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DC MOTOR – Basics, Types &

by Tarun Agarwal at

Almost every mechanical development that we see around us is accomplished by an

electric motor. Electric machines are a method of converting energy. Motors take
electrical energy and produce mechanical energy. Electric motors are utilized to power
hundreds of devices we use in everyday life.

Electric motors are broadly classified into two different categories: Direct Current (DC)
motor and Alternating Current (AC) motor. In this article we are going to discuss about
the DC motor and its working. And also how a gear DC motors works.

A DC motor is an electric motor that runs on direct current power. In any electric motor,
operation is dependent upon simple electromagnetism. A current carrying conductor
generates a magnetic field, when this is then placed in an external magnetic field, it will
encounter a force proportional to the current in the conductor and to the strength of the
external magnetic field.It is a device which converts electrical energy to mechanical
energy. It works on the fact that a current carrying conductor placed in a magnetic field
experiences a force which causes it to rotate with respect to its original position.
Practical DC Motor consists of field windings to provide the magnetic flux and armature
which acts as the conductor.
Brushless DC Motors Work
The input of a brushless DC motor is current/voltage and its output is torque.
Understanding the operation of DC motor is very simple from a basic diagram is shown
in below. DC motor basically consist two main parts. The rotating part is called the rotor
and the stationary part is also called the stator. The rotor rotates with respect to the

The rotor consists of windings, the windings being electrically associated with the
commutator. The geometry of the brushes, commutator contacts and rotor windings are
such that when power is applied, the polarities of the energized winding and the stator
magnets are misaligned and the rotor will turn until it is very nearly straightened with the
stator’s field magnets.

As the rotor reaches alignment, the brushes move to the next commutator contacts and
energize the next winding. The rotation reverses the direction of current through the
rotor winding, prompting a flip of the rotor’s magnetic field, driving it to keep rotating.
Advantages of DC Motor:
1. Provide excellent speed control for acceleration and deceleration
2. Easy to understand design
3. Simple, cheap drive design
Connecting DC Motor with Microcontroller
Microcontrollers can’t drive the motors directly. So we need some kind of drivers to
control the speed and direction of motors. The motor drivers will acts as interfacing
devices between microcontrollers and motors. Motor drivers will act as current amplifiers
since they take a low current control signal and provide a high current signal. This high
current signal is used to drive the motors. Using L293D chip is the easy way for
controlling the motor using microcontroller. It contains two H-bridge driver circuits
This chip is designed to control two motors. L293D has two sets of arrangements where
1 set has input 1, input 2, output1,output 2, with enable pin while other set has input 3,
input 4, output 3, output 4 with other enable pin.

DC motor interfaced with L293D microcontroller

L293D has two set of arrangements where one set has input 1, input 2, output 1 and
output 2 and other set has input 3, input 4, output 3 and output 4, according to above

 If pin no 2 and 7 are high then pin no 3 and 6 are also high. If enable 1 and pin number 2 are
high leaving pin number 7 as low then the motor rotates in forward direction.
 If enable 1 and pin number 7 are high leaving pin number 2 as low then the motor rotates in
reverse direction.
Today dc motors are still found in many applications as small as toys and disk drives or
in large sizes to operate steel rolling mills and paper machines.

DC Motor Equations
Magnitude of flux experienced is


Where, B- Flux density due to flux produced by field windings

l- Active length of the conductor

I-Current passing through the conductor

As the conductor rotates, an EMF is induced which acts in a direction opposite to the
supplied voltage. It is given as

Where, Ø- Fluz due to the field windings

P- Number of poles

A-A constant

N – Speed of the motor

Z- Number of conductors

The supply voltage, V = Eb + IaRa

The torque developed is

Thus the torque is directly proportional to the armature current.

Also speed varies with armature current, hence indirectly torque and speed of a motor
are dependant on each other.
For a DC shunt motor, speed remains almost constant even if torque increases from no
load to full load.

For a DC series motor, speed decreases as torque increases from no load to full load.

Thus torque can be controlled by varying the speed. Speed control is achieved either by

 Changing flux by controlling the current through field winding- Flux Control method. By this
method, speed is controlled above its rated speed.
 Armature Voltage Control – Provides speed control below its normal speed.
 Supply Voltage Control – Provides speed control in both directions.
4 Quadrant Operation of DC Motor
Generally a motor can operate in 4 different regions:

 As a motor in forward or clockwise direction.

 As a generator in forward direction.
 As a motor in reverse or anticlockwise direction.
 As a generator in reverse direction.

4 Quadrant Operation of DC Motor

In the first quadrant, motor is driving the load with both the speed and torque in positive

In the second quadrant, torque direction reverses and motor acts as a generator

In the third quadrant, motor drives the load with speed and torque in negative direction.

In the 4th quadrant, motor acts a generator in reverse mode.

In the first and third quadrant, motor acts in both forward and reverse directions. For
example, motors in cranes to lift the load and also put it down.

In the second and fourth quadrant, motor acts as a generator in forward and reverse
directions respectively and provides energy back to the power source. Thus the way to
control a motor operation, to make it operate in any of the 4 quadrants is by controlling
its speed and direction of rotation. Speed is controlled either by varying the armature
voltage or weakening the field. The torque direction or direction of rotation is controlled
by varying the extent to which applied voltage is greater than or less than the back emf.

Application to Control DC Motor Operation in 4 Quadrants

Image Source by Edgefx Kits

Control of DC motor operation in 4 quadrants can be achieved using a Microcontroller
interfaced to 7 switches.

Case1: When start and clockwise switch is pressed, the logic in Microcontroller gives a
output of logic low to pin 7 and logic high to pin2, making the motor rotate in clockwise
direction and operate in 1st quadrant. The speed of the motor can be varied by pressing
the pwm switch, causing a application of pulses of varying duration to the enable pin of
the driver IC, thus varying the applied voltage.
Case 2: When forward brake is pressed, Microcontroller logic applies logic low to pin7
and logic high to pin 2 and the motor tends to operate in its reverse direction, causing it
to stop instantly.
In a similar way, pressing the anti clockwise switch causes the motor to move in reverse
direction, i.e. operate in 3rd quadrant and pressing the reverse brake switch causes the
motor to stop instantly.
Thus through proper programming of the microcontroller and through switches, the
motor operation can be controlled in each direction.

Types of DC Motors
Geared DC Motors:

Geared motors tend to reduce the speed of the motor but with a corresponding increase
in torque. This property comes in handy, as DC motors can rotate at speeds much too
fast for an electronic device to makes use of. Geared motors commonly consist of a DC
brush motor and a gearbox attached to the shaft. Motors are distinguished as a geared
by two connected units. It has many applications due to its cost of designing, reduces
the complexity and constructing applications such as industrial equipment, actuators,
medical tools and robotics.

 No good robot can ever be built without gears. All things considered, a good understanding of
how gears affect parameters such as torque and velocity are very important.
 Gears work on the principle of mechanical advantage. This implies that by using distinctive
gear diameters, we can exchange between rotational velocity and torque. Robots do not have
a desirable speed to torque ratio.
 In robotics, torque is better than speed. With gears, it is possible to exchange the high velocity
with a better torque. The increase in torque is inversely proportional to the reduction in speed.

Geared DC Motors
Speed Reduction in Geared DC Motor:
Speed Reduction in geared DC Motor
Speed reduction in gears comprises of a little gear driving a larger gear. There may be
few sets of these reduction gear sets in a reduction gear box. Sometimes the objective
of using a gear motor is to reduce the rotating shaft speed of a motor in the device
being driven, for example in a small electric clock where the tiny synchronous motor
may be turning at 1,200 rpm however is decreased to one rpm to drive the second hand
and further reduced in the clock mechanism to drive the minute and hour hands. Here
the amount of driving force is irrelevant as long as it is sufficient to overcome the
frictional impacts of the clock mechanism.

Series DC Motor:
Series motor is a DC series motor where field winding is connected internally in series
to the armature winding. The series motor provides high starting torque but must never
be run without a load and is able to move very large shaft loads when it is first
energized. Series motors are also known as series-wound motor.

In series motors, the field windings are associated in series with the armature. The field
strength varies with progressions in armature current. At the time its speed is reduced
by a load, the series motor advances more excellent torque. Its starting torque is more
than different sorts of DC motor. It can also radiate more easily the heat that has built
up in the winding due to the large amount of current being carried. Its speed shifts
considerably between full-load and no-load. When load is removed, motor speed
increases and current through the armature and field coils decreases. Unloaded
operation of large machines is hazardous.
Series Motor
Current through the armature and field coils decreases, the strength of the flux lines
around them weakens. If the strength of the flux lines around the coils were reduced at
the same rate as the current flowing through them, both would decrease at the same
rate which the motor speed increases.

Advantages of Series Motor:

 Huge starting torque
 Simple Construction
 Designing is easy
 Maintenance is easy
 Cost effective
Applications of Series Motor:
Series Motors can produce enormous turning power, the torque from its idle state. This
characteristic makes series motors suitable for small electrical appliances, versatile
electric equipments and etc. Series motors are not suitable when a constant speed is
needed. The reason is that the velocity of series motors varies greatly with varying load.

Shunt Motor:

Shunt motors are shunt DC motors, where the field windings shunted to or are
connected in parallel to the armature winding of the motor. The shunt DC motor is
commonly used because of its best speed regulation. Also hence both the armature
winding and the field windings are presented to the same supply voltage, however there
are discrete branches for the stream of armature current and the field current.

A shunt motor has somewhat distinctive working characteristics than a series motor.
Since the shunt field coil is made of fine wire, it cannot produce the large current for
starting like the series field. This implies that the shunt motor has extremely low starting
torque, which requires that the shaft load be quite little.

Shunt Motor
When voltage is applied to the shunt motor, a very low amount of current flow through
the shunt coil. The armature for the shunt motor is similar to the series motor and it will
draw current to produce a strong magnetic field. Due to the interaction of magnetic field
around armature and the field produced around the shunt field, the motor starts to
rotate. Like the series motor, when the armature begins to turn, it will produce back
EMF. The back EMF will cause the current in the armature to begin to diminish to a very
small level. The amount of current the armature will draw is directly related to the size of
the load when the motor reaches full speed. Since the load is generally small, the
armature current will be small.

Advantages of Shunt Motor:

 Simple control performance, resulting in a high level of flexibility for solving complex drive
 High availability, therefore minimal service effort needed
 High level of electro-magnetic compatibility
 Very smooth running, therefore low mechanical stress of the overall system and high dynamic
control processes
 Wide control range and low speeds, therefore universally usable
Applications of Shunt Motor:
Shunt DC motors are very suitable for belt-driven applications. This constant speed
motor is used in industrial and automotive applications such as machine tools and
winding/unwinding machines where great amount of torque precision is required.

Direct Current Motor Basics

The first type of motor built is still in widespread use In the late 1800s, several inventors
built the first working motors, which used direct current (DC) power. After the invention
of the induction motor, alternating current (AC) machines largely replaced DC machines
in most applications. However, DC motors still have many uses. DC motor principles.
DC motors consist of rotor-mounted windings (armature)

Ralph Fehr, P.E., Engineering Consultant | Oct 01, 2003

The first type of motor built is still in widespread use

In the late 1800s, several inventors built the first working motors, which used direct
current (DC) power. After the invention of the induction motor, alternating current (AC)
machines largely replaced DC machines in most applications. However, DC motors still
have many uses.

DC motor principles. DC motors consist of rotor-mounted windings

(armature) and stationary windings (field poles). In all DC motors, except
permanent magnet motors, current must be conducted to the armature windings by
passing current through carbon brushes that slide over a set of copper surfaces called a
commutator, which is mounted on the rotor. The commutator bars are soldered to
armature coils. The brush/commutator combination makes a sliding switch that
energizes particular portions of the armature, based on the position of the rotor. This
process creates north and south magnetic poles on the rotor that are attracted to or
repelled by north and south poles on the stator, which are formed by passing direct
current through the field windings. It's this magnetic attraction and repulsion that
causes the rotor to rotate.

The advantages.

The greatest advantage of DC motors may be speed control. Since speed is directly
proportional to armature voltage and inversely proportional to the magnetic flux
produced by the poles, adjusting the armature voltage and/or the field current will
change the rotor speed. Today, adjustable frequency drives can provide precise speed
control for AC motors, but they do so at the expense of power quality, as the solid-state
switching devices in the drives produce a rich harmonic spectrum. The DC motor has no
adverse effects on power quality.

The drawbacks.

Power supply, initial cost, and maintenance requirements are the negatives associated
with DC motors.
 Rectification must be provided for any DC motors supplied from the grid. It can also
cause power quality problems.

 The construction of a DC motor is considerably more complicated and expensive than

that of an AC motor, primarily due to the commutator, brushes, and armature windings.
An induction motor requires no commutator or brushes, and most use cast squirrel-cage
rotor bars instead of true windings — two huge simplifications.

 Maintenance of the brush/commutator assembly is significant compared to that of

induction motor designs.

In spite of the drawbacks, DC motors are in wide use, particularly in niche applications
like cars and small appliances.

Permanent magnet motors.

Here, permanent magnets instead of armature windings are mounted on the rotor.
Since the magnetic field produced on the rotor is limited in strength and isn't
controllable, permanent magnet motors are typically small and produce little

Series motors.

Series motors connect the field windings in series with the armature. Series motors lack
good speed regulation, but are well-suited for high-torque loads like power tools and
automobile starters because of their high torque production and compact size.

Shunt motors.

Shunt motors use high-resistance field windings connected in parallel with the
armature. Varying the field resistance changes the motor speed. Shunt motors are prone
to armature reaction, a distortion and weakening of the flux generated by the poles that
results in commutation problems evidenced by sparking at the brushes. Installing
additional poles, called interpoles, on the stator between the main poles wired in series
with the armature reduces armature reaction.

Compound motors.

Here, the concept of the series and shunt designs are combined. The Figure above shows
one way of wiring a compound motor with interpoles. The blue lines indicate the shunt
field, the red lines designate the series field, and the green lines show the interpole
windings in series with the armature.

After more than a century, DC motors are still in widespread use, and thanks to niche
applications that show no signs of disappearing, they'll be around for many years to

DC Motor or Direct Current Motor

Posted by Sibasish Ghosh on 24/2/2012 & Updated on 17/8/2018

What is DC Motor ?
Electrical motors
are everywhere around us. Almost all the electro-mechanical
movements we see around us are caused either by an AC or a DC motor.
Here we will be exploring DC motors. This is a device that converts DC
electrical energy into a mechanical energy.

