UNIVERSAL MOTOR – Study Materials
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The universal motor is a type of electric motor that can operate on either AC or DC power and uses an electromagnet as its stator to create its magnetic field. It is a commutated series-wound motor where the stator’s field coils are connected in series with the rotor windings through a commutator. It is often referred to as an AC series motor. The universal motor is very similar to a DC series motor in construction, but is modified slightly to allow the motor to operate properly on AC power. This type of electric motor can operate well on AC because the current in both the field coils and the armature (and the resultant magnetic fields) will alternate (reverse polarity) synchronously with the supply. Hence the resulting mechanical force will occur in a consistent direction of rotation, independent of the direction of applied voltage, but determined by the commutator and polarity of the field coils.
Universal motors have high starting torque, can run at high speed, and are lightweight and compact. They are commonly used in portable power tools and equipment, as well as many household appliances. They’re also relatively easy to control, electro mechanically using tapped coils, or electronically. However, the commutator has brushes that wear, so they are much less often used for equipment that is in continuous use. In addition, partly because of the commutator, universal motors are typically very noisy, both acoustically and electromagnetically.