Alternate power - SmartDrive 230v

230v - USING ALTERNATE ENERGY GENERATION (Non Mains) TO POWER SMART DRIVE AUTOWASHERS

INTRODUCTION

One of the big benefits of the direct drive motor technology found in Smart Drive Autowashers is that the machine is very efficient in its energy usage. As such we often get enquires about the pros and cons of running a Smart Drive from alternate energy sources. The following is a brief collection of facts and field observations to assist you making any decisions.

PRODUCT FACTS

Average Power Usage

A 500 series machine typically uses an average power of 156 watts to wash 5kg of clothes. Over a 41 minute cycle this equates to a total energy usage of 107 watt-hours or 0.107 kwatt-hours. (Note: 21.4 watt-hours/Kg washing.) A 700 series machine typically uses an average power of 173 watts to wash 7kg of clothes. Over a 45 minute cycle this equates to a total energy usage of 130 watt-hours or 0.130 kwatt-hours. (Note: 18.6 watt-hours/Kg washing)

Peak Power Usage

During the course of a cycle the instantaneous power being used by the machine can vary from 5 watts to 650 watts. A power as high as 650 watts occurs very infrequently (typically when spinning an out-of-balance load) and such high loads tend to last for less than 1 minute.

Motor Starting Surge

The Smart Drive Brushless DC Motor is electronically controlled. One of the big benefits of this type of technology is there is no power or current surge when the motor starts. Power is ramped up progressively via the electronics.

Operating Voltage

The Smart Drive is guaranteed to operate on an AC sinusoidal voltage source of 230V rms +/- 10% at 50Hz +/- 5%.

USING A BATTERY DRIVEN INVERTER SUPPLY

There are many different brands and models of Inverters available in the market today and often their output voltage waveform is modified or non-sinusoidal. We sent an enquiry to an Inverter manufacturer about whether an inverter output had to comply with any regulatory standards or guidelines.

The reply read:
"There are no guidelines that modified sine wave inverters are required to follow as pertains to the amplitude, quality or shape of the output waveform. The only regulatory guidelines we choose to follow are safety guidelines."

As such we cannot guarantee the operation of a Smart Drive Autowasher running from an inverter supply if it does not comply with our Operating Voltage requirements listed in the preceding paragraph.

ARE THERE EXISTING CUSTOMERS WHO ARE SUCCESSFULLY RUNNING A SMART DRIVE AUTOWASHER FROM AN INVERTER SUPPLY? - YES!

There are many installations where Smart Drive Autowashers are successfully operating on an inverter supply. In our experience if the following technical criteria are met by an inverter then operation and reliability should not be an issue:

DOES FISHER AND PAYKEL RECOMMEND A BRAND AND MODEL OF INVERTER TO USE? - NO.

Due to the large number of brands and models it is impractical, not to mention inappropriate, for us to attempt to approve or disapprove the use of any particular inverter. We simply recommend that you do everything possible to ensure any inverter you use complies with the preceding technical recommendations.

DOES FISHER AND PAYKEL PROVIDE A GUARANTEE FOR SMART DRIVE ELECTRONIC MODULES WHEN RUN FROM AN INVERTER SUPPLY? - NO.

Even though the design of Inverters has improved immensely over the last few years, and the incidence of reported problems is very low, we do not know the "quirks" of individual inverters. Should an inverter output go outside our voltage recommendations then it may damage the Smart Drive Electronics and this, obviously, is beyond our control.

USING A MOTOR DRIVEN GENERATOR SUPPLY

Motor driven generators typically generate a 230V rms. sinusoidal voltage output. Whilst the voltage shape is better defined than an inverter a generator can still develop high voltage pulses due to such things as:

  • (i) Noise of brushes
  • (ii) Surges due to other equipment coming on/off line
  • (iii) Surges due to start up - power down.

As such the same technical recommendations as have been outlined in the preceding Inverter Supply Section are an excellent guide line if you are planning to use a generator supply. Please read these technical recommendations thoroughly.

SUMMARY

As has been already mentioned there are many successful installations where customers are using Inverters or Generators to power their Smart Drive Washing Machines. Smart Drive has the huge benefits of very low power usage per cycle and no current surge during motor start not to mention excellent wash performance and features.

If our technical recommendations for inverters/generators are adhered to we are not aware of any reasons why you should experience operational or reliability problems.

We trust this helps you in your decision.