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Working Principle of DC Motor

An Electric DC motor is a machine which converts electric energy into mechanical energy. The working of
DC motor is based on the principle that when a current-carrying conductor is placed in a magnetic field,
it experiences a mechanical force. The direction of mechanical force is given by Flemings Left-hand Rule
and its magnitude is given by F = BIl Newton. There is no basic difference in the construction of a DC
generator and a DC motor. In fact, the same d.c. machine can be used interchangeably as a generator or as a
motor. Like generators DC motors are also classified in to shunt-wound, series-wound and compoundwound. DC motors are seldom used in ordinary applications because all electric supply companies furnish
alternating current. However, for special applications such as in steel mills, mines and electric trains, it is
advantageous to convert alternating current into direct current in order to use dc motors. The reason is that
speed/torque characteristics of d.c. motors are much more superior to that of a.c. motors. Therefore, it is not
surprising to note that for industrial drives, d.c. motors are as popular as 3-phase induction motors.

Working of DC Motor
Consider a part of a multipolar d.c. motor as shown in Figure below.
When the terminals of the motor are connected to an external source of d.c. supply:
(i) the field magnets are excited developing alternate N and S poles;

(ii) the armature conductors carry currents. All conductors under N-pole carry currents in one direction while all the
conductors under S-pole carry currents in the opposite direction.

Suppose the conductors under N-pole carry currents into the plane of the paper and those under S-pole
carry currents out of the plane of the paper as shown in Figure. Since each armature conductor is carrying
current and is placed in the magnetic field, mechanical force acts on it. On applying Flemings left hand
rule, it is clear that force on each conductor is tending to rotate the armature in anticlockwise direction. All
these forces





driving torque






When the conductor moves from one side of a brush to the other, the current in that conductor is reversed
and at the same time it comes under the influence of next pole which is of opposite polarity. Consequently,
the direction of force on the conductor remains the same.It should be noted that the function of a
commutator in the motor is the same as in a generator. By reversing current in each conductor as it passes
from one pole to another, it helps to develop a continuous and unidirectional torque.
A DC motor in simple words is a device that converts direct current(electrical energy) into mechanical
energy. Its of vital importance for the industry today, and is equally important for engineers to look into the
working principle of DC motor in details that has been discussed in this article. In order to understand the
operating principle of DC motor we need to first look into its constructional feature.

The very basic construction of a DC motor contains a current carrying armature which is connected to the
supply end through commutator segments and brushes it is placed within the north south poles of a
permanent or an electro-magnet as shown in the diagram below.Now to go into the details of the operating
principle of DC motor its important that we have a clear understanding of Flemings left hand rule to













Flemings left hand rule says that if we extend the index finger, middle finger and thumb of our left hand in
such a way that the current carrying conductor is placed in a magnetic field (represented by the index
finger) is perpendicular to the direction of current (represented by the middle finger), then the conductor
experiences a force in the direction (represented by the thumb) mutually perpendicular to both the direction
of field and the current in the conductor.For clear understanding the principle of DC motor we have to
determine the magnitude of the force, by considering the diagram below. We know that when an infinitely
small charge dq is made to flow at a velocity v under the influence of an electric field E, and a magnetic
field B, then the Lorentz Force dF experienced by the charge is given by:-

For the operation of DC motor, considering E = 0

i.e. its the cross product of dq v and magnetic field B.

Where dL is the length of the conductor carrying charge q.

From the 1st diagram we can see that the construction of a DC motor is such that the direction of current
through the armature conductor at all instance is perpendicular to the field. Hence the force acts on the
armature conductor in the direction perpendicular to the both uniform field and current is constant.

So if we take the current in the left hand side of the armature conductor to be I, and current at right hand
side of the armature conductor to be I, because they are flowing in the opposite direction with respect to
each other. Then the force on the left hand side armature conductor,

Similarly force on the right hand side conductor

we can see that at that position the force on either side is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction.
And since the two conductors are separated by some distance w = width of the armature turn, the two

opposite forces produces a rotational force or a torque that results in the rotation of the armature conductor.
Now let's examine the expression of torque when the armature turn crate an angle of with its initial
position. The torque produced is given by,

Where, is the angle between the plane of the armature turn and the plane of reference or the initial
position of the armature which is here along the direction of magnetic field. The presence of the term cos
in the torque equation very well signifies that unlike force the torque at all position is not the same. It in
fact varies with the variation of the angle . To explain the variation of torque and the principle behind
rotation of the motor let us do a step wise analysis.

