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Chapter: Electrical machines - DC Motor

Three Point Starter: Working principle

A “3-point starter” is extensively used to start a D.C shunt motor. It not only overcomes the difficulty of a plain resistance starter, but also provides additional protective features such as over load protection and no volt protection.

Three Point Starter

 

A “3-point starter” is extensively used to start a D.C shunt motor. It not only overcomes the difficulty of a plain resistance starter, but also provides additional protective features such as over load protection and no volt protection. The diagram of a 3-point starter connected to a shunt motor is shown in figure. Although, the circuit looks a bit clumsy at a first glance, the basic working principle is same as that of plain resistance starter. The starter is shown enclosed within the dotted rectangular box having three terminals marked as A, L and F for external connections. Terminal A is connected to one armature terminal Al of the motor. Terminal F is connected to one field terminal F1 of the motor and terminal L is connected to one supply terminal as shown. F2 terminal of field coil is connected to A2 through an external variable field resistance and the common point connected to supply (-ve). The external armatures resistances consist of several resistances connected in series and are shown in the form of an arc. The junctions of the resistances are brought out as terminals and marked. Just beneath the resistances, a continuous copper strip also in the form of an arc is present.

 


There is a handle which can be moved in the clockwise direction against the spring tension. The spring tension keeps the handle in the OFF position when no one attempts to move it. Now let us trace the circuit from terminal L (supply + ve). The wire from L passes through a small electro magnet called OLRC, (the function of which we shall discuss a little later) and enters through the handle shown by dashed lines. Near the end of the handle two copper strips are firmly connected with the wire.

 

The furthest strip is shown circular shaped and the other strip is shown to be rectangular. When the handle is moved to the right, the circular strip of the handle will make contacts with resistance terminals 1, 2 etc. Progressively. On the other hand, the rectangular strip will make contact with the continuous arc copper strip. The other end of this strip is brought as terminal F after going through an electromagnet coil (called NVRC). Terminal F is finally connected to motor field terminal Fl.

 

Working principle

 

In the operation of the starter, initially the handle is in the OFF position. Neither armature nor the field of the motor gets supply. Now the handle is moved to stud number 1. In this position armature and all the resistances in series gets connected to the supply. Field coil gets full supply as the rectangular strip makes contact with arc copper strip. As the machine picks up speed handle is moved further to stud number 2. In this position the external resistance in the armature circuit is less as the first resistance is left out. Field however, continues to get full voltage by virtue of the continuous arc strip. Continuing in this way, all resistances will be left out when stud number 12 (ON) is reached. In this position, the electromagnet (NVRC) will attract the soft iron piece attached to the handle. Even if the operator removes his hand from the handle, it will still remain in the ON position as spring restoring force will be balanced by the force of attraction between NVRC and the soft iron piece of the handle. The no volt release coil (NVRC) carries same current as that of the field coil. In case supply voltage goes off, field coil current will decrease to zero. Hence NVRC will be de-energized and will not be able to exert any force on the soft iron piece of the handle. Restoring force of the spring will bring the handle back in the OFF position.

 

 

The starter also provides over load protection for the motor. The other electromagnet, OLRC overload release coil along with a soft iron piece kept under it, is used to achieve this. The current flowing through OLRC is the line current IL drawn by the motor. As the motor is loaded, Ia hence IL increases. Therefore, IL is a measure of loading of the motor. Suppose we want that the motor should not be over loaded beyond rated current. Now gap between the electromagnet and the soft iron piece is so adjusted that for IL≤Irated the iron piece will not be pulled up. However, if IL≤Irated force of attraction will be sufficient to pull up iron piece. This upward movement of the iron piece of OLRC is utilized to de-energize NVRC. To the iron a copper strip is attached. During over loading condition, this copper strip will also move up and put a short circuit between two terminals B and C. Carefully note that B and C are nothing but the two ends of the NVRC. In other words, when over load occurs a short circuit path is created across the NVRC. Hence NVRC will not carry any current now and gets deenergized. The moment it gets deenergised, spring action will bring the handle in the OFF position thereby disconnecting the motor from the supply. Three point starter has one disadvantage. If we want to run the machine at higher speed (above rated speed) by field weakening (i.e., by reducing field current), the strength of NVRC magnet may become so weak that it will fail to hold the handle in the ON position and the spring action will bring it back in the OFF position. Thus we find that a false disconnection of the motor takes place even when there is neither over load nor any sudden disruption of supply.

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