What is all the fuss about ECM?

Posted by Nathan Martin Jan 20, 2015

What is an ECM motor?

An ECM motor is made up of two components, the motor and a motor control module. The motor control module is what sets the ECM motor apart from any other motor.

Single phase 120 or 208/240 AC power is supplied to the motor module, which then converts the voltage to three phase DC voltage. The controller then sequentially energizes the three motor phases at the appropriate time for optimum operation. Additionally, the controller has the ability to modulate speed. The motor has a permanent magnet motor which helps to contribute to the motors efficiency. ECM motors are brushless and communicate electrically with the controller.

Why use an ECM motor?

  • they operate in the 80% efficiency range at all speeds
  • they generate less heat than PSC motors
  • they are more energy efficient
  • the have more controllability
  • they have greater performance flexibility

PennBarry now offers ECM motors

PennBarry offers GreenPlus motors on several of their direct drive centrifugal fans.  These fans are feature rich, with the following standard equipment:

  • potentiometer dial for speed control (can save the expense of a VFD!)
  • 0-10VDC control input for integration with BAS
  • Up to 80% useable turndown vs. 30% with PSC motors
  • Up to 90% motro efficiency through useable range
  • available in 1/3 to 3/4HP, 115/208-230 single phase motors.

CLICK HERE for a brochure outlining the complete PennBarry GPLUS offering.

ECM vs. PSC motors




Belt Drive


Up to 90% thru operating range

30-60% thru operating range

66% at full load
Additional drive losses


Up to 80% turndown

30% turndown

~80% turndown with sheaves

~70% turndwon with VFD


Potientiometer and/or 0-10VDC BAS control

Discreet motor taps
Speed controller option

Additional expensive VFD

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