Take a quick spin through all the tools and features available to you in the VFD Suite Configuration Software and learn how to use it to simplify configuring and monitoring your drive. It's amazing that such a comprehensive application is totally FREE! Download a copy today at www.automationdirect.com.
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The FREE VFD Suite Configuration software makes commissioning your Ironhorse ACN drive so much easier because you can see everything at once. You no longer have to scroll through tons of parameters on the drives LED display. And you can control the drive, save and load drive configurations, monitor parameters in real time, view data on a trend and even implement simple control applications using the built-in function block feature. Let’s walk through the software help you get up and running quickly. You can connect to the drive via Modbus-RTU using the optional USB to RS232 cable plugged into the RJ45 jack. Or you can use Modbus-TCP or Ethernet IP with a standard Ethernet patch cable and the optional Ethernet Communications module. Ethernet communications will be covered in other videos. Those are the primary methods of connecting and the cost is the same for either option, so the choice depends on how you prefer to communicate with your devices and if you need to extend the drives built-in I/O. The Ethernet module and the extended IO module use the same option slot – you can only use one or the other. Of course, if you have a USB to 485 converter like this one, just connect the red wire to S+ and the green wire to S- and that will work too. If this is the last drive in the RS485 chain, then don’t forget to enable the termination resistor. It’s this little guy right here and there’s a handy chart showing you how to set it. For this video, we’ll use Modbus-RTU via this guy because you just plug it in and it works, and it keeps the option module slot available in case we need more IO. There aren’t any surprises when installing the software so I’m going to assume you know how to do that. I should point out that the first time you install the software it will have to install all the Microsoft Redistributable Libraries so it can take a few minutes if you don’t already have them on your PC. Launch the Software. The version I have defaults to this Dark theme. That’s hard to see on a video, so Let’s click on Tools, Options and change it to a more standard white color. Much better. Back on the HOME tab, we want a new project. Give it a name. A folder to store it in. And I’ll give the Drive a name. Before we can connect to the drive we need to go to Settings and tell the software how we want to connect. We want Modbus-RTU and click this guy to configure that. Select the serial port your USB to serial cable is plugged into. If you don’t know which port it’s using then bring up your windows device manager and click on ports. You are looking for this Prolific driver – looks like mine is on com 5, so I put that here. These com settings are what the PCs serial port is currently set to. We need to change these to match what the drive expects. 19200 Baud. No parity. Eight data bits and 1 stop bit with no flow control. Click OK and OK. Click on Connect and in just a second or two, we see this bar turned green to remind us we are connected, via Modbus RTU, and we are online. You can right click to rename the project … or … the drive. Let’s change the drive’s name to the part number ACN-21P0. This is a great first stop. It tells you all the basics at a glance. I see my Drive model, Software versions and communication method. There’s the name of the drive we just typed in and it’s a 1 horse power drive so that right. We can also see the drive is expecting 220 volt 3-phase power. I’m actually running this demo single phase. Which is ok, because all ACN drives can handle single phase. The drive is currently is topped, and these are the ramps. We’ll save applications for another video. This is the best part. You can monitor up to 4 things and see the results graphically in real time. I’ll reach over and start the drive and yep we see this needle move. If I change the drives frequency, we see it change in real time right here on the screen. If I hit STOP, yep there it goes. If you don’t like the scale range, just double click and change it to something more natural so now when we start the drive we get a better feel for where we are in the range. And look at all the things you can monitor. How about DC Bus Voltage – I’ll modify his range to 500 volts. . Or output power. This is a 1 horse power drive, so it can do 750 watts. Or how about output current. Full load amps on this motor is a little over 3, so I’ll set the scale to 4 amps. I love how quick and easy it is to get the real time drive status with this dialog. All of your parameter groups are over here. If you click on the top-level, you see all the groups as one giant list of parameters. Or you can narrow it down to just the one group you want to deal with. This SPS guy is the top-level group with all the basic stuff like acceleration, deceleration, Command source, etc. Here’s a tip: Whenever you start the configuration software, go ahead and read the current drive parameters into the workspace. I’m going to fast forward the video because it takes minute or two over serial coms. Now if you hit write all, you’re just re-writing what’s already in the drive and you don’t risk over-writing the drive with whatever is in the software. Reading the drive parameters into the workspace FIRST is a REALLY good habit to get into. You can click on values in this Write Parameter column to change the values you want written to the drive. They turn BLUE to remind you they haven’t been written yet. You would then click on this guy to write everything in bulk. I only changed parameters in this group, so I’ll select him. Being able to limit groups to write out saves you time and it also helps prevent possibly writing other stuff you weren’t expecting. Notice that you can also reset individual groups or even the entire drive by checking this guy. I’ll hit OK and only the SPS parameters got written – writing by groups one of the cool features of this Ironhorse ACN drive family. You can also double click on any parameter name to see the current workspace value, the default and max and min values. Click the read button to read just this one value from the drive and if you click on the Write Button it only updates this one parameter – not the entire group. That’s nice because you can surgically update parameters without having to write the whole group. These arrows scroll through the parameters in this group, so you don’t have to keep exiting the dialog and double clicking on each one separately. This software is really well thought out and designed with the user in mind. And the best part is if you click on one with options like the command source - yeah, you see the options in English – you don’t have to remember or lookup the codes. Another example – in the Input group suppose you want to configure digital input P3. I’ll double click on that and yep, we see all the things you can use digital input P3 for. I love that I don’t have to remember all those codes. I just pick what I want, and the software takes care of the rest. You can control the drive. Hmm … nothing is happening. Why not? Well, when using the RS232 Cable that we are using, the command source has to setup for keypad and I currently have this drive setup to be controlled by digital inputs which is the drives default. If I go to the top-level group, command source and change that to Keypad, write it out, close that. Now if I click on run forward, yep the motor starts to spin. Hit reverse. Yep. And stop. Perfect. If you are using a 485 cable, then instead of the keypad, you will want to select the internal 485 port. You can also control the drive over Ethernet. Again, we’ll cover that in the video about the Ethernet Option Module. Of course, you can compare projects, generate reports, customize the display, etc. All the usual stuff you would expect to find. This guy is important. When you do a normal write, it writes the parameters to the drive’s non-volatile memory. If you want the values to be permanent and be able to survive a power cycle, then you need to write them to EEPROM. So, don’t forget to do that when you are done setting things up. And check this out. Under the tools tab, there’s a parameter Wizard that for each control mode walks you through a complete setup of your drive. It covers all the motor parameters, Torque control, ramps, starting and stopping options, digital inputs, multistep setup, digital outputs, analog inputs, and analog outputs. Very comprehensive. At the end it gives you a list of everything you changed. And you can re-run the wizard or save everything you’ve done. Finally, my absolute most favorite part of this VFD software is you can view trends of everything you would want to see in the drive in real time while the drive’s running. I’m going to break that out into a separate video so we can take the time to see all the cool things it can do. Meanwhile, click here to learn more about the Ironhorse NEMA4X ACN Family of drives. Click here to learn more about AutomationDirect’s free award-winning support options and click here to subscribe to our channel so you will be notified when we publish more videos like this one.