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Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Motor Fundamentals

Instruction Manual



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2-1 2-2 2-3 2-4 2-6 2-6 2-8 2-9 2-10 2-10 2-12 2-13 2-14 2-17 2-20 2-21 2-22 2-25 2-26 2-28 2-29

MOTOR BASICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1

Stator Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rotor Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Simplified Motor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rotor Current and Slip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Working Motor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Torque Vs. Stator Poles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rotating Magnetic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stator Poles Vs. Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Speed of Rotating Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Motor Acceleration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Rotor Under Load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . High Frequency Rotor Currents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Torque Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NEMA Design Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Motor as a Transformer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Motor Losses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Effects of Voltage Variations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reduced Voltage Starting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Motor Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Voltage Unbalance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Effects of Frequency Variations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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 num


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 mounted.

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).


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

Figure 2-8b

Rotor with skew

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 motor.

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 shaft.


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 motor.


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:

Where: 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 speed. 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, rotorstator 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 machine.


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

Motor Torque Constant KT = 8 = Field Flux Rotor Current I/q = Phase Displacement of Rotor Current cos c-c =
(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 stator 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 curve. 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 motor.

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?
L1 P Phase A


ROTOR 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 factor. 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.


100 85

Power Factor








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.


122 100 81


Figure 2-21


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.
I FL @ 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 reason.


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 460 345 AC VOLTAGE (VOLTS) 230





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 practices.) 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.
100 75 50 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 Motor: 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.


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.
Motor Peak

1.25 1.4 1.5





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 SPEED
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 torque.

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 transformer.
Twice Rated HP 200 Peak Torque



Frequency (Hz) Speed

60 HZ

120 Hz 2.0

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.


TORQUE +300%


.25 -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 cooler. 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 ft57 . 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---- $/!$ +

Resistant Current


Figure 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.

The customer is concerned about power factor penalties and peak demand charges. Loads are constant, allowing accurate projection of potential savings. Excessive heating is expected, either from high ambient conditions or severe duty cycle. Running time exceeds idle time, again increasing savings. Larger horsepower motors are involved, since they consume more power and represent greater savings potentials.

l l


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).



260 250 240 230 220 210 200 190 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 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.


Flux Barriers

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.

Publication 150-2.7 December 1998

Copyright 1998 Rockwell International Printed in USA