Step 1: Initially considering the armature is in its starting point or reference position where the angle = 0.
Since, = 0, the term cos = 1, or the maximum value, hence torque at this position is maximum given by
= BILw. This high starting torque helps in overcoming the initial inertia of rest of the armature and sets it
into rotation

Step 2: Once the armature is set in motion, the angle between the actual position of the armature and its
reference initial position goes on increasing in the path of its rotation until it becomes 90 from its initial
position. Consequently the term cos decreases and also the value of torque. The torque in this case is
given by = BILwcos which is less than BIL w when is greater than 0.

Step 3: In the path of the rotation of the armature a point is reached where the actual position of the rotor is
exactly perpendicular to its initial position, i.e. = 90, and as a result the term cos = 0. The torque acting
on the conductor at this position is given by,

i.e. virtually no rotating torque acts on the armature at this instance. But still the armature does not come to
a standstill, this is because of the fact that the operation of DC motor has been engineered in such a way
that the inertia of motion at this point is just enough to overcome this point of null torque. Once the rotor
crosses over this position the angle between the actual position of the armature and the initial plane again
decreases and torque starts acting on it again.
Back EMF and Its Significance in DC Motor
What is Back EMF ?
When the armature of a d.c. motor rotates under the influence of the driving torque, the armature
conductors move through the magnetic field and hence e.m.f. is induced in them as in a generator. The
induced e.m.f. acts in opposite direction to the applied voltage V (Lenzs law) and in known as back or

counter e.m.f. Eb. The back emf Eb(= PZN/60 A) is always less than the applied voltage V, although this
difference is small when the motor is running under normal conditions.
Back EMF in DC Motor
A shunt wound dc motor shown in figure below. When dc voltage V is applied across the motor terminals,
the field magnets are excited and armature conductors are supplied with current. Therefore, driving torque
acts on the armature which begins to rotate. As the armature rotates, back emf Eb is induced which
opposes the applied voltage V

The applied voltage V has to force current through the armature against the back emf Eb. The electric work
done in overcoming and causing the current to flow against Eb is converted into mechanical energy
developed in the armature. It follows, therefore, that energy conversion in a d.c. motor is only possible due
to the production of back emf Eb.
Net voltage across armature circuit = V - Eb
If Ra is the armature circuit resistance, then, Ia = (V - Eb)/Ra
Since and Ra are usually fixed, the value of Eb will determine the current drawn by the motor. If the speed
of the motor is high, then back e.m.f. Eb (= PZN/60 A) is large and hence the motor will draw less
armature current and viceversa.
Significance of Back EMF
The presence of back emf makes the d.c. motor a self-regulating machine i.e., it makes the motor to draw
as much armature current as is just sufficient to develop the torque required by the load.
Armature current, Ia=VEbRa

When the motor is running on no load, small torque is required to overcome the friction and
windage losses. Therefore, the armature current Ia is small and the back emf is nearly equal to the
applied voltage.
If the motor is suddenly loaded, the first effect is to cause the armature to slow down. Therefore, the
speed at which the armature conductors move through the field is reduced and hence the back emf
Eb falls. The decreased back emf allows a larger current to flow through the armature and larger
current means increased driving torque. Thus, the driving torque increases as the motor slows down.
The motor will stop slowing down when the armature current is just sufficient to produce the
increased torque required by the load.
If the load on the motor is decreased, the driving torque is momentarily in excess of the requirement
so that armature is accelerated. As the armature speed increases, the back emf Eb also increases and
causes the armature current Ia to decrease. The motor will stop accelerating when the armature
current is just sufficient to produce the reduced torque required by the load.
It follows, therefore, that back emf in a d.c. motor regulates the flow of armature current i.e.,
it automatically changes the armature current to meet the load requirement.

