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What is a Motor Controller?

What is a Motor Controller?

A motor controller is a single device or several devices that help with the performance of an electric motor. It doesn’t necessarily have a specific purpose as it can determine forward or reverse rotation of the motor, the speed of the motor and can also control the regulation or limiting of the torque while also protecting the motor from overloads or faults. Motor controllers can also be automatic or manual, depending on the purpose of the motor.

All electric motors need some sort of controller, whether it’s for a simple task or something a little more complex. Of course, the tasks of a motor controller depend on the purpose of the motor itself and how hard it works.

In the simplest case, a motor controller could be a switch that connects the motor to a power source of some sort. Such a case could include a small appliance or power tool of some kind, where the switch is either manually or automatically operated. In a more complex situation, the controller’s purpose may be to control the speed and torque of the motor more accurately to ensure maximum efficiency and safety.

The Many Different Types of Motor Controllers

There are many different types of motor controllers to help with the specific functions of different motors, as the purpose of a controller isn’t set to a single function. Some of the different types include motor starters, reduced voltage starters, adjustable speed drives and intelligent controllers.

Motor Starters:

A motor starter does exactly what it says it does; it helps start the motor. They can either be a manual switch to get the motor started or a more complex system for automatic operation. Of course, what a motor starter entails depends on the actual motor itself.

Reduced Voltage Starters:

These also help start the motor, but with a generally lower voltage. By doing so, it reduces the starting torque and inrush current of the motor. But, once the motor gets going, it will switch from reduced to full voltage.

Adjustable Speed Drives:

These will adjust the operating speed of the motor and are made up of different devices working together to accomplish the task. The controller itself may simply be called a drive in these situations.

Intelligent Controllers:

Intelligent controllers keep an eye on how hard the motor is working and matches the torque accordingly to keep the motor working just enough for the motor load. It’s able to accomplish this by decreasing the voltage and the current, making the motor as efficient as possible. This is especially helpful when the motor has a lighter load most of the time. That way, when the motor isn’t working too hard, the controller matches the torque accordingly and reduces the noise, heat and vibrations of the motor.

Motor controllers can cover a number of different functions and can also consist of several different devices to achieve a single task. They can determine how a motor functions and can also help a motor better accomplish its purpose by controlling the torque, managing the startup of the motor or other areas.

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