Principle of DC Motor
This DC or direct current motor works on the principal, when a current carrying
conductor is placed in a magnetic field, it experiences a torque and has a
tendency to move. This is known as motoring action. If the direction of current
in the wire is reversed, the direction of rotation also reverses. When magnetic
field and electric field interact they produce a mechanical force, and based on
that the working principle of DC motor is established.
The direction of rotation of a this motor
is given by Fleming’s left hand rule, which states that if the index finger, middle
finger, and thumb of your left hand are extended mutually perpendicular to
each other and if the index finger represents the direction of magnetic field,
middle finger indicates the direction of current, then the thumb represents the
direction in which force is experienced by the shaft of the DC motor.

Structurally and
construction wise a direct current motor is exactly similar to a DC generator, but
electrically it is just the opposite. Here we unlike a generator we supply
electrical energy to the input port and derive mechanical energy from the
output port. We can represent it by the block diagram shown below.
Here in a
DC motor, the supply voltage E and current I is given to the electrical port or the
input port and we derive the mechanical output i.e. torque T and speed ω from
the mechanical port or output port.

the parameter K relates the input and output port variables of the direct
current motor. So from the picture above, we can well
understand that motor is just the opposite phenomena of a DC generator, and
we can derive both motoring and generating operation from the same
machine by simply reversing the ports.
Detailed Description of a DC Motor
To understand the DC motor in details lets consider the diagram below,

The circle in the

center represents the direct current motor. On the circle, we draw the brushes.
On the brushes, we connect the external terminals, through which we give the
supply voltage. On the mechanical terminal, we have a shaft coming out from
the center of the armature, and the shaft couples to the mechanical load. On
the supply terminals, we represent the armature resistance Ra in series.

Related pages

DC Motor or Direct Current Motor

Working or Operating Principle of DC Motor

Construction of DC Motor | Yoke Poles Armature Field Winding Commutator

Brushes of DC Motor

Torque Equation of DC Motor

Losses in DC Machine

Now, let the input voltage E, is applied across the brushes. Electric current
which flows through the rotor armature via brushes, in presence of the
magnetic field, produces a torque Tg. Due to this torque Tg the dc motor
armature rotates. As the armature conductors are carrying currents and the
armature rotates inside the stator magnetic field, it also produces an emf Eb in
the manner very similar to that of a generator. The generated Emf Eb is
directed opposite to the supplied voltage and is known as the back Emf, as it
counters the forward voltage. The back emf like in case of a generator is

represented by Where, P = no of poles φ =

flux per pole Z= No. of conductors A = No. of parallel paths and N is the speed
of the DC Motor. So, from the above equation, we can see Eb is proportional
to speed ‘N.’ That is whenever a direct current motor rotates; it results in the
generation of back Emf. Now let's represent the rotor speed by ω in rad/sec.
So Eb is proportional to ω. So, when the application of load reduces the speed
of the motor, Eb decreases. Thus the voltage difference between supply voltage
and back emf increases that means E − Eb increases. Due to this increased
voltage difference, the armature current will increase and therefore torque and
hence speed increases. Thus a DC Motor is capable of maintaining the same
speed under variable load.

Now armature current Ia is represented by Now at starting,speed

ω = 0 so at starting Eb = 0. Now since the

armature winding electrical resistance Ra is small, this motor has a very high
starting current in the absence of back Emf. As a result we need to use a
starter for starting a DC Motor. Now as the motor continues to rotate, the back
Emf starts being generated and gradually the current decreases as the motor
picks up speed.
Types of DC Motors
Direct motors are named according to the connection o the field winding with
the armature. There are 3 types:

1. Shunt wound DC motor

2. Series wound DC motor
3. Compound wound DC motor

Working or Operating Principle of DC Motor

on 24/2/2012 & Updated on 1/8/2018

A DC motor in simple words is a device that converts electrical energy (direct

current system) into mechanical energy. It is 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 we have discussed in this article. 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. The armature is placed in between north south poles of a permanent
or an electromagnet as shown in the diagram above.

As soon as we supply direct current in the armature, a mechanical force acts

on it due to the electromagnetic effect of the magnet. Now to go into the
details of the operating principle of DC motor it's important that we have a
clear understanding of Fleming’s left-hand rule to determine the direction of the
force acting on the armature conductors of DC motor.

If a current carrying conductor is placed

in a magnetic field perpendicularly, then the conductor experiences a force in
the direction mutually perpendicular to both the direction of field and the
current carrying conductor. Fleming’s Left-Hand Rule can determine the direction
of rotation of the motor. We extend the index finger, middle finger and thumb
of our left-hand perpendicular to each other. The middle finger is in the
direction of current in the conductor, and index finger is along the direction of
magnetic field, i.e., north to south pole, then thumb indicates the direction of
the created mechanical force.
Related pages

DC Motor or Direct Current Motor

Working or Operating Principle of DC Motor

Construction of DC Motor | Yoke Poles Armature Field Winding Commutator

Brushes of DC Motor

Torque Equation of DC Motor

Losses in DC Machine
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. it’s

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 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 the right-hand side of the armature conductor
to be -I, because they are flowing in the opposite direction to each other. Then
the force on the left-hand side armature conductor,
Similarly, the force on the right-hand side conductor,
Therefore, we can see that at that position the
force on either side is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. Since the
two conductors are separated by some distance w = width of the armature
turn, the two opposite forces produce 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 create an angle of α (alpha) with its initial
position. The torque produced is given by,

Here α (alpha) 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 cosα 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 α (alpha). To explain the
variation of torque and the principle behind the 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 α = 0. Since, α = 0,
the term cos α = 1, or the maximum value, hence torque at this position is
maximum given by τ = BILw. This high starting torque helps in overcoming the
initial inertia of rest of the armature and sets it into the rotation.

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

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. α =
90o, and as a result the term cosα = 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.

Direct current motors ,Shunt wound d.c. motor,Series wound

d.c. motor & d.c. motor starter

Direct current motors

: When a current is supplied to a single coil of wire in a magnetic
field a force is created which rotates the coil. This is a similar
situation to the generation of current by a coil moving in a magnetic
field. In fact generators and motors are almost interchangeable,
depending upon which two of magnetic field, current and motion are
Additional coils of wire and more magnetic fields produce a more
efficient motor. Interpoles are fitted to reduce sparking but now
have opposite polarity to the next main pole in the direction of
rotation, When rotating the armature acts as a generator and
produces current in the reverse direction to the supply. This is
known as back e.m.f. (electromotive force) and causes a voltage
drop across the motor. This back e.m.f. controls the power used by
the motor but is not present as the motor is started. As a result, to
avoid high starting currents special control circuits or starters are

The behaviour of the d.c. motor on load is influenced by the voltage

drop across the armature, the magnetic field produced between the
poles and the load or torque on the motor. Some of these factors
are interdependent. For example, the voltage drop across the
armature depends upon the back e.m.f. which depends upon the
speed of the motor and the strength of the magnetic field. Shunt,
series and compound windings are used to obtain different motor
characteristics by varying the above factors.

Fig: Shunt wound d.c. motor

The shunt wound motor has field windings connected in parallel with
the armature windings. Thus when the motor is operating with a
fixed load at constant speed all other factors are constant. An
increase in load will cause a drop in speed and therefore a reduction
in back e.m.f. A greater current will then flow in the armature
windings and the motor power consumption will rise: the magnetic
field will be unaffected since it is connected in parallel. Speed
reduction is, in practice, very small, which makes the shunt motor
an ideal choke for constant-speed variable-load duties.

Fig: Series wound d.c. motor

The series motor has field windings connected in series with the
armature windings . With this arrangement an increase in load will
cause a reduction in speed and a fall in back e.m.f. The increased
load current will, however, now increase the magnetic field and
therefore the back e.m.f. The motor will finally stabilise at some
reduced value of speed. The series motor speed therefore changes
considerably with load.

Control of d.c. motors is quite straightforward. The shunt wound

motor has a variable resistance in the field circuit, as shown in
Figure . This permits variation of the current in the field coils and
also the back e.m.f., giving a range of constant speeds. To reverse
the motor the field current supply is reversed, as shown in Figure .
One method of speed control for a series wound motor has a
variable resistance in parallel with the field coils. Reverse operation
is again achieved by reversing the field current supply as shown in
Figure .

In operation the shunt wound motor runs at constant speed

regardless of load. The series motor runs at a speed determined by
the load, the greater the load the slower the speed. Compounding—
the use of shunt and series field windings—provides a combination
of these characteristics. Starting torque is also important. For a
series wound motor the starting torque is high and it reduces as the
load increases. This makes the series motor useful for winch and
crane applications. It should be noted that a series motor if started
on no-load has an infinite speed. Some small amount of
compounding is usual to avoid this dangerous occurrence. The shunt
wound motor is used where constant speed is required regardless of
load; for instance, with fans or pumps. The starting of a d.c. motor
requires a circuit arrangement to limit armature current. This is
achieved by the use of a starter .
Fig: d.c. motor starter

A number of resistances are provided in the armature and

progressively removed as the motor speeds up and back e.m.f. is
developed. An arm, as part of the armature circuit, moves over
resistance contacts such that a number of resistances are first put
into the armature circuit and then progressively removed. The arm
must be moved slowly to enable the motor speed and thus the back
e.m.f. to build up. At the final contact no resistance is in the
armature circuit. A 'hold on' or 'no volts' coil holds the starter arm in
place while there is current in the armature circuit.

If a loss of supply occurs the arm will be released and returned to

the 'off position by a spring. The motor must then be started again
in the normal way. An overload trip is also provided which prevents
excess current by shorting out the 'hold on* coil and releasing the
starter arm. The overload coil has a soft iron core which, when
magnetised sufficiently by an excess current, attracts the trip bar
which shorts out the hold on coil. This type of starter is known as a
'face plate'; other types make use of contacts without the starting
handle but introduce resistance into the armature circuit in much
the same way.
DC Motors
The direct current (DC) motor is one
of the first machines devised to convert
electrical power into mechanical power.
Permanent magnet (PM) direct current
convert electrical energy into
mechanical energy through the
interaction of two magnetic fields. One
field is produced by a permanent
magnet assembly, the other field is
produced by an electrical current
flowing in the motor windings. These
two fields result in a torque which tends
to rotate the rotor. As the rotor turns, the
current in the windings is commutated
to produce a continuous torque output.
The stationary electromagnetic field of
the motor can also be wire-wound like
the armature (called a wound-field
motor) or can be made up of permanent
magnets (called a permanent magnet
In either style (wound-field or
permanent magnet) the commutator.
acts as half of a mechanical switch and rotates with the armature as it turns. The commutator is composed of conductive
segments (called bars), usually made of copper, which represent the termination of individual coils of wire distributed
around the armature. The second half of the mechanical switch is completed by the brushes. These brushes typically
remain stationary with the motor's housing but ride (or brush) on the rotating commutator. As electrical energy is passed
through the brushes and consequently through the armature a torsional force is generated as a reaction between the
motor's field and the armature causing the motor's armature to turn. As the armature turns, the brushes switch to adjacent
bars on the commutator. This switching action transfers the electrical energy to an adjacent winding on the armature
which in turn perpetuates the torsional motion of the armature.
Permanent magnet (PM) motors are probably the most commonly used DC motors, but there are also some other type
of DC motors(types which use coils to make the permanent magnetic field also) .DC motors operate from a direct current
power source. Movement of the magnetic field is achieved by switching current between coils within the motor. This
action is called "commutation". Very many DC motors (brush-type) have built-in commutation, meaning that as the
motor rotates, mechanical brushes automatically commutate coils on the rotor. You can use dc-brush motors in a variety
of applications. A simple, permanent-magnet dc motor is an essential element in a variety of products, such as toys, servo
mechanisms, valve actuators, robots, and automotive electronics. There are several typical advantages of a PM motor.
When compared to AC or wound field DC motors, PM motors are usually physically smaller in overall size and lighter
for a given power rating. Furthermore, since the motor's field, created by the permanent magnet, is constant, the
relationship between torque and speed is very linear. A PM motor can provide relatively high torque at low speeds and
PM field provides some inherent self-braking when power to the motor is shutoff. There are several disadvantages
through, those being mostly being high current during a stall condition and during instantaneous reversal. Those can
damage some motors or be problematic to control circuitry. Furthermore, some magnet materials can be damaged when
subjected to excessive heat and some loose field strength if the motor is disassembled.
High-volume everyday items, such as hand drills and kitchen appliances, use a dc servomotor known as a universal
motor. Those universal motors are series-wound DC motors, where the stationary and rotating coils are wires in series.
Those motors can work well on both AC and DC power. One of the drawbacks/precautions about series-wound DC
motors is that if they are unloaded, the only thing limiting their speed is the windage and friction losses. Some can
literally tear themselves apart if run unloaded.
A brushless motor operates much in the same way as a traditional brush motor. However, as the name implies there are
no brushes (and no commutator). The mechanical switching function, implemented by the brush and commutator
combination in a brush-type motor, is replaced by electronic switching in a brushless motor. In a typical brushless motor
the electromagnetic field, created by permanent magnets, is the rotating member of the motor and is called a rotor. The
rotating magnetic field is generated with a number of electromagnets commutatated with electronics switches (typically
transistors or FETs) in a right order at right speed. In a brushless motor, the trick becomes to know when to switch the
electrical energy in the windings to perpetuate the rotating motion. This is typically accomplished in a brushless-type
motor by some feedback means designed to provide an indication of the position of the magnet poles on the rotor relative
to the windings. A hall effect device (HED) is a commonly used means for providing this positional feedback. In some
applications brushless motors are commutated without sensors or with the use of an encoder for positional feedback. A
brushless motor is often used when high reliability, long life and high speeds are required. The bearings in a brushless
motor usually become the only parts to wear out. In applications where high speeds are required (usually above 30,000
RPM) a brushless motor is considered a better choice (because as motor speed increases so does the wear of the brushes
on traditional motors). A brushless motor's commutation control can easily be separated and integrated into other required
electronics, thereby improving the effective power-to-weight and/or power-to-volume ratio. A brushless motor package
(motor and commutation controller) will usually cost more than a brush-type, yet the cost can often be made up in other
advantages. For example, in applications where sophisticated control of the motor's operation is required. Brushless
motors are seen nowadays in very many computer application, they for example rotate normal PC fans, hard disks and
disk drives.
Sometimes the rotation direction needs to be changed. In normal permanent magnet motors, this rotation is changed by
changing the polarity of operating power (for example by switching from negative power supply to positive or by inter-
changing the power terminals going to power supply). This direction changing is typically implemented using relay or a
circuit called an H bridge. There are some typical characteristics on "brush-type" DC motors.
When a DC motor is straight to a battery (with no controller), it draws a large surge current when connected up. The
surge is caused because the motor, when it is turning, acts as a generator. The generated voltage is directly proportional to
the speed of the motor. The current through the motor is controlled by the difference between the battery voltage and the
motor's generated voltage (otherwise called back EMF). When the motor is first connected up to the battery (with no
motor speed controller) there is no back EMF. So the current is controlled only by the battery voltage, motor resistance
(and inductance) and the battery leads. Without any back emf the motor, before it starts to turn, therefore draws the large
surge current. When a motor speed controller is used, it varies the voltage fed to the motor. Initially, at zero speed, the
controller will feed no voltage to the motor, so no current flows. As the motor speed controller's output voltage increases,
the motor will start to turn. At first the voltage fed to the motor is small, so the current is also small, and as the motor
speed controller's voltage rises, so too does the motor's back EMF. The result is that the initial current surge is removed,
acceleration is smooth and fully under control.

