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Schematics Made Easy

Schematics Made Easy



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Published by JShearer
How to wire motor control contactors and circuitry
How to wire motor control contactors and circuitry

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Published by: JShearer on May 10, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Schematics Made Easy
Circuit diagrams may seem complex when viewed in their entirety, but they can be simplified by breaking them into basic circuits. The overall diagram, and basic machinefunctions, are then easier to understand.Control systems are usually designed so that an individualcircuit controls only one function of a machine. For example, this could be the starting and stopping of anelectric motor by means of pushbuttons, or controllingsolenoid valves through the use of limit switches. Thereare many variations in individual circuits. The main factor to remember is that a basic circuit is usually associatedwith a basic machine function.Electric circuits may be of two types, Power Circuits andControl Circuits.
are usually shown in a diagram withheavy lines since they are the heavy conductors or wirescarrying motor or load current.
are usually associated with pilotor control of the power switching equipment, such as thecoil circuit in a magnetic starter. These wires are shownusing lighter lines in the diagram. Some graphic symbolsand designations used in diagrams are shown on Page 6.These are used in the circuits described in this article.
Wiring Diagram
Figure 1 shows the wiring or connection diagram of a magnetic starter with a start-stop pushbutton station. The location of each wire and terminalidentifications are shown.
Fig. 1. The wiring diagram for the 3-phase magnetic starter withstart-stop pushbutton control pictured in Fig. 2.
 Note the 3-phase power circuit is shown in heavy black lines. L1, L2, and L3 indicate the line or supply. T1, T2,and T3 are on the load side or motor terminals.The control circuit is shown in light lines and consists of the stop-start pushbuttons, holding interlock, magneticstarter coil M, and overload relay contact X2.
Fig. 2. Pushbutton station and 3-phase magnetic starter with arc boxcover removed to show contacts. Heater elements shown installed
Schematic Diagram
A schematic or elementarydiagram of the starter shown (Fig. 2) is illustrated in Fig. 3.The schematic does not show the physical relationship of each wire location. It does indicate in straight line form thecircuit functions of the various devices. Note that the same terminal identification letters andnumbers are used in both the wiring and schematicdiagrams to designate the control and power connections.The starter and pushbuttons can be wired directly from theschematic, if desired, since it does show how the devicesare connected into the circuit. For troubleshooting, it ismuch easier to work from a schematic diagram rather thana wiring diagram. This is particularly true with a complexcircuit.
Fig. 3. Schematic of the magnetic starter pictured in Fig. 2.
Page 2 of 8
Schematics Made Easy
 Now let us consider some of the basic everyday circuitsand the meaning of the more common terms. These circuitswill be illustrated in schematic form showing only thecontrol portion and its variations for different machinefunctions.
Maintained Start-Stop
The circuit in Fig. 4 doesexactly what its name implies — starts and stops a motor  by depressing the maintained start and stop pushbuttons
Fig. 4. Maintained Start-Stop Circuit. Motor is started by pushingbutton. Starter drops out whenever voltage is below hold-in value.
This circuit has
undervoltage release
. Should the voltageon the coil drop below the hold-in value, the starter willdrop out. When the voltage is restored, the starter willimmediately pick up since the pushbutton has remainedclosed.Maintained start-stop circuits should only be used in theapplication of heating, lighting and other such non-mechanical applications. This circuit
would not
be usedwith rotating or moving equipment due to the potentialhazard of an unwanted restart when power is restored.
may be provided ina circuit and assures that a magnetic controller will notrestart after a power interruption until the operator 
the action with a pushbutton or other device.
Momentary Start-Stop
. In Fig. 5 we have a momentarystart-stop control circuit. Here, the safety feature of under-voltage protection is provided. The operator must push thestart button to reenergize the starter after it has opened dueto undervoltage release as compared to the starter in Fig. 4which will energize as soon as voltage is restored. This isaccomplished by a holding interlock on the starter andmomentary actuated pushbuttons — as differentiated fromthe maintained type used in Fig. 4.
Fig. 5. Momentary Start-Stop Circuit showing holding interlock andmomentary actuated pushbuttons
.Starter coil M is energized when the start pushbutton isdepressed. This closes contact M which is connectedaround the start pushbutton, thus electrically “sealing” thecircuit. The start pushbutton, being of the momentary type,spring-returns to the open position when released. Thestarter, however, remains energized due to completion of the circuit through the now-closed M contact. This contactis referred to as the “seal-in” or “holding” interlock, andwould be the left contact on the starter in Fig. 2.Should the starter coil circuit be interrupted for any reasonsuch as power failure, insufficient coil voltage, overloadtrip, or operation of the stop button, the starter will dropout or be de-energized. The seal-in interlock opens and prevents an unwanted restart until the start button is againoperated. This is where the protection feature comes into play, since operation of the motor is completely under theoperator’s control.
Multiple Start-Stop Stations.
Extra start-stop pushbuttonstations can be added as shown in Fig. 6. The stop pushbuttons should be connected in series and the start buttons in parallel. Note that only a single seal-in Mcontact is required around the multiple start pushbuttons tomaintain the circuit to the motor starter coil.
Fig. 6. Multiple stations used with momentary start-stop circuit. Stopbuttons are wired in series and start buttons in parallel.
The terms two-wire and three-wire control are frequentlyused — but not always understood. Using the basic circuitsshown in Figs. 7 and 8, let us clarify the origin of thesetwo expressions.
Fig. 7. Two-wire control circuit. Two wires are connected to the floatswitch energizing the magnetic starter.
Page 3 of 8

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