Somewhere in most engineering educations, there’s a class on induction motors. Students learn about shaded-pole motors, two-phase and three-phase motors, squirrel cage motors, and DC-excited motors. It’s a pre-requisite for then learning about motor controllers and so-called brushless DC motors. [Jim Pytel] takes this a step further in a series of videos, in which he introduces the doubly fed induction motor. If a conventional three-phase motor can have its coils in either rotor or stator, here’s a motor with both. The special tricks with this motor come in feeding both rotor and stator with separate frequencies, at which point their interactions have useful effects on the motor speed.
There are two videos, both of which we’ve put below the break. Understanding the complex interaction of the two sets of magnetic fields is enough to make anyone’s brain hurt, but the interesting part for us is that the motor can run faster than either of the two drive frequencies.
Sadly we’re not aware of any easily available motors using this configuration, so we don’t think it will be possible to easily experiment. But if you want to amaze your friends with an in-depth knowledge of motors, take a look at the videos below.
Four years ago when the idea of a pandemic was something which only worried a few epidemiologists, a group of British hardware hackers and robotic combat enthusiasts came up with an idea. They would take inspiration from the American Power Racing Series to create their own small electric racing formula. Hacky Racers became a rougher version of its transatlantic cousin racing on mixed surfaces rather than tarmac, and as an inaugural meeting that first group of racers convened on a cider farm in Somerset to give it a try. Last weekend they were back at the same farm after four years of Hacky Racer development with racing having been interrupted by the pandemic, and Hackaday came along once more to see how the cars had evolved. Continue reading “How Far Can You Push A £500 Small Electric Car; Four Years Of The Hacky Racer”→
If you made a motor out of a magnet, a wire coil, and some needles, you probably remember that motors and generators depend on a rotating magnetic field. Once you know how it works, the concept is pretty simple, but did you ever wonder who worked it all out to start with? Tesla figures into it, unsurprisingly. But what about Michael Dobrowolsky or Walter Bailey? Not common names to most people. [Learn Engineering] has a slick video covering the history and theory of rotating magnetic field machines, and you can watch it below.
Motors operated on direct current were not very practical at the time and caused a jerky motion. However, Tesla and another inventor named Ferraris realized that AC current could cause a rotating magnetic field without a moving commutator.
The humble automotive alternator hides an interesting secret. Known as the part that converts power from internal combustion into the electricity needed to run everything else, they can also themselves be used as an electric motor.
These devices almost always take the form of a 3-phase alternator with the magnetic component supplied by an electromagnet on the rotor, and come with a rectifier and regulator pack to convert the higher AC voltage to 12V for the car electrical systems. Internally they have three connections to the stator coils which appear to be universally wired in a delta configuration, and a pair of connections to a set of brushes supplying the rotor coils through a set of slip rings. They have a surprisingly high capacity, and estimates put their capabilities as motors in the several horsepower. Best of all they are readily available second-hand and also surprisingly cheap, the Ford Focus unit shown here came from an eBay car breaker and cost only £15 (about $20).
We already hear you shouting “Why?!” at your magical internet device as you read this. Let’s jump into that.
The hack begins as [Jerry] decides to gut a Maytag MAH7500 Neptune front loader. Many projects exist that borrow the motor but rely on a seperately sourced variable frequency drive, so the goal was to see if the machine’s original controller was usable. The machine was first troubleshooted using a factory service mode, which spins the drum at a set speed if everything is working correctly.
From there, it was a relatively simple job to source the machine schematics to identify the pinouts of the various connectors. After some experimentation with a scope and a function generator, [Jerry] was able to get the motor spinning with the original controller doing the hard work.
It’s a simple hack, and one that relies on the availability of documentation to get the job done, but it’s a great inspiration for anyone else looking to drive similar motors in their own projects. The benefit is that by using the original motor controller, you can be confident that it’s properly rated for the motor on hand.
Perhaps instead of an induction motor, you’d rather drive a high powered brushless DC motor? This project can help.