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A.C. series motor

The series motor due to its desirable speed-torque characteristics is almost exclusively used in railway service. While the D.C. motor is entirely satisfactory for this class of work service and is generally used on street railway cars and trolley coaches, the fact that it is more convenient and more economical to transmit power and to transform voltages in A.C. systems than with direct currents has lead to the development of the A.C. series motor for use on some of the important steam-road electrifications.

Working principle. The working principle of an A.C. series motor is the same as that of the D.C. series motor. The armature and field are wound and interconnected in the same manner as the D.C. series motor.

When an alternating e.m.f. is applied to the terminals, since field and armature windings are connected in series, the field flux and armature current reverse simultaneously every half cycle, but the direction of the torque remains unchanged. The torque is pulsating, but its average value is equal to that which a D.C. motor will develop if it had the same r.m.s. value of flux and current. Motor connections, direction of torque, etc. for two successive half cycles are shown in Fig. 18. If the field and armature core are run at low saturation, .the air-gap flux is approximately proportional to the current and the torque is approximately proportional to current squared.

Although it is theoretically possible to operate a D.C. series motor from an A.C. circuit, the following structural changes must be made in the motor to make it a practical and reasonable efficient machine:

  • The entire magnetic circuit must be laminated, and materials with low iron-loss co-efficient should be used as in transformers.


  • The field circuit must be designed for a much lower reactance than the corresponding D.C. motor field in order to reduce the reactance voltage drop of the field to a minimum and to improve the power factor of the motor.
  • A distributed compensating winding is required to reduce the reactance of the armature winding by reducing the leakage flux and to neutralize the cross-magnetising effect of the armature ampere turns.

The compensating winding may be connected in series with the series-field and armature windings, or it may be short-circuited upon itself and receive its excitation voltage by transformer action, since it is inductively coupled with the armature cross-field (Fig. 19). In the first case, the motor is said to be conductively compensated, while in the second it is inductively compensated. Conductive compensation IS required on motors which are intended for operation in D.C. as well as A. C. circuits.