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II. INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 - 1
II. MOTOR BASICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 1
Stator Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1
Rotor Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2
Simplified Motor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-3
Rotor Current and Slip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-4
The Working Motor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6
Torque Vs. Stator Poles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6
Rotating Magnetic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-8
Stator Poles Vs. Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-9
Speed of Rotating Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-10
Motor Acceleration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-10
The Rotor Under Load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-12
High Frequency Rotor Currents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-13
Torque Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-14
NEMA Design Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-17
The Motor as a Transformer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-20
Motor Losses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-21
Effects of Voltage Variations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-22
Reduced Voltage Starting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-25
Motor Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-26
Voltage Unbalance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-28
Effects of Frequency Variations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-29
Performance Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5
Operation Above Base Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-6
Constant Voltage Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-6
Constant Torque Range . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-10
Generator Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-13
IV. ENERGY EFFICIENT MOTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-1
V. SPECIAL MOTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 - 1
The stator electromagnets are comprised of enameled wire
wound over a permeable iron core. A typical motor may have 6, 12,
or 18 individual windings placed on a common core. The core is a
collection of stamped disks with slots for mounting the wire
windings (see Figure 2-l).
Stamped Steel Disks
Channels Filled
Figure 2 - 1
Figure 2-2 shows a simplified stator with only one set of
windings, labeled Al and A2. They are wound identically. If direct
current flows through Al and A2, they will be polarized north and
south as shown in Figure 2-3 (see page 2-2). Notice that flux
crosses the gap between Al and A2, where the rotor is normally
Figure 2-2
Figure 2-3
The rotor itself has no wire windings, but does consist of
steel disks (or laminations), similar to the stator. The laminations
are perforated near the circumference (refer to Figure 2-1, page
2-l). These disks are stacked together so that the perforations
align to form channels near the surface of the core assembly.
Through a careful die-casting process, the channels are then filled
with aluminum and a ring is formed on each end of the rotor. The
result is a row of conductive bars embedded into the rotor surface.
All of the bars are connected at each end of the rotor to form a
closed circuit for current flow (see Figure 2-4).
Rotor Bars
End Rings
Figure 2-4
Although the rotor bars are in direct contact with the steel
laminations, their resistance is much lower. Practically all rotor
current therefore flows in the bars, not in the laminations. Some
rotor designs employ a copper-brass alloy instead of aluminum.
This creates a lower resistance rotor circuit and thereby changes
motor performance. Since there are no wire windings, the squirrel
cage rotor is very rugged.
To establish current flow in the rotor, there must first be a
voltage present on the rotor bars. This voltage is supplied by the
magnetic field created by stator poles Al and A2. Simply
mounting the rotor in the gap between Al and A2 will not provide
voltage for the rotor circuit. However, if there was relative motion
between the rotor conductors and the stator field, a voltage would
be induced in the rotor bars (hence the name induction motor).
ie r
Figure 2-5 is a simplified view of an induction motor. It
details only two pairs of rotor bars (with end rings) and one set of
stator poles, labeled Al and A2. For clarity, Al and A2 are
permanent magnets instead of electromagnets. The motors shaft
is represented by the rotors centerline. In a squirrel cage motor,
the rotor voltage is induced by moving the stator's magnetic field
past the rotor bars. The rollers and hand crank in Figure 2-5
merely illustrate a means of rotating the magnetic field.
Figure 2-5
If the crank is turned while the rotor is at rest, the relative
motion between field and conductor will induce a voltage in the
rotor bars. Current will flow, producing a magnetic field around
each rotor bar as shown in Figure 2-6a (see page 2-4). The rotor
is attracted to the stator and begins to follow along in the same
direction. As the stator turns farther; the rotor bars pass out of
the magnetic field and the induced rotor voltage drops to zero (see
Figure 2-6b, page 2-4). Rotor current decays, as does the
resultant rotor field.
Continued rotation of the stator field produces the
conditions shown in Figure 2-6c (see page 2-4). Notice that the
stator has turned about 180 and now its magnetic field is cutting
the rotor bars again.
The Working Motor
The model of the squirrel cage motor shown in Figure l-l
(see page l-l) is for illustration only. It is far from a practical
motor. An actual rotor has many bars, which are normally skewed
at a slight angle like Figure 2-8a. Comparing Figure 2-8a and
Figure 2-8b depicts the difference between a skewed and
unskewed rotor.
Figure 2-8a
Rotor with skew
Figure 2-8b
Rotor without skew
Figure 2-8
This prevents cogging (torque pulsations), which occurs if
the rotor bars are parallel to the stator poles. A normal squirrel
cage induction motor does not employ a crank to rotate the field,
either. The stator field rotates when 3~ alternating current is
applied to the stator.
If alternating current is applied to the single winding
shown in Figure 2-2 (see page 2-1), the magnetic polarity will
reverse as the current reverses. This results in each pole swinging
north-south at the same frequency as the applied voltage. The
stator field can be considered to be rotating. A single phase
induction motor operates in this manner. However, this single
phase circuit has no starting torque. An extra starting circuit is
required to initially set the rotor in motion. If there is a 30
circuit, no extra starting circuit is required with the squirrel cage
Torque Vs. Stator Poles
Figure 2-9a shows the stator poles of a 30 2 pole motor.
Two poles are energized by each of the three incoming phases. A 4
pole, 30 motor has twice as many stator poles per phase and is
illustrated in Figure 2-9b. A motor may be constructed with any
even number of stator poles. The 4 pole motor is the most
commonly used. The 2, 6, and 8 pole motors are also popular.