Motor speed control of DC motor is nothing new. A simplest method to control the rotation speed of a DC motor is to
control it's driving voltage. The higher the voltage is, the higher speed the motor tries to reach. In many applications a
simple voltage regulation would cause lots of power loss on control circuit, so a pulse width modulation method (PWM)is
used in many DC motor controlling applications. In the basic Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method, the operating
power to the motors is turned on and off to modulate the current to the motor. The ratio of "on" time to "off" time is what
determines the speed of the motor. When doing PWM controlling, keep in mind that a motor is a low pass device. The
reason is that a motor is mainly a large inductor. It is not capable of passing high frequency energy, and hence will not
perform well using high frequencies. Reasonably low frequencies are required, and then PWM techniques will work.
Lower frequencies are generally better than higher frequencies, but PWM stops being effective at too low a frequency.
The idea that a lower frequency PWM works better simply reflects that the "on" cycle needs to be pretty wide before the
motor will draw any current (because of motor inductance). A higher PWM frequency will work fine if you hang a large
capacitor across the motor or short the motor out on the "off" cycle (e.g. power/brake pwm) The reason for this is that
short pulses will not allow much current to flow before being cut off. Then the current that did flow is dissipated as an
inductive kick - probably as heat through the fly-back diodes. The capacitor integrates the pulse and provides a longer,
but lower, current flow through the motor after the driver is cut off. There is not inductive kick either, since the current
flow isn't being cut off. Knowing the low pass roll-off frequency of the motor helps to determine an optimum frequency
for operating PWM. Try testing your motor with a square duty cycle using a variable frequency, and then observe the
drop in torque as the frequency is increased. This technique can help determine the roll off point as far as power
efficiency is concerned.
Besides "brush-type" DC motors, there is another DC motor type: brushless DC motor. Brushless
DC motors rely on the external power drive to perform the commutation of stationary copper winding
on the stator. This changing stator field makes the permanent magner rotor to rotate.A brushless
permanent magnet motor is the highest performing motor in terms of torque / vs. weight or efficiency.
Brushless motors are usually the most expensive type of motor. Electronically commutated, brush-
less DC motor systems are widely used as drives for blowers and fans used in electronics,
telecommunications and industrial equipment applications. There is wide variety of different brush-
less motors for various applications. Some are designed to to rotate at constant speed (those used in
disk drives) and the speed of some can be controlled by varying the voltage applied to them (usually the motors used in
fans). Some brushless DC motors have a built-in tachometer which gives out pulses as the motor rotates (this applies to
both disk drive motors and some computer fans). In general, users select brush-type DC motors when low system cost is a
priority, and brushless motors to fulfil other requirements (such as maintenance-free operation, high speeds, and
explosive environments where sparking could be hazardous). Brush type DC motors are used in very many battery
powered appliances. Brushless DC motors are commonly used in applications like DC powered fans and disk drive
rotation motors.

Direct current motor

A DC motor, or simply a continuous motor or direct current motor, is a rotating
electric machine that transforms electrical energy in the form of direct
current into mechanical energy through electromagnetic interactions.
Virtually all electric motors are reversible, that is, they can transform mechanical
energy into electrical energy functioning as dynamos. Direct current motors ba se
their operation on the Lorentz law, also called Laplace's law when it is applied to a
conductor, as is the case of motors.
Applications of direct current electric motors
DC electric motors are especially suitable for certain applications. Every day they
are more employed in the industrial field.
This type of engines offers a wide range of speed , they are very easy to control
and have a great flexibility of the torque -speed curves. Also they present a high
performance for a wide margin of speeds. The continuous corrugating motors have
a high overload capacity. This capability makes them more suit able than alternate
current motors for many applications.

These motors are ideal for dragging machines that require a wide range of speeds
with precision. This characteristic has caused that lately, these motors have more
presence in diverse industrial processes.

direct current motors are used in turntables, CD player equipment, and magnetic
storage units. This type of mechanism uses fixed magnet and brushless motors.
These engines provide effective speed control and high starting torque.

In the field of toys, electric direct current motors are also usually selected.
Another significant advantage is the ease of inverting the rotation of large engines
with high loads, while being able to act reversibly, returning energy to the line
during braking and speed reduction times.

In the physical aspect they are usually very small with little pollution in the

History of direct current electric motors

At the beginning of the 19th century the galvanic cell was discovered. With this
invention began a whole process of research on electricity that would end up giving
as fruits inventions as the electric battery or direct current motor.
To create any type of direct current motor, some electrical components were
needed. These electrical elements were developed by W illiam Sturgeon. Sturgeon
created the first electromagnet that could move more than it weighed. This
invention turned out to be one of the indispensable parts of the motor stator. Later
the commutator came. The commutator was very important in the first electric
motor, since it was the rotating element that periodically reversed the direction of
the current, making possible the continuity of movemen t in the motor.
Thanks to the invention of these two devices, Sturgeon was able to invent the first
archaic DC motor. Sturgeon used a pair of conductive and flexible brushes and
taking advantage of his previous inventions in 1832 mounted the first machine
capable of converting electrical energy into mechanical energy.
In 1837, Thomas Devenport, received his patent for the direct current motor (US
Patent No. 132). The difference of this electric motor is that it no longer used a
switch to maintain the continuity of the cycle. in this new invention he made use of
the brushes and split the collector managed to reverse the polarity of the circuit.
With these changes the engine was much more efficient.
In 1860, Antonio Pacinotti made a dynamo one with a multipartite collector. This
dynamo allowed the development of more reliable and powerful generators.
Pacinotti insisted on the reversibility of his dynamo to function as an engine.
Despite the improvements, the engines were still quite basic and w ere not suitable
for industrial use.

In 1872, Friedrich von Hefner-Alteneck, created the first modern drum rotor. With
this rotor it left behind the archaic T-shaped rotors that overheated and had little
performance. In 1873, Zénobe Gramme, a Belgian inventor, discovered that by
applying current to his generator with multiple electromagnets he created an
engine. The fact of using many electromagnets ma de Gramme the creator of the
first engine efficient enough to be used industrially. From this moment the
innovations in the DC motor were small tweaks to improve the performance slightly.
The DC motor was a fairly industrially used motor, but with the appe arance
of alternating current motors (synchronous and, more currently, asynchronous)
have been discontinued. Still they are still useful machines in many applicati ons, in
applications of precision, since it can have a very precise control of the speed
(unlike the asynchronous motors, for example, that do not rotate in solidarity with
the field inductor) being thus very useful for programmable machine tools or robotic
They are also the most used for systems that require a lot of power and have no
danger of getting out of control like trams, trains or metro s. But the field where
they are most used is low voltage electronics and electricity where they are the
only motors that can be used in machines that need them and go with direct
current such as robots, computers, hard drives, although variants such as the
motor are also used. step by step or servomotor.
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Last review: November 16, 2016

What are dc motors and how do

definitions vary? Technical summary for
Updated May 2018. || DC motors are motion
components that take electrical power in the form of direct current (or some manipulated
form of direct current) and convert it into mechanical rotation. The motors do this
through the use of magnetic fields that arise from the electric currents to spur rotation of
a rotor fixed with an output shaft. Output torque and speed depends on the electrical
input and motor design.

A direct current (DC) motor is an electric machine that converts electrical energy to
mechanical energy.

According to the most common industry naming conventions of today, there are three
DC motor subtypes: DC brush motors, DC permanent-magnet (PM) motors, and DC
universal motors. As we’ll see, there are some caveats and sub-classifications.

Many larger DC motors still employ brushes and wound fields, but PM motors dominate
fractional and integral-horsepower applications below 18 hp. That said, PM motors are
increasingly common for myriad designs.

What are DC brush motors and what kinds are there?

These are Pittman Series 8000 DC brush servomotors.

Some engineers call DC brush motors wound-field motors, because it’s a wound and
lacquered coil of copper wire that makes the electromagnetic field. Some engineers also
argue that all DC motors are brush DC motors, and that the term “brushless DC motor”
is a misnomer.

No matter the term, there are permanent magnet, shunt, series, and compound-wound
brush DC motors.

All except the former use two currents:

1. Current through armature (rotor) windings to interact with a stator magnetic field (for
output of mechanical rotation) and

2. Current through stator windings to make the magnetic field in question.

In contrast, permanent-magnet brush DC motors use:

1. Current through armature (rotor) windings to interact with a stator magnetic field (for
output of mechanical rotation) and

2. Permanent magnets on the stator to make the magnetic field in question.

The armature and field coils in a shunt-wound motor connect in parallel so the field
current is proportional to the load on the motor.

The armature and field coils in series-wound motor connect in series so current
passes only through the field coils.

The armature and field coils in compound-wound motors include both series and
shunt windings.

No matter the setup, brush DC motors have commutators and brush contacts to pass
current to the rotating rotor’s copper-wire windings. Designers can control speed by
changing rotor voltage (and current with it) or by changing the magnetic flux between
rotor and stator through adjustments of the field-winding current. Brush orientation to
the rotor’s commutator bar segments mechanically controls the phase commutation.
In fact, the way DC brush motors
let designers control field and rotor windings means they’re suitable for applications
that need simple and cost-effective torque and speed control.

That said, increased functionality from electronics for PM motors means that this
advantage in less pronounced than it once was. What’s worse, current on both rotor and
stator generate heat that limits the motors’ continuous-current ratings. The motors also
present a spark hazard, so can’t go in explosive settings. At certain periods during the
dc motor rotation, the commutator must reverse the current, reducing motor life
with arcing and friction. So, brushed dc motors require more maintenance in the form of
replacement of springs and brushes that carry the electrical current, and replacement or
cleaning of the commutator. These components are important for transferring electrical
power from outside the motor to the spinning coil windings of the rotor inside the motor.

Note: The brushes in DC brush motors wear and need replacing, and brush-wear
particles mean that designers shouldn’t use DC brush motors in cleanrooms. Same
goes for applications that need high precision, as friction from brush-commutator
engagement make for long position-settling times.

Series-wound DC motors
As mentioned, the armature (rotor) and field coils in series-wound motors connect in
series. That means the entire armature (rotor) current passes to the field winding. So,
these motors only need one input voltage supply. Torque equals current squared.
Increasing armature (rotor) current induces a field-current increase. Regenerative
braking isn’t possible; field current collapses when rotor current passes through zero
and reverses.

Torque is highest when the motor stops because the armature (rotor) generates
no back electromotive force (bEMF) when at rest. When the armature (rotor)
accelerates, bEMF increases. That in turn reduces effective current, voltage and torque.
Without loading, the motor accelerates to dangerous speeds. In contrast, increased load
slows the motor but lowers bEMF … and increases torque to turn the load.
Series-wound motors can’t regulate speed well, as speed control depends on
adjustments to the supply voltage. Even so, they’re inexpensive and can drive designs
that need high starting torque. For example, designers use series-wound motors in low
and high-power automotive mechanisms, consumer products such as power tools, toys,
and sewing machines, and industrial traction drives with fixed and variable speed.
Designers can reverse series-wound motors by reversing field or armature (rotor)
winding connections.

Shunt-wound DC motors
As mentioned, armature and field coils in shunt-wounds motor connect in parallel … so
field current is proportional to the load on the motor. Variable-voltage input allows for
speed adjustment. Supply fixed voltage to a shunt-wound motor to make it run at
constant speed. Then supply increasing motor current to a shunt-wound motor to
increase torque without significant slowing.

In shunt-wound motors, the field (stator) winding connects in parallel with the armature
(rotor) winding.

With these motors, a technique called field weakening can control speed without forcing
the controls to change input voltage. A field-winding rheostat reduces field (stator)
current and with it the magnetic flux between armature and field (across the airgap that
separates them). Speed is inversely proportional to flux, so this accelerates the motor.
One caveat: Torque is directly proportional to flux, so the acceleration comes with
diminished torque output.

Stabilizing windings prevent acceleration as load increases at weak field settings. The
only catch is that reversing applications need reversal of this winding to go with
armature (rotor) voltage reversal. That necessitates reversing contactors. So for
reversing motion, sometimes manufactures just design shunt-would motors with higher
stability and omit stabilizing windings.

Note: The operation of a permanent-magnet brush DC motor is much like that of

a shunt-wound motor, save for the mode of field-flux production.

Reversing a shunt-wound motor’s connections on either rotor windings or field reverses

the motor’s direction of rotation; self-excitation maintains the field when the rotor current
reverses, which means the motors can regeneratively brake.

Shunt-wound motors drive machine tools and automotive fan and wiper applications.

Compound-wound motors
Separately excited motors (sometimes called compound-wound motors) are DC brush
motors with independent voltage supplies to the field (stator) and armature (rotor) … for
better control over motor output. Input voltage on either winding can control motor
output speed and torque. Most manufacturers build compound-wound motors with
series and shunt-wound field (rotor) windings. The direction and strength and direction
of two windings dictates the motor’s speed-torque curves.

Compound-wound motors work well for traction in automotive or rail-train applications.

Electrical DC Motors are continuous actuators that convert electrical energy

into mechanical energy. The DC motor achieves this by producing a
continuous angular rotation that can be used to rotate pumps, fans,
compressors, wheels, etc.
As well as conventional rotary DC motors, linear motors are also available
which are capable of producing a continuous liner movement. There are
basically three types of conventional electrical motor available: AC type
Motors, DC type Motors and Stepper Motors.
A Typical Small DC Motor
AC Motors are generally used in high power single or multi-phase industrial
applications were a constant rotational torque and speed is required to control
large loads such as fans or pumps.
In this tutorial on electrical motors we will look only at simple light duty DC
Motors and Stepper Motors which are used in many different types of
electronic, positional control, microprocessor, PIC and robotic type circuits.

