3 Point Starter | Working Principle and Construction of Three Point StarterPublished on 24/2/2012 & updated on 20/8/2018
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The general motor emf equation at starting is modified to E = Ia.Ra as at starting Eb = 0. Thus we can well understand from the above equation that the current will be dangerously high at starting (as armature resistance Ra is small) and hence its important that we make use of a device like the 3 point starter to limit the starting current to an allowable lower value. Let us now look into the construction and working of three-point starter to understand how the starting current is restricted to the desired value. For that let’s consider the diagram given below showing all essential parts of the three-point starter.
Construction of 3 Point StarterConstruction wise a starter is a variable resistance, integrated into the number of sections as shown in the figure beside. The contact points of these sections are called studs and are shown separately as OFF, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, RUN. Other than that there are three main points, referred to as
- 'L' Line terminal. (Connected to positive of supply.)
- 'A' Armature terminal. (Connected to the armature winding.)
- 'F' Field terminal. (Connected to the field winding.)
Working of Three Point StarterHaving studied its construction, let us now go into the working of the 3 point starter. To start with the handle is in the OFF position when the supply to the DC motor is switched on. Then handle is slowly moved against the spring force to make contact with stud No. 1. At this point, field winding of the shunt or the compound motor gets supply through the parallel path provided to starting the resistance, through No Voltage Coil. While entire starting resistance comes in series with the armature. The high starting armature current thus gets limited as the current equation at this stage becomes As the handle is moved further, it goes on making contact with studs 2, 3, 4, etc., thus gradually cutting off the series resistance from the armature circuit as the motor gathers speed. Finally, when the starter handle is in 'RUN' position, the entire starting resistance is eliminated, and the motor runs with normal speed. This is because back emf is developed consequently with speed to counter the supply voltage and reduce the armature current.
So the external electrical resistance is not required anymore and is removed for optimum operation. The handle is moved manually from OFF to the RUN position with the development of speed. Now the obvious question is once the handle is taken to the RUN position how it is supposed to stay there, as long as the motor is running. To find the answer to this question let us look into the working of No Voltage Coil.
Working of No Voltage Coil of 3 Point StarterThe supply to the field winding is derived through no voltage coil. So when field current flows, the NVC is magnetized. Now when the handle is in the 'RUN' position, a soft iron piece is connected to the handle and gets attracted by the magnetic force produced by NVC, because of flow of current through it. The NVC is designed in such a way that it holds the handle in 'RUN' position against the force of the spring as long as supply is given to the motor. Thus NVC holds the handle in the 'RUN' position and hence also called hold on coil.
Now when there is any kind of supply failure, the current flow through NVC is affected and it immediately loses its magnetic property and is unable to keep the soft iron piece on the handle, attracted. At this point under the action of the spring force, the handle comes back to OFF position, opening the circuit and thus switching off the motor. So due to the combination of NVC and the spring, the starter handle always comes back to OFF position whenever there is any supply problem. Thus it also acts as a protective device safeguarding the motor from any kind of abnormality.
Drawbacks of a Three Point StarterThe 3 point starter suffers from a serious drawback for motors with a large variation of speed by adjustment of the field rheostat. To increase the speed of the motor field resistance can be increased. Therefore current through the shunt field is reduced. Field current becomes very low which results in holding electromagnet too weak to overcome the force exerted by the spring. The holding magnet may release the arm of the starter during the normal operation of the motor and thus disconnect the motor from the line. This is not desirable. A four point starter is thus used.
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