DC Motor Construction
The major parts in a practical motor are the armature assembly, the field assembly, the brush assembly, and the end frame. [Figure 12-297]
The armature assembly contains a laminated, soft-iron core, coils, and a commutator, all mounted on a rotatable steel shaft. Laminations made of stacks of soft iron, insulated from each other, form the armature core. Solid iron is not used, since a solid iron core revolving in the magnetic field would heat and use energy needlessly. The armature windings are insulated copper wire, which are inserted in slots insulated with fiber paper (fish paper) to protect the windings. The ends of the windings are connected to the commutator segments. Wedges or steel bands hold the windings in place to prevent them from flying out of the slots when the armature is rotating at high speeds. The commutator consists of a large number of copper segments insulated from each other and the armature shaft by pieces of mica. Insulated wedge rings hold the segments in place.
The field assembly consists of the field frame, the pole pieces, and the field coils. The field frame is located along the inner wall of the motor housing. It contains laminated, soft-steel pole pieces on which the field coils are wound. A coil, consisting of several turns of insulated wire, fits over each pole piece and, together with the pole, constitutes a field pole. Some motors have as few as two poles, others as many as eight.
The brush assembly consists of the brushes and their holders. The brushes are usually small blocks of graphitic carbon, since this material has a long service life and also causes minimum wear to the commutator. The holders permit some play in the brushes so they can follow any irregularities in the surface of the commutator and make good contact. Springs hold the brushes firmly against the commutator. [Figure 12-298]
The end frame is the part of the motor opposite the commutator. Usually, the end frame is designed so that it can be connected to the unit to be driven. The bearing for the drive end is also located in the end frame. Sometimes the end frame is made a part of the unit driven by the motor. When this is done, the bearing on the drive end may be located in any one of a number of places.
Types of DC Motors
There are three basic types of DC motors: series motors, shunt motors, and compound motors. They differ largely in the method in which their field and armature coils are connected.
Series DC Motor
In the series motor, the field windings, consisting of a relatively few turns of heavy wire, are connected in series with the armature winding. Both a diagrammatic and a schematic illustration of a series motor are shown in Figure 12-299. The same current flowing through the field winding also flows through the armature winding. Any increase in current, therefore, strengthens the magnetism of both the field and the armature.
Because of the low resistance in the windings, the series motor is able to draw a large current in starting. This starting current, in passing through both the field and armature windings, produces a high starting torque, which is the series motor’s principal advantage.
The speed of a series motor is dependent upon the load. Any change in load is accompanied by a substantial change in speed. A series motor runs at high speed when it has a light load and at low speed with a heavy load. If the load is removed entirely, the motor may operate at such a high speed that the armature falls apart. If high starting torque is needed under heavy load conditions, series motors have many applications. Series motors are often used in aircraft as engine starters and for raising and lowering landing gears, cowl flaps, and wing flaps.
Shunt DC Motor
In the shunt motor, the field winding is connected in parallel or in shunt with the armature winding. [Figure 12-300]
The resistance in the field winding is high. Since the field winding is connected directly across the power supply, the current through the field is constant. The field current does not vary with motor speed, as in the series motor and, therefore, the torque of the shunt motor varies only with the current through the armature. The torque developed at starting is less than that developed by a series motor of equal size.
The speed of the shunt motor varies very little with changes in load. When all load is removed, it assumes a speed slightly higher than the loaded speed. This motor is particularly suitable for use when constant speed is desired and when high starting torque is not needed.
Compound DC Motor
The compound motor is a combination of the series and shunt motors. There are two windings in the field: a shunt winding and a series winding. [Figure 12-301]
The shunt winding is composed of many turns of fine wire and is connected in parallel with the armature winding. The series winding consists of a few turns of large wire and is connected in series with the armature winding. The starting torque is higher than in the shunt motor but lower than in the series motor. Variation of speed with load is less than in a series wound motor but greater than in a shunt motor. The compound motor is used whenever the combined characteristics of the series and shunt motors are desired.
Like the compound generator, the compound motor has both series and shunt field windings. The series winding may either aid the shunt wind (cumulative compound) or oppose the shunt winding (differential compound). The starting and load characteristics of the cumulative compound motor are somewhere between those of the series and those of the shunt motor.
Because of the series field, the cumulative compound motor has a higher starting torque than a shunt motor. Cumulative compound motors are used in driving machines, which are subject to sudden changes in load. They are also used where a high starting torque is desired, but a series motor cannot be used easily.
In the differential compound motor, an increase in load creates an increase in current and a decrease in total flux in this type of motor. These two tend to offset each other and the result is a practically constant speed. However, since an increase in load tends to decrease the field strength, the speed characteristic becomes unstable. Rarely is this type of motor used in aircraft systems.
A graph of the variation in speed with changes of load of the various types of DC motors is shown in Figure 12-302.