Square D Altivar Drive Documentation


Thread Starter

Al Pawlowski

Is it just me or have others noticed a decline in user O & M documentation
for Square D? Is this becoming typical for the industry?

I just bought a SquareD Altivar 58 VFD and the O & M doc's that came with
the unit "suck", to put it mildly. There is no theory of operation. There
are no schematics; not even a simplified overview. The interface schematics
are bear bones. The instructions themselves are terse and bare bones. As
far as I could find, there is nothing better available on the web site. It
appears that the unit was meant to be setup/configured with a piece of
software that doesn't come with the unit.

The drive may work well (when I finally get it figured out) and appears to
be well made, but doc's are important. I hope there is a SquareD person on
the list that can pass this commnent on to someone with the authority to
improve things. I am really disappointed and I am sure it will weigh
heavily on my next purchase/specification.

Al Pawlowski, PE
[email protected]
dba ALMONT Engineering
Baton Rouge, LA USA

Robert Willis


Can you give me the actual part number of the Altivar 58 drive that you need information on. I will make sure that you get all of the documentation that we have on the drive. Typically the drive comes with a basic manual and any of the communication manuals will be specific for the type of adapter installed (ie. Modbus, Modbus Plus or Ethernet as an example).

Please give me a call at your convience and I will do my best to repond to your request.

Robert Willis
Square D Company
Senior Executive Engineering Specialist Automation Products
Houston, Texas

Phone: (713)-935-6231
Fax: (713)-465-5242
E-Mail: [email protected]

Al Pawlowski

A few days ago, I complained about the quality/incompleteness of the O & M
documentation that came with a new Altivar drive. I want to say that I did
get a very quick response from a Square D representative (I believe he
posted his email to me on the list). It was reassuring and I emailed the
representative back with a bit more detail. The reply is inserted below. We
have also played a little phone tag (unsuccessfully so far) trying to talk
to each other.

My hope was to get some additional data, like some schematics maybe. It
hasn't happened yet, but I am still hopeful.

BTW, I am surprised that my post did not generate more from others on the
list. Is everybody else really satisfied with the typical O & M
documentation supplied with new equipment these days?

My reply to Square D (with a few spelling corrections):

To: "Robert Willis" [email protected]
From: "Al Pawlowski" <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 11:00:32 -0500
Subject:Re: Altivar 58 Drive Information

First, I would like to thank you for the quick reply. The drive I ordered
is a NEMA 1 packaged 58 for 460V and 20HP. We got the extended I/O board so
that we can eventually use the PI regulator and do SCADA from a test
control computer. It will be controlling the fan in one of our research
wind tunnels. It is on the wall, by the way, and worked fine through our
initial startup (we have only gone to 2/3's power so far, full power in a
few days). Here is what I got with the drive: the I/O board, a removable
keypad module, a conduit entry kit and three O & M documents. The O & M
documents are: Altivar Instruction Bulletin (vvded397048us r6/00) which is
really an installation guide, Instruction Bulletin (vvded397047us r7/00)
which is really a keypad/unit programming reference and Instruction
Bulletin (vvded397046us r7/00) which is another installation guide for the
I/O option board. We purchased the drive from Graybar.

As I said, my complaint is that there is no information on the overall
working of the drive, no schematics (other than typical I/O connection),
very little explanation of the drive setup parameters from the standpoint
of what effect they have or what they are used for and no step by step
instructions on how to set up/startup the drive. The keypad bulletin may be
a decent "user reference", but you really need to be a good drive tech and
go over it thoroughly to even start the thing. There is just not enough
info there. For instance, I wanted to consider using the keypad remotely.
All that is mentioned is that a remote kit with 3m cable is available.
Where is the definition of what the keypad cable comm and pin-outs are so
that I could do my own. I suspect some type of EIA 485 and could probably
figure it out, but why should I have to. Where is list of replaceable parts
or statement that there are none and why. How do I test for bad parts
without some info on the internal wiring.

I just showed the Civil Engineer professor in charge of the wind tunnel how
to start and run the drive. He asked for a copy of the operating
instructions. Do you think he could use the keypad manual; not likely.

While I am talking about the keypad, I do have a complaint about its
operation. I find it very inconvenient and an unnecessary limitation that
you can not adjust drive speed while viewing a run parameter such as speed
or current. Seems like there would be no problem in allowing the up/down
buttons to make speed adjustments with the drive running and display
showing a read-only parameter.

Al Pawlowski, PE
[email protected]
CEE Shop - LSU
Baton Rouge, LA USA