Notice that the 4 pole stator has a flux pattern that contacts the
rotor in four places instead of only two (see Figure 2-9c). This
results in twice the magnetic interaction between rotor and stator,
producing twice the amount of turning force (torque) at the motor
often operated from square waves generated by adjustable
frequency drives instead of sine waves of current. At low
frequencies (below 20 Hertz), a square waves magnetic field does
not shift smoothly from one position to the next, and cogging may
be noticeable.
Follow diagrams of Figure 2-10 through times 3, 4, 5, 6
and 7 to verify that the magnetic field does, in fact, rotate. The
field at time 7 is identical to the field at time 1 in the cycle. The
magnetic field of a 2 pole motor makes one complete rotation
during one electrical cycle. If a rotor is placed inside the stator, it
will make almost one rotation in one electrical cycle (depending on
the amount of slip between rotor and stator). The direction of
motor rotation may be reversed by switching any two of the stator
leads. This causes the stator field to reverse direction.
If the stator is wound with 4 poles per phase instead of two,
it might be compared to two separate 2 pole stators together.
Figure 2-11 is a means to visualize this. Simply slide all six of the
stator poles onto one side of the core. When one cycle of 3 0 AC is
applied, the magnetic field rotates around only one-half of the
stator. The addition of six more poles on the right half of the stator
would allow a complete rotation to be made. However, it would
also require one more cycle of 3 0 power. A 4 pole stator field
rotates only once for each 2 cycle of applied current. Slide all 12 of
these stator poles onto one half of the core to create one half of an 8
pole motor. Logically, this motor demands 4 cycles of alternating
current to complete one rotation of its magnetic field. Also, an 8
pole stator is physically larger and draws more current than the 4
and 2 pole motors for the same HP or kW rating.
Concept of a 4 Pole Stator
Figure 2-11
If the current that excites the 2, 4 and 8 pole motor is the
same frequency, then the 4 pole motor will run at one half the
speed of a 2 pole motor. The 8 pole motor will run at one-half the
speed of a 4 pole machine or one-fourth the speed of the 2 pole
Speed of Rotating Field
Since the stator field speed is exactly dependent on the
frequency of the applied current, it is said to be in synchronism
with the applied current.
The speed at which the stator field rotates is therefore
called Synchronous Speed. The speed of the rotor is called
Running Speed. It differs only by the amount of slip as shown in
the equation below:
Ns = Synchronous speed of motor in RPM
F = applied frequency in hertz
P = number of poles per phase
120 = conversion factor
(Equation 2-1)
Synchronous speed may be altered by changing either the
frequency applied or the number of poles. Multi-speed motors
have external connections that allow an operator to switch the
stator from 2 poles to 4 poles or 4 poles to 6 poles, etc. This
provides only a limited number of definite speeds, such as those
shown in Table 2-A (page 2-7). This table lists the synchronous
speeds of various motors excited by the same frequency. If speeds
other than those listed are desired, it is necessary to change the
motors applied frequency.
This is commonly done by powering the motor from an
adjustable frequency drive. Using a drive to generate the applied
frequency produces an infinitely variable speed range from 0 RPM
to as high as 100,000 RPM (if required).
otor Acceleration
Let us assume that the stator field is rotated at 1800 RPM
by 60 Hertz AC applied to the windings. Before the rotor begins to
turn, there is a slip of 1800 RPM. Relative motion between field
and conductors is maximum, inducing a very high voltage in the
rotor. Rotor current is maximum and a strong magnetic field
results. Figure 2-12 plots the motor current in relation to rotor
The rotor accelerates from rest (point A), following the
stator. Slip decreases as the rotor accelerates. A rotor speed of
500 RPM (point B) means a slip of 1300 RPM. It also means less
relative motion between field and conductor and therefore a lower
induced voltage with less rotor current and a weaker rotor field.
The rotor continues to accelerate, drawn by the stator field. When
the rotor reaches 1795 RPM (point E), its field is very weak. The
rotor bars are cutting very few lines of flux in a given time period.
If the rotor continued to accelerate, its current (and magnetic field)
otor Under Load
If no work is required at the motor shaft (no load applied),
the rotor will turn at approximately 1795 RPM (point E). Slip is
minimal and the resulting rotor field is very weak. Yet, rotor-
stator attraction is just strong enough to produce enough torque to
keep the rotor turning at 1795 RPM. If a load is now applied to
the motor shaft, it immediately slows down, since the torque being
produced was just enough to keep the rotor at 1795 RPM. If the
stator speed remains constant (1800 RPM), then as the rotor slows
down, its bars automatically begin to cut more lines of stator flux
per unit of time. The rotor field strengthens and more torque is
produced. The rotor will continue to slow down (or slip back) until
adequate torque is produced to power the load and maintain
rotation. This might correspond to point D in Figure 2-12 (see
page 2-11). where slip has increased to 50 RPM, and current has
increased to 100%. If the load is removed, the torque being
produced will cause the rotor to accelerate back to its no load speed
of 1795 RPM (point E).
If the load is increased, again the motor will slow down to
produce greater torque by the rotor bars cutting more lines of flux.
Speed stabilizes when the motor torque matches the load torque,
this time perhaps at point C. The motor will maintain this speed
as long as the load is constant. Further load increases cause
greater current flow; beyond the safe limits of motor operation. An
overpowering load may cause the motor to stall completely, causing
extremely high currents to flow (point A). Overcurrent protection
must be installed to protect the motor in such an event. Under
normal circumstances this magnitude of current occurs only
during starting, (which lasts less than one second) while the rotor
attains its running speed.
When the rotor is stationary, either when stalled by a load
or during starting, rotor frequency is equal to stator frequency. If
the stator is excited by 60 Hz, then rotor frequency is also 60 Hz or
if the stator is excited by 50 Hz the rotor frequency is also 50 Hz.
