Top 3 Reasons Servo Drives Break Down

A servo drive is a torque-based electronic amplifier made up of a motor, drive, controller, and feedback unit. Servo systems play a crucial role in many operations that need precise linear and angular controls. They find applications in industries such as metal cutting, printing, woodworking, conveyor belt systems, and robotics.

Owing to the crucial role a servo plays in any system, keeping it running is of utmost importance. Downtime due to maintenance can be planned and scheduled without having a major impact on your business, but should your servo driver cease to function, the cost can be extraordinary. 

Servo drivers are built to withstand heavy workloads, and with the right maintenance and care, they can function smoothly. However, they can still fail due to a variety of outside forces, which are beyond control.

Knowing how servo drives can break down can help operators and owners spot potential problems before they get worse, and have the drives repaired quickly. Being proactive can save your operation a great deal of downtime, and more importantly prevent loss of income.

Corrupted Software

One of the main components of any servo drive is its software. These programs interpret signals and feedback to help regulate servo motors throughout an operation. Glitches and bugs that are part of the software’s programming can cause the drive to malfunction and possibly shut down.

Bad Connection

When a servo drive generates an error message, the problem could be a bad connection between the encoder and the actual drive. Electromagnetic noise is another culprit, disrupting the encoder signal.

When this happens, you can take several preliminary steps to troubleshoot the problem. One option is to check the encoder cable connecting the servo drive and the servo motor. The cable could simply be disconnected, but in some cases, it can be damaged, which in turn causes the motor to stop working. 

Electric, Wiring, Electrics, Electro

Faulty AC Drive

Your servo drive needs to operate in a controlled atmosphere. A damaged or malfunctioning AC drive can cause the servo drive, and possibly the servo motor, to fail. AC drives are designed to work long hours without fail, but voltage spikes can damage the drive. Dust particles and moisture can also contribute to the failure of an AC drive.

Troubleshooting Servo Drive Issues

To reduce the downtime after a piece of equipment fails, it’s a good idea to troubleshoot the issue and see whether it can be resolved quickly in-house before shipping to a repair shop. Below are the possible causes for common servo drive issues and how to troubleshoot them.


Overheating is a common issue with servo drives. It can happen for multiple reasons. Besides the ones cited above, a servo drive can overheat due to high indoor temperatures, poor ventilation, long operating times, and aged components.

While most drives have a failsafe that makes the servo shut down when its temperature reaches a specific threshold, you still stand to incur the time and costs for machinery downtime.

To reduce the chances of this happening, ensure that your shop is climate-controlled and service the servo drive’s components regularly. If the servo system still overheats, turn the system off and allow a decent amount of time for it to cool down.

If overheating persists after taking these measures, then it might be time to seek professional help. 

Noisy Servo System

Servo drives in their normal conditions produce a humming noise. However, if the noise gets obnoxiously loud, that’s an indicator that something is up. The most common reason why servo systems make loud noises is a bad connection as discussed above. Therefore, confirm that the servo is properly grounded and the wiring is connected correctly.

Reduced Torque

Torque refers to the amount of power required to rotate a component. Sometimes, even with the correct torque settings, a servo drive might stop producing the required torque. Your team should check the following when troubleshooting servo drive reduced torque:

  • The servo drive is receiving enough power
  • Presence of bad capacitors
  • Improper wiring and circuitry
  • Voltage drops within the system
  • The drive’s workload limits and amplifier rating

ACS Knows Servo Drives

At ACS, we are familiar with servo drives and how they operate. We’re familiar with most brands on the market, and our experience enables us to quickly diagnose why your drive failed, and how to repair it quickly and correctly.

Using the latest diagnostic repair equipment and test standards for popular brands, our technicians can provide a quick turnaround so your downtime is at a minimum. Whether you need routine maintenance performed, or your servo drive has completely failed, ACS can help. You’ll receive a free evaluation and an accurate repair quote.

  • Repair usually saves up to 80% of the cost of buying a new drive
  • Most repairs are back in your hands in 7-15 days after approval.
  • Our Rush Repair Service ships in just 2-5 days after approval.
  • We Guarantee Our Repairs With A Full Two-Year Warranty.
  • How much will It cost to repair my drive? Our prices are very competitive. 
  • See our Servo-Drive Repair pricing structure.

For more information, visit our website and click on the “Contact Us” button on the upper right hand or call 800-605-6419 and speak to someone on our customer support team.