Building Design and Construction

Compressor-Motor Units

Compressor capacity decreases with increase in head pressure (or temperature) and fall in suction pressure (or temperature). Therefore, in choosing a compressor-motor unit, one must first determine design conditions for which this unit is to operate;

for example:
Suction temperature—whether at 35F, 40F, 45F, etc.
Head pressure—whether serviced by a water-cooled or air-cooled condenser.
Manufacturers of compressor-motor units rate their equipment for Btu per hour output and kilowatt and amperage draw at various conditions of suction and discharge pressure. These data are available from manufacturers, and should be checked before a compressor-motor unit is ordered.
Although capacity of a compressor decreases with the suction pressure (or back pressure), it is usual practice to rate compressors in tons or Btu per hour at various suction temperatures.
For installations in which the latent load is high, such as restaurants, bars, and dance halls, where a large number of persons congregate, the coil temperature will have to be brought low enough to condense out large amounts of moisture. Thus, we find that a suction temperature of about 40F will be required. In offices, homes, etc., where the latent load is low, 45F suction will be satisfactory. Therefore, choose a compressor with capacity not less than the total cooling load and rated at 104F head temperature, and a suction temperature between 40 and 45F, depending on the nature of the load.
Obtain the brake horsepower of the compressor at these conditions, and make sure that a motor is provided with horsepower not less than that required by the compressor.
A standard NEMA motor can be loaded about 15 to 20% above normal. Do not depend on this safety factor, for it will come in handy during initial pull-down periods, excess occupancy, periods of low-voltage conditions, etc.
Compressor manufacturers have all the above data available for the asking so that one need not guess.
Sealed compressors used in most air-conditioning systems consist of a compressor and a motor coupled together in a single housing. These units are assembled, dehydrated, and sealed at the factory. Purchasers cannot change the capacity of the compressor by changing its speed or connect it to motors with different horsepower. It therefore is necessary to specify required tonnage, suction temperature, and discharge temperature so that the manufacturer can supply the correct, balanced, sealed compressor-motor unit.

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