Torque Equation of DC Motor

When a DC machine is loaded either as a motor or as a generator, the rotor conductors carry current. These
conductors lie in the magnetic field of the air gap. Thus each conductor experiences a force. The
conductors lie near the surface of the rotor at a common radius from its center. Hence torque is produced at
the circumference of the rotor and rotor starts rotating. The term torque as best explained by Dr. Huge d
Young is the quantitative measure of the tendency of a force to cause a rotational motion, or to bring about
a change in rotational motion. It is in fact the moment of a force that produces or changes a rotational
motion.The equation of torque is given by,

Where, F is force in linear direction. R is radius of the object being rotated, and is the angle, the force F is

making with R vector

To establish the torque equation, let us first consider the basic circuit diagram of a DC motor, and its
voltage equation.

Referring to the diagram beside, we can see, that if E is the supply voltage, Eb is the back emf produced and
Ia, Ra are the armature current and armature resistance respectively then the voltage equation is given by,

But keeping in mind that our purpose is to derive the torque equation of DC motor we multiply both sides
of equation (2) by Ia.

Now Ia2.Ra is the power loss due to heating of the armature coil, and the true effective mechanical power
that is required to produce the desired torque of dc machine is given by,

The mechanical power Pm is related to the electromagnetic torque Tg as,

Where is speed in rad/sec.

Now equating equation (4) & (5) we get,

Now for simplifying the torque equation of DC motor we substitute.

Where, P is no of poles, is flux per pole, Z is no. of conductors, A is no. of parallel paths, and N is the
speed of the D.C. motor.

Substituting equation (6) and (7) in equation (4), we get:

The torque we so obtain, is known as the electromagnetic torque of DC motor, and subtracting the
mechanical and rotational losses from it we get the mechanical torque. Therefore, T m = Tg - mechanical
losses. This is the torque equation of DC motor. It can be further simplified as:

Which is constant for a particular machine and therefore the torque of DC motor varies with only flux
and armature current Ia. The Torque equation of a DC motor can also be explained considering the figure


Current / conductor Ic = Ia / A Therefore, force per conductor = fc = BLIa/A Now torque Tc = fc.r = BLIa.r/A

Hence, the total torque developed of a DC machine is,

This torque equation of DC motor can be further simplified as:

Which is constant for a particular machine and therefore the torque of DC motor varies with only flux
and armature current Ia.
The DC motor as we all know is a rotational machine, and torque of DC motor is a very important
parameter in this concern, and its of utmost importance to understand the torque equation of DC motor
for establishing its running characteristics.

Characteristics of DC motors
Generally, three characteristic curves are considered important for DC motors which are, (i) Torque vs.
armature current, (ii) Speed vs. armature current and (iii) Speed vs. torque. These are explained below for
each type of DC motor. These characteristics are determined by keeping the following two relations in
Ta .Ia and N Eb/
These above equations can be studied at - emf and torque equation of dc machine. For a DC motor,
magnitude of the back emf is given by the same emf equation of a dc generator i.e. E b = PNZ / 60A. For a
machine, P, Z and A are constant, therefore, N Eb/
Characteristics of DC series motors
Torque vs. armature current (Ta-Ia)

This characteristic is also known as electrical characteristic. We know that torque is directly proportional
to the product of armature current and field flux, Ta .Ia. In DC series motors, field winding is connected
in series with the armature, i.e. Ia = If. Therefore, before magnetic saturation of the field, flux is directly
proportional to Ia. Hence, before magnetic saturation Ta Ia 2. Therefore, the Ta-Ia curve is parabola for
smaller values of Ia.After magnetic saturation of the field poles, flux is independent of armature current
Ia. Therefore, the torque varies proportionally to Ia only, T Ia.Therefore, after magnetic saturation, Ta-Ia
curve becomes a straight line.The shaft torque (Tsh) is less than armature torque (Ta) due to stray losses.
Hence, the curve Tsh vs Ia lies slightly lower.In DC series motors, (prior to magnetic saturation) torque
increases as the square of armature current, these motors are used where high starting torque is required.
Speed vs. armature current (N-Ia)
We know the relation, N Eb/
For small load current (and hence for small armature current) change in back emf Eb is small and it may be
neglected. Hence, for small currents speed is inversely proportional to . As we know, flux is directly
proportional to Ia, speed is inversely proportional to Ia. Therefore, when armature current is very small the
speed becomes dangerously high. That is why a series motor should never be started without some
mechanical load.
But, at heavy loads, armature current Ia is large. And hence, speed is low which results in decreased back
emf Eb. Due to decreased Eb, more armature current is allowed.
Speed vs. torque (N-Ta)
This characteristic is also called as mechanical characteristic. From the above two characteristics of DC
series motor, it can be found that when speed is high, torque is low and vice versa.

