The direct current (DC) motor is one of the first machines devised to convert electrical power into mechanical power. Permanent magnet (PM) direct current convert electrical energy into mechanical energy through the interaction of two magnetic fields.
One field is produced by a permanent magnet assembly, the other field is produced by an electrical current flowing in the motor windings. These two fields result in a torque which tends to rotate the rotor. As the rotor turns, the current in the windings is commutated to produce a continuous torque output. The stationary electromagnetic field of the motor can also be wire-wound like the armature (called a wound-field motor) or can be made up of permanent magnets (called a permanent magnet
In either style (wound-field or permanent magnet) the commutator. acts as half of a mechanical switch and rotates with the armature as it turns. The commutator is composed of conductive segments (called bars), usually made of copper, which represent the termination of individual coils of wire distributed around the armature. The second half of the mechanical switch is completed by the brushes. These brushes typically remain stationary with the motor's housing but ride (or
brush) on the rotating commutator. As electrical energy is passed through the brushes and consequently through the armature a torsional force is generated as a reaction between the motor's field and the armature causing the motor's armature to turn. As the armature turns, the brushes switch to adjacent bars on the commutator. This switching action transfers the electrical energy to an adjacent winding on the armature which in turn perpetuates the torsional motion of the armature.
Permanent magnet (PM) motors are probably the most commonly used DC motors, but there are also some other type of DC motors(types which use coils to make the permanent magnetic field also) .DC motors operate from a direct current power source. Movement of the magnetic field is achieved by switching current between coils within the motor. This action is called "commutation". Very many DC motors (brush-type) have built-in commutation, meaning that as the motor rotates,
mechanical brushes automatically commutate coils on the rotor. You can use dc-brush motors in a variety of applications. A simple, permanent-magnet dc motor is an essential element in a variety of products, such as toys, servo mechanisms, valve actuators, robots, and automotive electronics. There are several typical advantages of a PM motor. When compared to AC or wound field DC motors, PM motors are usually physically smaller in overall size and lighter for a given power rating.
Furthermore, since the motor's field, created by the permanent magnet, is constant, the relationship between torque and speed is very linear. A PM motor can provide relatively high torque at low speeds and PM field provides some inherent self-braking when power to the motor is shutoff. There are several disadvantages through, those being mostly being high current during a stall condition and during instantaneous reversal. Those can damage some motors or be problematic to control circuitry.
Furthermore, some magnet materials can be damaged when subjected to excessive heat and some loose field strength if the motor is disassembled.
High-volume everyday items, such as hand drills and kitchen appliances, use a dc servomotor known as a universal motor. Those universal motors are series-wound DC motors, where the stationary and rotating coils are wires in series. Those motors can work well on both AC and DC power. One of the drawbacks/precautions about series-wound DC motors is that if they are unloaded, the only thing limiting their speed is the windage and friction losses. Some can literally tear
themselves apart if run unloaded.
A brushless motor operates much in the same way as a traditional brush motor. However, as the name implies there are no brushes (and no commutator). The mechanical switching function, implemented by the brush and commutator combination in a brush-type motor, is replaced by electronic switching in a brushless motor. In a typical brushless motor the electromagnetic field, created by permanent magnets, is the rotating member of the motor and is called a rotor. The rotating
magnetic field is generated with a number of electromagnets commutatated with electronics switches (typically transistors or FETs) in a right order at right speed. In a brushless motor, the trick becomes to know when to switch the electrical energy in the windings to perpetuate the rotating motion. This is typically accomplished in a brushless-type motor by some feedback means designed to provide an indication of the position of the magnet poles on the rotor relative to the windings. A
hall effect device (HED) is a commonly used means for providing this positional feedback. In some applications brushless motors are commutated without sensors or with the use of an encoder for positional feedback. A brushless motor is often used when high reliability, long life and high speeds are required. The bearings in a brushless motor usually become the only parts to wear out. In applications where high speeds are required (usually above 30,000 RPM) a brushless motor is considered a
better choice (because as motor speed increases so does the wear of the brushes on traditional motors). A brushless motor's commutation control can easily be separated and integrated into other required electronics, thereby improving the effective power-to-weight and/or power-to-volume ratio. A brushless motor package (motor and commutation controller) will usually cost more than a brush-type, yet the cost can often be made up in other advantages. For example, in applications where
sophisticated control of the motor's operation is required. Brushless motors are seen nowadays in very many computer application, they for example rotate normal PC fans, hard disks and disk drives.