This is true regardless of the number of stator poles a motor has.
A 2 pole stator turns at 3600 RPM (@ 60 Hz) or 3000 RPM (@ 50
Hz) and induces 1 cycle of rotor voltage as each pole pair passes a
rotor bar. A 4 pole sator turns at half the speed but has twice the
pole pairs cutting each rotor bar. It induces 2 cycles of rotor
voltage per revolution, matching the rotor frequency of a 2 pole
When the rotor field shifts (during high slip) it not only
affects motor current, but torque as well. Recall that torque
results from the magnetic attraction between rotor and stator.
Increased inductive reactance causes the rotor current (and
resultant field) to lag rotor voltage. Since the rotor voltage is
in-phase with the stator field, the rotor field must be out of phase
with the stator field. Figure 2-13a shows the rotor field lagging
the stator field and rotor voltage by the angle m (the cosine of x is
a measure of power factor). Notice that positive motor torque is
produced only during the periods when stator and rotor fields are
in-phase. Compare this with Figure 2-13b, where voltage and
current are both in-phase. The out-of-phase rotor field (in
Figure 2-13a) actually produces negative torque, or a retarding
force. As power factor decreases further, torque suffers more.
Figure 2-13c shows a condition of maximum current lag ( m - 90>
resulting in negative torque completely cancelling positive torque.
Although maximum voltage and current flow in such a circuit, no
power is produced.
The torque equation of a squirrel cage induction motor is
similar to that for a DC shunt motor as shown in the following
equations. The major difference is the term cos m ". This
stipulates that only the in-phase rotor current produces positive
torque. Inductive reactance causes this phase shift, so it would be
expected that motor torque would be worst when inductive
reactance is greatest.
DC Shunt Motor Torque = K,0 1,
KT = Motor Torque Constant
0 = Field Flux
IA = Armature Current
(Equation 2-2)
Induction Motor Torque = K,G I,cos m
KT = Motor Torque Constant
8 = Field Flux
I/q = Rotor Current
cos c-c = Phase Displacement of Rotor Current
(Equation 2-3) 2-3)
As acceleration continues, rotor frequency and inductive
reactance decreases. The rotor flux moves more in-phase with
stator flux and torque increases. Maximum Torque (or
Break-down Torque) is developed at point C in Figure 2-14, where
inductive reactance becomes equal to the rotor resistance. Beyond
point C, (points D, E and F) the inductive reactance continues to
drop off, but rotor current also decreases at the same rate,
reducing torque.
Point G is synchromous speed and proves that if rotor and
are at the same speed, rotor current and torque are zero.
At running speed, the motor will operate between points F
and D, depending on load. However, temporary load surges may
cause it to slip all the way back near point C on the knee of the
Beyond point C, the power factor decreases faster than
current increases, causing torque to drop-off. On the linear part of
the motor curve (points C to G), rotor frequency is only 1 to 3 Hertz
almost DC. Inductive reactance is essentially zero and rotor
power factor approaches unity. Torque and current now become
directly proportional - 100% current produces 100% torque. If a
motor has a nameplate current of 3.6 amps, then when it draws 3.6
amps (at proper voltage and frequency) it must be producing 100%
of its nameplate torque. Torque and current remain directly
proportional up to approximately 10% slip. This relationship is
very useful when troubleshooting the motor and driven machine.
Notice that as motor load increases from zero (point F) to
100%, (point E) the speed drops only 45-55 RPM, about 3% of
synchronous speed. This makes the squirrel cage induction motor
very suitable for most constant speed applications (such as
conveyors) where, in some cases, 3% speed regulation might be
acceptable. This compares favorably with shunt wound DC
motors. If better speed regulation is required, the squirrel cage
motor may be operated from a closed loop regulator. As an
alternative, a reluctance synchronous induction motor (see pages
2-12 and 2-13) may be used instead of a squirrel cage induction
NEMA Design Classes
In the U.S., the National Electrical Manufacturers
Association (NEMA) has a standard on motors and generators;
NEMA Standards Publication No. MG 1. This standard has
classified squirrel cage motors according to their locked rotor
torque and current, breakdown torque, pull-up torque, and percent
slip. The four major classifications are A, B, C and D. They differ
primarily in the amount of rotor resistance and inductance each
possesses. Increasing a rotors resistance increases Starting
Torque but also decreases Breakdown Torque, overall efficiency,
and speed regulation (slip increases).
The NEMA design D motor has the highest resistance rotor
for maximum starting torque (Figure 2-18, see page 2-19). It has
no Pull-up or Breakdown Torque and is used where high starting
torque is critical. Acceleration of the flywheel on a punch press is
an excellent application for NEMA D motors.
These motors have the lowest efficiency of the 4 types
mentioned. They are available in two ranges of slip: 5% to 8% and
8% to 13%. The higher slip motors produce greater Starting
Torque, but lower slip motors possess a greater instantaneous
overload capability.
Figure 2-19 shows the phase to phase wiring of a standard
squirrel cage motor. Note the resemblance to a 3 phase
transformer. The stator is the primary and the rotor acts as the
secondary. This comparison helps to emphasize the minimal
maintenance required on squirrel cage motors, Its just a
transformer that rotates. How much maintenance do you perform
on transformers?
Phase A
The Motor is very similar to a Transformer
Figure 2-19
A transformers magnetic coupling is fixed, but the motors
coupling between stator and rotor changes. When slip is 1, the
coupling is optimum. This occurs at locked rotor, when the
induced rotor voltage is highest and rotor current is maximum,
Figure 2-12, point A (page 2-11). This may be compared to the
transformer with a shorted secondary circuit. As the rotor
accelerates, slip decreases from 1 to as little as 0.1 (no load speed).
