The VFD Suite makes capturing real time trends of your system super easy. Plus it has a lot of advanced features you are gonna love! Join us in this brief hands on tutorial as we walk you though all of those cool features.
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Trends are a great way to see what your system is doing in real time. And the best way to learn how to use trends is with some live examples, so let’s just jump right in. I’ve already brought up the VFD Suite Software – which you can download for free at AutomationDirect.com - and connected to the drive. Check out the software quick start video if you need a refresher on how to use the VFD Suite application. You can create a new trend by right clicking on “Trends” and hitting add, or by left clicking on trend and hitting the add button up here, or the easiest way is to just double click on this new trend down here. They all bring up the same Add Trend dialog where you just give it a name and hit OK. Double click on the new trend to open it up. I’m going to close this Event log and Trip Log to give us more room. You have 8 channels available to plot whatever you want. Just enable one, tell it which device you are connecting to – we just have the one since we are connected via RS232 – and select what you want to monitor – How about commanded frequency. You can add an offset to move the trace up and down on the graph and can customize the scale for each trace. We’ll leave those alone for now. Let’s enable channel 2. Use the same Drive and let’s monitor the actual output frequency. This green is going to be hard to see, so let’s go to settings, channel settings, and change the pea green color to something brighter, how about red? And let’s make the line a lot thicker so it will be easy to see on the video. I’ll go ahead and thicken up channel two to make it easier to see also. Hit OK. The green bar down here reminds me that I am connected to the drive. If I wasn’t, I would just go back to the Home Tab and connect. I am connected, so I’ll go back to the Graph Tab and click on Start Monitor to run the trace. We see the command frequency is at 40 Hz – exactly what the drive is set to and if I hit the run button we see the blue actual frequency ramp up to it. Hit reverse and we see the frequency ramp down and back up. Hit the stop button and it ramps to zero. Click on this guy to stop monitoring. That’s really all you need to get started. But there is so much more to this tool. For example. This cursor which I can grab and move with my mouse, tells me the value of the red trace at this time. Want to measure the blue trace? Just click on him up here and now I can take measurements on the blue trace. You can zoom out to view up to 1 hour of data and you can zoom way in. Enable Zoom Mode and now you can grab the horizontal axis and move it around. You can see the data is being sampled once a second. That’s this “monitoring time”– which is really the sample rate. One of the cool things about the VFD Suite is you can specify a DIFFERENT sample rate for recorded waveforms. Let’s change this to 2 seconds. Once you start a trend, click here to start recording. I’ll mess with the drive frequency a bit just to give us something to look at. This counter is telling you how many samples have been collected. You can see it’s incrementing every 2 seconds. To stop recording, you can hit EITHER the stop recording button if you want to keep monitoring OR just hit stop monitoring to stop both. The recorded data is stored at the path under settings, trigger settings, record. You can change that to whatever you want. It’s saved as a CSV file so you can bring it up in any data analysis program you have. I’ll bring it up in excel and sure enough we see a sample every 2 seconds for channel 1 and channel 2. Perfect. And how about this – you can trigger on an event. That is, I can start monitoring, and when the event occurs the monitoring will stop so you can see what the conditions were at the time of the event. That way you can let processes run for a long time and just check on them periodically to see if anything happened. For example, let’s trigger on channel 2 – the actual frequency hitting 30 Hz, on the rising edge. And let’s automatically save a screen shot of that when it happens at this path as a jpeg. I’ll start monitoring. Start triggering. Raise the drive to 20 Hz. Nothing. Raise the drive past 30 Hertz .. give it a few seconds .. it collects several samples past the actual trigger … and yep. The monitoring stopped AND we got a screen capture saved to disk. Perfect. This is especially helpful when you are looking for intermittent things like over current or overvoltage conditions. You can save this entire scope configuration and currently displayed traces. I’ll do that. I’ll start monitoring to clear the screen and stop it. Now if I open the scope file – I am right back where I was. Perfect. The print button prints this screen area. I’m not sure why it turned the screen black in my version of the software – probably to format it for printing – but it’s easy to fix. Just go to settings and change the background to white it gets rid of it. Back in settings, we see the Y-Axis defaults to auto scaling. If you turn that off, then you can adjust the scale of each individual trace. And this is really cool. Normally all of your trends are plotted on this one graph. If you click this guy, then you can create up to 8 separate graphs. I’ll choose 2. Now, you can move any of the 8 channels to any of the graphs you created. I’ll move channel 2 to the second graph. Hit apply and you see the result immediately. So now I can view small signals like 3 amp currents on one graph and larger things like 300 volt buss voltages on separate graphs with different axis scaling’s! I love that. You can save the screen data to the clip board for a quick way to bring it up in your favorite image editing app. You can also save the screen directly to disk simply by clicking on one of these three different image formats buttons. Give it a name. Save. And finally, in zoom mode you can simply draw a box around whatever you want to see to zoom in. And again, while you are zoomed in you can drag the x-axis to scroll and you can drag the y-axis. That ought to be enough to get you up and running with the Trend feature of the VFD Suite Software . This is an incredibly powerful feature to have available especially since it’s completely FREE! Again, you can download the VFD Suite Software for free right now at www.automationdirect.com. Meanwhile, click here to learn more about the Ironhorse ACN family of VFDs. 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