Gates Belts & Applications - Tips and guidelines written by Gates Industrial Engineers

Considerations for Synchronous Belt Drives on HVAC Applications

Thursday, July 21, 2011

posted by Brent at 12:18 PM

Some HVAC drives will experience high starting loads if the motor has an across the line start.  The fan will be forced to ramp up to speed nearly instantaneously, and the start up loads can be as much as 150% to 200% of the normal operating loads.

Designers that are considering using synchronous belts on HVAC drives need to be aware of this potentially high start up load.

If a soft start or variable frequency drive (VFD) is used on the drive, there is no need to take any special design precautions as the load is ramped up gradually.

If an across the line start up happens infrequently, simply applying a bit more installation tension will help prevent any ratcheting or start up issues.  

If start ups occur regularly and/or frequently, it is good practice to add .2 to the service factor when designing the synchronous belt drive.  This will provide a slightly more conservative drive design that will avoid any issues at start up. Learn more about HVAC drives and synchronous belts at

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