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The Multiple Uses of DC Motors

Time: 2010-08-09 11:36:36

DC Motors are argueably the most useful type of electrical motors, and with good reason, they are designed to be used with batteries, solar cells or similar cell based energy sources, and as a result are used in systems where you don't have to be tied to a wall. Furthermore, even in systems where they are tied to the wall, sometimes it can be more efficient and cost effective to run DC Motors even in certain situations. Motors generally though give the impression of a gas guzzling car. In this article, I hope to dispel that myth, and educate you on where and when DC Motors can be and are used.

Low Power DC Motors
The lower power motors aren't really useful for things commonly associated with motors. Lifting and transportation applications require more power & torque for them to work. However, what they lack in power they make up in precision. Low power DC motors are particularly useful as speed changes from 0 to 1 are almost instantaneous. Therefore, they can be used successfully in digital systems.

A low speed, low power brushless DC motor can be found in most turntable devices, particularly precision turntable devices. Devices with such motors are things like personal computers (usually, with 3 motors in it, one for the hard drive, and one for the processor cooler), CD & DVD players.

Medium Power DC Motors
Medium power DC Motors have a use too in systems. Generally they are connected to the mains, and use a rectifier to convert the AC current into a DC current to be used for the task in hand. As a result of this, they also need to be stepped down (voltage reduced) so that the current doesn't overpower the circuit and burn out the motor. This limits their usage to larger systems that require room for both a stepper and a rectifier. But they still serve a purpose, particularly in systems where size nor speed is an issue, just reliability. One such place is in pinsetters in a bowling alley, for example.

High Power DC Motors
Argueably the most common and useful motors are High Power DC Motors. These motors are generally used in open systems, and generally used in systems were torque and power, as well as drive are paramount. Examples of such systems include electric wheelchairs, electric scooters, Segways, hybrid cars, as well as in elevators.

Of course, with power comes great power usage, and whilst the most energy efficient form of motor, they can require a lot of energy to run. Part of the creative process of using them is to be efficient (drive systems in hybrid cars use the petrol motor's momentum to recharge a battery, which will be then used to power the DC motor), but generally the battery will need to be recharged or replaced at regular intervals. Even so, it's usually infrequently the battery needs replacing. Furthermore, any systems attached to the mains don't suffer from this problem.

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