The Basic DC Motor

The DC Motor or Direct Current Motor to give it its full title, is the most
commonly used actuator for producing continuous movement and whose
speed of rotation can easily be controlled, making them ideal for use in
applications were speed control, servo type control, and/or positioning is
required. A DC motor consists of two parts, a “Stator” which is the stationary
part and a “Rotor” which is the rotating part. The result is that there are
basically three types of DC Motor available.
 Brushed Motor – This type of motor produces a magnetic field in a wound
rotor (the part that rotates) by passing an electrical current through a
commutator and carbon brush assembly, hence the term “Brushed”. The
stators (the stationary part) magnetic field is produced by using either a
wound stator field winding or by permanent magnets. Generally brushed DC
motors are cheap, small and easily controlled.
 Brushless Motor – This type of motor produce a magnetic field in the rotor
by using permanent magnets attached to it and commutation is achieved
electronically. They are generally smaller but more expensive than
conventional brushed type DC motors because they use “Hall effect”
switches in the stator to produce the required stator field rotational
sequence but they have better torque/speed characteristics, are more
efficient and have a longer operating life than equivalent brushed types.
 Servo Motor – This type of motor is basically a brushed DC motor with
some form of positional feedback control connected to the rotor shaft. They
are connected to and controlled by a PWM type controller and are mainly
used in positional control systems and radio controlled models.
Normal DC motors have almost linear characteristics with their speed of
rotation being determined by the applied DC voltage and their output torque
being determined by the current flowing through the motor windings. The
speed of rotation of any DC motor can be varied from a few revolutions per
minute (rpm) to many thousands of revolutions per minute making them
suitable for electronic, automotive or robotic applications. By connecting them
to gearboxes or gear-trains their output speed can be decreased while at the
same time increasing the torque output of the motor at a high speed.

The “Brushed” DC Motor

A conventional brushed DC Motor consist basically of two parts, the stationary
body of the motor called the Stator and the inner part which rotates producing
the movement called the Rotor or “Armature” for DC machines.
The motors wound stator is an electromagnet circuit which consists of
electrical coils connected together in a circular configuration to produce the
required North-pole then a South-pole then a North-pole etc, type stationary
magnetic field system for rotation, unlike AC machines whose stator field
continually rotates with the applied frequency. The current which flows within
these field coils is known as the motor field current.
These electromagnetic coils which form the stator field can be electrically
connected in series, parallel or both together (compound) with the motors
armature. A series wound DC motor has its stator field windings connected
in series with the armature. Likewise, a shunt wound DC motor has its stator
field windings connected in parallel with the armature as shown.

Series and Shunt Connected DC Motor

The rotor or armature of a DC machine consists of current carrying conductors
connected together at one end to electrically isolated copper segments called
the commutator. The commutator allows an electrical connection to be made
via carbon brushes (hence the name “Brushed” motor) to an external power
supply as the armature rotates.
The magnetic field setup by the rotor tries to align itself with the stationary
stator field causing the rotor to rotate on its axis, but can not align itself due to
commutation delays. The rotational speed of the motor is dependent on the
strength of the rotors magnetic field and the more voltage that is applied to the
motor the faster the rotor will rotate. By varying this applied DC voltage the
rotational speed of the motor can also be varied.

Conventional (Brushed) DC Motor

The Permanent magnet (PMDC) brushed DC motor is generally much smaller

and cheaper than its equivalent wound stator type DC motor cousins as they
have no field winding. In permanent magnet DC (PMDC) motors these field
coils are replaced with strong rare earth (i.e. Samarium Cobolt, or Neodymium
Iron Boron) type magnets which have very high magnetic energy fields.
The use of permanent magnets gives the DC motor a much better linear
speed/torque characteristic than the equivalent wound motors because of the
permanent and sometimes very strong magnetic field, making them more
suitable for use in models, robotics and servos.
Although DC brushed motors are very efficient and cheap, problems
associated with the brushed DC motor is that sparking occurs under heavy
load conditions between the two surfaces of the commutator and carbon
brushes resulting in self generating heat, short life span and electrical noise
due to sparking, which can damage any semiconductor switching device such
as a MOSFET or transistor. To overcome these disadvantages, Brushless DC
Motors were developed.

The “Brushless” DC Motor

The brushless DC motor (BDCM) is very similar to a permanent magnet DC
motor, but does not have any brushes to replace or wear out due to
commutator sparking. Therefore, little heat is generated in the rotor increasing
the motors life. The design of the brushless motor eliminates the need for
brushes by using a more complex drive circuit were the rotor magnetic field is
a permanent magnet which is always in synchronisation with the stator field
allows for a more precise speed and torque control.
Then the construction of a brushless DC motor is very similar to the AC motor
making it a true synchronous motor but one disadvantage is that it is more
expensive than an equivalent “brushed” motor design.
The control of the brushless DC motors is very different from the normal
brushed DC motor, in that it this type of motor incorporates some means to
detect the rotors angular position (or magnetic poles) required to produce the
feedback signals required to control the semiconductor switching devices. The
most common position/pole sensor is the “Hall Effect Sensor”, but some
motors also use optical sensors.
Using Hall effect sensors, the polarity of the electromagnets is switched by the
motor control drive circuitry. Then the motor can be easily synchronized to a
digital clock signal, providing precise speed control. Brushless DC motors can
be constructed to have, an external permanent magnet rotor and an internal
electromagnet stator or an internal permanent magnet rotor and an external
electromagnet stator.
Advantages of the Brushless DC Motor compared to its “brushed” cousin is
higher efficiencies, high reliability, low electrical noise, good speed control and
more importantly, no brushes or commutator to wear out producing a much
higher speed. However their disadvantage is that they are more expensive
and more complicated to control.
The DC Servo Motor
DC Servo motors are used in closed loop type applications were the position of
the output motor shaft is fed back to the motor control circuit. Typical
positional “Feedback” devices include Resolvers, Encoders and
Potentiometers as used in radio control models such as aeroplanes and boats
A servo motor generally includes a built-in gearbox for speed reduction and is
capable of delivering high torques directly. The output shaft of a servo motor
does not rotate freely as do the shafts of DC motors because of the gearbox
and feedback devices attached.

DC Servo Motor Block Diagram

A servo motor consists of a DC motor, reduction gearbox, positional feedback

device and some form of error correction. The speed or position is controlled
in relation to a positional input signal or reference signal applied to the device.

RC Servo Motor
The error detection amplifier looks at this input signal and compares it with the
feedback signal from the motors output shaft and determines if the motor
output shaft is in an error condition and, if so, the controller makes appropriate
corrections either speeding up the motor or slowing it down. This response to
the positional feedback device means that the servo motor operates within a
“Closed Loop System”.
As well as large industrial applications, servo motors are also used in small
remote control models and robotics, with most servo motors being able to
rotate up to about 180 degrees in both directions making them ideal for
accurate angular positioning. However, these RC type servos are unable to
continually rotate at high speed like conventional DC motors unless specially
A servo motor consist of several devices in one package, the motor, gearbox,
feedback device and error correction for controlling position, direction or
speed. They are widely used in robotics and small models as they are easily
controlled using just three wires, Power, Ground and Signal Control.

DC Motor Switching and Control

Small DC motors can be switched “On” or “Off” by means of switches, relays,
transistors or MOSFET circuits with the simplest form of motor control being
“Linear” control. This type of circuit uses a bipolar Transistor as a Switch (A
Darlington transistor may also be used were a higher current rating is
required) to control the motor from a single power supply.
By varying the amount of base current flowing into the transistor the speed of
the motor can be controlled for example, if the transistor is turned on “half
way”, then only half of the supply voltage goes to the motor. If the transistor is
turned “fully ON” (saturated), then all of the supply voltage goes to the motor
and it rotates faster. Then for this linear type of control, power is delivered
constantly to the motor as shown below.

Motor Speed Control

The simple switching circuit above shows the circuit for a Uni-
directional (one direction only) motor speed control circuit. As the rotational
speed of a DC motor is proportional to the voltage across its terminals, we can
regulate this terminal voltage using a transistor.
The two transistors are connected as a darlington pair to control the main
armature current of the motor. A 5kΩ potentiometer is used to control the
amount of base drive to the first pilot transistor TR1, which in turn controls the
main switching transistor, TR2allowing the motor’s DC voltage to be varied
from zero to Vcc, in this example 9 to 12 volts.
Optional flywheel diodes are connected across the switching
transistor, TR2 and the motor terminals for protection from any back emf
generated by the motor as it rotates. The adjustable potentiometer could be
replaced with continuous logic “1” or logic “0” signal applied directly to the
input of the circuit to switch the motor “fully-ON” (saturation) or “fully-OFF”
(cut-off) respectively from the port of a micro-controller or PIC.
As well as this basic speed control, the same circuit can also be used to
control the motors rotational speed. By repeatedly switching the motor current
“ON” and “OFF” at a high enough frequency, the speed of the motor can be
varied between stand still (0 rpm) and full speed (100%) by varying the mark-
space ratio of its supply. This is achieved by varying the proportion of “ON”
time (tON) to the “OFF” time (tOFF) and this can be achieved using a process
known as Pulse Width Modulation.

Pulse Width Speed Control

We said previously that he rotational speed of a DC motor is directly
proportional to the mean (average) voltage value on its terminals and the
higher this value, up to maximum allowed motor volts, the faster the motor will
rotate. In other words more voltage more speed. By varying the ratio between
the “ON” (tON) time and the “OFF” (tOFF) time durations, called the “Duty Ratio”,
“Mark/Space Ratio” or “Duty Cycle”, the average value of the motor voltage
and hence its rotational speed can be varied. For simple unipolar drives the
duty ratio β is given as:

and the mean DC output voltage fed to the motor is given as: Vmean = β x
Vsupply. Then by varying the width of pulse a, the motor voltage and hence
the power applied to the motor can be controlled and this type of control is
called Pulse Width Modulation or PWM.
Another way of controlling the rotational speed of the motor is to vary the
frequency (and hence the time period of the controlling voltage) while the
“ON” and “OFF” duty ratio times are kept constant. This type of control is
called Pulse Frequency Modulation or PFM.
With pulse frequency modulation, the motor voltage is controlled by applying
pulses of variable frequency for example, at a low frequency or with very few
pulses the average voltage applied to the motor is low, and therefore the
motor speed is slow. At a higher frequency or with many pulses, the average
motor terminal voltage is increased and the motor speed will also increase.
Then, Transistors can be used to control the amount of power applied to a DC
motor with the mode of operation being either “Linear” (varying motor voltage),
“Pulse Width Modulation” (varying the width of the pulse) or “Pulse Frequency
Modulation” (varying the frequency of the pulse).

Reversing the Direction of a DC Motor

While controlling the speed of a DC motor with a single transistor has many
advantages it also has one main disadvantage, the direction of rotation is
always the same, its a “Uni-directional” circuit. In many applications we need
to operate the motor in both directions forward and back.
To control the direction of a DC motor, the polarity of the DC power applied to
the motor’s connections must be reversed allowing its shaft to rotate in the
opposite direction. One very simple and cheap way to control the rotational
direction of a DC motor is to use different switches arranged in the following

DC Motor Directional Control

The first circuit uses a single double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch to

control the polarity of the motors connections. By changing over the contacts
the supply to the motors terminals is reversed and the motor reverses
direction. The second circuit is slightly more complicated and uses four single-
pole, single-throw (SPST) switches arranged in an “H” configuration.
The mechanical switches are arranged in switching pairs and must be
operated in a specific combination to operate or stop the DC motor. For
example, switch combination A + D controls the forward rotation while
switches B + C control the reverse rotation as shown. Switch combinations A
+ B or C + D shorts out the motor terminals causing it to brake quickly.
However, using switches in this manner has its dangers as operating
switches A + C or B + D together would short out the power supply.
While the two circuits above would work very well for most small DC motor
applications, do we really want to operate different combinations of
mechanical switches just to reverse the direction of the motor, NO!. We could
change the manual switches for set of Electromechanical Relays and have a
single forward-reverse button or switch or even use a solid state CMOS
4066B quad bilateral switch.
But another very good way of achieving bi-directional control of a motor (as
well as its speed) is to connect the motor into a Transistor H-bridge type circuit
arrangement as shown below.

Basic Bi-directional H-bridge Circuit

The H-bridge circuit above, is so named because the basic configuration of the
four switches, either electro-mechanical relays or transistors resembles that of
the letter "H" with the motor positioned on the centre bar. The Transistor or
MOSFET H-bridge is probably one of the most commonly used type of bi-
directional DC motor control circuits. It uses “complementary transistor pairs”
both NPN and PNP in each branch with the transistors being switched
together in pairs to control the motor.
Control input A operates the motor in one direction ie, Forward rotation while
input Boperates the motor in the other direction ie, Reverse rotation. Then by
switching the transistors “ON” or “OFF” in their “diagonal pairs” results in
directional control of the motor.
For example, when transistor TR1 is “ON” and transistor TR2 is “OFF”,
point A is connected to the supply voltage (+Vcc) and if transistor TR3 is
“OFF” and transistor TR4 is “ON” point B is connected to 0 volts (GND). Then
the motor will rotate in one direction corresponding to motor terminal A being
positive and motor terminal B being negative.
If the switching states are reversed so that TR1 is “OFF”, TR2 is “ON”, TR3 is
“ON” and TR4is “OFF”, the motor current will now flow in the opposite
direction causing the motor to rotate in the opposite direction.
Then, by applying opposite logic levels “1” or “0” to the inputs A and B the
motors rotational direction can be controlled as follows.

H-bridge Truth Table

Input A Input B Motor Function

TR1 and TR4 TR2 and TR3

0 0 Motor Stopped (OFF)

1 0 Motor Rotates Forward

0 1 Motor Rotates Reverse

It is important that no other combination of inputs are allowed as this may
cause the power supply to be shorted out, ie both
transistors, TR1 and TR2 switched “ON” at the same time, (fuse = bang!).
As with uni-directional DC motor control as seen above, the rotational speed
of the motor can also be controlled using Pulse Width Modulation or PWM.
Then by combining H-bridge switching with PWM control, both the direction
and the speed of the motor can be accurately controlled.
Commercial off the shelf decoder IC’s such as the SN754410 Quad Half H-
Bridge IC or the L298N which has 2 H-Bridges are available with all the
necessary control and safety logic built in are specially designed for H-bridge
bi-directional motor control circuits.

The DC Stepper Motor

Like the DC motor above, Stepper Motors are also electromechanical
actuators that convert a pulsed digital input signal into a discrete (incremental)
mechanical movement are used widely in industrial control applications. A
stepper motor is a type of synchronous brushless motor in that it does not
have an armature with a commutator and carbon brushes but has a rotor
made up of many, some types have hundreds of permanent magnetic teeth
and a stator with individual windings.

