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The Nola Power Factor Controller


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Hi Marke,


I have found a power saver project in an electronics magazine issued in 1984. The circuit and PCB lay-out were given that include the complete list of the components to be used. The power saver was developed by NASA in the late 70s which improves the power factor of an induction motor when it is operating from light loads to no load, thereby improving its efficiency, which implies a reduction in energy input. This device is only applicable to a 220V 6amp 60Hz loads such as refrigerators, airconditioners, food and drink mixers, to name a few.


Since the motor in a refrigerator may be running at almost constant load, how much do you think is the approximate savings that the Nola power factor controller can offer? (Common household refrigerators in the Philippines are rated 230V 130W). How is it possible to increase the power handling capacity of this device to 3Kw or 5Kw?

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Hello belza


Welcome to the forum.

This is the foundation of many of the "Magic" enregy saving devices that are promoted for energy savings on induction motors. It does work on small lightly loaded motors by reducing the iron loss when the motor is operating at low efficiency. Small motors have a higher iron loss per unit of shaft power than large motors and so are able to yield better savings per KW than large motors.


If a motor is operating on a load at a constant load, I would not expect to see any savings unless the motor is operating on a high supply voltage. If the motor operates on a cyclic load, with significant time idling, then there will possibly be a saving during the off load period.


The capacity of the device is determined by the thermal rating of the triac (SCRs) and heatsink. The rating of these components must be sufficient to allow for the start current of the motor.


NB if you are considering building one of these units, please take care as you are dealing with potentially leathal voltages and currents. If you are not qualified to work on these voltages, I would recommend that you seek the services of someone who is.


Best regards,

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