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induction motor 1


Motor starting and speed control

Some induction motors can draw over 1000% of full load current during starting; though, a few hundred percent is more common. Small motors of a few kilowatts or smaller can be started by direct connection to the power line. Starting larger motors can cause line voltage sag, affecting other loads. Motor-start rated circuit breakers (analogous to slow blow fuses) should replace standard circuit breakers for starting motors of a few kilowatts. This breaker accepts high over-current for the duration of starting.


Autotransformer induction motor starter.

Motors over 50 kW use motor starters to reduce line current from several hundred to a few hundred percent of full load current. An intermittent duty autotarnsformer may reduce the stator voltage for a fraction of a minute during the start interval, followed by application of full line voltage as in Figure Closure of the S contacts applies reduced voltage during the start interval. The S contacts open and the R contacts close after starting. This reduces starting current to, say, 200% of full load current. Since the autotransformer is only used for the short start interval, it may be sized considerably smaller than a continuous duty unit.

Running 3-phase motors on 1-phase

Three-phase motors will run on single phase as readily as single phase motors. The only problem for either motor is starting. Sometimes 3-phase motors are purchased for use on single phase if three-phase power is anticipated. The power rating needs to be 50% larger than for a comparable single phase motor to make up for one unused winding. Single phase is applied to a pair of windings simultanous with a start capacitor in series with the third winding. The start switch is opened in Figure upon motor start. Sometimes a smaller capacitor than the start capacitor is retained while running.


Starting a three-phase motor on single phase.

The circuit for running a three-phase motor on single phase is known as “add a phase” or various other brand names. “Add a phase” supplies a phase approximately midway ∠90o between the ∠180o single phase power source terminals.

Multiple fields

Induction motors may contain multiple field windings, for example a 4-pole and an 8-pole winding corresponding to 1800 and 900 rpm synchronous speeds. Energizing one field or the other is less complex than rewiring the stator coils in Figure


Multiple fields allow speed change.

If the field is segmented with leads brought out, it may be rewired (or switched) from 4-pole to 2-pole as shown above for a 2-phase motor. The 22.5o segments are switchable to 45o segments. Only the wiring for one phase is shown above for clarity. Thus, our induction motor may run at multiple speeds. When switching the above 60 Hz motor from 4 poles to 2 poles the synchronous speed increases from 1800 rpm to 3600 rpm. If the motor is driven by 50 Hz, what would be the corresponding 4-pole and 2-pole synchronous speeds?

Ns = 120f/P = 120*50/4 = 1500 rpm (4-pole)
Ns = 3000 rpm (2-pole)

Variable voltage

The speed of small squirrel cage induction motors for applications such as driving fans, may be changed by reducing the line voltage. This reduces the torque available to the load which reduces the speed. (Figure )


Variable voltage controls induction motor speed.

Electronic speed control

Modern solid state electronics increase the options for speed control. By changing the 50 or 60 Hz line frequency to higher or lower values, the synchronous speed of the motor may be changed. However, decreasing the frequency of the current fed to the motor also decreases reactance XL which increases the stator current. This may cause the stator magnetic circuit to saturate with disastrous results. In practice, the voltage to the motor needs to be decreased when frequency is decreased.


Electronic variable speed drive.

Conversely, the drive frequency may be increased to increase the synchronous speed of the motor. However, the voltage needs to be increased to overcome increasing reactance to keep current up to a normal value and maintain torque.
The inverter (Figure ) approximates sinewaves to the motor with pulse width modulation outputs. This is a chopped waveform which is either on or off, high or low, the percentage of “on” time corresponds to the instantaneous sine wave voltage.

Once electronics is applied to induction motor control, many control methods are available, varying from the simple to complex:

Summary: Speed control

Scaler Control Low cost method described above to control only voltage and frequency, without feedback.
Vector Control Also known as vector phase control. The flux and torque producing components of stator current are measured or estimated on a real-time basis to enhance the motor torque-speed curve. This is computation intensive.
Direct Torque Control An elaborate adaptive motor model allows more direct control of flux and torque without feedback. This method quickly responds to load changes.

Summary: Tesla polyphase induction motors

A polyphase induction motor consists of a polyphase winding embedded in a laminated stator and a conductive squirrel cage embedded in a laminated rotor.
Three phase currents flowing within the stator create a rotating magnetic field which induces a current, and consequent magnetic field in the rotor. Rotor torque is developed as the rotor slips a little behind the rotating stator field.
Unike single phase motors, polyphase induction motors are self-starting.
Motor starters minimize loading of the power line while providing a larger starting torque than required during running. Starters are only required for large motors.
Multiple field windings can be rewired for multiple discrete motor speeds by changing the number of poles.

Linear induction motor

The wound stator and the squirrel cage rotor of an induction motor may be cut at the circumference and unrolled into a linear induction motor. The direction of linear travel is controlled by the sequence of the drive to the stator phases.

The linear induction motor has been proposed as a drive for high speed passenger trains. Up to this time, the linear induction motor with the accompanying magnetic repulsion levitation system required for a smooth ride has been too costly for all but experimental installations. However, the linear induction motor is scheduled to replace steam driven catapult aircraft launch systems on the next generation of naval aircraft carrier, CVNX-1, in 2013. This will increase efficiency and reduce maintenance.

Wound rotor induction motors

A wound rotor induction motor has a stator like the squirrel cage induction motor, but a rotor with insulated windings brought out via slip rings and brushes. However, no power is applied to the slip rings. Their sole purpose is to allow resistance to be placed in series with the rotor windings while starting. (Figure ) This resistance is shorted out once the motor is started to make the rotor look electrically like the squirrel cage counterpart.


Wound rotor induction motor.

Why put resistance in series with the rotor? Squirrel cage induction motors draw 500% to over 1000% of full load current (FLC) during starting.
While this is not a severe problem for small motors, it is for large (10’s of kW) motors. Placing resistance in series with the rotor windings not only decreases start current, locked rotor current (LRC), but also increases the starting torque, locked rotor torque (LRT). Figure shows that by increasing the rotor resistance from R0 to R1 to R2, the breakdown torque peak is shifted left to zero speed.Note that this torque peak is much higher than the starting torque available with no rotor resistance (R0) Slip is proportional to rotor resistance, and pullout torque is proportional to slip. Thus, high torque is produced while starting.


Breakdown torque peak is shifted to zero speed by increasing rotor resistance.

The resistance decreases the torque available at full running speed. But that resistance is shorted out by the time the rotor is started. A shorted rotor operates like a squirrel cage rotor. Heat generated during starting is mostly dissipated external to the motor in the starting resistance. The complication and maintenance associated with brushes and slip rings is a disadvantage of the wound rotor as compared to the simple squirrel cage rotor.

This motor is suited for starting high inertial loads. A high starting resistance makes the high pull out torque available at zero speed. For comparison, a squirrel cage rotor only exhibits pull out (peak) torque at 80% of its’ synchronous speed.

Speed control

Motor speed may be varied by putting variable resistance back into the rotor circuit. This reduces rotor current and speed. The high starting torque available at zero speed, the down shifted break down torque, is not available at high speed. See R2 curve at 90% Ns, Figure . Resistors R0R1R2R3 increase in value from zero. A higher resistance at R3 reduces the speed further. Speed regulation is poor with respect to changing torque loads. This speed control technique is only usefull over a range of 50% to 100% of full speed. Sped control works well with variable speed loads like elevators and printing presses.


Rotor resistance controls speed of wound rotor induction motor.





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