The primary to secondary coupling deteriorates and induced rotor
voltage is very low. Rotor current is as low as the secondary
current in an unloaded transformer.
Although an unloaded transformer may draw only 2% of
rated primary current, Figure 2-12, point E (page 2-11) shows
that the unloaded squirrel cage stator draws about 40% current.
One reason for this is because the motors magnetic coupling is not
as efficient as a transformer coupling. This is due to the air gap
between stator and rotor Figure 2-9 (page 2-7). The stator must
draw extra current to increase the flux density of its magnetic field
and bridge the air gap. A narrow air gap requires less no-load
current than a wide air gap, so motor designs incorporate the
narrowest air gaps possible. This improves efficiency and power
However, if the air gap is too small there is a danger that
the rotor may actually contact the stator, short circuiting it.
Maintaining a precise air gap requires precision rotor bearings and
careful machining.
There are other no-load losses besides the air gap. The
rotor must produce enough torque to spin the shaft-mounted fan to
cool itself. This loss is known as Windage. The rotor must also
overcome friction from the bearings which support it. There are
also iron (Hysteresis and Eddy Current) and copper (12R> losses to
consider. The sum of these losses result in the unloaded motor
drawing as much as 40% of rated current. It is more important,
therefore, to carefully size induction motors. An oversized motor
might never operate at rated horsepower, resulting in poor
efficiency and power factor.
Figure 2-20 (see page 2-22) shows the relationship
between efficiency, power factor and load for an average squirrel
cage motor. A fully loaded motor is more efficient than the same
motor running at quarter load. Also, a large HP motor is more
efficient than a small motor. High speed motors are more efficient
than low speed motors. Medium and low voltage motors (230 to
460V) are more efficient than high voltage (2300V) motors and
normal slip motors (NEMA A, B, C) are more efficient than high
slip (NEMA D) motors.
0 25
Power Factor
IllI IIll III1
75 100 125
Figure 2-20
Effects of Voltage Variations
Recall from Equation 2-3 that torque is determined by
stator flux and rotor current, which result from rotor voltage. For
a given slip, rotor voltage is directly proportional to the density of
the stator flux being cut. Stator flux is directly proportional to
stator current (until the saturation level is reached). Therefore, if
the motors applied frequency is held constant, stator current and
flux will rise and fall in direct relation to the applied voltage.
Increased voltage yields higher flux density, which means
that higher rotor voltages are induced at a given slip.
It follows then that less slip is required to produce rated
torque at the motor shaft. The slip from no-load to 150% full load
becomes more vertical as shown in Figure 2-21, where stator
applied voltage has been increased by 10%. Notice that the entire
torque curve is affected by this increase.
Figure 2-21
2- 22
If applied voltage is decreased, flux is decreased, flux and
the rotor must slip back more in order to produce rated torque.
This is clear from the 90% and 50% curves in Figure 2-21. Also
observe that 90% rated voltage, does not produce 90% of the rated
torque, but rather only 81%. 50% voltage only produces 25% rated
torque. This is because both stator flux and rotor current are
affected by voltage variations. As such, torque varies not directly,
but rather by the square of the applied voltage. With some
manipulation (not elaborated here), Equation 2-3 may be restated
from the voltage standpoint:
T = torque at any slip
Kt = a new torque constant
E = voltage applied to the stator windings
(Equation 2-4)
The relationship between voltage and torque is especially
important during troubleshooting. Low voltage can cause any of
the following problems:
Inadequate Starting Torque - If a motor and load are
closely matched, then a 10% drop in line voltage (even momentary)
during starting could result in load torque demand exceeding
motor torque.
Speed Fluctuations - A momentary drop in line voltage
will cause a proportional dip in speed. Compare the 100% curve
and 90% curve of Figure 2-21. Notice that at rated load the 90%
curve requires more slip. The resulting drop in speed may cause
problems in the driven machine or process.
Reduced Speed -A prolonged drop in voltage may result
in the motor never reaching its nameplate rated base speed. Also,
speed regulation would be poor; since greater slip is required for
normal load changes.
Reduced Peak Torque - A 10% voltage decrease will
reduce Peak Torque (Breakdown Torque) by 19%. If the
application involves momentary load surges, there may not be
adequate Peak Torque to ride through the surge. Severe speed
fluctuations or even a complete stall may result.
For example, consider a motor nameplate rated at 230
voltage (ENP) and 20A (INP). If line is increased to 245V (ELI&
the full load current (I& would be only 18.8 amps.
@ 245V = 20A x g = 18.8 Amps
If line voltage is reduced to 208, then the full load current
will increase to a value of 22 amps. When determining expected
motor current, the following values are accurate within 20%. A
30 squirrel cage motor operating at 230V draws 3 amps/HP. A
460V motor draws 1.5 amps/HP and a 575V motor draws 1 amp/HP
In contrast, a single (21 motor at 115V draws 10A/HP and at 230V
draws 5A/HP.
Using the effects of voltage variations on a motor can be
used as an advantage. By limiting the voltage to the motor during
starting, the current drawn and the torque produced by the motor
can be regulated. There are four different common methods for
reduced voltage starting: Autotransformer, Wye-Delta
(Star-Delta), Part Winding and Solid State.
Autotransformer reduced voltage starting is the most
commonly used method in North America. This method has three
adjustments which can be set to provide different torque and
current settings. Table 2-B shows a comparison of the different
types of starting and the corresponding reduced current and torque
of the motor.
Outside North America, Wye-Delta or Star-Delta starting is
used most often. However, throughout the world Solid State
starting is very popular and in some areas has replaced traditional
electro-mechanical starters as the preferred method of reduced
voltage starting. The ability to make a wide range of adjustments
so that the motor and load can be matched more closely is one of
the reasons for its popularity. Table 2-B shows these adjustments.
