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close this bookElectrical Machines - Basic Vocational Knowledge (IBE - Deutschland; 144 pages)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contents1. General information about electrical machines
Open this folder and view contents2. Basic principles
Open this folder and view contents3. Execution of rotating electrical machines
Open this folder and view contents4. Synchronous machines
Open this folder and view contents5. Asynchronous motors
close this folder6. Direct current machines
View the document6.1. Constructional assembly
Open this folder and view contents6.2. Operating principles
close this folder6.3. Operational behaviour of direct current machines
View the document6.3.1. Direct current generators
View the document6.3.2. Direct current motors
Open this folder and view contents6.4. Circuit engineering and operational features of customary direct current generators
Open this folder and view contents6.5. Circuit engineering and operational features of customary direct current motors
Open this folder and view contents7. Single-phase alternating current motors
Open this folder and view contents8. Transformer

6.3.2. Direct current motors

Starting behaviour

Direct starting

If the equation U = U0 + I Ri is adapted in line with current magnitude, one derives an equation with

for working out the current value in the rotor circuit of the motor. If one compares current intensity for switching on and actual operation, we can determine the following:

During switching on current is calculated according to

There is thus more current because

1. the acceleration torque must be forthcoming and
2. there is no back voltage U0.

As rotational movement continues a back voltage is induced according to U0 = c • Φ • n whereby current intensity declines. Current intensity decreases more and more as speed increases. Then, as rated speed is attained, operational current is brought into play. The very considerable inrush current leads to

1. a greater heating up of the winding
2. in higher rated motors to operation of the fuses resp. the overcurrent trip
3. to voltage fluctuations in the network.

Consequently, only motors with low rated power may be connected to full mains voltage during switching on. Thus, motors operating on a mains voltage of 220 V between both external conductors may not have a greater power than 0.7 kW.

Direct switching on is only possible for low powered motors.

Starters with series resistor

In the case of higher powered direct current motors the starting currents are limited through a series resistor, the starter. The starter must, moreover, be so dimensioned that peak starter current Isp does not exceed 1.5 times the rotor nominal current (operating current intensity at rated speed). Thus, the following equation applies:

Isp = 1.5 • In

This comprises several series connected resistors which can be switched off as speed increases. The connecting terminals R, L and M should be switched thus:

R to the rotor, L to the mains (lead) and M to the shunt winding (magnetic field).

Starters are manufactured for the operating mode S2.


A direct current motor with a rated power of P = 10 kW and a rated voltage of U = 220 V has an internal resistance Ri = 0.4. How great are:

Starting peak current Isp
Starting resistance Ra
and the relationship between switching on current Ia max to rotor nominal current In?


U = 220 V
P = 10 kW
Ri = 0.4 Ω


Solution P = U • I

In≈ 45.5 A

Isp = 1.5 • In

Isp≈ 68 A

Ia max = 550 A

Ia max≈ 12 In

Rrepl≈ 3.24 Ω

Ra = Rrepl - R;

Ra = 2.84

Where a starter of at least 2.84 Ω is connected in series, the inrush peak current is restricted to max 68 A. In the absence of a starter the inrush current would be 12 times greater than the rotor rated current.

Rating behaviour

Speed control

In practise prestipulated speeds are required for various drives.

In production certain speeds must also be adhered to, moreover such speeds shall also remain constant given loading variations.

Such drive problems can be solved by means of direct current motors.

The equation for calculating the speed of a motor is derived from U0 = C • Φ • n and U0 = U - 1 (Ri + Rv) through equalisation and subsequent solution according to the speed.

We determine:

Rv is a series resistance which is series switched to Ri.

Subsequently the speed can be set

1. by altering the applied mains voltage

2. by altering the series resistance of the rotor circuit and, thereby, the voltage at terminals A1 and A2 of the machine and

3. by magnetic flow changes.

All these methods are used in practice.

Changing mains voltage.

Changing mains voltage is advantageous where a motor has an own voltage source of differing values. Where direct current conductor mains are available the voltage can be stepwise changed by means of a selector switch. The influence of the mains voltage on the speed can be seen in Figure 97.

Figure 97 - n = f (U); dependence of speed on mains voltage

Favourable and economical speed setting results from changing the voltage by means of controlled rectifiers (thyratrons or thyristors). There are virtually no losses with these rectifiers. Power dependency becomes irrelevant as rotor resistance does not change during this procedure.

Changing the series resistance of the rotor circuit

Where rotor circuit resistance is increased through a series resistance, speed subsequently decreases.

Figure 98 - n = f (Ri); speed dependence on internal resistance

However, due to the considerable rotor current, this speed control leads to marked power losses. Where this procedure shall serve for speed control, the servo unit is dimensioned for permanent S1 operation. Such a unit is called a speed control starter if it is simultaneously suitable for starting. This control leads to a power drop.

Changing the magnetic flow

The magnetic flow decreases when a speed field controller is switched on to the field winding. The speed increases in the diminished exciter field. In practise speed field starters are constructed permitting a speed increase of up to 200 per cent of the rated speed. The arising losses are relatively low, consequently this control unit is quite economical. Figure 99 depicts the dependence of speed on exciter flow.

Figure 99 - n = f (Φ); speed dependence on exciter flow

Rotational direction control

The rotation direction depends on the current direction in the rotor and the direction of the exciter field. This is determined by the left-hand rule.

A rotational change of direction can therefore be attained

1. by current directional change in the rotor and
2. by pole changing the exciter field.

In practice the current directional change in the rotor is mainly used. However, the exciter field is repoled in more powerful machines (Leonard converters) as, otherwise, the switching contacts to handle the extremely great rotor currents become too big.

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