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Electric motor horsepower: this article explains how to calculate the horsepower of an electric motor if we know its wattage or current draw in amps. The article gives a simple formulat to convert electrical amps to horsepower and explains what data are actually needed to make an accurate horsepower calculation or rating.
We explain the relationship between running load amps (RLA), and full load amps (FLA) and lock rotor amps (LRA) ratings on electric motors. These electric motor horsepower formulas, definitions, and ratings are suitable for determining the horsepower of an air conditioner compressor motor, a fan motor, a well pump motor and similar equipment.
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Question: relationship of RLA and electrical motor horsepower
(Aug 2, 2014) Eng.M.Mossad2010@gmail.com said:
From the part of " FROM EQUIPMENT RLA # - Air Conditioning Equipment Capacity from Equipment RLA Numbers " in the article above can we find a relation between the equipment's RLA and the HP "horse power " for the Compressor motor?
This question was originally posted at COOLING CAPACITY, RATED
Reply: relationship of RLA, LRA and FLA motor ratings & converting to horsepower
Mossad: for a specific air conditioner or heat pump motor I'd obtain the horsepower rating first by looking at the BTUh rating on the data tag or encoded in the model number. For example, 18,000 BTUh is equivalent to 2 HP (horsepower) or 24,000 = 2.5 HP. You can find the basic rating data for an air conditioner compressor motor (or for other HVACR motors) by noting information on the data plates we describe in detail at DATA TAGS on AIR CONDITIONERS
Let's also note for other readers that RLA = running load amps - the current drawn normally during the operation of an electric motor.
An accurate answer to the question of translating RLA into horsepower requires more data: the voltage leel and the number of phases of electrical current. And comparing HVAC compressor motors by amperage ratings alone may be misleading. Compressors need to be compared for the same rated conditions and same area of application, as motor designs and uses vary.
But for typical residential air conditioner systems and heat pump systems we can assume we're talking about 240V and 2-phases of power.
Since the maximum rotating power or force exerted by an electrical motor is that needed to get the motor spinning we should look at the motor's LRA or FLA rating. The RLA or running load current draw in amps will always be a smaller number than the motor's maximum. We'll give the motor horsepower as its maximum in our examples below but you can choose any amperage rating to calculate an equivalent horsepower number.
Details about locked rotor amp ratings and LRA FLA data tables are given at TIGHT or SEIZED AC COMPRESSORS
Formula to Convert Electrical Amps to Horspower
1 HP (horsepower) = 745.7 Watts (round to 746 W)
To express watts in amps or current is not reasonable since these are two different measurement scales (Watts in power and amps in coulombs per second). But if we know any two of the three basic electrical measures (amps, watts, and volts) we can calculate the third value. We can write the famous (and simplified) equation in any of the three ways using simple algebra:
E.G. 120 Watts / 120 Volts = 1 Amp of current.
For complete details about these basic electrical formulae see DEFINITIONS of ELECTRICAL TERMS
How to Calculate Horsepower from Motor Amperage
We can easily express Amps in a formula to obtain horsepower as follows:
Example: For a 220V electric motor with a 40-Amp LRA or FLA rating
So this is a 12 horsepower motor based on its LRA or FLA rating.
Here is a different example:
At 220V a 240kBTUh A/C unit will draw around 8 amps when running. Using the same calculation as above but finding the horsepower exerted when the air conditioner motor is running at normal load (that is not at start-up and not with abnormal head pressure),
So the horesepower being delivered by our air conditioner when running at normal load is around 2.4 HP
Continue reading at ELECTRIC MOTOR DIAGNOSTIC GUIDE or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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