VAR MANAGER Advantage - Multiple Step Capacitor Systems

Posted on October 19th, 2016 by vapro

The Steelman VAR-MANAGER is a multiple step capacitor system designed to maintain the best power factor possible by regulating the amount of KVAR connected to the electrical distribution system.

Save Power and Money

The effects of poor power factor increase generation and transmission costs to the utility companies. As a result, many utilities often incorporate rate structures that include penalties for poor power factor or incentives to raise the power factor. Installation of power factor correction capacitors can produce substantial monetary savings as well as the benefits derived from a more efficient use of electrical power.

Automatic Capacitor Units vs. Fixed Capacitor Units

Automatic Capacitor Systems, such as the VAR-MANAGER, permit a more accurate control of the system power factor than individual capacitors, especially in the case of fluctuating plant loads. If fixed capacitors are connected to th~ electrical system bus without anymeans of switching, the system power factor can result in overcorrection (leading PF), which can be worse than being under-corrected (lagging PF), due to variation in system loading. The VAR-MANAGER eliminates the need for individual capacitors at each inductive load, thus reducing installation costs. The installation only requires the connection of the VAR-MANAGER to the main, three phase, distribution system along with a current transformer that is installed at the system service entrance.

The Benefits

RELEASE OF SYSTEM CAPACITY – As the power factor is improved, the current transmitted from the utility is lowered. This reduction in current will permit additional loads to be added to the system without increasing the original system capacity.

IMPROVED VOLTAGE REGULATION – A decrease in line voltage drops will result from the reduction of current in the system. The benefit yields a more efficient operation of electrical equipment.

The VAR_MANAGER Controller

The electronic “brain” of the unit is a programmable power factor controller that is continuously monitoring the system’s reactive power. It calculates the amount of KVAR required to achieve the best overall power factor without overcorrecting, and then sends a signal to switch in or outthe necessary capacitor banks. Capacitor steps can be turned on or off manually, or placed in the automatic mode. Activated steps are shown by indicator lights.

The Features of the VAR-MANAGER Controller are:

  • Duration of the Control Cycle – The cycle time is the amount of time allowed between the selection or de-selection of capacitor steps. This feature eliminates excessive contactor wear caused by sudden changes in system loads (inrush currents, transient spikes, surges, etc.).
  • Safety Lockout Time – The Controller prohibits the re-introduction of a capacitor step prior to it having been safely discharged.
  • Number of Steps Activated – The number of steps allowed to operate automatically is programmable. Controllers are available in 6 step and 12 step configurations.
  • Rotational Switching – The Controller shares the switching duty equally among the capacitor steps resulting in an even usage of the contactors and capadtors.

Modular Capacitor Banks

The VAR-MANAGER utilizes a building block technique of three phase capacitors, to achieve the best combination of performance, reliability, and ease of maintenance in the capacitor industry.The modular capacitor banks are removable for easy access and maintenance. Each bank includes individual three phase delta connected capacitor cells with fuse protection. The Steelman modular concept allows for a lower cost of repair and maintenance due to the use of individual components, that are readily available from the factory.Three phase cells are available in both oil-filled and dry type and are simple to replace. These cells have a rated life in excess of 100,000 hours.

The Steelman Advantage

The Steelman VAR-MANAGER Systems utilize 525 Volt 55°C rated capacitors in its 480 Volt models as a supreme advantage, insuring outstanding performance, efficiency, and prolonged life expectancy. These 525 Volt capacitors are derated for full 480 Volt performance and output. Other competitors use standard 480 Volt capacitors that consume more energy and are more susceptible to voltage fluctuations, transients, and heat which are the main causes of premature failure. The 525 Volt rating adds to the life expectancy and heat dissipation characteristics of the capacitor to give superior performance over 480 Volts.

Standard Features

  • NEMA 1 Welded Steel Cabinet with Fan
  • Electronic Reactive Power Controller
  • Digital PF Readout Built into Controller
  • 525 Volt 55°C Capacitors
  • Front Panel Controls
  • Air Inductor Coils to Reduce In-Rush Currents
  • Indicator Lights to Display Capacitor Steps
  • Automatic and Manual Operation of Steps
  • Heavy Duty Capacitor Rated Contactors
  • Complete Operations Manual
  • Three Phase Capacitor Fusing


  • Built-in Circuit Breaker
  • Current Transformers (Split Core)
  • System a Capacitor Ammeters
  • Pilot Lights to Indicate Blown Fuses
  • NEMA 3R Outdoor Enclosure
  • Over Temperature Alarm
  • Air Filters
  • Harmonic Filter System
  • Special Designed Enclosure Sizes


  • Voltage : 208, 240, 480, 600
  • Steps: 1 to 12 Modular Capacitor Banks
  • KVARIStep: 25, 50 a 100
  • KVAR perstep Total KVAR: Up to 1200 KVAR persystem.

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General Electric Diagram

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