Stepper Motor
As it name implies, the stepper motor does not rotate in a continuous fashion
like a conventional DC motor but moves in discrete “Steps” or “Increments”,
with the angle of each rotational movement or step dependant upon the
number of stator poles and rotor teeth the stepper motor has.
Because of their discrete step operation, stepper motors can easily be rotated
a finite fraction of a rotation at a time, such as 1.8, 3.6, 7.5 degrees etc. So for
example, lets assume that a stepper motor completes one full revolution
(360o in exactly 100 steps.
Then the step angle for the motor is given as 360 degrees/100 steps = 3.6
degrees per step. This value is commonly known as the stepper motors Step
There are three basic types of stepper motor, Variable Reluctance, Permanent
Magnetand Hybrid (a sort of combination of both). A Stepper Motor is
particularly well suited to applications that require accurate positioning and
repeatability with a fast response to starting, stopping, reversing and speed
control and another key feature of the stepper motor, is its ability to hold the
load steady once the require position is achieved.
Generally, stepper motors have an internal rotor with a large number of
permanent magnet “teeth” with a number of electromagnet “teeth” mounted on
to the stator. The stators electromagnets are polarized and depolarized
sequentially, causing the rotor to rotate one “step” at a time.
Modern multi-pole, multi-teeth stepper motors are capable of accuracies of
less than 0.9 degs per step (400 Pulses per Revolution) and are mainly used
for highly accurate positioning systems like those used for magnetic-heads in
floppy/hard disc drives, printers/plotters or robotic applications. The most
commonly used stepper motor being the 200 step per revolution stepper
motor. It has a 50 teeth rotor, 4-phase stator and a step angle of 1.8 degrees
(360 degs/(50×4)).

Stepper Motor Construction and Control

In our simple example of a variable reluctance stepper motor above, the motor
consists of a central rotor surrounded by four electromagnetic field coils
labelled A, B, C and D. All the coils with the same letter are connected
together so that energising, say coils marked A will cause the magnetic rotor
to align itself with that set of coils.
By applying power to each set of coils in turn the rotor can be made to rotate
or "step" from one position to the next by an angle determined by its step
angle construction, and by energising the coils in sequence the rotor will
produce a rotary motion.
The stepper motor driver controls both the step angle and speed of the motor
by energising the field coils in a set sequence for example, “ADCB, ADCB,
ADCB, A…” etc, the rotor will rotate in one direction (forward) and by
reversing the pulse sequence to “ABCD, ABCD, ABCD, A…” etc, the rotor will
rotate in the opposite direction (reverse).
So in our simple example above, the stepper motor has four coils, making it a
4-phase motor, with the number of poles on the stator being eight (2 x 4)
which are spaced at 45 degree intervals. The number of teeth on the rotor is
six which are spaced 60 degrees apart.
Then there are 24 (6 teeth x 4 coils) possible positions or “steps” for the rotor
to complete one full revolution. Therefore, the step angle above is given as:
360o/24 = 15o.
Obviously, the more rotor teeth and or stator coils would result in more control
and a finer step angle. Also by connecting the electrical coils of the motor in
different configurations, Full, Half and micro-step angles are possible.
However, to achieve micro-stepping, the stepper motor must be driven by a
(quasi) sinusoidal current that is expensive to implement.
It is also possible to control the speed of rotation of a stepper motor by
altering the time delay between the digital pulses applied to the coils (the
frequency), the longer the delay the slower the speed for one complete
revolution. By applying a fixed number of pulses to the motor, the motor shaft
will rotate through a given angle.
The advantage of using time delayed pulse is that there would be no need for
any form of additional feedback because by counting the number of pulses
given to the motor the final position of the rotor will be exactly known. This
response to a set number of digital input pulses allows the stepper motor to
operate in an “Open Loop System” making it both easier and cheaper to
For example, lets assume that our stepper motor above has a step angle of
3.6 degs per step. To rotate the motor through an angle of say 216 degrees
and then stop again at the require position would only need a total of: 216
degrees/(3.6 degs/step) = 80 pulsesapplied to the stator coils.
There are many stepper motor controller IC’s available which can control the
step speed, speed of rotation and motors direction. One such controller IC is
the SAA1027 which has all the necessary counter and code conversion built-
in, and can automatically drive the 4 fully controlled bridge outputs to the
motor in the correct sequence.
The direction of rotation can also be selected along with single step mode or
continuous (stepless) rotation in the selected direction, but this puts some
burden on the controller. When using an 8-bit digital controller, 256 microsteps
per step are also possible

SAA1027 Stepper Motor Control Chip

In this tutorial about Rotational Actuators, we have looked at the brushed and
brushless DC Motor, the DC Servo Motor and the Stepper Motor as an
electromechanical actuator that can be used as an output device for positional
or speed control.
In the next tutorial about Input/Output devices we will continue our look at
output devices called Actuators, and one in particular that converts a electrical
signal into sound waves again using electromagnetism. The type of output
device we will look at in the next tutorial is the Loudspeaker.

The Direct Current Motor

In steady-state, an AC motor always rotates at the alternation frequency of its power
supply. Thus, an AC motor powered by the domestic mains supply rotates at 60Hz in
the U.S. and Canada, and at 50Hz in Europe and Asia. Suppose, however, that we
require a variable speed electric motor. We could always use an AC motor driven by a
variable frequency AC power supply, but such power supplies are very expensive. A
far cheaper alternative is to use a DC motor driven by a DC power supply. Let us
investigate DC motors.

A DC motor consists of the same basic elements as a DC electric generator: i.e., a

multi-turn coil which is free to rotate in a constant magnetic field. Furthermore, the
rotating coil is connected to the external circuit in just the same manner as in a DC
generator: i.e., via a split-ring commutator which reverses the polarity of the coil with
respect to the external circuit whenever the coil passes through the plane
perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field. Suppose that an external DC
voltage source (e.g., a battery, or a DC generator) of emf is connected across the
motor. The voltage source drives a steady current around the external circuit, and
through the motor. As the current flows around the coil, the magnetic field exerts a
torque on the coil, which causes it to rotate. Let us suppose that the motor eventually

attains a steady-state rotation frequency . The rotating coil generates a back-emf

whose magnitude is directly proportional to the frequency of rotation [see Eq. (222)].

Figure 44: Circuit diagram for an DC motor connected to an external DC emf source.

Figure 44 shows the circuit in question. The motor is modeled as a resistor , which
represents the internal resistance of the motor, in series with the back-emf . Of
course, the back-emf acts in the opposite direction to the external emf . Application
of Ohm's law around the circuit gives


which yields

The rate at which the motor performs mechanical work is


Suppose that a DC motor is subject to a light external load, so that it only has to
perform mechanical work at a relatively low rate. In this case, the motor will spin up
until its back-emf is slightly less than the external emf , so that very little
current flows through the motor [according to Eq. (229)], and, hence, the mechanical
power output of the motor is relatively low [according to Eq. (230)]. If the load on the
motor is increased then the motor will slow down, so that its back-emf is reduced, the
current flowing through the motor is increased, and, hence, the mechanical power
output of the motor is raised until it matches the new load. Note that the current
flowing through a DC motor is generally limited by the back-emf, rather than the
internal resistance of the motor. In fact, conventional DC motors are designed on the
assumption that the back-emf will always limit the current flowing through the motor
to a relatively small value. If the motor jams, so that the coil stops rotating and the

back-emf falls to zero, then the current which flows through the motor is
generally so large that it will burn out the motor if allowed to flow for any appreciable
length of time. For this reason, the power to an electric motor should always be shut
off immediately if the motor jams. When a DC motor is started up, the coil does not
initially spin fast enough to generate a substantial back-emf. Thus, there is a short
time period, just after the motor is switched on, in which the motor draws a relatively
large current from its power supply. This explains why the lights in a house
sometimes dim transiently when a large motor, such as an air conditioner motor, is
switched on.

Suppose that a DC motor is subject to a constant, but relatively light, load. As

mentioned above, the motor will spin up until its back emf almost matches the
external emf. If the external emf is increased then the motor will spin up further, until
its back-emf matches the new external emf. Likewise, if the external emf is decreased
then the motor will spin down. It can be seen that the rotation rate of a DC motor is
controlled by the emf of the DC power supply to which the motor is attached. The
higher the emf, the higher the rate of rotation. Thus, it is relatively easy to vary the
speed of a DC motor, unlike an AC motor, which is essentially a fixed speed motor.

Next: Worked Examples Up: Magnetic Induction Previous: The Alternating Current

Richard Fitzpatrick 2007-07-14

DC Motor Calculations, part 1

Publish Date: Mar 07, 2017 | 5 Ratings | 4.80 out of 5 | Print

Now that we have a good understanding of dc generators, we can begin our study of dc motors. Direct-current motors
transform electrical energy into mechanical energy. They drive devices such as hoists, fans, pumps, calendars,
punch-presses, and cars. These devices may have a definite torque-speed characteristic (such as a pump or fan) or
a highly variable one (such as a hoist or automobile). The torque-speed characteristic of the motor must be adapted
to the type of the load it has to drive, and this requirement has given rise to three basic types of motors: 1. Shunt
motors 2. Series motors 3. Compound motors Direct-current motors are seldom used in ordinary industrial
applications because all electric utility systems furnish alternating current. However, for special applications such as
in steel mills, mines, and electric trains, it is sometimes advantageous to transform the alternating current into direct
current in order to use dc motors. The reason is that the torque-speed characteristics of dc motors can be varied over
a wide range while retaining high efficiency. Today, this general statement can be challenged because the availability
of sophisticated electronic drives has made it possible to use alternating current motors for variable speed
applications. Nevertheless, there are millions of dc motors still in service and thousands more are being produced
every year.

Table of Contents
1. Counter-electromotive force (cemf)
2. Acceleration of the motor
3. Mechanical power and torque
4. Speed of rotation
5. Armature speed control
6. Buy the Book
1. Counter-electromotive force (cemf)
Direct-current motors are built the same way as generators are; consequently, a dc machine can operate either as a
motor or as a generator. To illustrate, consider a dc generator in which the armature, initially at rest, is connected to a
dc source Es by means of a switch (Fig. 5.1). The armature has a resistance R, and the magnetic field is created by a
set of permanent magnets.

As soon as the switch is closed, a large current flows in the armature because its resistance is very low. The
individual armature conductors are immediately subjected to a force because they are immersed in the magnetic field
created by the permanent magnets. These forces add up to produce a powerful torque, causing the armature to

Figure 5.1 Starting a dc motor across the line.

On the other hand, as soon as the armature begins to turn, a second phenomenon takes place: the generator effect.
We know that a voltage Eo is induced in the armature conductors as soon as they cut a magnetic field (Fig. 5.2). This
is always true, no matter what causes the rotation. The value and polarity of the induced voltage are the same as
those obtained when the machine operates as a generator. The induced voltage Eo is therefore proportional to the
speed of rotation n of the motor and to the flux F per pole, as previously given by Eq. 4.1:
Eo = ZnF/60 (4.1)

As in the case of a generator, Z is a constant that depends upon the number of turns on the armature and the type of
winding. For lap windings Z is equal to the number of armature conductors.

In the case of a motor, the induced voltage Eo is called counter-electromotive force (cemf) because its polarity always
acts against the source voltage Es. It acts against the voltage in the sense that the net voltage acting in the series
circuit of Fig. 5.2 is equal to (Es - Eo) volts and not (Es + Eo) volts.

Figure 5.2 Counter-electromotive force (cemf) in a dc motor.

Back to Top
2. Acceleration of the motor
The net voltage acting in the armature circuit in Fig. 5.2 is (Es - Eo) volts. The resulting armature current /is limited only
by the armature resistance R, and so
I = (Es - Eo)IR (5.1)

When the motor is at rest, the induced voltage Eo = 0, and so the starting current is
I = Es/R

The starting current may be 20 to 30 times greater than the nominal full-load current of the motor. In practice, this
would cause the fuses to blow or the circuit-breakers to trip. However, if they are absent, the large forces acting on
the armature conductors produce a powerful starting torque and a consequent rapid acceleration of the armature.
As the speed increases, the counter-emf Eo increases, with the result that the value of (E s — Eo) diminishes. It follows
from Eq. 5.1 that the armature current / drops progressively as the speed increases.

Although the armature current decreases, the motor continues to accelerate until it reaches a definite, maximum
speed. At no-load this speed produces a counter-emf Eo slightly less than the source voltage Es. In effect,
if Eo were equal to Es the net voltage (Es — Eo) would become zero and so, too, would the current /. The driving forces
would cease to act on the armature conductors, and the mechanical drag imposed by the fan and the bearings would
immediately cause the motor to slow down. As the speed decreases the net voltage (E s — Eo)increases and so does
the current /. The speed will cease to fall as soon as the torque developed by the armature current is equal to the
load torque. Thus, when a motor runs at no-load, the counter-emf must be slightly less than Es so as to enable a
small current to flow, sufficient to produce the required torque.

Example 5-1
The armature of a permanent-magnet dc generator has a resistance of 1 Ω and generates a voltage of 50 V when the
speed is 500 r/min. If the armature is connected to a source of 150 V, calculate the following:

a. The starting current

b. The counter-emf when the motor runs at 1000 r/min. At 1460 r/min.
c. The armature current at 1000 r/min. At 1460 r/min.

Figure 5.3 See Example 5.1.

a. At the moment of start-up, the armature is stationary, so Eo = 0 V (Fig. 5.3a). The starting current is limited only by
the armature resistance:
/ = Es/R = 150 V/1 Ω = 150 A

b. Because the generator voltage is 50 V at 500 r/min, the cemf of the motor will be 100 V at 1000 r/min and 146 V at
1460 r/min.

c. The net voltage in the armature circuit at 1000 r/min is

Es - Eo = 150 - 100 = 50 V

The corresponding armature current is

I = (Es - Eo)/R
= 50/1 = 50 A (Fig.5.3b)

When the motor speed reaches 1460 r/min, the cemf will be 146 V, almost equal to the source voltage. Under these
conditions, the armature current is only

/ = (Es - Eo)/R = (150 - 146)/1

= 4A

and the corresponding motor torque is much smaller than before (Fig. 5.3c).
Back to Top
3. Mechanical power and torque

The power and torque of a dc motor are two of its most important properties. We now derive two simple equations
that enable us to calculate them.