In the curves of Figure 2-24 (see page 2-29) the voltage (E)
remained constant while frequency varied. Since frequency (F)
appears in the denominator of the right hand term, stator current
must vary as inverse of frequency (I/F). Figure 2-24 (see page
2-29) bears this out: 105% frequency produces only 95% current
and 95% frequency results in 105% current. They are inversely
proportional if applied voltage is held constant. This poses a
problem for motors operated from adjustable frequency drives.
Drives are capable of generating a broad range of output
frequencies to change a motors synchronous speed when required.
If a drives output voltage is fixed while its frequency is changed,
motor problems can quickly develop. For example, if the output
frequency is reduced from 60 Hz to 30 Hz (50%) the stator current
would double, overheating the motor. If frequency is increased
from 60 Hz to 120 Hz, current is halved and torque would suffer.
To prevent overheating at 30 Hz, the current must be reduced. To
provide adequate torque at 120 Hz the current must be increased.
Recalling Equation 2-9, the only value left to manipulate is E, the
applied voltage.
If the stator applied voltage were to be reduced 50% while
the frequency is being decreased 50%, the ratio of voltage to
frequency would remain constant.
Stator current would not increase and assuming cooling is
not affected by speed, the motor would not overheat. Torque would
be unaffected, and the motor would perform properly at the
reduced speed. In reality, this is the method adjustable frequency
drives use: change the voltage with the frequency to maintain
proper current and torque.
Every AC motor has a ratio of voltage to frequency, known
as its Volts per Hertz Ratio. As long as voltage and frequency
are held in this relationship, the motor will function properly. A
motors Volts per Hertz Ratio can be determined by its nameplate
data. For example, a motor nameplate for 460 Volts and 60 Hz has
a Volts per Hertz ratio of 460/60 or 7.6V/Hz. A motor rated for 380
Volts at 50 Hertz also has a 7.6V/Hz ratio.
These ratios indicate that for each 1 Hertz increase of
frequency, the voltage must be raised by 7.6 Volts to offset the
effects of inductive reactance. If the frequency is decreased by 1
Hertz, then the voltage must be lowered by 7.6 Volts for the same
At very low frequencies, the stator winding resistance
becomes a large portion of the overall impedance. As a result,
most of the applied voltage drops across the resistance. This
leaves very little voltage to excite the stator electromagnetic circuit
to produce torque. Recall that the stator impedance is really:
not just F, as used for illustration.
It is the R2 term that dominates below 15 Hertz of motor
operation. The logical solution to this problem is to boost the
applied voltage at very low frequencies to offset R2.
This is precisely what the adjustable frequency drive does
(see Figure 3-3). Some manufacturers call it Low Speed Boost,
Low Volts/Hertz Boost, or simply IR Compensation. Its effect is
shown in the torque curve of Figure 3-4 (see page 3-4). The
torque curve is very flat, matching that of the DC shunt motor.
Some of the newest microprocessor controlled AC drives can match
this torque curve when coupled to a high efficiency squirrel cage
motor. The limiting factor becomes motor cooling at low speeds.
Voltage Boosted
at Low Frequencies
15 30 45
Figure 3-3
When replacing line starter with an AC drive, the same
motor, wiring and conduits may be used. The drive may be
remotely mounted as far as one mile from the motor for
convenience or safety. Sometimes the customer may retain the line
starter as a back-up system. In the event of a system malfunction,
the line starter can bypass the drive to operate the motor
temporarily. Bypass capability is a requirement in some
applications such as water treatment pumps or boiler pumps.
Other drive methods (i.e. DC drives, eddy current clutches and
hydraulic drives) are much more expensive to bypass. (Always
check NEMA specifications and local codes to assure safe wiring
Improved speed regulation is available with AC drives. A
line started squirrel cage motor will drop approximately 3% in
speed when fully loaded. By installing a tachometer on the motor,
the AC drive can actively monitor motor speed and improve speed
regulation to as high as 0.1%.
Operation Above
A motor rated for 60 Hz operation may be run at higher
frequencies when powered by an AC drive. The top speed depends
upon the voltage limits of the motor and its mechanical balancing.
230V and 460V motors normally employ insulation rated for 600V,
so the voltage limit is not usually a problem. An average 2 pole
industrial motor can safely exceed base speed by 25%. Many
manufacturers balance their 3 pole and 4 pole rotors to the same
speed - 25% over the 2 pole base speed. A 4 pole motor may
therefore operate up to 125% over base speed before reaching its
balance limit. A 60 Hz 4 pole motor might run up to 135 Hz,
whereas a 60 Hz 2 pole motor would reach its balance limit at 75
Hz. Both motors would run at the same RPM. Naturally, it is
sound advice to consult the motor manufacturer before exceeding
any motors base speed by more than 25%.
Constant Voltage Operation
Figure 3-3 shows that at 60 Hz the AC drives output is
460 Volts, its maximum value. What happens if the output
frequency is increased above 60 Hz while the voltage remains at
460V? The drives Volts per Hertz ratio no longer remains constant
and available torque decreases.
If output frequency is increased to 120 Hz with 100%
voltage applied to the motor, the Volts per Hertz of the drive is no
longer 7.6 but rather 3.83. The same Volts per Hertz ratio results
when a line started motor is operated at 60 Hz with only 50%
voltage applied (for reduced voltage starting). As might be
expected, the effect on torque is the same. Recall that torque
varies as the square of the applied voltage (Equation 2-4). As
such, maximum motor torque at 120 Hz is only 25% of the
maximum torque at 60 Hz.
