can leak out. spring or gasket in the coupler touches the shield
grounded points to the same very low potential. in this exposed zone and also contacts the
One way to assure 360 degree coverage is to
housing to complete the ground circuit.
As long as a VFD cable is well-grounded, it can use a coupler — a mechanical fitting with male
avoid the problem of excess current flowing into and female components. It is threaded into the
other devices or other systems. In other words,
having a suitable ground means it is possible to
control where all the energy from the VFD drive
goes. Any extraneous induced voltage in the
system is undesirable because a certain amount A Few Tips for Better Management of If radiated noise is an issue in an existing VFD
of useful power is lost. Proper grounding also Cable Noise Interference installation, consider how the instrumentation
helps to overcome the problem of impedance and control cables are physically routed and
Unshielded VFD cables can radiate more located in the surrounding area. Maintain as
mismatches and overvoltages. than 80V of noise to other unshielded much separation as possible between noise-
One approach for grounding a cable is the use communication wires and cables, and more susceptible cables and VFD cables — a mini-
of an insulated ground conductor, terminated than 10V of noise to shielded instrumentation mum of one foot for shielded instrumentation
cables. When VFD cables are installed in close cables, and three feet for unshielded instru-
both at the motor and at the drive. The shield
proximity to low-level communications cables mentation cables. If the two types of cable
surrounding the circuit conductors should be tied
and other susceptible devices, it is necessary must lie close to each other, try to minimize
both physically and electrically to the insulated to ensure that shielding is present in the VFD the amount of parallel runs between them;
ground at the point where the cable enters the cable. In addition, the use of unshielded cables it is wise to limit these stretches to 10' or less
motor housing or drive enclosure. The goal is in conduits around a VFD setup should be to reduce the likelihood of picking up radiated
"360 degree coverage" at this connection. This limited or eliminated altogether, since the noise. Finally, if the two types of cable must
prevents openings in the shield where electro- conduit is an uncontrolled path to ground unavoidably cross, it is preferable to cross
magnetic energy can possibly radiate out. for the noise it captures. them perpendicularly, at a single point.

Belden's Classic, Classic Symmetrical and Classic with Signal Pair VFD cables

Figure 2

Classic Design Classic Symmetrical Design Classic Design with Signal Pair

One Full-sized Insulated Three Stranded Three Symmetrical One 16 AWG Shielded Signal
Ground (same AWG as TC Circuit Conductors BC Grounds (full size) Pair for Brake with Drain Wire
Circuit Conductors) with XLPE Insulation
One Full-sized Insulated Ground
(same AWG as Circuit Conductors)
Three Stranded TC
Circuit Conductors
with XLPE Insulation Three Stranded
TC Circuit Conductors
with XLPE Insulation

Overall Duofoil
Shield + 85%
Two Spiral Copper TC Braid plus full
Tape Shields size TC Drain Wire
Overall Duofoil® (100% Coverage)
Shield + 85%
TC Braid plus full
size TC Drain Wire
Black Sunlight-
and Oil-resistant
PVC Jacket

