East West Manufacturing Blog

EC Motor vs PSC: Why Choose an ECM?

Written by Jennifer Catalan | November 29, 2016

[Editor's note: As most readers of this blog already know, one of the legacies of President Obama's administration will be the enacting of new energy efficiency standards for the electric motors that run numerous appliances, both residential and commercial. Some of these standards are already in effect and the clock is ticking on compliance; others will go into effect in the next two years. Here's a link to a tool on the Department of Energy website that offers much more detail about guidelines and compliance.

The following post was originally posted in July 2015. We are planning future blog posts about Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) over the next few weeks to talk about why now is the time to move forward in addressing your compliance needs.]


What's the difference between a Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motor and an Electronically Commutated Motor, also known as an EC Motor or ECM? A PSC motor is one of the most commonly used motors that can run at single or variable speeds. An ECM is much more energy-efficient than a PSC and features an internal smartboard for better motor control.

Are EC Motors Right for You? Download a free Case Study and learn how much money a switch to EC Motors could really save you. 

We sat down with our VP of Engineering to discuss the benefits, expected cost, and ROI of choosing an Electronically Commutated Motor over a PSC and walked away with some newfound knowledge about these "smart" motors.

Advantages of Switching to Electronically Commutated Motors

  • Offer more versitility than a PSC. The same ECM motor can be used in a variety of applications where it may take up to 3 to 4 different SKUs of different PSCs to fit multiple applications

  • Offer the advantage of controlling the motor better due to the smartboard inside. For example, a ECM can be programmed with multiple inputs to vary speed, voltages, etc.

  • Are available in tri-voltage modes which also helps to utilize the same SKU across various applications

  • Can be up to 80% more energy efficient than a single PSC!

Cost of ECM vs PSC

In the past, EC Motors were about 4 times the cost of a PSC, but now they are more comparable and can be up to two times or less than the cost of a PSC. 

What is the ROI?

When you choose an EC Motor, you'll expereince greater life cycles as the motor runs cooler and can adapt to a variety of applications. Most businesses who invest in ECM see their return on investment within 1 year. Also with the reduced number of SKUs needed for multiple applications, there's another cost savings from not having to order 3 to 4 different SKUs of a single PSC.

If you're interested in learning more about smarter, more energy efficient motors, check out a couple of related posts you may enjoy:


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