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Howdoessoftstartwork?
Asoftstarterisanydevicewhichcontrolstheaccelerationofanelectricmotorbymeansofcontrollingthe
appliedvoltage.
AnInductionmotorhastheabilitytoselfstartowingtotheinteractionbetweentherotatingmagneticfield
fluxandtherotorwindingflux,causingahighrotorcurrentastorqueisincreased.Asaresultthestator
drawshighcurrentandbythetimethemotorreachestofullspeed,alargeamountofcurrent(greaterthan
theratedcurrent)isdrawnandthiscancauseheatingupofthemotor,eventuallydamagingit.Toprevent

Chinasoftstarters
manufacturer

this,motorstartersareneeded.
Motorstartingcanbein3ways:

Softstarter@gozuk.com

1. Applyingfullloadvoltageatintervalsoftime:DirectOnLineStarting
2. Applyingreducedvoltagegradually:StarDeltaStarterandSoftstarter
3. Applyingpartwindingstarting:Autotransformerstarter

SoftStartDefinition
Intechnicalterms,asoftstarterisanydevicewhichreducesthetorqueappliedtotheelectricmotor.It
generallyconsistsofsolidstatedeviceslikethyristorstocontroltheapplicationofsupplyvoltagetothe
motor.Thestarterworksonthefactthatthetorqueisproportionaltothesquareofthestartingcurrent,
whichinturnisproportionaltotheappliedvoltage.Thusthetorqueandthecurrentcanbeadjustedby
reducingthevoltageatthetimeofstartingthemotor.
Therecanbetwotypesofcontrolusingsoftstarter:
1)OpenControl:Astartvoltageisappliedwithtime,irrespectiveofthecurrentdrawnorthespeedofthe
motor.ForeachphasetwoSCRsareconnectedbacktobackandtheSCRsareconductedinitiallyata
delayof180degreesduringtherespectivehalfwavecycles(forwhicheachSCRconducts).Thisdelayis
reducedgraduallywithtimeuntiltheappliedvoltagerampsuptothefullsupplyvoltage.Thisisalsoknown
asTimeVoltageRampSystem.Thismethodisnotrelevantasitdoesntactuallycontrolthemotor
acceleration.
2)ClosedLoopControl:Anyofthemotoroutputcharacteristicslikethecurrentdrawnorthespeedis
monitoredandthestartingvoltageismodifiedaccordinglytogettherequiredresponse.Thecurrentin
eachphaseismonitoredandifitexceedsacertainsetpoint,thetimevoltagerampishalted.
ThusbasicprincipleofsoftstarterisbycontrollingtheconductionangleoftheSCRstheapplicationof
supplyvoltagecanbecontrolled.
Componentsofabasicsoftstarter
PowerswitcheslikeSCRswhichneedtobephasecontrolledsuchthattheyareappliedforeachpart
ofthecycle.Fora3phasemotor,twoSCRsareconnectedbacktobackforeachphase.The
switchingdevicesneedtoberatedatleastthreetimesmorethanthelinevoltage.
ControlLogicusingPIDcontrollersorMicrocontrollersoranyotherlogictocontroltheapplicationof
gatevoltagetotheSCR,i.e.tocontrolthefiringangleofSCRsinordertomaketheSCRconductat
therequiredpartofthesupplyvoltagecycle.

WorkingExampleofElectronicSoftStartSystemfor3phaseinductionmotor
Thesystemconsistsofthefollowingcomponents:
TwobacktobackSCRsforeachphase,i.e.6SCRsintotal.
ControlLogiccircuitryinformoftwocomparatorsLM324andLM339toproducethelevelandthe
rampvoltageandanoptoisolatortocontroltheapplicationofgatevoltagetotheeachSCRineach
phase.
Apowersupplycircuitrytoprovidetherequireddcsupplyvoltage.

ThelevelvoltageisgeneratedusingthecomparatorLM324whoseinvertingterminalisfedusingafixed
voltagesourceandthenoninvertingterminalisfedthroughacapacitorconnectedtothecollectorofan
NPNtransistor.Thecharginganddischargingofthecapacitorcausestheoutputofthecomparatorto
changeaccordinglyandthevoltageleveltochangefromhightolow.Thisoutputlevelvoltageisappliedto
thenoninvertingterminalofanothercomparatorLM339whoseinvertingterminalisfedusingaramp
voltage.ThisrampvoltageisproducedusinganothercomparatorLM339whichcomparesthepulsatingDC
voltageappliedatitsinvertingterminaltothepureDCvoltageatitsnoninvertingterminalandgeneratesa
zerovoltagereferencesignalwhichisconvertedtoarampsignalbythecharginganddischargingofa
electrolytecapacitor.
The3rdcomparatorLM339producesaHighpulsewidthsignalforeveryhighlevelvoltage,which
decreasesgraduallyasthelevelvoltagereduces.ThissignalisinvertedandappliedtotheOptoisolator,
whichprovidesgatepulsestotheSCRs.Asvoltagelevelfalls,thepulsewidthoftheOptoisolatorincreases
andmorethepulsewidth,lesseristhedelayandgraduallytheSCRistriggeredwithoutanydelay.Thusby
controllingthedurationbetweenthepulsesordelaybetweenapplicationsofpulses,thefiringangleofSCR
iscontrolledandtheapplicationofsupplycurrentiscontrolled,thuscontrollingthemotoroutputtorque.
Thewholeprocessisactuallyanopenloopcontrolsystemwherethetimeofapplicationofgatetriggering
pulsestoeachSCRiscontrolledbasedonthehowearliertherampvoltagedecreasesfromthelevel
voltage.

AdvantagesofSoftStart
Nowthatwehavelearntabouthowanelectronicsoftstartsystemworks,letusrecollectfewreasonswhyit
ispreferredoverothermethods.
ImprovedEfficiency:Theefficiencyofsoftstartersystemusingsolidstateswitchesismoreowing
tothelowonstatevoltage.
Controlledstartup:Thestartingcurrentcanbecontrolledsmoothlybyeasilyalteringthestarting
voltageandthisensuressmoothstartingofthemotorwithoutanyjerks.
Controlledacceleration:Motoraccelerationiscontrolledsmoothly.
LowCostandsize:Thisisensuredwiththeuseofsolidstateswitches.

Theproblemwiththesoftstarteristhecompaniesthatmakethesoftstarterhoardingtheparts,whenthesoftstarter
failsthecompanywantsthecustomertosendthewholesoftstarterinforrepairsviceallowingthecustomerto
rebuildonsite..ifyouhave30softstartersinaparticularbuildingorashippersayin12yearsallofthosesoft
startersshouldneedtogobacktothecompanyjusttoreplaceanSCR,howaboutbuildingabettersoftstarterthat
couldpossiblylast46yearsorallowthecustomertomakerepairsonsite.Theloudclunkcomingfromthesoft
starterispresentinover60%ofthesoftstarteruponmotorstartup.
>by:CMO

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