Characteristics of DC shunt motors

Torque vs. armature current (Ta-Ia)

In case of DC shunt motors, we can assume the field flux to be constant. Though at heavy loads,
decreases in a small amount due to increased armature reaction. As we are neglecting the change in the flux
, we can say that torque is proportional to armature current. Hence, the Ta-Ia characteristic for a dc shunt
motor will be a straight line through the origin.Since heavy starting load needs heavy starting current,
shunt motor should never be started on a heavy load.
Speed vs. armature current (N-Ia)
As flux is assumed to be constant, we can say N Eb. But, as back emf is also almost constant, the
speed should remain constant. But practically, as well as Eb decreases with increase in load. Back emf Eb
decreases slightly more than , therefore, the speed decreases slightly. Generally, the speed decreases only
by 5 to 15% of full load speed. Therefore, a shunt motor can be assumed as a constant speed motor. In
speed vs. armature current characteristic in the following figure, the straight horizontal line represents the
ideal characteristic and the actual characteristic is shown by the dotted line.

Characteristics of DC compound motor

DC compound motors have both series as well as shunt winding. In a compound motor, if series and shunt
windings are connected such that series flux is in direction as that of the shunt flux then the motor is said to
be cumulatively compounded. And if the series flux is opposite to the direction of the shunt flux, then the
motor is said to be differentially compounded. Characteristics of both these compound motors are
explained below.

(a) Cumulative compound motor

Cumulative compound motors are used where series characteristics are required but the load is likely to be
removed completely. Series winding takes care of the heavy load, whereas the shunt winding prevents the

motor from running at dangerously high speed when the load is suddenly removed. These motors have
generally employed a flywheel, where sudden and temporary loads are applied like in rolling mills.
(b) Differential compound motor
Since in differential field motors, series flux opposes shunt flux, the total flux decreases with increase in
load. Due to this, the speed remains almost constant or even it may increase slightly with increase in load
(N Eb/). Differential compound motors are not commonly used, but they find limited applications in
experimental and research work.

Starting methods of a DC motor

Basic operational voltage equation of a DC motor is given as
E = Eb + IaRa and hence,

Ia = (E - Eb) / Ra

Now, when the motor is at rest, obviously, the back emf E b = 0. Hence, armature current at the moment of
starting can be given as Ia = E / Ra. In practical DC machines, armature resistance is basically very low,
generally about 0.5 . Therefore, a large current flows through the armature during starting. This current is
large enough to damage the armature circuit.
Due to this excessive starting current 1. the fuses may blow out and the armature winding and/or commutator brush arrangement may get
2. very high starting torque will be produced (as torque is directly proportional to the armature
current), and this high starting torque may cause huge centrifugal force which may throw off the
armature winding.
3. other loads connected to the same source may experience a dip in the terminal voltage.

A large DC motor will pick up speed rather slowly due to its large rotor inertia. Hence, building up the back
emf slowly causing the level of high starting current maintained for quite some time. This may cause
severe damage. To avoid this, a suitable DC motor starter must be used. Very small dc motors, however,
may be started directly by connecting them to the supply with the help of a contactor or a switch. It does
not result in any harm because they gather speed quickly due to small rotor inertia. In this case, the large
starting current will die down quickly because of the fast rise in the back emf.

DC motor starters
To avoid the above dangers while starting a DC motor, it is necessary to limit the starting current. So, a DC
motor is started by using a starter. There are various types of dc motor starters, such as 3 point starter, 4










The basic concept behind every DC motor starter is adding external resistance to the armature winding
during starting.From the followings, 3 point starters and 4 point starters are used for starting shunt wound
motors and compound wound motors.

