How To Tell The Difference Between a Servo Controller and a Servo Drive or Amplifier?

servo amplifier repairsHave you ever noticed that the terms servo controller, servo drive, and servo amplifier are often used interchangeably?  This can be confusing!

Here is the explanation in very basic terms:

  • Technically, the Servo Drive (also called a Servo Amplifier) provides power to the Servo Motor. The Servo Controller provides the specific command to action. For example: Move 10 feet at a rate of 20 feet per minute. The Servo Amplifier takes that signal and provides the necessary power for the necessary time to accomplish that task. It does this while constantly monitoring the feedback from the Encoder. It has enough onboard control circuitry to interpret control and feedback signals.
  • Here’s where it gets a bit trickier – the Servo Amplifier and Servo Controller are sometimes incorporated into ONE device. This is likely the reason why these two terms get interchanged. Generally, they are independent units – one for control, and one for power and feedback.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE:

For example, this recently repaired Anilam servo amplifier SA 301A  (Drive) provides power to multiple servo motors (multiple axis).anilam servo amplifier repairs

 

 

 

The above Anilam servo amplifer (Drive) is connected to this repaired Anilam controller CC 516F  that provides the commands for each axis used.anilam servo controller repairs

 

 

Now that we’ve cleared that up, you might have more questions!

What if they get damaged? Are they Repairable?

In this example, both of these units were repairable. Typically, the servo amplifier has a slightly higher repair success rate than the servo controller, but both are often repairable. The controller is more complicated and often contains several levels of OEM proprietary programming. The amplifier, if not catastrophically damaged, has a higher rate of repair success. It is always best to get a qualified industrial electronic repair service to evaluate your damaged servo amplifiers (drives) and servo controllers when considering whether to repair or replace.

Do you have questions or concerns about your servo controller or servo amplifier, or do you think it may need service? If it’s still under warranty, contact your OEM. If it is out of warranty, contact an independent industrial electronic repair center. They should offer free evaluations for your servo controller and, if needed, a free quote for repairs. They should also provide repair reports and a good warranty that covers both parts and labor.

About the Author: ACS Industrial is an independent industrial electronic repair center providing repair services for servo amplifiers and servo controllers of all types and most all manufacturers including Anilam repairs, as well as servo drive repairs, AC/DC drives, VFD drives, servo motors, encoders, printed circuit board repairs, monitors and touchscreens, PLCs, test equipment, light curtains, and much more. Our customer service team is available to answer your questions and help solve your industrial electronic repair concerns. Legacy equipment can be repaired! RUSH Service is available. You can reach them by calling 800-605-6419

Are Your Servo Controllers Repairable?

servo controller repairsSmall yes, but oh so important! That’s your servo controller! What are your options if your servo controller stops functioning during machine operation? Are your servo controllers repairable?  Is replacement the answer?  It all depends!

REAL LIFE SITUATION ON THE PLANT FLOOR:

Our customer, an aircraft manufacturing contractor, found themselves in this very predicament. Their waterjet system was down due to a failed servo controller. Would they need to replace their equipment? Or were repairs possible? The good news, as is often the case, repairs WERE possible. Their Copley Controls 800-1689 servo controller was making loud noises before it failed after about 600 hours of operation. Aging components were the main cause of the failure. With the replacement of all seven capacitors, thorough cleaning and testing, the controller was back in action! This was a great relief and cost saver for our customer!

What other failures are typical in these types of servo controllers?
  • Over voltage alarms/machine will not move the axis the drive controls
  • All LED’s out
  • No power
What kind of repairs are typically required to get these units back in action? This can vary a great deal depending on the age and environment but here are a few common causes:
  • Bad or weak capacitors
  • Bad MOSFETs
  • Bad PWM

Do you have questions or concerns about your servo controller, or you think it may need service? If it’s still under warranty, contact your OEM. If it is out of warranty, contact an independent industrial electronic repair center. They should offer free evaluations for your servo controller and, if needed, a free quote for repairs. They should also provide repair reports and a good warranty that covers both parts and labor.