If AC drive output frequency is reduced from 120 Hz to 90
Hz at constant voltage, the Volts per Hertz ratio improves from
3.83 to 5.1 V/Hz. This is the same as providing 66% voltage at 60
Hz to a line-started motor. Torque will be 0.662 or 44% of the full
voltage torque at 60 Hz. Figure 3-5 illustrates the peak torque
curve for constant voltage operation from base speed to 4 times
base. On a 60 Hz rated motor this would cover 60 Hz to 240 Hz.
The motors rated torque (at 100% current) and intermittent
torque (at 150% current) both decay at the same rate.
1. 0
. 06
Base 1. 25 1. 5 1. 75 2 2. 25 2. 5 2. 75 3. 0 3. 25 3. 5 3. 75 4. 0
For 60Hz Mot or : 60 75 90 105 120 135 150 165 180 195210 225 240
Figure 3-5
Since the voltage, in reality, is not changing above base
speed, it is more appropriate to define torque in terms of frequency
change instead of voltage change. It can be stated then that
torque above base speed drops as the square of the frequency -
doubling the frequency, quarters the available torque. Applied
frequency and synchronous speed are equivalent, so going one step
further, torque may be defined in terms of speed. In the constant
voltage range then, motor torque drops off as the inverse of
synchronous speed squared, or 1/N2. This is shown by the curve in
Figure 3-5.
Many machine applications are constant horsepower in
their load characteristics. As speed increases, the torque required
decreases as the inverse of speed, or l/N. This torque drop-off is
not as severe as the motors l/N2 torque drop-off. Figure 3-6 (see
page 3-8) displays the motor maximum torque and a nameplate
rated constant horsepower load.
I Oversize Motor
Base 1. 25 1. 5 1. 75 2
60 75 90 105 120 Hz
Figure 3-6
Notice that motor available torque exceeds load torque up
to approximately twice base speed. Beyond this point the load
exceeds the motor capability and would cause a stall condition.
If frequency is reduced so that the motor runs between
points A and B on the curve, a small load surge could still stall the
motor. Beyond point A there is not enough overload cushion
between the load demand and the motors peak capability. The
motor is not capable of safely powering a constant horsepower load
beyond point A on the curve.
In the constant voltage mode of operation the range of
constant horsepower extends only to 1.5 x base speed. This does
not compare favorably with DC drives that provide constant
horsepower up to 3 or 4 x base speed. However, Voltage Source
AC Drives can achieve constant horsepower without modification
to the drive or motor - its a standard feature.
In order to exceed point A on the curve of Figure 3-6, a
safety margin must be added to handle temporary load surges. If
the existing motor is replaced by one of greater horsepower, the
motors peak curve will increase, providing a safety margin as
shown in the insert of Figure 3-6. However, with the existing
motor, the curve cannot be raised. Instead, the load must be
reduced to provide a margin for overloads.
By lowering the load curve to 2/3 of the motors peak curve,
an acceptable overload cushion is established. Figure 3-7 shows
the derated curve for operation above 1.5 x base speed. Derating
assures an adequate cushion for momentary overloads.
The method of motor cooling will affect available torque in
speed ranges above 1.5 to 1. Shaft mounted cooling fans present a
variable torque load to the motor, which becomes appreciable at
high speeds. Other factors, such as the exact load profile, the
motors actual peak torque, service factor, and environment act to
complicate matters. Often times it will be necessary to consult the
motor manufacturer and AC drive application engineer before
exceeding the 1.5 to 1 speed range.
1.25 1.4 1.5 1.75 2.0 2.25
Figure 3- 7
Some motor applications, such as conveyors, require 100%
(nameplate) torque throughout the speed range. To increase
production it may be desired to operate the conveyor motor above
its base speed. An AC drive in the constant voltage mode can
provide 100% torque for a limited speed range. Figure 3-8 (see
page 3-10) illustrates that 100% torque is available up to 1.25 x
base speed while maintaining a 25% overload cushion.
Torque at Rated Current
1.25 1.5 2
Figure 3-8
Notice that the motor torque at rated (nameplate) current
drops off just as the peak torque does. In order to produce rated
torque, the motor must draw greater than rated current. The
additional heat generated is normally offset by increased airflow
from the motors fan. However, totally enclosed motors may
overheat if rated torque is demanded continuously above base
speed. Consult the motor manufacturer when employing totally
enclosed motors above rated speed. Oversize motors (higher
horsepower) may be recommended to assure adequate cooling and
Constant Torque Range
An AC drive in the Constant Voltage mode cannot provide
continuous constant torque beyond the 1.25 to 1 speed range
(oversizing the motor may extend this range to 1.5 to 1). To
develop Constant Torque beyond this limit, the drive must operate
in a true Constant Torque mode, not the Constant Voltage mode.
The drives Volts per Hertz must again match the motors Volts per
Hertz ratio. There are 3 ways to achieve this.
1. Rewind the Motor -Most stators are wound such that
base speed is achieved at 60 Hz or 50 Hz. Higher base speeds
(such as 90 Hz or 120 Hz) can be obtained by special request to the
manufacturer. The curves of a pole motor wound for 90 Hz base
speed are shown in Figure 3-9.
AC drives do not produce sinuosidal voltages, but rather
generate square wave or pulses of voltage, which would saturate
and destroy a standard transformer. Special purpose custom
designed transformers are therefore essential for proper operation.
These transformers become quite expensive, approaching or
exceeding the price of a small AC drive. It may not be economical
to install such a transformer on small drive applications.
On larger applications output transformers are sometimes
used to match low voltage drive to a high voltage motor. This is
done in the petrochemical industry where the output voltage of a
460V AC drive may be stepped up to operate a 2300 Volt pump
motor from zero to its base speed. The price of such a transformer
was motivation for the development of high voltage semiconductors
for the output stages of AC drives.
