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Low or High Voltage? Breaking Down the Basics of Electrical Motors

Posted on by Kurz Industrial Solutions

You may not realize that electrical motors are part of daily life for nearly every person in the world. Motors are everywhere, from the car that you drive to work to the lawnmower in the garage.

These devices make life easier. Businesses with manufacturing departments rely on motors for their successes too. There’s a mixture of different motors, which include both low- and high-voltage designs. Learn the ins and outs of these mechanical and electrical wonders so that any issues can be quickly resolved at home or work.

It’s all about power

Motors use a certain range of voltages and amperage values to operate efficiently in a system. From a layman’s perspective, you simply want power out of the device. It’s rotating a shaft and powering an important piece of equipment, for instance. Steady power is the goal.

Electricians and technicians know that the average power from a motor comes from a combination of the voltage and amperage rates. Increase one value, and the other one rises to produce more power. With these facts in mind, it may not seem important if a motor runs on either low or high voltage. However, there are pros and cons in both cases.

Relating voltage to current

Because the combination of voltage and current drive the power of a motor, they’re always linked in the system. If you apply a lower voltage than the motor is rated for, it compensates by drawing more current from the source. This scenario leads to these issues, such as:

  • Heat damage to the motor
  • Possible problems for nearby electronics, such as PC boards

Add too much voltage to a motor, in contrast, and you still draw excess current. The motor’s magnetic parts don’t operate as well as they normally do under extra voltage. Drawing current is the response, which doesn’t improve the motor’s efficiency in the least. Reducing the voltage to the applicable range is the only answer to this dilemma.

Considering the motor’s application

You might have a motor with the proper voltage range, but its application must be considered as well. If you need a small and portable motor, a low-voltage design may not offer the necessary current. The windings and wire gauges must be thick enough for ample current to move through the system. Large parts require big housings, which aren’t portable in most cases.

High voltages give motor designers a chance to install thin wire. The current moves through these wires without any heat issues. You end up with an efficient system that powers its particular application.

Maintaining safe parameters

The easiest way to take advantage of every motor’s power gain is by keeping up with safe parameters. Purchase motors that are designed for your application. Selecting an inexpensive motor in place of the proper type will only cost you more money in the long run. Motors that are operated outside of their design parameters will burn out. You’re left with a business that’s blindsided by a down machine.

Taking a look at loads

Don’t forget that your motor’s efficiency and success also relies on the load’s features. If you have a heavy-duty load attached to the motor, be aware that the current will rise as the voltage drops upon startup. Follow the motor’s specifications when it comes to loads. It can handle certain loads as designed. Swap out the motor if you’re altering the load to either a light or heavy type. The motor can respond without any heat damage as a result.

Learning about efficiency

Every business or home hobbyist needs motors that are efficient. They draw a steady amount of electricity while retaining a cool interior. Wires, windings and other parts tend to bog down a given motor, however. Power is actually lost along these electrical pathways.

In the past, electrical engineers learned that high voltages reduced the current through the entire motor. Less power was taken up by the wires and windings too. The resulting motors today are efficient with less electrical waste over time.

Speak with the experts at Kurz when you’re curious about motors or wind energy. Although electric motors are constantly changing with today’s technology, their basic design remains the same. Troubleshoot any issues at your home or business by applying electrical concepts every day. You’ll save money and reduce worry as a result.

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