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Schneider Altivar ATV31H037M2 VFD

I’ve been playing around with my Schneider (formerly Telemecanique) ATV31H037M2 0.5 HP VFD (variable frequency drive).  I’ve put up some notes here.  Here are my thoughts:

  • If I ever need a VFD at work, I’ll consider Schneider.  Based on a quick look, pricing seemed in-line with comparable VFDs.
  • I think the -A version (with speed control on the front panel) is worth the extra ~$30 since it makes playing around machine setup so make easier.  You can jog the standard version using I/O and switches or via software and Modbus/CANOpen.
  • I really like having CANOpen as a standard interface (Modbus is also standard).  However, the CANOpen setup isn’t ideal, since you’ll have to make a custom cable or use a breakout board.
  • There are a lot of settings; the drive appears to be very flexible.
  • The manuals are very long and thorough.
  • However, the manuals don’t provide much guidance on how to tie all the settings together (so I’m not sure when to use the more advanced settings and how to use the various settings together).
  • Good cable and wire flow.
  • The AC power input and drive connectors do not have permanent labels; but so far the sticky labels are still hanging on.
  • The buttons are cheesy dome switches, which will probably wear out quickly if they are used heavily.
  • The controller’s user interface sucks; to be fair, I’m pretty sure it’s similar to most VFD’s.  If you’re doing a lot of setup, it’s probably worth getting Schneider’s cable and setup software.
  • The newer ATV32 drives are pretty different; for example, the dome switches are gone, and you can get a CANOpen communication card with dual RJ45 connectors.

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