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Published by JShearer
A book originally written for young boys that teaches how electrical motors work with chapters that will have reader build some small electrical motors.
A book originally written for young boys that teaches how electrical motors work with chapters that will have reader build some small electrical motors.

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Published by: JShearer on Aug 04, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Electric horses, even the very smallest ones, are pretty wild and
we learn to place bits between their teeth if they are to be kept “on the
road.” Otherwise they might run away and do all sorts of damage.
When water flows through a pipe, a faucet placed at the end of
the pipe will regulate the flow. The flow of electricity may also be
regulated easily and conveniently by the use of simple homemade
gadgets, products of our own little workshops.
Most of us already know that electricity is started and stopped
with an electric switch. A glance at Fig. 24(A) will quickly
demonstrate the simple function of this device. A switch simply
removes a small section of the conducting path for electricity when it
is “open.” When the switch is “closed,” the electric circuit is
complete. Low voltage electricity, such as the kind we use to drive our
toy electric motors, can be stopped short in its track by the tiniest gap
in the circuit in which it travels.

Fig. 24. How the electric switch and rheostat are made



The young electrician will want to make himself a simple
switch. The little one illustrated in Fig. 24 and in the photograph can
be assembled with simple materials and by the use of ordinary
household tools. For it, we shall need a small block of wood serving
as the base, a few 1/4 -inch strips of thin sheet brass or tin, two 1/2
-inch wood screws, a one-inch (long) machine screw and bolt and half
a thread spool which will serve as the handle of the device. Two small
washers may or may not be used but they will help hold the metal
strips in place more securely if they are employed. They also help the
wood screws to serve as binding posts because one wire connection to
the switch is placed under each one of the screws.

Fig. 25. The electric switch, the “key” that “opens” and “closes” the
electric circuits

When the switch is used with any one of the toy motors
described, the young e1çtrician should see to it that the moveable strip
is firmly pushed under the stationary one when he wants to close the
circuit for the operation of the motor. Otherwise, a bad electrical
connection will be made and such connections always cause the loss
of a certain amount of electricity. Having so little to use, we cannot
afford this.

While such a switch is an excellent “bit” in the teeth of our
small electric horse, it has rather bad limitations. After all, it will only
start him and stop him. At times, we may wish to make him trot or
make him walk. Clearly, no switch will permit this. Something is
needed that will regulate the flow of electric current. It is good news
that this may be done quite easily.
Perhaps we know that electricity does not pass through all
things—glass and silk, for instance. Such things are called insulators.
Other things permit a small amount of current to pass. The metals are
good conductors, but there is a wide variation between them. Silver
and copper are best. Compared with them iron is poor and so is lead.



Some metals have been mixed together to form alloys and these alloys
have what is known as “high resistance” to the passage of electric
current. The wire found in our electric toasters and heaters is made
from one of these special alloys. This wire has such a choking effect
on the current that great heat is produced when the current is forced
through it. It is called “resistance wire.” A small length of it may have
as much resistance to the passage of electricity as many hundreds or
thousands of feet of large copper wire.
Perhaps the young electrician will by now have grasped the
principle used in applying resistance wire to the control of electric
motors. Doubtless we simply connect a certain amount of this wire in
the circuit with the motor. Really, it is not quite so simple as that
because arrangements must also be made to vary the amount of the
resistance wire in the circuit. Otherwise, the motor would have only
one speed (slower) and the user would not have gained complete
control. A simple device is needed that will measure out and take in
this wire quickly so that more or less of it may be quickly placed in a
circuit and removed. One might think that a device designed for this
purpose would be expensive and complicated but this is not so.
The reader will agree after the examination of Fig. 24(B). Here
the student will find that the resistance wire is wound up in the form,
of a long spiral so that a larger amount of it may be placed within a
small space. Secondly, it is noted that a moveable metal point or arm
is so arranged as to have its end play over the wire spiral forming an
electrical contact with it. At the position A, only one half of the
resistance wire will be in the circuit. The lines show the path taken by
the current. That part of the resistance wire having no current passing
through it might just as well not be there. It amounts to a dead end.
When the lever of the device is moved to the position shown in Fig.
24(B), only a very small amount of the resistance will remain in the
circuit and a short advance from this position will eliminate all of it
and still further increase the speed of the motor.
But how much wire will be needed to control the speed of a
motor—any motor—? This depends on a number of things: the
voltage of the electric current, the number of amperes that must flow,
the size and length of the resistance wire and the metals in the alloy.



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