Having a full-sized ground in a cable, i.e., one with Low dielectric constant: An important property of
a large cross sectional area of copper in the ground the cable insulation is its dielectric constant, or
Why Match Impedances? wires (see the matrix table on page 6), means a relative permittivity. This refers to that property
low ground resistance from one end of the cable of the insulation which determines the amount
Engineers try (or shouldtry) to match the to the other to minimize ground loops and common of electrostatic energy that can be stored when a
impedance of the VFD cable to the impedance mode current. (See the glossary for these concepts given voltage is applied. In a cable, the dielectric
of the motor as closely as possible. This is on page 7.) By contrast, with the higher resistance constant should have a low value if the cable is
done for two main reasons. of a smaller sized grounding conductor, a voltage to have a low capacitance, and consequently,
First, when the impedances match, maximum drop across the cable is more likely. Such an eliminate voltage reflections from the motor
power is transferred from the VFD to the motor offset in potential encourages ground loops. It is back to the drive. Of course, shielding helps
to do useful work, with only a small amount of possible to get by with a single ground conductor suppress noise, but cross linked polyethylene
energy lost. However, if there is a substantial of a small gauge size, but this may ultimately have (XLPE) insulation, with its low dielectric constant,
mismatch between the impedances of the cable a negative impact on instrumentation or commu- also helps to diminish noise.
and motor, a lot of power is wasted. So, this is nication circuits in the local area if energy leaks
a "green" consideration. An insulation with a low dielectric constant,
out and is conducted into those adjacent systems.
such as XLPE, allows engineers to closely match
Second, when there is an impedance mismatch, Alternatively, in what is known as a symmetrical the impedance of the drive to the motor. (See
a substantial amplification of voltage will appear design cable (again, see matrix for an example), Sidebar entitled "Why Match Impedances?”)
at the motor terminals and some of the power is
three conductors are used for the ground — each With a minimal mismatch, it is possible to
reflected back toward the drive from the motor
relatively small in gauge size, though when taken substantially eliminate the occurrence of
terminals. This problem is even more likely to
occur when the cable run is longer. The over- together they add up to the equivalent gauge size overvoltages and high frequency spikes,
voltage condition at the motor terminals can of the circuit conductors. These are connected to either of which can generate noise.
cause premature insulation breakdown in the the shield, so when they are terminated together
With better impedance matching between the
motor windings. at the ground lug on the motor case, the shield is
drive, the motor and the cable, it is also possible
automatically terminated.
to get an incrementally-higher degree of energy
Noise immunity: Noise radiated from a VFD efficiency. In other words, more of the energy
cable is proportional to the amount of varying coming from the drive is converted into useful
electric current within it, as well as cable length; rotational energy in the motor, instead of being
more current and greater length mean more reflected back (which can heat up the cables and
radiated noise. However, by properly shielding cause a corona effect and high voltages). This
the VFD cable, noise can be controlled. Belden's is yet another "green" benefit. As a bonus, a low
research has concluded that shielding systems dielectric constant insulation like XLPE permits
including copper tape and combination foil/braid longer cable runs.
types are the most appropriate for VFD applications,
Suppression of overvoltage: Without a proper
due to the low impedance path they provide for
cable design, reflected waves caused by a cable-
common-mode noise to return to the drive. Foil
to-motor impedance mismatch can be problematic
shields are simply not robust enough to restrict
in any VFD application. The magnitude of this
the volume of noise generated by VFDs.
problem depends on a number of factors: cable
length, rise-time of the pulse width modulated
carrier wave coming from the drive, VFD voltage,
and the degree of the impedance mismatch
between the motor and cable.
XLPE insulation, a material with a high impulse
voltage breakdown rating significantly reduces
the risk of failure from reflected waves and
voltage spikes. It is much more robust than
PVC, a common insulation material that is not
recommended for VFD applications.

