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A/C compressor question

4748 Views 18 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  indyflick
As you can well imagine, living in Tucson, the A/C spends a lot of time running. In fact, my battery guess-o-meter said 32 miles this morning, primarily due to the heat.

My question is more curiosity than need-to-know, but I've listened to the compressor many, many times and it sounds like it is a variable speed unit. I did some searching on this forum and learned that the compressor is A/C (alternating current), 3-phase, and 300 volts. But, I did not find an answer as to whether it is multi speed or variable speed.

My home A/C compressor is multi speed, so I'm familiar with that as the two different speeds are very distinctive. The Volt, however, certainly sounds like a variable speed unit. Just curious if anyone knows for sure.

I was certainly pleased to read in my searching that the A/C compressor is considered part of the Voltec system and is covered under the powertrain warranty. Another big plus for the Volt, and for GM.
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The fact that it's a 3-phase motor sort of implies that it's variable speed. The three phases set up a rotating magnetic field that turns the rotor at that speed. The HVAC controller should contain a variable frequency DC to 3-phase-AC inverter that sets the rotation speed of the motor.

The traction drive of the Volt works the same way. The traction motor is directly connected by a 7:1 planetary-gear coupling to the drive wheels, and when you step on the accelerator you are ramping up the AC frequency delivered to the 3-phase traction motor.
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