3 Point Starter













When the connected dc motor is to be started, the lever is turned gradually to the right. When the lever
touches point 1, the field winding gets directly connected across the supply, and the armature winding gets
connected with resistances R1 to R5 in series. During starting, full resistance is added in series with
the armature winding. Then, as the lever is moved further, the resistance is gradually is cut out from the
armature circuit. Now, as the lever reaches to position 6, all the resistance is cut out from the armature
circuit and armature gets directly connected across the supply. The electromagnet 'E' (no voltage coil) holds

the lever at this position. This electromagnet releases the lever when there is no (or low) supply voltage.
It can be seen that, when the arm is moved from the position 1 to the last position, the starter resistance gets
added in series with the field winding. But, as the value of starter resistance is very small as compared to
the shunt resistance, the decrease in shunt field current may be negligible. However, to overcome this
drawback a brass or copper arc may be employed within a 3 point starter which makes a connection
between the moving arm and the field winding, as shown in the figure of 4 point starter below.
When the motor is overloaded beyond a predefined value, 'overcurrent release electromagnet' D gets
activated, which short-circuits electromagnet E and, hence, releases the lever and the motor is turned off.

4 Point Starter

The main difference between a 3 point starter and a 4 point starter is that the no voltage coil (electromagnet
E) is not connected in series with the field coil. The field winding gets directly connected to the supply, as
the lever moves touching the brass arc (the arc below the resistance studs). The no voltage coil (or Hold-on
coil) is connected with a current limiting resistance Rh. This arrangement ensures that any change of
current in the shunt field does not affect the current through hold-on coil at all. This means,
electromagnetic pull of the hold-on coil will always be sufficient so that the spring does not unnecessarily
restore the lever to the off position. A 4 point starter is used where field current is to be adjusted by means
of a field rheostat for the purpose of operating the motor above rated speed by reducing the field current.
DC series motor starter

Construction of DC series motor starters is very basic as shown in the figure. The start arm is simply
moved towards right to start the motor. Thus, maximum resistance is connected in series with the armature
during starting and then gradually decreased as the start arm moves towards right. This starter is sometimes
also called as a 2 point starter. The no load release coil holds the start arm to the run position and leaves it
when the voltage is lost.

Speed control methods of DC motor

Speed of a DC motor
We know, back emf Eb of a DC motor is the induced emf in the armature conductors due to the rotation of
armature in magnetic field. Thus, magnitude of the Eb can be given by the EMF equation of a DC

Eb = PNZ/60A (where, P = no. of poles, = flux/pole, N = speed in rpm, Z = no. of armature

conductors, A = parallel paths) Eb can also be given as,
Eb = V- IaRa thus, from the above equations
N = Eb 60A/PZ
but, for a DC motor A, P and Z are constants Therefore, N K
(where, K=constant)
This shows the speed of a dc motor is directly proportional to the back emf and inversely proportional to
the flux per pole.
Speed control methods of DC motor
Speed control of Shunt motor
1. Flux control method

It is already explained above that the speed of a dc motor is inversely proportional to the flux per pole.
Thus by decreasing the flux, speed can be increased and vice versa.
To control the flux, a rheostat is added in series with the field winding, as shown in the circuit diagram.
Adding more resistance in series with the field winding will increase the speed as it decreases the flux. In
shunt motors, as field current is relatively very small, I sh2R loss is small and, hence, this method is quite
efficient. Though speed can be increased above the rated value by reducing flux with this method, it puts a
limit to maximum speed as weakening of flux beyond the limit will adversely affect the commutation.
2. Armature control method

Speed of a dc motor is directly proportional to the back emf E b and Eb = V - IaRa. That means, when the
supply voltage V and the armature resistance Ra are kept constant, speed is directly proportional to the
armature current Ia. Thus, if we add a resistance in series with the armature, I a decreases and, hence, the
speed also decreases. Greater the resistance in series with the armature, greater the decrease in speed.
3. Voltage Control Method
a) Multiple voltage control:

In this method, the shunt field is connected to a fixed exciting voltage and armature is supplied with
different voltages. Voltage across armature is changed with the help of a suitable switchgear. The speed is
approximately proportional to the voltage across the armature.

b) Ward-Leonard System:

This system is used where very sensitive speed control of motor is required (e.g electric
excavators, elevators etc.). The arrangement of this system is as shown in the figure at right.
M2 is the motor whose speed control is required.
M1 may be any AC motor or DC motor with constant speed.
G is a generator directly coupled to M1.

