Potential-Type Relay

This relay is generally used with large commercial and air-conditioning compressors (see Fig. 7-31). Motors may be capacitor-start, capacitor-run types up to 5 hp. Relay contacts are normally closed. The relay coil is wired across the start winding. It senses voltage change. Start winding voltages increase with motor speed. As the voltage increases to the specific pickup value, the armature pulls up, opening the relay contacts and de-energizing the start windings. After switching, there is still sufficient voltage induced in the start winding to keep the relay coil energized and the ray starting contacts open. When the power is shut off to the motor, the voltage drops to zero. The coil is de-energized and the start contact is reset for the next start.

Many of these relays are extremely position sensitive. When changing a compressor relay, care should be taken to install the replacement in the same position as the original. Never select a replacement relay solely by horsepower or other generalized rating. Select the correct relay from the parts guide book furnished by the manufacturer. Visual inspection can distinguish the two relays. The current relay has heavy wire for the coil and the potential relay has fine wire for the coil.

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