Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor | Working Principle & Construction

In a DC motor, an armature rotates inside a magnetic field. The basic working principle of DC motor is based on the fact that whenever a current carrying conductor is placed inside a magnetic field, there will be mechanical force experienced by that conductor.

All kinds of DC motors work under this principle. Hence for constructing a DC motor, it is essential to establish a magnetic field. The magnetic field is established by using a magnet. You can use different types of magnets – it may be an electromagnet or it can be a permanent magnet. A Permanent Magnet DC motor (or PMDC motor) is a type of DC motor that uses a permanent magnet to create the magnetic field required for the operation of a DC motor.

Permanent Magnet DC Motor

Have you ever used a battery operated toy? The motor that drives these toys is nothing but a permanent magnet DC motor or PMDC motor. These types of motors are simple in construction. They are commonly used as a starter motor in automobiles, windshield wipers, washers, for blowers used in heaters and air conditioners, to raise and lower windows – and they are extensively used in toys.

As the magnetic field strength of a permanent magnet is fixed it cannot be controlled externally, field control of this type of DC motor cannot be possible. Thus permanent magnet DC motor is used where there is no need to control the speed of the motor (which is usually done by controlling the magnetic field). Small fractional and sub-fractional KW motors are often constructed using a permanent magnet.

Construction of Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor

As it is indicated in name of permanent magnet DC motor, the field poles of this motor are essentially made of permanent magnet. A PMDC motor mainly consists of two parts. A stator and an armature. Here the stator which is a steel cylinder. The magnets are mounted in the inner periphery of this cylinder.

stator of permanent magnet

The permanent magnets are mounted in such a way that the N-pole and S-pole of each magnet are alternatively faced towards armature as shown in the figure below. That means, if N-pole of one magnet is faced towards armature then S-pole of very next magnet is faced towards armature. In addition to holding the magnet on its inner periphery, the steel cylindrical stator also serves as low reluctance return path for the magnetic flux. Although field coil is not required in permanent magnet DC motor but still it is sometimes found that they are used along with permanent magnet. This is because if permanent magnets lose their strength, these lost magnetic strengths can be compensated by field excitation through these field coils. Generally, rare earth hard magnetic materials are used in these permanent magnet.

The rotor of a PMDC motor is similar to other DC motor. The rotor or armature of permanent magnet DC motor also consists of core, windings and commutator. Armature core is made of number of varnish insulated, slotted circular lamination of steel sheets.

By fixing these circular steel sheets one by one, a cylindrical shaped slotted armature core is formed. The varnish insulated laminated steel sheets are used to reduce eddy current loss in armature of permanent magnet DC motor. These slots on the outer periphery of the armature core are used for housing armature conductors in them. The armature conductors are connected in a suitable manner which gives rise to armature winding. The end terminals of the winding are connected to the commutator segments placed on the motor shaft. Like other DC motor, carbon or graphite brushes are placed with spring pressure on the commutator segments to supply current to the armature.

Working Principle of Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor

As we said earlier the working principle of PMDC motor is just similar to the general working principle of DC motor. That is when a carrying conductor comes inside a magnetic field, a mechanical force will be experienced by the conductor and the direction of this force is governed by Fleming’s left hand rule. As in a permanent magnet DC motor, the armature is placed inside the magnetic field of permanent magnet; the armature rotates in the direction of the generated force. Here each conductor of the armature experiences the mechanical force F = B.I.L Newton where, B is the magnetic field strength in Tesla (weber / m2), I is the current in Ampere flowing through that conductor and L is length of the conductor in metre comes under the magnetic field. Each conductor of the armature experiences a force and the compilation of those forces produces a torque, which tends to rotate the armature.

Equivalent Circuit of Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor

equivalent circuit of pmdc


As in PMDC motor the field is produced by permanent magnet, there is no need of drawing field coils in the equivalent circuit of permanent magnet DC motor.
The supply voltage to the armature will have armature resistance drop and rest of the supply voltage is countered by back emf of the motor. Hence voltage equation of the motor is given by,

Where, I is armature current and R is armature resistance of the motor.

Eb is the back emf and V is the supply voltage.

Advantages of Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor

The advantages of a PMDC motor are:

  1. No need of field excitation arrangement.
  2. No input power in consumed for excitation which improve efficiency of DC motor.
  3. No field coil hence space for field coil is saved which reduces the overall size of the motor.
  4. Cheaper and economical for fractional kW rated applications.

Disadvantages of Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor

The disadvantages of a PMDC motor are:

  1. The armature reaction of DC motor cannot be compensated hence the magnetic strength of the field may get weak due to the demagnetizing effect of the armature reaction.
  2. There is a chance of getting the poles permanently demagnetized (partial) due to excessive armature current during the starting, reversal, and overloading conditions of the motor.
  3. The field in the air gap is fixed and limited – it cannot be controlled externally. This makes it difficult for this type of motor to achieve efficient speed control of DC motor in this type of motor is difficult.

Applications of Permanent Magnet DC Motor or PMDC Motor

PMDC motor is extensively used where small DC motors are required and also very effective control is not required, such as in automobiles starter, toys, wipers, washers, hot blowers, air conditioners, computer disc drives and in many more.

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