Thick insulation wall: A thick insulation wall is A Methodical Way to Choose a they are close, a cable with the Classic design
an advantage because of its proven electrical VFD Cable shown in the matrix table should be considered.
benefits (e.g., lower cable capacitance) and the Its foil and braid shielding provides extra
When selecting a VFD cable, you should ask
improved high temperature stability a heavier coverage against the impact of radiation
yourself a number of key questions about
wall exhibits. Thicker cable insulation also helps on neighboring circuits.
your application:
guard against corona discharge. 7. Do you need a line running between the
1. Is it a VFD application? Does the motor
A thicker, industrial-grade XLPE insulation provides: drive and motor to carry brake signals, for
speed need to be controlled? If so, you must
example for slowing down or stopping the
• More stable electrical performance than PVC choose between several types of cable that
motor when necessary? If so, consider a cable
• Lower cable capacitance, providing for: provide different features and benefits. The
having a signal pair integrally packaged inside
product matrix selection chart following this
— Longer cable runs the same outer jacket as the drive cable.
section, as well as Belden's Product Bulletin on
(See matrix.)
— Reduced peak motor terminal voltages for VFD Cables 2, gives some indication as to features
extended motor life to consider when choosing a VFD cable, and 8. How long is the cable run? Usually, the drive
where they apply. manufacturer can provide the specific informa-
— Greatly reduced likelihood of corona discharge
tion needed to make decisions about gauge size
— Reduced magnitude of standing waves 2. What is the most suitable impedance of the
and cable run length. Keep in mind, if a cable
cable to match the impedance of the motor?
— Increased efficiency of power transfer from length is too long, the cable acts like a large
The impedance realized by the cable at the
drive to motor capacitor that must be charged up when the
motor is generally low, so it is desirable to
system is turned on. After that initial phase,
Low risk of corona discharge: Use of XLPE choose the lowest cable impedance possible.
electrical energy continually pumped into the
insulation reduces the likelihood of either the However, it is not feasible to match cable
cable from the drive can surge into the motor,
cable or the motor voltage reaching its corona impedance to motor impedance over a range
possibly causing motor bearing burnout or
inception voltage (CIV) — the point at which the of motor speeds since motor impedance
damage to windings.
air gap between two conductors in the cable, or varies with RPM.
between two windings on the motor, breaks Therefore, the appropriate strategy is to minimize
down via electrical arcing. the impedance mismatch. By choosing an insula- Conclusion
A corona discharge produces extremely high tion with a low dielectric constant and thick wall, The user should be suspicious of a low-cost cabling
temperatures. If the insulation system of the cable such as XLPE, the impedance mismatch can be solution which in the long run may end up costing
is a thermoplastic material — PVC, for example — minimized successfully. more — as much as the price of a new motor or
the effect can cause premature cable burnout or a 3. Does the motor in your system have a fairly drive. By choosing well-designed, robust VFD cables,
short circuit due to a gradual, localized melting of high horsepower rating — 100 HP or more? an investment is made in the uptime and reliability
the insulation. By contrast, the heat generated from A higher motor horsepower translates to a of the VFD system, as well as that of any sensitive
corona discharge forms a thermally-isolating higher current flow through the cable. Users instrumentation and control systems adjacent to it
charred layer on the surface of XLPE insulation in with a high horsepower motor should consider that need protection.
the cables, preventing further degradation. a cable like the Symmetrical design described in (Note: In order to better understand the variables
Proper bonding: Bonding refers to how the the product matrix following this section. This involved with the cables that are a key part of
components of grounding systems are physically construction features a larger conductor gauge any VFD system and to formulate a useful
connected or joined in order to tie them together size to handle more amperage. guide to cable selection, the most commonly
electrically. In the case of a VFD cable, this has 4. What is the voltage rating of the VFD itself? recommended cables for VFD applications were
implications for how well you connect the shield The cable must be able to support it. studied by Belden in both a lab and working
and the ground conductors to the motor case or application.3 Also, see Belden’s more technically-
drive enclosure, and ultimately, to earth ground 5. Are there sealing requirements for the cable? oriented white paper on the subject of VFD
potential. Typically, bonding entails a mechanical A round cable should be selected to provide a systems and components.4)
connection involving a nut and bolt connection, good seal as the cable passes through circular
though there are other possible methods. There is openings and connection glands.
extensive literature available for more informa- 6. Are there instrumentation and communication 1. IEEE standard no. 1100: "Recommended practice for powering
and grounding electronic equipment" January 6, 2010.
tion on this topic.1 applications located close to where the motor 2. "Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) Cable Solutions," Belden
drive and cable will be installed? If they are Product Bulletin 316.
3. Brandon L. Phillips and Eric J. Burlington, "Specifying Cables
far away, there is less concern about any for VFD Applications," 2007.
possible emissions from the VFD cable, but if 4. Brian Shuman, "Building a Reliable VFD System," 2009.

Belden Industrical-grade VFD Cable Matrix

Physicals Ratings

Circuit Full-
No. of Tinned No./Type Flexible 600V 2000V Under-
Conductor Conductors sized PVC ER UL-
Cable Type Circuit Copper (TC) of Shielding Motor UL 1277 UL 1277 ground MSHA
AWG feature Heavy Drain Jacket Rating WTTC
Conductors Conductor Grounds Supply Type TC Type TC (burial)
XLPE Insulation Wire
Overall 100%
Classic Duofoil ®
3 16-2 Yes Full-sized Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
+ 85%
TC Braid
1 - Full-sized Dual Spiral
Classic Segmented Overlapping
Symmetrical 3 1-4/0 Yes Into Copper Tape Yes – Yes Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
3 - Bare CU (100%
Symmetrical Coverage)

Classic Overall 100%

16-10 1-
with Brake/ Duofoil
3 (16 AWG Yes Full-sized Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
Signal Pair + 85%
Signal Pair) Insulated
TC Braid

Classic Overall 100%

for 2kV Duofoil
3 14-2 Yes Full-sized Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes Yes
Applications + 85%
TC Braid

