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How do Electric Motors Work?

Electric Motor Repair San Diego: Overview

An electric motor is a device which converts electric energy to mechanical energy, the opposite of an electric generator. These devices have an extremely versatile role in the today’s society and their applications just keep on multiplying. For example, the latest addition to the ever-growing roster of devices using an electric motor are drones. Therefore, knowing where to get a good electric motor repair San Diego service seems like a smart idea. But how much do you know about your electric motor to begin with?


Electric motors can be complicated machines. However, some components need to exist on every motor in order for it to function and deliver any kind of meaningful energy. These are a rotor, a stator and a commutator.


The name itself tells us that this part of the engine which rotates. As it rotates, it turns the shaft, which in turn creates the useful work which can be used to power whatever needs to be powered. In most cases, the rotor consists of conductors, which carry the electric current. These conductors interact with the stator’s magnetic field to generate the force. There are other methods, but the principle remains the same.


Again, the name is very descriptive. Stator is the stationary part of the electric motor. It usually encases the rotor, to best utilize the space and the magnetic field, which is the driving force for the vast majority of electric motors. Stator houses either windings of wire or permanent magnets. The role of the stator is to create and maintain the magnetic field which causes the rotor to rotate.


The third essential part of the electric motor is used to switch the direction of the current flowing through the engine in order to produce a steady rotating force.


There are many different types and subtypes of the engine, but the broadest division is probably AC/DC division. Anyone who has taken any course in physics or knows anything about electricity knows that DC stands for direct current, and AC stands for alternating current. So, let’s delve into the main differences between the two. Let’s start with the older type.


DC motor uses direct current and transforms it into mechanical energy. It was the first kind of electric motor, with ideas and theories going as far back as 1700s. The first electric cars and trams during the second industrial revolution used this type of engine. Today’s applications include RC toys, cordless tools and hybrid cars.

There are several subtypes of this engine, depending on the technology used. Brushed DC motor generates the rotation energy (torque) by using internal mechanical commutation (brushes) and a stationary external magnet.  Brushless motors use a permanent magnet in the rotor and an electromagnet on the stator. The controller manages the strength of the electromagnet, thus controlling the power output of the electric motor. There are a few more types, but the thing they have in common is that they use the direct current. What it means is that they require a DC power source, i.e. batteries.


The AC motor came long after the DC one, and is slowly overtaking the DC in most usages. The reason why this happens is that it can function without batteries, i.e. directly from the power grid we use (which is AC). In terms of design, most AC motors are as described above. There are, of course, many different subtypes - synchronous, asynchronous, induction, torque, axial rotor, etc. The most common type is the induction motor, where the electricity is induced through a magnetic field, rather than directly supplied to the rotor. Most of the electric motors nowadays are AC.

Overall, electric motors are incredibly useful, and may even resolve our oil-dependence problem someday. But the fact remains that they are not perfect, and that they break down. When that happens, call PCE for the premier electric motor repair San Diego service.
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San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
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Diesel & Motor Division
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San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
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