1. According to Eq. 4.1 the cemf induced in a lap-wound armature is given by

Eo = ZnF/60 (4.1)

Referring to Fig. 5.2, the electrical power Pa supplied to the armature is equal to the supply voltage Es multiplied by
the armature current I:

Pa = EsI (5.2)

However, Es is equal to the sum of Eo plus the IR drop in the armature:

Es = Eo + IR (5.3)

It follows that
Pa = EsI
= (Eo + IR)I
= EoI + I2R (5.4)

The I2R term represents heat dissipated in the armature, but the very important term EoI is the electrical power that is
converted into mechanical power. The mechanical power of the motor is therefore exactly equal to the product of the
cemf multiplied by the armature current

P = EoI (5.5)


P = mechanical power developed by the motor [W]

Eo = induced voltage in the armature (cemf) [V]
/ = total current supplied to the armature [A]

2. Turning our attention to torque T, we know that the mechanical power P is given by the expression

P = nT/9.55 (3.5)

where n is the speed of rotation.

Combining Eqs. 3.5,4.1, and 5.5, we obtain

nT/9.55 = EoI
= ZnFI/60

and so
T = ZFI/6.28

The torque developed by a lap-wound motor is therefore given by the expression

T = ZFI/6.28 (5.6)


T = torque [N×m]
Z = number of conductors on the armature
F = effective flux per pole [Wb]*
/ = armature current [A]
6.28 = constant, to take care of units
[exact value = 2p]

Eq. 5.6 shows that we can raise the torque of a motor either by raising the armature current or by raising the flux
created by the poles.

Example 5-2
The following details are given on a 225 kW (» 300 hp), 250 V, 1200 r/min dc motor (see Figs. 5.4 and 5.5):

armature coils 243

turns per coil 1
type of winding lap
armature slots 81
commutator segments 243
field poles 6
diameter of armature 559 mm
axial length of armature 235 mm

* The effective flux is given by F = 60 Eo/Zn.

Figure 5.4 Bare armature and commutator of a dc motor rated 225 kW, 250 V, 1200 r/min. The armature core
has a diameter of 559 mm and an axial length of 235 mm. It is composed of 400 stacked laminations 0.56 mm
thick. The armature has 81 slots and the commutator has 243 bars. (H. Roberge)

Figure 5.5
a. Armature of Fig 5.4 in the process of being wound, coil-forming machine gives the coils the desired shape.
b One of the 81 coils ready to be placed in the slots
c Connecting the coil ends to the commutator bars.
d. Commutator connections ready for brazing (H Roberge)

a. The rated armature current
b. The number of conductors per slot
c. The flux per pole

a. We can assume that the induced voltage Eo is nearly equal to the applied voltage (250 V).
The rated armature current is
/ = P/Eo = 225 000/250

b. Each coil is made up of 2 conductors, so altogether there are 243 X 2 = 486 conductors on the armature.

Conductors per slot = 486/81 = 6

Coil sides per slot = 6

c. The motor torque is

T = 9.55 P/n
= 9.55 X 225 000/1200
= 1791N×m

The flux per pole is

F = 6.28 T/ZI
= (6.28 X 1790)/(486 X 900)
= 25.7 mWb

Back to Top
4. Speed of rotation
When a dc motor drives a load between no-load and full-load, the IR drop due to armature resistance is always small
compared to the supply voltage Es. This means that the counter-emf Es is very nearly equal to Es.

On the other hand, we have already seen that Eo may be expressed by the equation

Eo = ZnF/60 (4.1)

Figure 5.6 Ward-Leonard speed control system.

Replacing Eo by Es we obtain
Es = ZnF/60

That is,

n = speed of rotation [r/min]
Es = armature voltage [V]
Z = total number of armature conductors

This important equation shows that the speed of the motor is directly proportional to the armature supply voltage and
inversely proportional to the flux per pole. We will now study how this equation is applied.
Back to Top
5. Armature speed control

According to Eq. 5.7, if the flux per pole F is kept constant (permanent magnet field or field with fixed excitation), the
speed depends only upon the armature voltage Es. By raising or lowering Es the motor speed will rise and fall in

In practice, we can vary Es by connecting the motor armature M to a separately excited variable-voltage dc generator
G (Fig. 5.6). The field excitation of the motor is kept constant, but the generator excitation Ix can be varied from zero
to maximum and even reversed. The generator output voltage Es can therefore be varied from zero to maximum, with
either positive or negative polarity. Consequently, the motor speed can be varied from zero to maximum in either
direction. Note that the generator is driven by an ac motor connected to a 3-phase line. This method of speed control,
known as the Ward-Leonard system, is found in steel mills, high-rise elevators, mines, and paper mills.

In modem installations the generator is often replaced by a high-power electronic converter that changes the ac
power of the electrical utility to dc, by electronic means.

The Ward-Leonard system is more than just a simple way of applying a variable dc voltage to the armature of a dc
motor. It can actually force the motor to develop the torque and speed required by the load. For example,
suppose Es is adjusted to be slightly higher than the cemf Eo of the motor. Current will then flow in the direction shown
in Fig. 5.6, and the motor develops a positive torque. The armature of the motor absorbs power because I flows into
the positive terminal.

Now, suppose we reduce Es by reducing me generator excitation FG. As soon as Es becomes less
than Eo, current/reverses. As a result, (1) the motor torque reverses and (2) the armature of the motor delivers power
to generator G. In effect, the dc motor suddenly becomes a generator and generator G suddenly becomes a motor.
The electric power that the dc motor now delivers to G is derived at the expense of the kinetic energy of the rapidly
decelerating armature and its connected mechanical load. Thus, by reducing Es, the motor is suddenly forced to slow

What happens to the dc power received by generator G? When G receives electric power, it operates as a motor,
driving its own ac motor as an asynchronous generator!* As a result, ac power is fed back into the line that normally
feeds the ac motor. The fact that power can be recovered this way makes the Ward-Leonard system very efficient,
and constitutes another of its advantages.

* The asynchronous generator is explained in Chapter 14.

Example 5-3
A 2000 kW, 500 V, variable-speed motor is driven by a 2500 kW generator, using a Ward-Leonard control system
shown in Fig. 5.6. The total resistance of the motor and generator armature circuit is 10 mΩ. The motor turns at a
nominal speed of 300 r/min, when Eo is 500 V.

a. The motor torque and speed when
Es = 400 V and Eo = 380 V

b. The motor torque and speed when

Es = 350 V and Eo = 380 V

a. The armature current is
/ = (Es - Eo)IR = (400 - 380)/0.01
= 2000 A

The power to the motor armature is

P = EoI = 380 X 2000 = 760 kW

The motor speed is

n = (380 V/500 V) X 300 = 228 r/min

The motor torque is

T = 9.55P/n
= (9.55 X 760 000)/228
= 31.8kN×m

b. Because Eo = 380 V, the motor speed is still 228 r/min.

The armature current is

/ = (Es - Eo)IR = (350 - 380)/0.01
= -3000 A

The current is negative and so it flows in reverse; consequently, the motor torque also reverses.

Power returned by the motor to the generator and the 10 mΩ resistance:

P = EoI = 380 X 3000 = 1140 kW

Braking torque developed by the motor:

T = 9.55P/n
= (9.55 X 1 140 000)/228
= 47.8 kN×m

The speed of the motor and its connected mechanical load will rapidly drop under the influence of this
electromechanical braking torque.

Rheostat Speed Control

Another way to control the speed of a dc motor is to place a rheostat in series with the armature (Fig. 5.7). The
current in the rheostat produces a voltage drop which subtracts from the fixed source voltage Es, yielding a smaller
supply voltage across the armature. This method enables us to reduce the speed below its nominal speed. It is only
recommended for small motors because a lot of power and heat is wasted in the rheostat, and the overall efficiency is
low. Furthermore, the speed regulation is poor, even for a fixed setting of the rheostat. In effect, the IR drop across
the rheostat increases as the armature current increases. This produces a substantial drop in speed with increasing
mechanical load.
Figure 5.7 Armature speed control using a rheostat.

DC Motor Calculations, part 2

Publish Date: Mar 07, 2017 | 0 Ratings | 0.00 out of 5 | Print

Table of Contents
1. Field speed control
2. Shunt motor under load
3. Series motor
4. Series motor speed control
5. Applications of the series motor
6. Buy the Book
1. Field speed control
According to Eq. 5.7 we can also vary the speed of a dc motor by varying the field flux F. Let us now keep the
armature voltage Esconstant so that the numerator in Eq. 5.7 is constant. Consequently, the motor speed now
changes in inverse proportion to the flux F if we increase the flux the speed will drop, and vice versa.

This method of speed control is frequently used when the motor has to run above its rated speed, called base
speed To control the flux (and hence, the speed), we connect a rheostat Rf in series with the field (Fig 5 8a).

To understand this method of speed control, suppose that the motor in Fig 5 8a is initially running at constant speed
The counter-emf Eo is slightly less than the armature supply voltage Es due to the IR drop in the armature If we
suddenly increase the resistance of the rheostat, both the exciting current Ix and the flux F will diminish. This
immediately reduces the cemf Eo, causing the armature current / to jump to a much higher value. The current
changes dramatically because its value depends upon the very small difference between Es and EoDespite the
weaker field, the motor develops a greater torque than before It will accelerate until
Eo is again almost equal to Es.

Clearly, to develop the same Eo with a weaker flux, the motor must turn faster We can therefore raise the motor
speed above its nominal value by introducing a resistance in series with the field For shunt-wound motors, this
method of speed control enables high-speed/base-speed ratios as high as 3 to 1. Broader speed ranges tend to
produce instability and poor commutation.

Under certain abnormal conditions, the flux may drop to dangerously low values For example, if the exciting current of
a shunt motor is interrupted accidentally, the only flux remaining is that due to the remanent magnetism in the poles *
This flux is so small that the motor has to rotate at a dangerously high speed to induce the required cemf Safety
devices are introduced to prevent such runaway conditions.
Figure 5.8a. Schematic diagram of a shunt motor including the field rheostat
b. Torque-speed and torque-current characteristic of a shunt motor.

Back to Top
2. Shunt motor under load
Consider a dc motor running at no-load If a mechanical load is suddenly applied to the shaft, the small no-load
current does not produce enough torque to carry the load and the motor begins to slow down This causes the cemf to
diminish, resulting in a higher current and a corresponding higher torque When the torque developed by the motor
is exactly equal to the torque imposed by the mechanical load, then, and only then, will the speed remain constant
(see Section 311) To sum up, as the mechanical load increases, the armature current nses and the speed drops.

The speed of a shunt motor stays relatively constant from no-load to full-load In small motors, it only drops by 10 to
15 percent when full-load is applied. In big machines, the drop is even less, due in part, to the very low armature
resistance. By adjusting the field rheostat, the speed can, of course, be kept absolutely constant as the load changes.

* The term residual magnetism is also used However the IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electror ics
Terms states ' If there are no air gaps in the mag-netic circuit the remanent induction will equal the residual induction
if there are air gaps the remanent induction will be less than the residual induction "

Typical torque-speed and torque-current characteristics of a shunt motor are shown in Fig. 5.8b. The speed, torque
and current are given in per-unit values. The torque is directly proportional to the armature current. Furthermore, the
speed changes only from 1.1 pu to 0.9 pu as the torque increases from 0 pu to 2 pu.

Example 5-4
A shunt motor rotating at 1500 r/min is fed by a 120 V source (Fig. 5.9a). The line current is 51 A and the shunt-field
resistance is 120 Ω. If the armature resistance is 0.1 Ω, calculate the following;

a. The current in the armature

b. The counter-emf
c. The mechanical power developed by the motor

a. The field current (Fig. 5.9b) is
Ix = 120V/120 Ω = 1A

The armature current is

I = 51 - 1 = 50 A

b. The voltage across the armature is

E = 120 V

Voltage drop due to armature resistance is

IR = 50 X 0.1 = 5 V

The cemf generated by the armature is

Eo = 120 - 5 = 115 V

c. The total power supplied to the motor is

Pi = EI = 120 X 51 = 6120 W

Power absorbed by the armature is

Pa = EI = 120 X 50 = 6000 W

Power dissipated in the armature is

P = I2 R= 502 X 0.1 = 250 W

Mechanical power developed by the armature is

P = 6000 - 250 = 5750 W
(equivalent to 5750/746 = 7.7 hp)

The actual mechanical output is slightly less than 5750 W because some of the mechanical power is dissipated in
bearing friction losses, in windage losses, and in armature iron losses.
Figure 5.9 See Example 5.4.

Back to Top
3. Series motor
A series motor is identical in construction to a shunt motor except for the field. The field is connected in series with
the armature and must, therefore, carry the full armature current (Fig. 5.10a). This series field is composed of a few
turns of wire having a cross section sufficiently large to carry the current.

Although the construction is similar, the properties of a series motor are completely different from those of a shunt
motor. In a shunt motor, the flux F per pole is constant at all loads because the shunt field is connected to the line.
But in a series motor the flux per pole depends upon the armature current and, hence, upon the load. When the
current is large, the flux is large and vice versa. Despite these differences, the same basic principles and equations
apply to both machines.

Figure 5.10a. Series motor connection diagram b. Schematic diagram of a series motor

When a series motor operates at full-load, the flux per pole is the same as that of a shunt motor of identical power
and speed. However, when the senes motor starts up, the armature current is higher than normal, with the result that
the flux per pole is also greater than normal It follows that the starting torque of a senes motor is considerably greater
than that of a shunt motor.This can be seen by comparing the T versus / curves of Figs 5. 8 and 5.11.

On the other hand, if the motor operates at less than full-load, the armature current and the flux per pole are smaller
than normal. The weaker field causes the speed to rise in the same way as it would for a shunt motor with a weak
shunt field. For example, if the load current of a senes motor drops to half its normal value, the flux diminishes by half
and so the speed doubles. Obviously, if the load is small, the speed may nse to dangerously high values. For this
reason we never permit a senes motor to operate at no-load It tends to run away, and the resulting centnfugal forces
could tear the windings out of the armature and destroy the machine
Back to Top
4. Series motor speed control

When a senes motor carries a load, its speed may have to be adjusted slightly. Thus, the speed can be increased by
placing a low resistance in parallel with the series field. The field current is then smaller than before, which produces
a drop in flux and an increase in speed.

Figure 5.11 Typical speed-torque and current-torque characteristic of a series motor.

Conversely, the speed may be lowered by connecting an external resistor in senes with the armature and the field
The total IR drop across the resistor and field reduces the armature supply voltage, and so the speed must fall.

Typical torque-speed and torque-current characteristics are shown in Fig. 5.11. They are quite different from the
shunt motor characteristics given in Fig. 5.8b.