Classic 1 - Full-sized Dual Spiral

Symmetrical Segmented Overlapping
for 2kV 3 1-4/0 Yes Into Copper Tape Yes – Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes Yes
Applications 3 - Bare CU (100%
Symmetricall Coverage)
Classic with
Haloarrest® Overall 100%
Low Smoke Duofoil
3 16-2 Yes Full-sized Yes Yes LSZH Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
Zero Halogen + 85%
Jacket TC Braid

Symmetrical 1 - Full-sized Dual Spiral
with Segmented Overlapping
Haloarrest 3 1-4/0 Yes Into Copper Tape Yes – LSZH Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
Low Smoke 3 - Bare CU (100%
Halogen Symmetrical Coverage)

Classic Overall 100%

Interlocked Duofoil Meets
3 16-2 Yes Full-sized Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
Armor + 85% MC
TC Braid

Classic 1 - Full-sized Dual Spiral

Symmetrical Segmented Overlapping
Interlocked 3 1-4/0 Yes Into Copper Tape Yes – Yes Yes Yes – Yes Yes Yes
Armor 3 - Bare CU (100%
Symmetrical Coverage)

Dual Spiral
Basics Overlapping
3 - Bare CU
Symmetrical 3 16-4/0 No Copper Tape Yes – Yes Yes – Yes – Yes – –

CU = Copper • TC = Tinned Copper

VFD System Glossary

Cable noise: Electromagnetic interference Pulse width modulation (PWM): A way to deliv-
emitting from a motor cable. It occurs as the er energy via a series of pulses instead of an
cable begins to act like a radio antenna when analog (i.e., continuously varying) signal. The
voltage reflections causing voltage spikes are advantage of PWM is efficiency, cooler opera-
present in the cable. tion, fast response to changing demands, and
precision control.
Common mode current: Undesirable current
flow in a cable, which is not returned safely to Torque: The twisting force a motor shaft
the drive. This current produces radiation applies to a mechanical device or piece of
that could escape the cable and affect machinery that tends to produce rotation. The
adjacent circuits. torque a motor produces at its turning shaft
varies with the current flowing through it.
Corona discharge: Electric arcing or sparking
between a cable's conductors or motor VFD: Abbreviation for variable frequency
windings. This takes place when the voltage drive. This device is sometimes also called an
between two points becomes great enough adjustable speed drive or variable speed drive.
to finally break down the air or insulation VFDs control the speed and torque output of
separating them causing a burst of current AC (induction) motors, and are now used in an Variable frequency drives are increasingly used as a
to jump between conductors to relieve the enormous range of industries and applications. way to lower energy costs, and as a way to increase
potential difference. They use several stages and solid state circuitry the precision of a process control system.
to convert 3-phase AC line voltage into the
Ground loop: An unintended path through approximation of a sine wave shape made up
an electrical interconnection system in which of narrow voltage pulses with constant ampli-
potentials (voltages) measured with respect tude but sinusoidally-varying widths. The result
to ground at either end of the path differ from is a variable voltage and frequency output to
each other. Given even a small offset in the motor, the two factors kept in a constant
potentials, extraneous currents can flow ratio to each other.
through the grounding system. To avoid this
potentially damaging current, all grounding Voltage reflection: When the impedance of a
points must be tied to the same potential. cable and the motor it is connected to are not
the same, part of the voltage waveform sent
Horsepower: The time-rate at which mechani- from the VFD will be rejected and pushed back
cal work is being done. To get the same job into the cable. The situation is analogous to try-
done in less time, a motor must produce more ing to force water under pressure from a gar-
power, though it will be limited by its maximum den hose into a straw adapted to the end of the
horsepower rating. hose. Some of the pressure will be fed back
Load: The machinery an electric motor drives into the hose.
or operates via the turning motion of its shaft, XLPE: Cross linked polyethylene, a thermoset-
e.g., a pump, fan, conveyor belt, lathe — and a ting plastic used as an conductor insulator
wide range of other devices. inside a cable. Because of its electrical and
Motor speed: The revolutions per minute mechanical properties, it is much better at
turned by the motor shaft. Motor speed varies this role than a thermoplastic material,
with the frequency and voltage of the pulse such as PVC.
width modulated (PWM) input it receives from
the motor drive (VFD), which will attempt to
keep the ratio of voltage to frequency constant.

Belden Technical Support 1.800.BELDEN.1 VFD-WP 2010

© Copyright 2010, Belden Inc. 7