Notice in Figure 3-10 (see page 3-11) that the step-up
transformer halves the current while doubling voltage. To supply
100% (nameplate) current to the motor, the drive must produce
200% current at its output. The AC drive must be doubled in size:
a 10 HP drive is needed to power the 5 HP motor for constant
torque up to 120 Hz. If the range is reduced to 90 Hz, a 7l/2 HP
drive would provide rated current at the motor. This is because
the transformers winding ratio would be changed from 2 to 1 to
1.5 to 1.
Figure 3-11 displays the voltage and torque curve of a 5
HP 230 volt motor when operated from an AC drive with an output
Twice Rated HP
(%) 1 00
Peak Torque
Frequency (Hz) 60 HZ 120 Hz
Figure 3-11
The motor is rated for 60 Hz and has a V/Hz ratio of 230/60
or 3.83. The drives V/Hz ratio has been adjusted to 1.92 V/Hz
because its output voltage will be doubled by a transformer,
providing the motor with 3.83 V/Hz for constant torque operation.
At 60 Hz the motor receives 230 Volts and produces 5 HP
when fully loaded. At 120 Hz the motor voltage is 460 Volts. Since
both voltages and frequency are doubled, the V/Hz ratio remains at
3.83 and rated torque may be obtained. Increased motor losses at
the high speed and frequency will cause the motor to draw greater
than rated current to produce rated torque. However, the motor is
not over or under voltaged and will perform properly, producing 10
HP at 120 Hz. This justifies the 10 HP drive required to assure
adequate current. Still, the oversize drive and transformer
increase the price of a system significantly, normally making it
uneconomical. In addition, the step-up transformer limits the
available torque at low frequencies, limiting the range of constant
torque. This occurs because the transformer may saturate and
overheat at low frequencies, demanding that the current (and
torque) be reduced. The third method of producing constant torque
above rated speed is more practical.
3. Use a 460V Drive for a 230 Volt Motor - The curves
of Figure 3-11 may be obtained without placing a transformer
between the drive and motor if the drive can produce 460 Volts
directly at its output. The drives V/Hz ratio must be set at 3.83 to
accommodate a 230 volt motor. Also, since a 230 volt motor draws
twice the current of a 460 volt motor of equal horsepower, the AC
drive must double in size.
As current flows through the stator and rotor a counter
voltage is generated, just as in a transformer. The counter voltage
opposes the applied voltage and acts to limit motor current.
Normally the applied voltage exceeds the counter voltage and
power is supplied to the motor. However, if the counter voltage
exceeds the applied voltage, the motor will effectively become a
generator and feed power back onto the supply lines. The
generated power will be at the same voltage and frequency as the
supply and the motors power factor will be leading instead of
lagging. The magnitude of generated power is dependent on the
difference between applied voltage and the counter voltage.
During normal operation, motor synchronous speed exceeds
the running speed by the amount of slip as shown by point A in
Figure 3-12 (see page 3-14). If the load overhauls the motor (pulls
the rotor faster than synchronous speed), slip reverses. The rotor
bars begin to cut the stator field from the opposite direction, which
reverses the polarity of rotor voltage. Rotor counter voltage then
exceeds the rotor induced voltage and produces a larger voltage of
mutual inductance in the stator windings. This voltage is the
same polarity as stator counter voltage and results in a net voltage
polarity reversal, feeding power back to the supply lines.
I I I \I I I I
. 25 . 5 1. 75
-100% -
-200% -
Figure 3-12
Point B in Figure 3-12 illustrates that an overhauling load
has occurred; the rotor is moving faster than the stator field speed
dictates. Notice that 100% current flows but that torque is
negative and produces a retarding force that opposes the
overhauling load. It is an effective means of braking the load
while retrieving power that has been put into the mechanical load
by the motor originally. Braking of this type is called Regenerative
Braking and occurs frequently in many applications, such as
motor-generator sets and wind-powered AC generators.
Regeneration occurs in AC drives during the deceleration
process as well as during overhauling loads. If the motor is
running at 60 Hz and the frequency is quickly decreased to 50 Hz,
the rotor will suddenly be turning faster than synchronous speed
and begin regenerating. Negative torque rapidly decreases motor
speed to match the 50 Hz applied frequency. If frequency is
reduced further, regeneration will again occur. By ramping down
the applied frequency at a steady rate, an AC drive can effectively
and economically brake its load down to almost zero speed. No
mechanical brakes are required and much of the loads kinetic
energy can be retrieved.
This is especially desirable on high inertia loads, where
much energy is expanded during acceleration.
Quadrant 1 of Figure 3-13 shows the motoring torque
during forward operation when a squirrel cage motor is powered
from a variable frequency supply (AC Drive). Quadrant IV is the
generator torque for the same frequencies. Note that the
magnitude of peak generator torque equals peak motoring torque
and that regenerative torque is possible throughout the entire
speed range.
The energy efficient motor differs from a standard motor in
both design and manufacturing techniques. It is not, as some
suppose, a return to the old U frame motors of the past.
First of all, the energy efficient motor employs larger stator
conductors with higher conductivity. The rotor bars are larger as
well, to reduce the overall copper (or aluminum) loss which
comprises 55-60% of total motor losses. The motor flux density
and air gap are reduced to minimize the magnetizing current
required. Stator and rotor laminations are thinner to increase
resistance to the flow of eddy currents. More laminations are
added to the core stacks as well, producing a longer stator and
rotor for increased torque. Hysteresis losses, which are normally
20-25% of the total motor losses, are reduced by utilizing silicon
steel, instead of low carbon steel for the laminations. As a result,
the motor uses less current, has better power factor, and runs
Since the energy efficient motor runs cooler, ventilation
requirements are reduced, allowing a smaller fan to be installed.