Sometimes the rotation direction needs to be changed. In normal permanent magnet motors, this rotation is changed by changing the polarity of operating power (for example by switching from negative power supply to positive or by inter-changing the power terminals going to power supply). This direction changing is typically implemented using relay or a circuit called an H bridge. There are some typical characteristics on "brush-type" DC motors.
When a DC motor is straight to a battery (with no controller), it draws a large surge current when connected up. The surge is caused because the motor, when it is turning, acts as a generator. The generated voltage is directly proportional to the speed of the motor. The current through the motor is controlled by the difference between the battery voltage and the motor's generated voltage (otherwise called back EMF). When the motor is first connected up to the battery (with no
motor speed controller) there is no back EMF. So the current is controlled only by the battery voltage, motor resistance (and inductance) and the battery leads. Without any back emf the motor, before it starts to turn, therefore draws the large surge current. When a motor speed controller is used, it varies the voltage fed to the motor. Initially, at zero speed, the controller will feed no voltage to the motor, so no current flows. As the motor speed controller's output voltage increases,
the motor will start to turn. At first the voltage fed to the motor is small, so the current is also small, and as the motor speed controller's voltage rises, so too does the motor's back EMF. The result is that the initial current surge is removed, acceleration is smooth and fully under control.
Motor speed control of DC motor is nothing new. A simplest method to control the rotation speed of a DC motor is to control it's driving voltage. The higher the voltage is, the higher speed the motor tries to reach. In many applications a simple voltage regulation would cause lots of power loss on control circuit, so a pulse width modulation method (PWM)is used in many DC motor controlling applications. In the basic Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method, the operating power to the motors is
turned on and off to modulate the current to the motor. The ratio of "on" time to "off" time is what determines the speed of the motor. When doing PWM controlling, keep in mind that a motor is a low pass device. The reason is that a motor is mainly a large inductor. It is not capable of passing high frequency energy, and hence will not perform well using high frequencies. Reasonably low frequencies are required, and then PWM techniques will work. Lower frequencies are generally better than
higher frequencies, but PWM stops being effective at too low a frequency. The idea that a lower frequency PWM works better simply reflects that the "on" cycle needs to be pretty wide before the motor will draw any current (because of motor inductance). A higher PWM frequency will work fine if you hang a large capacitor across the motor or short the motor out on the "off" cycle (e.g. power/brake pwm) The reason for this is that short pulses will not allow much current to flow before being
cut off. Then the current that did flow is dissipated as an inductive kick - probably as heat through the fly-back diodes. The capacitor integrates the pulse and provides a longer, but lower, current flow through the motor after the driver is cut off. There is not inductive kick either, since the current flow isn't being cut off. Knowing the low pass roll-off frequency of the motor helps to determine an optimum frequency for operating PWM. Try testing your motor with a square duty cycle
using a variable frequency, and then observe the drop in torque as the frequency is increased. This technique can help determine the roll off point as far as power efficiency is concerned.
Besides "brush-type" DC motors, there is another DC motor type: brushless DC motor. Brushless DC motors rely on the external power drive to perform the commutation of stationary copper winding on the stator. This changing stator field makes the permanent magner rotor to rotate.A brushless permanent magnet motor is the highest performing
motor in terms of torque / vs. weight or efficiency. Brushless motors are usually the most expensive type of motor. Electronically commutated, brush-less DC motor systems are widely used as drives for blowers and fans used in electronics, telecommunications and industrial equipment applications. There is wide variety of different brush-less motors for various applications. Some are designed to to rotate at constant speed (those used in disk drives) and the speed of some can be controlled
by varying the voltage applied to them (usually the motors used in fans). Some brushless DC motors have a built-in tachometer which gives out pulses as the motor rotates (this applies to both disk drive motors and some computer fans). In general, users select brush-type DC motors when low system cost is a priority, and brushless motors to fulfil other requirements (such as maintenance-free operation, high speeds, and explosive environments where sparking could be hazardous). Brush type DC
motors are used in very many battery powered appliances. Brushless DC motors are commonly used in applications like DC powered fans and disk drive rotation motors.