Example 5-5
A 15 hp, 240 V, 1780 r/min dc senes motor has a full-load rated current of 54 A. Its operating characteristics are
given by the per-unit curves of Fig. 5.11.


a. The current and speed when the load torque is

24 N×m
b. The efficiency under these conditions

a. We first establish the base power, base speed, and base current of the motor. They correspond to the full-load
ratings as follows:

PB = 15 hp = 15 X 746 = 11 190 W

nB = 1780 r/min

/B= 54 A
The base torque is, therefore,

A load torque of 24 N-m corresponds to a per-unit torque of

T(pu) = 24/60 = 0.4

Referring to Fig. 5.11, a torque of 0.4 pu is attained at a speed of 1.4 pu. Thus, the speed is
n = n(pu) X nB = I.4 X 1780
= 2492 r/min

From the T vs / curve, a torque of 0.4 pu requires a current of 0.6 pu. Consequently, the load current is

/ = /(pu) X /B = 0.6 X 54 = 32.4 A

b. To calculate the efficiency, we have to know Po and Pi.

Pi = EI = 240 X 32.4 = 7776 W

Po = nT/9.55 = 2492 X 24/9.55

= 6263 W

h = Po/Pi = 6263/7776 = 0.805 or 80.5%

< /div >

DC Motor Calculations, part 3

Publish Date: Mar 07, 2017 | 0 Ratings | 0.00 out of 5 | Print

Table of Contents
1. Compound Motor
2. Reversing the direction of rotation
3. Starting a shunt motor
4. Face-plate starter
5. Stopping a motor
6. Dynamic braking
7. Buy the Book
1. Compound Motor
A compound dc motor carries both a series field and a shunt field. In a cumulative compound motor, the mmf of the
two fields add. The shunt field is always stronger than the series field.

Fig. 5.12 shows the connection and schematic diagrams of a compound motor. When the motor runs at no-load, the
armature current / in the series winding is low and the mmf of the series field is negligible. However, the shunt field is
fully excited by current Ix and so the motor behaves like a shunt machine: it does not tend to run away at no-load.

As the load increases, the mmf of the series field increases but the mmf of the shunt field remains constant. The total
mmf (and the resulting flux per pole) is therefore greater under load than at no-load. The motor speed falls with
increasing load and the speed drop from no-load to full-load is generally between 10 percent and 30 percent.

Figure 5.12 a. Connection diagram of a dc compound motor.

b. Schematic diagram of the motor.

Figure 5.13 Typical speed versus torque characteristics of various dc motors.

If the series field is connected so that it opposes the shunt field, we obtain a differential compound motor. In such a
motor, the total mmf decreases with increasing load. The speed rises as the load increases, and this may lead to
instability. The differential compound motor has very few applications.

Fig. 5.13 shows the typical torque-speed curves of shunt, compound and series motors on a per-unit basis. Fig. 5.14
shows a typical application of dc motors in a steel mill.
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2. Reversing the direction of rotation

To reverse the direction of rotation of a dc motor, we must reverse either (1) the armature connections or (2) both the
shunt and series field connections. The interpoles are considered to form part of the armature. The change in
connections is shown in Fig. 5.15.

Figure 5.14 Hot strip finishing mill composed of 6 stands, each driven by a 2500 kW dc motor. The wide steel
strip is delivered to the runout table (left foreground) driven by 161 dc motors, each rated 3 kW. (Courtesy of
General Electric)

Figure 5.15
a. Original connections of a compound motor.
b. Reversing the armature connections to reverse the direction of rotation.
c. Reversing the field connections to reverse the direction of rotation.
Back to Top
3. Starting a shunt motor
If we apply full voltage to a stationary shunt motor, the starting current in the armature will be very high and we run
the risk of

a. Burning out the armature;

b. Damaging the commutator and brushes, due to heavy sparking;
c. Overloading the feeder;
d. Snapping off the shaft due to mechanical shock;
e. Damaging the driven equipment because of the sudden mechanical hammerblow.

All dc motors must, therefore, be provided with a means to limit the starting current to reasonable values, usually
between 1.5 and twice full-load current. One solution is to connect a rheostat in series with the armature. The
resistance is gradually reduced as the motor accelerates and is eventually eliminated entirely, when the machine has
attained full speed.

Today, electronic methods are often used to limit the starting current and to provide speed control.
Back to Top
4. Face-plate starter

Fig. 5.16 shows the schematic diagram of a manual face-plate starter for a shunt motor. Bare copper contacts are
connected to current-limiting resistors R1, R2, R3, and R4. Conducting arm 1 sweeps across the contacts when it is
pulled to the right by means of insulated handle 2. In the position shown, the arm touches dead copper contact M and
the motor circuit is open. As we draw the handle to the right, the conducting arm first touches fixed contact N.

The supply voltage Es immediately causes full field current Ix to flow, but the armature current / is limited by the four
resistors in the starter box. The motor begins to turn and, as the cemf Eo builds up, the armature current gradually
falls. When the motor speed ceases to rise any more, the arm is pulled to the next contact, thereby removing
resistor R1 from the armature circuit. The current immediately jumps to a higher value and the motor quickly
accelerates to the next higher speed. When the speed again levels off, we move to the next contact, and so forth,
until the arm finally touches the last contact. The arm is magnetically held in this position by a small
electromagnet 4, which is in series with the shunt field.

Figure 5.16 Manual face-plate starter for a shunt motor.

If the supply voltage is suddenly interrupted, or if the field excitation should accidentally be cut, the electromagnet
releases the arm, allowing it to return to its dead position, under the pull of spnng 3. This safety feature prevents the
motor from restarting unexpectedly when the supply voltage is reestablished.
Back to Top
5. Stopping a motor
One is inclined to believe that stopping a dc motor is a simple, almost trivial, operation. Unfortunately, this is not
always true. When a large dc motor is coupled to a heavy inertia load, it may take an hour or more for the system to
come to a halt. For many reasons such a lengthy deceleration time is often unacceptable and, under these
circumstances, we must apply a braking torque to ensure a rapid stop. One way to brake the motor is by simple
mechanical friction, in the same way we stop a car. A more elegant method consists of circulating a reverse current in
the armature, so as to brake the motor electrically. Two methods are employed to create such an electromechanical
brake (1) dynamic braking and (2) plugging.
Back to Top
6. Dynamic braking

Consider a shunt motor whose field is directly connected to a source Es, and whose armature is connected to the
same source by means of a double-throw switch The switch connects the armature to either the line or to an external
resistor R (Fig. 5.17).

When the motor is running normally, the direction of the armature current I1 and the polarity of the cemf Eo are as
shown in Fig. 5.17a. Neglecting the armature IR drop, Eo is equal to Es

If we suddenly open the switch (Fig 5.17b), the motor continues to turn, but its speed will gradually drop due to friction
and windage losses. On the other hand, because the shunt field is still excited, induced voltage Eo continues to exist,
falling at the same rate as the speed In essence, the motor is now a generator whose armature is on open-circuit.

Let us close the switch on the second set of contacts so that the armature is suddenly conneted to the external
resistor (Fig. 5.17c). Voltage Eo will immediately produce an armature current I2. However, this current flows in
the opposite direction to the original current /1 It follows that a reverse torque is developed whose magnitude depends
upon I2. The reverse torque brings the machine to a rapid, but very smooth stop.

Figure 5.17a Armature connected to a dc source Es.

Figure 5.17b Armature on open circuit generating a voltage E o.

Figure 5.17c Dynamic braking.

In practice, resistor R is chosen so that the initial braking current is about twice the rated motor current. The initial
braking torque is then twice the normal torque of the motor.

As the motor slows down, the gradual decrease in Eo produces a corresponding decrease in I2. Consequently, the
braking torque becomes smaller and smaller, finally becoming zero when the armature ceases to turn. The speed
drops quickly at first and then more slowly, as the armature comes to a halt. The speed decreases exponentially,
somewhat like the voltage across a discharging capacitor. Consequently, the speed decreases by half in equal
intervals of time To. To illustrate the usefulness of dynamic braking. Fig. 5.18 compares the speed-time curves for a
motor equipped with dynamic braking and one that simply coasts to a stop.

DC Motor Calculations, part 4

Publish Date: Jun 18, 2018 | 0 Ratings | 0.00 out of 5 | Print

Table of Contents
1. Plugging
2. Dynamic braking and mechanical time constant
3. Armature reaction
4. Flux distortion due to armature reaction
5. Commuting poles
6. Compensating winding
7. Basics of variable speed control
8. Permanent magnet motors
9. Buy the Book
1. Plugging
We can stop the motor even more rapidly by using a method called plugging. It consists of suddenly reversing the
armature current by reversing the terminals of the source (Fig. 5.19a).
Figure 5.18 Speed versus time curves for various braking methods.

Under normal motor conditions, armature current /1 is given by

I1 = (Es - Eo)IR

where Ro is the armature resistance. If we suddenly reverse the terminals of the source, the net voltage acting on the
armature circuit becomes (Eo + Es). The so-called counter-emf Eo of the armature is no longer counter to anything but
actually adds to the supply voltage Es. This net voltage would produce an enormous reverse current, perhaps 50
times greater than the full-load armature current. This current would initiate an arc around the commutator, destroying
segments, brushes, and supports, even before the line circuit breakers could open.

Figure 5.19a Armature connected to dc source Es.

Figure 5.19b Plugging.

To prevent such a catastrophe, we must limit the reverse current by introducing a resistor R in series with the
reversing circuit (Fig. 5.19b). As in dynamic braking, the resistor is designed to limit the initial braking current I2 to
about twice full-load current. With this plugging circuit, a reverse torque is developed even when the armature has
come to a stop. In effect, at zero speed, Eo = 0, but I2 = Es/R, which is about one-half its initial value. As soon as the
motor stops, we must immediately open the armature circuit, otherwise it will begin to run in reverse. Circuit
interruption is usually controlled by an automatic null-speed device mounted on the motor shaft.

The curves of Fig. 5.18 enable us to compare plugging and dynamic braking for the same initial braking current. Note
that plugging stops the motor completely after an interval 2To. On the other hand, if dynamic braking is used, the
speed is still 25 percent of its original value at this time. Nevertheless, the comparative simplicity of dynamic braking
renders it more popular in most applications.
Back to Top
2. Dynamic braking and mechanical time constant

We mentioned that the speed decreases exponentially with time when a dc motor is stopped by dynamic braking. We
can therefore speak of a mechanical time constant T in much the same way we speak of the electrical time constant
of a capacitor that discharges into a resistor.

In essence, T is the time it takes for the speed of the motor to fall to 36.8 percent of its initial value. However, it is
much easier to draw the speed-time curves by defining a new time constant To which is the time for the speed to
decrease to 50 percent of its original value. There is a direct mathematical relationship between the conventional time
constant T and the half-time constant To It is given by
To = 0.693T (5.8)

We can prove that this mechanical time constant is given by


To = time for the motor speed to fall to one-half its previous value [s]
J = moment of inertia of the rotating parts, referred to the motor shaft [kg×m]
n1 = initial speed of the motor when braking starts [r/min]
P1 = initial power delivered by the motor to the braking resistor [W]
131.5 = a constant [exact value = (30/p)2loge2]
0.693 = a constant [exact value = loge2]

This equation is based upon the assumption that the braking effect is entirely due to the energy dissipated in the
braking resistor. In general, the motor is subjected to an extra braking torque due to windage and friction, and so the
braking time will be less than that given by Eq. 5.9.

Example 5-6
A 225 kW (»300 hp), 250 V, 1280 r/min dc motor has windage, friction, and iron losses of 8 kW. It drives a large
flywheel and the total moment of inertia of the flywheel and armature is 177 kg×m 2. The motor is connected to a 210
V dc source, and its speed is 1280 r/min just before the armature is switched across a braking resistor of 0.2 W.

a. The mechanical time constant To of the braking system
b. The time for the motor speed to drop to 20 r/min
c. The time for the speed to drop to 20 r/min if the only braking force is that due to the windage, friction, and iron

a. We note that the armature voltage is 210 V and the speed is 1280 r/min.

When the armature is switched to the braking resistor, the induced voltage is still very close to 210 V. The initial
power delivered to the resistor is

P1 = E2/R = 2102/0.2 = 220 500 W

The time constant To is
To = Jn12/(131.5 P1) (5.9)

= 10s

b. The motor speed drops by 50 percent every 10 s. The speed versus time curve follows the sequence given below:

speed (r/min) time(s)

1280 0

640 10

320 20

160 30

80 40

40 50

20 60

The speed of the motor drops to 20 r/min after an interval of 60 s.

c. The initial windage, friction, and iron losses are 8 kW. These losses do not vary with speed in exactly the same
way as do the losses in a braking resistor. However, the behavior is comparable, which enables us to make a rough
estimate of the braking time. We have

n1 = 1280 P1 = 8000

The new time constant is

To = Jn12/(131.5 P1)

= (177 X 12802)/(131.5 X 8000)

= 276 s = 4.6 min

The stopping time increases in proportion to the time constant. Consequently, the time to reach 20 r/min is

t = (276/10) X 60 = 1656 s
= 28 min

This braking time is 28 times longer than when dynamic braking is used.

Theoretically, a motor which is dynamically braked never comes to a complete stop. In practice, however, we can
assume that the machine stops after an interval equal to 5 To seconds.

If the motor is plugged, the stopping time has a definite value given by

ts = 2To (5.10)


ts = stopping time using plugging [s]

To = time constant as given in Eq. 5.9 [s]

Example 5-7
The motor in Example 5-6 is plugged, and the braking resistor is increased to 0.4 W, so that the initial braking current
is the same as before.

a. The initial braking current and braking power
b. The stopping time

The net voltage acting across the resistor is
E = Eo + Es = 210+ 210 = 420 V

The initial braking current is

I1 = E/R = 420/0.4 = 1050 A

The initial braking power is

P1 = EoI1 = 210 X 1050 = 220.5 kW

According to Eq. 5.9, To has the same value as before:

To = 10 s

The time to come to a complete stop is

ts = 2To = 20 s

Back to Top
3. Armature reaction
Until now we have assumed that the only mmf acting in a dc motor is that due to the field. However, the current
flowing in the armature conductors also creates a magnetomotive force that distorts and weakens the flux coming
from the poles. This distortion and field weakening takes place in motors as well as in generators. We recall that the
magnetic action of the armature mmf is called armature reaction.
Back to Top
4. Flux distortion due to armature reaction

When a motor runs at no-load, the small current flowing in the armature does not appreciably affect the flux F1 coming
from the poles (Fig. 5.20). But when the armature carries its normal current, it produces a strong magnetomotive
force which, if it acted alone, would create a flux F2 (Fig. 5.21). By superimposing F1 and F2, we obtain the resulting
flux F3 (Fig. 5.22). In our example the flux density increases under the left half of the pole and it deceases under the
right half. This unequal distribution produces two important effects. First the neutral zone shifts toward the left
(against the direction of rotation). The result is poor commutation with sparking at the brushes. Second, due to the
higher flux density in pole tip A, saturation sets in. Consequently, the increase of flux under the left-hand side of the
pole is less than the decrease under the right-hand side. Flux F3 at full-load is therefore slightly less than flux F1 at no-
load. For large machines the decrease in flux may be as much as 10 percent and it causes the speed to increase with
load. Such a condition tends to be unstable; to eliminate the problem, we sometimes add a series field of one or two
turns to increase the flux under load. Such motors are said to have a stabilized-shunt winding.