Windage loss (typically 5-9% of total losses) decreases and the
smaller fan runs quieter. These motors are less susceptible to
damage from impaired ventilation and operate well at higher
altitudes also. Cooler operation also increases motor life.
Insulation life is up to 4 times longer, an important fact, since
insulation break-down is the number 1 cause of motor failures.
Bearing lubrication lasts longer too, doubling the interval between
required lubrication. Cooler operation means that less burden is
placed on air conditioning equipment, (The Textile Industry uses
many squirrel cage motors in air conditioned factories.) Energy
efficient motors can also operate in higher ambient temperatures
without requiring extra cooling. A standard motor may need
additional cooling to survive in the same environment. This could
add substantially to the purchase price of the motor.
Energy efficient motors are also more rugged than standard
motors, tolerating greater fluctuations in applied voltage, voltage
unbalance, and overload.
Some manufacturers line of energy efficient motors all
possess 1.15 service factors. Some can even tolerate 30-40%
overloads for prolonged periods. They are also capable of starting
higher inertia loads than standard motors because of their
increased thermal capacity. For example, manufacturers standard
50 HP motor can accelerate a maximum inertia of 597 lb ft while
an ener
efficient model can accelerate an inertia load as high as
764 lb ft .
Energy efficient motors tolerate non-sinusoidal waveforms
better than standard motors. This is important when the motor is
powered by an AC drive. Figure 4-1 shows the speed-torque
curves for an energy efficient and standard motor powered by a 6
step AC drive.
--w---- $/!$
15 ;o $0 160
Fi gure 4-l
Notice that the standard motor has been derated to 85%.
This is due to the heating caused by the waveform shown in the
right corner. To provide the same performance as the energy
efficient motor, a larger standard motor is required. No derating is
required on the energy efficient motor, since it can tolerate the
disturbances caused by the 6 step waveform. Other types of AC
drives produce smoother waveforms that would not require
derating of the standard motor. One such type is the PWM (Pulse
Width Modulated) AC drive.
Energy efficient motors prove most cost effective in
applications where:
l The cost of electricity is high. The higher the power rate, the
greater potential for savings.
l The customer is concerned about power factor penalties and
peak demand charges.
l Loads are constant, allowing accurate projection of potential
l Excessive heating is expected, either from high ambient
conditions or severe duty cycle.
l Running time exceeds idle time, again increasing savings.
l Larger horsepower motors are involved, since they consume
more power and represent greater savings potentials.
The Wound Rotor Motor is an induction motor that permits
variable speed operation without the use of an AC drive. The
motors stator is identical to that of the standard polyphase
squirrel cage motor, but its rotor differs considerably. The rotor is
not of cast aluminum or copper bars, but rather consists of
insulated coils of wire connected in regular succession to form
definite poles (the same number as the stator poles). The ends of
these rotor windings are brouht out to slip rings mounted on the
motor shaft. Carbon brushes ride the slip rings to connect the
rotor windings to an external resistor network.
Figure 5-l shows the controller, which allows adjustment
of the rotor resistance. By varying rotor resistance, the torque and
current characteristics can be changed. For example, high
resistance would produce high starting torque at low current,
similar to a NEMA D motor. As the motor accelerates, resistance
can be reduced to simulate a NEMA A motor. The result is
high starting torque, smooth acceleration, and optimum efficiency
at running speeds.
T1 T2 T3
on Rotor
Figure 5-l
Figure 5-2 (see page 5-2) is the speed/torque curve of a
Wound Rotor Motor. It portrays the speed regulation obtained by
inserting various amounts of resistance in the rotor circuit. Notice
that with 100% resistance the rotor will slip 50% in speed when a
50% load is applied (Point A). Reducing resistance to 30%
improves speed regulation considerably (Point B).
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Figure 5-2
A means of variable speed operation is achieved with the
Wound Rotor Motor. Unfortunately, the motors efficiency
decreases in direct proportion to the speed reduction desired.
Because of this, the wound rotor motor is most often used on
cranes, hoists and elevators, where exact speed regulation and
efficiency are not important. Efficiency may be improved by the
installation of a slip recovery system in the rotor circuit. Basically,
the external resistances are replaced by a solid state converter
which feeds the excess rotor power back to the supply lines.
Another type of special motor is the Reluctance
Synchronous Motor. It again uses the same stator assembly as a
standard squirrel cage motor and differs only in rotor construction.
Figure 5-3 shows a rotor punching used in a typical Reluctance
Synchronous Motor.
Figure 5-3
The rotor bars permit the motor to start as an induction
motor, with similar torque and current characteristics. Notice the
flux barriers in Figure 5-3, which guide the rotor flux to form
definite magnetic poles. At approximately 90% sync speed, the
rotor and stator fields begin to closely align, causing the rotor to
quickly accelerate to synchronous speed. Motor current increases
sharply during the transition to synchronous speed. However,
once in synchronism with the stator, the motor draws rated
current to produce rated torque without slip as shown in
Figure 5-4. Speed regulation becomes dependent on the stability
of the applied frequency, which is normally excellent.
Figure 5-4
Reluctance Synchronous Motors are specified when speed
regulation is a primary factor, such as in the machine tool and
textile industries. Normal sizes range from fractional to 15 HP,
although higher horsepowers are available. Efficiencies are low
(3575%) and power factor is also poor (.45-.63). They are not
recommended for high inertia loads or heavy cyclical loads. This is
because the rotor must accelerate into its synchronous position
rapidly, making the jump from 95% speed to 100% speed very
quickly. High load inertia or a pulsating load makes this difficult.