Are you wondering about repair costs? Here are some of our recent prices for Copley Control repairs:

Copley Controls 800-1689 Servo Amplifier $1053-1316
Copley Controls 800-200 Amplifier $623
Copley Controls 800-232 Servo Amplifier $1095

About the Author: ACS Industrial is an independent industrial electronic repair center providing repair services for servo amps and controls of all types and most all manufacturers as well as servo  drive control repairs, AC/DC drives, VFD drives, servo motors, encoders, printed circuit board repairs, monitors and touchscreens, PLCs, test equipment, light curtains, and much more. Our customer service team is available to answer your questions and help solve your industrial electronic repair concerns. Legacy equipment can be repaired! RUSH Service is available. You can reach them by calling 800-605-6419

What To Do When Your Display Unit Won’t Power Up

Heidenhain won't power upWON’T POWER UP 🙁

Ugh! Have you had this happen to your formerly reliable display equipment? It’s a frustrating, but not uncommon problem. From metalworkers to fabricators to scientists – work can come to a sudden stop when your display unit won’t power up.

Why Won’t Your Display Unit Power Up?

There are more reasons than you can shake a stick at for failure to power up. But some reasons are more common than others. DRO display units often get hard use in harsh environments. And because they are sturdy yet familiar, operators tend to hang on to them for a very long time. Eventually problems will develop and most of the causes boil down to one thing: aged components.

The most common problem areas are:

  • Bad power supply overall (this means most likely several bad components)
  • Bad or very weak capacitors
  • Bad PWM IC chips
  • Bad connections and solder joints

Case Study: Heidenhain Operator Display Unit p/n PGM246271-07 Repairs

Heidenhain display unit repairsThese Heidenhain DRO display units are perfect examples of excellent quality display units that last a long time but may develop intermittent problems. Eventually, they may fail to power up at all. In most cases the display unit’s power supply has gone bad. Bad capacitors and bad PWM IC chips are the main cause, although there can be others. Often the units are also covered in dirt and grease. They typically need a good cleaning, in addition to repairs, for optimum performance.

Virtually all of the many Heidenhain display units p/n PGM246271-07 that our technicians have received for repairs have been successfully repaired. These units can be repaired for less than the cost of purchasing a new one. They are sturdy units that will go back to work after repairs for many more years of good service.

What Can You Do?

If you have some experience with electronics AND you are absolutely certain that the electrical power is OFF to your display unit, you can do a visual inspection.  Check to see if the capacitors are bulging or leaking (please don’t touch them!).  Look for burn marks or cracked solder on the circuit board.  These are obvious problems and can usually be repaired. However, problems with these components are not always visible to the naked eye and good quality test equipment will be needed. For your safety and to minimize any self-inflicted additional repair costs, testing is best completed by trained technicians.

If you think you need your display unit and/or its related power supply needs repairs check first to see if your equipment is still under warranty. If so, contact the OEM about repairs. If it is out of warranty, send it to your go-to industrial electronic repair center.

If you do not have a reliable repair center, contact an independent industrial electronic repair center to find out if they are a good fit for your company and your particular repair needs. They should offer free evaluations for your damaged display units or other equipment, and a free quote for repairs (no bench fees!). They should also provide repair reports if requested and a good warranty of at least one year that covers both parts and labor.  If you want to know more about whether your industrial power supply can be repaired here’s more on that!

 

About the Author: ACS Industrial Services is an independent industrial electronic repair center providing power supply repairs for all types and manufacturers, DRO display unit repairs, circuit board repairs, power supply repairs, repairs for drives, servo motors, CNC equipment, encoders, monitors and touchscreens, PLCs, HMIs, test equipment, light curtains, and much more. RUSH SERVICE is available on request and Two Year Warranties cover most repairs. The very helpful customer service team is available live to answer your questions and help you solve your toughest industrial electronic repair problems. You can reach them by calling 800-605-6419 or going to www.acsindustrial.com.