Figure 5.20 Flux distribution in a motor mnning at no-load.

Figure 5.21 Flux created by the full-load armature current.

Figure 5.22 Resulting flux distribution in a motor running at full-load.

Back to Top
5. Commuting poles
To counter the effect of armature reaction and thereby improve commutation, we always place a set of commutating
poles between the main poles of medium- and large-power dc motors (Fig. 5.23). As in the case of a dc generator,
these narrow poles develop a magnetomotive force equal and opposite to the mmf of the armature so that the
respective magnetomotive forces rise and fall together as the load current varies. In practice, the mmf of the
commutating poles is made slightly greater than that of the armature. Consequently, a small flux subsists in the
region of the commutating poles. The flux is designed to induce in the coil undergoing commutation a voltage that is
equal and opposite to the self-induction voltage mentioned in Section 4.28. As a result, commutation is greatly
improved and takes place roughly as described in Section 4.27.

Figure 5.23 The narrow commutating poles are placed between the main poles of this 6-pole motor.

The neutralization of the armature mmf is restricted to the narrow zone covered by the commutating poles, where
commutation takes place. The flux distribution under the main poles unfortunately remains distorted. This creates no
problem for motors driving ordinary loads. But in special cases it is necessary to add a compensating winding, a
feature we will now describe.
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6. Compensating winding

Some dc motors in the 100 kW to 10 MW (»134 hp to 13 400 hp) range employed in steel mills perform a series of
rapid, heavy-duty operations. They accelerate, decelerate, stop, and reverse, all in a matter of seconds. The
corresponding armature current increases, decreases, reverses in stepwise fashion, producing very sudden changes
in armature reaction.

For such motors the commutating poles and series stabilizing windings do not adequately neutralize the armature
mmf. Torque and speed control is difficult under such transient conditions and flash-overs may occur across the
commutator. To eliminate this problem, special compensating windings are connected in series with the armature.
They are distributed in slots, cut into the pole faces of the main field poles (Fig. 5.24). Like commutating poles, these
windings produce a mmf equal and opposite to the mmf of the armature. However, because the windings are
distributed across the pole faces, the armature mmf is bucked from point to point, which eliminates the field distortion
shown in Fig 5.22. With compensating windings, the field distribution remains essentially undisturbed from no-load to
full-load, retaining the general shape shown in Fig. 5.20.

The addition of compensating windings has a profound effect on the design and performance of a dc motor:

1. A shorter air gap can be used because we no longer have to worry about the demagnetizing effect of the armature.
A shorter gap means that the shunt field strength can be reduced and hence the coils are smaller.
2. The inductance of the armature circuit is reduced by a factor of 4 or 5; consequently, the armature current can
change more quickly and the motor gives a much better response. This is particularly true in big machines.

3. A motor equipped with compensating windings can briefly develop 3 to 4 times its rated torque. The peak torque of
an uncompensated motor is much lower when the armature current is large. The reason is that the effective flux in
the air gap falls off rapidly with increasing current because of armature reaction.

We conclude that compensating windings are essen-tial in large motors subjected to severe duty cycles.
Back to Top
7. Basics of variable speed control

The most important outputs of a dc motor are its speed and torque. It is useful to determine (he limits of each as the
speed is increased from zero to above base speed. In so doing, the rated values of armature current, armature
voltage, and field flux must not be exceeded, although lesser values may be used.

Figure 5.24 Six-pole dc motor having a compensating winding distributed in slots in the main poles. The
machine also has 6 commutating poles. (Courtesy of General Electric Company)

In making our analysis, we assume an ideal separately excited shunt motor in which the armature resistance is
negligible (Fig. 5.25). The armature voltage Ea, the armature current Ia, the flux Ff, the exciting current If, and the
speed n are all expressed in per-unit values. Thus, if the rated armature voltage Ea happens to be 240 V and the
rated armature current Ia is 600 A, they are both given a per-unit value of 1. Similarly, the rated shunt field flux Ff has
a per-unit value of 1. The advantage of the per-unit approach is that it renders the torque-speed curve universal.
Figure 5.25 Per-unit circuit diagram

Figure 5.26

Figure 5.27

Figure 5.28

Thus, the per-unit torque T is given by the per-unit flux Ff times the per-unit armature current Ia
T = FfIa (5.11)
By the same reasoning, the per-unit armature voltage Ea is equal to the per-unit speed n times the per-unit flux Ff
Ea = n Ff (5.12)

The logical starting point of the torque-speed curve (Fig. 5.26), is the condition where the motor develops rated
torque (T = 1) at rated speed (n = 1). The rated speed is often called base speed.

In order to reduce the speed below base speed, we gradually reduce the armature voltage to zero, while keeping the
rated values of Iaand Ff constant at their per-unit value of 1. Applying Eq. (5.11), the corresponding per-unit torque T
= 1 X 1=1. Furthermore, according to Eq. (5.12), the per-unit voltage Ea = n X 1 = n. Figures 5.27 and 5.28 show the
state of Ea,/a and Ff during this phase of motor operation, known as the constant torque mode.

Next, to raise the speed above base speed, we realize that the armature voltage cannot be increased anymore
because it is already at its rated level of 1. The only solution is to keep Ea at its rated level of 1 and reduce the flux.
Referring to Eq. (5.12), this means that nFf = 1, and so Ff = 1/n. Thus, above base speed, the per-unit flux is equal to
the reciprocal of the per-unit speed. During this operating mode, the armature current can be kept at its rated level of
1. Recalling Eq. (5.11), it follows that T = Ffla = (l/n) X 1 = 1/n. Consequently, above base speed, the per-unit torque
decreases as the reciprocal of the per-unit speed. It is clear that since the per-unit armature current and armature
voltage are both equal to 1 during this phase, the power input to the motor is equal to 1. Having assumed an ideal
machine, the per-unit mechanical power output is also equal to 1, which corresponds to rated power. That is why the
region above base speed is named the constant horsepower mode.

We conclude that the ideal dc shunt motor can operate anywhere within the limits of the torque-speed curve depicted
in Fig. 5.26.

In practice, the actual torque-speed curve may differ considerably from that shown in Fig. 5.26. The curve indicates
an upper speed limit of 2 but some machines can be pushed to limits of 3 and even 4, by reducing the flux
accordingly. However, when the speed is raised above base speed, commutation problems develop and centrifugal
forces may become dangerous. When the motor runs below base speed, the ventilation becomes poorer and the
temperature tends to rise above its rated value. Consequendy, the armature current must be reduced, which reduces
the torque. Eventually, when the speed is zero, all forced ventilation ceases and even the field current must be
reduced to prevent overheating of the shunt field coils. As a result, the permissible stalled torque may only have a
per-unit value of 0.25. The resulting practical torque-speed curve is shown in Fig. 5.29.

The drastic fall-off in torque as the speed diminishes can be largely overcome by using an external blower to cool the
motor. It delivers a constant stream of air, no matter what the speed of the motor happens to be. Under these
conditions, the torque-speed curve approaches that shown in Fig. 5.26.

Figure 5.29 Torque-speed curve of a typical dc motor.

Figure 5.30 Permanent magnet motor rated 1.5 hp, 90 V, 2900 r/min, 14.5 A. Armature diameter: 73 mm;
armature length: 115 mm; slots 20; commutator bars: 40; turns per coil; 5; conductor size: No. 17 AWG, lap
winding. Armature resistance at 20°C: 0.34 W. (Courtesy ofBaldor Electric Company

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8. Permanent magnet motors
We have seen that shunt-field motors require coils and a field current to produce the flux. The energy consumed, the
heat produced, and the relatively large space taken up by the field poles are disadvantages of a dc motor. By using
permanent magnets instead of field coils, these disadvantages are overcome. The result is a smaller motor having a
higher efficiency with the added benefit of never risking run-away due to field failure.

A further advantage of using permanent magnets is that the effective air gap is increased many times. The reason is
that the magnets have a permeability that is nearly equal to that of air. As a result, the armature mmf cannot create
the intense field that is possible when soft-iron pole pieces are employed. Consequently, the field created by the
magnets does not become distorted, as shown in Fig. 5.22. Thus, the armature reaction is reduced and commutation
is improved, as well as the overload capacity of the motor. A further advantage is that the long air gap reduces the
inductance of the armature and hence it responds much more quickly to changes in armature current.

Permanent magnet motors are particularly advantageous in capacities below about 5 hp. The magnets are ceramic or
rare-earth/cobalt alloys. Pig. 5.30 shows the construction of a 1.5 hp, 90 V, 2900 r/min PM motor. Its elongated
armature ensures low inertia and fast response when used in servo applications.

The only drawback of PM motors is the relatively high cost of the magnets and the inability to obtain higher speeds by
field weakening.
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9. Buy the Book
Related Links:
DC Motor Calculations, part 1
DC Motor Calculations, part 2
DC Motor Calculations, part 3

Publication Information

Author: Theodore Wildi Book: Electrical Machines, Drives, and Power

Systems, Sixth Edition
Copyright: 2006 ISBN: 0-13-177691-6

Purchase Electrical Machines, Drives, and Power Systems, Sixth Edition


DC Motors
Nov 15, 2002

Industrial applications use direct current motors because the speed-torque relationship
can be varied to almost any useful form -- for both motor and regeneration applications
in either direction of rotation. Continuous operation of dc motors is commonly available
over a speed range of 8:1. Infinite range (smooth control down to zero speed) for short
durations or reduced load is also common.

Dc motors are often applied where they momentarily deliver three or more times their
rated torque. In emergency situations, dc motors can supply over five times rated torque
without stalling (power supply permitting).

Dynamic braking (motor-generated energy is fed to a resistor grid) or regenerative

braking (motor-generated energy is fed back into the dc supply) can be obtained with dc
motors on applications requiring quick stops, thus eliminating the need for, or reducing
the size of, a mechanical brake.

Dc motor speed can be controlled smoothly down to zero, immediately followed by

acceleration in the opposite direction -- without power circuit switching. And dc motors
respond quickly to changes in control signals due to their high ratio of torque to inertia.

Motor types: Wound-field dc motors are usually classified by shunt-wound, series-

wound, and compound-wound. In addition to these, permanent-magnet and brushless
types are also available, normally as fractional-horsepower motors. Motors may be
further classified for intermittent or continuous duty. Continuous-duty motors can run
without an off period.

Speed control: There are two ways to adjust the speed of a wound-field dc motor.
Combinations of the two are sometimes used.

Shunt-field control: Reel drives require this kind of control. Material is wound on a
reel at constant linear speed and constant strip tension, regardless of diameter.

Control is obtained by weakening the shunt-field current of the motor to increase speed
and to reduce output torque for a given armature current. Since the rating of a dc motor
is determined by heating, the maximum permissible armature current is approximately
constant over the speed range. This means that at rated current, output torque varies
inversely with speed, and the motor has constant-horsepower capability over its speed

This system is good for only obtaining speeds greater than the base speed. A momentary
speed reduction below base speed can be obtained by overexciting the field, but
prolonged overexcitation overheats the motor. Also, magnetic saturation in the motor
permits only a small reduction in speed for a substantial increase in field voltage.
Maximum standard speed range by field control is 3:1, and this occurs only at low base
speeds. Special motors have greater speed ranges, but if the speed range is much greater
than 3:1, some other control method is used for at least part of the range.

Armature-voltage control: In this method, shunt-field current is maintained

constant from a separate source while the voltage applied to the armature is varied. The
speed is proportional to the counter emf, which is equal to the applied voltage minus the
armature circuit IR drop. At rated current, the torque remains constant regardless of the
speed (since the magnetic flux is constant) and, therefore, the motor has constant torque
capability over its speed range.

Horsepower varies directly with speed. Actually, as the speed of a self-ventilated motor
is lowered, it loses ventilation and cannot be loaded with quite as much armature
current without exceeding the rated temperature rise.

Selection: Choosing a dc motor and associated equipment for a given application

requires consideration of several factors.

Speed range: If field control is to be used, and a large speed range is required, the
base speed must be proportionately lower and the motor size must be larger. If speed
range is much over 3:1, armature voltage control should be considered for at least part of
the range. Very wide dynamic speed range can be obtained with armature voltage
control. However, below about 60% of base speed, the motor should be derated or used
for only short periods.

Speed variation with torque: Applications requiring constant speed at all torque
demands should use a shunt-wound motor. If speed change with load must be
minimized, a regulator, such as one employing feedback from a tachometer, must be

When speed must decrease as the load increases, compound or series-wound motors
may be used. Or, a power supply with a drooping volt-ampere curve could be used with a
shunt-wound motor.

Reversing: This operation affects power supply and control, and may affect brush
adjustment, if the motor cannot be stopped for switching before reverse operation. In
this case, compound and stabilizing windings should not be used, and a suitable
armature-voltage control system should supply power.

Duty cycle: Direct current motors are seldom used on drives that run continuously at
one speed and load. Motor size needed may be determined by either the peak torque
requirement or heating.

Peak torque: The peak torque that a dc motor delivers is limited by that load at which
damaging commutation begins. Brush and commutator damage depends on sparking
severity and duration. Therefore, peak torque depends on the duration and frequency of
occurrence of the overload. Peak torque is often limited by the maximum current that
the power supply can deliver.

Motors can commutate greater loads at low speed without damage. NEMA standards
specify that dc machines must deliver at least 150% rated current for 1 min at any speed
within rated range, but most motors do much better.

Heating: Temperature is a function of ventilation and electrical/mechanical losses in

the machine. Some losses, such as core, shunt-field, and brush-friction losses are
independent of load, but vary with speed and excitation.

The best method to predict operating temperature is to use thermal capability curves
available from the manufacturer. If curves are not available, temperature can be
estimated by the power-loss method. This method requires a total losses versus load
curve or an efficiency curve.

For each portion of the duty cycle, power loss is obtained and multiplied by the duration
of that portion of the cycle. The summation of these products divided by the total cycle
time gives the average power loss. The ratio of this value to the power loss at the motor
rating is multiplied by the rated temperature rise to give the approximate temperature
rise of the motor when operated on that duty cycle.