In this method, the output from the generator G is fed to the armature of the motor M 2 whose speed is to be
controlled. The output voltage of the generator G can be varied from zero to its maximum value by means
of its field regulator and, hence, the armature voltage of the motor M 2 is varied very smoothly. Hence, very
smooth speed control of the dc motor can be obtained by this method.
Speed control of series motor
1. Flux control method

Field divertor: A veritable resistance is connected parallel to the series field as shown in fig (a). This
variable resistor is called as divertor, as the desired amount of current can be diverted through this
resistor and hence current through field coil can be decreased. Hence, flux can be decreased to
the desired amount and speed can be increased.













For a given constant load torque, if armature current is reduced then flux must increase. As, Ta
This will result in an increase in current taken from the supply and hence flux will increase and
subsequently speed of the motor will decrease.

Tapped field control: As shown in fig (c) field coil is tapped dividing number of turns. Thus we can
select different value of by selecting different number of turns.

Paralleling field coils: In this method, several speeds can be obtained by regrouping coils as shown
in fig (d).

2. Variable resistance in series with armature

By introducing a resistance in series with the armature, voltage across the armature can be reduced. And,
hence, speed reduces in proportion with it.
3. Series-parallel control
This system is widely used in electric traction, where two or more mechanically coupled series motors are
employed. For low speeds, the motors are connected in series, and for higher speeds the motors are
connected in parallel.When in series, the motors have the same current passing through them, although

voltage across each motor is divided. When in parallel, the voltage across each motor is same although the
current gets divided.

Losses in DC Machine
As we know Energy neither can be created nor it can be destroyed, it can only be transferred from one
form to another. In DC machine, mechanical energy is converted into the electrical energy. During this
process, the total input power is not transformed into output power. Some part of input power gets wasted
in various forms. The form of this loss may vary from one machine to another. These losses give in rise in
temperature of machine and reduce the efficiency of the machine. In DC Machine, there are broadly four
main categories of energy loss.
Copper Losses or Electrical Losses in DC Machine or Winding Loss
The copper losses are the winding losses taking place during the current flowing through the winding.
These losses occur due to the resistance in the winding. In DC machine, there are only two winding,
armature and field winding. Thus copper losses categories in three parts; armature loss, field winding loss,
and brush contact resistance loss. The copper losses are proportional to square of the current flowing
through the winding.
Armature Copper Loss in DC Machine
Armature copper loss = Ia2Ra Where, Ia is armature current and Ra is armature resistance. These losses are
about 30% of the total full load losses.
Field Winding Copper Loss in DC Machine
Field winding copper loss = If2Rf Where, If is field current and Rf is field resistance. These losses are about
25% theoretically, but practically it is constant.
Brush Contact Resistance Loss in DC Machine
Brush contact loss attributes to resistance between the surface of brush and commutator. It is not a loss
which could be calculated separately as it is a part of variable losses. Generally, it contributes in both the
types of copper losses. So, they are factor in the calculation of above losses.
Core Losses or Iron Losses in DC Machine or Magnetic Losses
As iron core of the armature is rotating in magnetic field, some losses occurs in the core which is called
core losses. Normally, machines are operated with constant speed, so these losses are almost constant.
These losses are categorized in two form; Hysteresis loss and Eddy current loss.
Hysteresis Loss in DC Machine

Hysteresis losses occur in the armature winding due to reversal of magnetization of the core. When the core
of the armature exposed to magnetic field, it undergoes one complete rotation of magnetic reversal. The
portion of armature which is under S-pole, after completing half electrical revolution, the same piece will
be under the N-pole, and the magnetic lines are reversed in order to overturn the magnetism within the
core. The constant process of magnetic reversal in the armature, consume some amount of energy which is
called hysteresis loss. The percentage of loss depends upon the quality and volume of the iron.
The Frequency of Magnetic Reversal

Where, P = Number of poles N = Speed in rpm

Steinmetz Formula
The Steinmetz formula is for the calculation of hysteresis loss.

Where, = Steinmetz hysteresis co-efficient B max

= Maximum flux Density in armature winding F = Frequency of magnetic reversals V = Volume of
armature in m3.
Eddy Current Loss in DC Machine
According to Faradays law of electromagnetic induction, when an iron core rotates in the magnetic field,
an emf is also induced in the core. Similarly, when armature rotates in magnetic field, small amount of emf
induced in the core which allows flow of charge in the body due to conductivity of the core. This current is
useless for the machine. This loss of current is called eddy current. This loss is almost constant for the DC
machines. It could be minimized by selecting the laminated core.
Mechanical Losses in DC Machine
The losses associated with mechanical friction of the machine are called mechanical losses. These losses
occur due to friction in the moving parts of the machine like bearing, brushes etc, and windage losses
occurs due to the air inside the rotating coil of the machine. These losses are usually very small about 15%
of full load loss.
Stray Load Losses in DC Machine
There are some more losses other than the losses which have been discussed above. These losses are called
stray-load losses. These miscellaneous losses are due to the short-circuit current in the coil undergoing
commutation, distortion of flux due to armature and many more losses which are difficult to find. These
losses are difficult to determine. However, they are taken as 1 % of the whole load power output.

Swinburne Test of DC Machine

This method is an indirect method of testing a dc machine. It is named after Sir James Swinburne.
Swinburne's test is the most commonly used and simplest method of testing of shunt and compound wound
dc machines which have constant flux. In this test the efficiency of the machine at any load is predetermined. We can run the machine as a motor or as a generator. In this method of testing no load losses
are measured separately and eventually we can determine the efficiency.The circuit connection for
Swinburne's test is shown in figure below. The speed of the machine is adjusted to the rated speed with the
help of the shunt regulator R as shown in figure.

Calculation of Efficiency
Let, I0 is the no load current ( it can be measured by ammeter A1 ) Ish is the shunt field current ( it can be
measured by ammeter A2 )
Then, no load armature current = (I 0 - Ish) Also let, V is the supply voltage. Therefore, No load power input
= VI0 watts. In Swinburne's test no load power input is only required to supply the losses. The losses occur
in the machine mainly are: Iron losses in the core Friction and windings losses Armature copper loss. Since
the no load mechanical output of the machine is zero in Swinburne's test, the no load input power is only
used to supply the losses. The value of armature copper loss = (I 0 - Ish)2 Ra Here, Ra is the armature
resistance. Now, no to get the constant losses we have to subtract the armature copper loss from the no load
power input. Then, Constant losses WC = VI0 -(I0 - Ish)2 Ra After calculating the no load constant losses now
we can determine the efficiency at any load. Let, I is the load current at which we have to calculate the
efficiency of the machine. Then, armature current (Ia) will be (I - Ish), when the machine is motoring. And I a
= (I + Ish), when the machine is generating.
Calculation of Efficiency When the Machine is Motoring on Load

Power input = VI Armature copper loss, P CU = I2 Ra = (I - Ish)2Ra Constant losses, WC = VI0 -(I0 - Ish)2 Ra
Total losses = PCU + WC Efficiency of the motor:

Calculation of Efficiency When the Machine is Generating on Load

Power input = VI Armature copper loss, PCU = I2 Ra = (I + Ish)2 Ra Constant losses, WC = VI0 - (I0 - Ish)2 Ra
Total losses = PCU + WC Efficiency of the generator:

Advantages of Swinburne's Test

The main advantages of this test are :
1. This test is very convenient and economical as it is required very less power from supply to perform
the test.
2. Since constant losses are known, efficiency of Swinburne's test can be pre-determined at any load.
Disadvantages of Swinburne's Test
The main disadvantages of this test are :
1. Iron loss is neglected though there is change in iron loss from no load to full load due to
armature reaction.
2. We cannot be sure about the satisfactory commutation on loaded condition because the test
is done on no-load.
3. We cant measure the temperature rise when the machine is loaded. Power losses can vary
with the temperature.
4. In DC series motors, the Swinburnes test cannot be done to find its efficiency as it is a no
load test.