Three Point Starter

Saturday, November 5, 2011

       The Fig. 1 shows this type of starter.
       The starter is basically a variable resistance, divided into number of sections. The contact points of these sections are called studs and brought out separately shown as OFF, 1, 2,  ... upto RUN. There are three main points of this starter :
1. 'L' Line terminal to be connected to positive of supply.
2. 'A' To be connected to the armature winding.
3. 'F' To be connected to the field winding.
Fig. 1 Three point starter
       Point 'L' is further connected to an electromagnet called overload release (OLR). The second end of 'OLR' is connected to a point where handle of the starter is provided. This handle is free to move from its other side against the force of the spring. This spring brings back the handle to the OFF position under the influence of its own force. Another parallel path is derived from the stud '1', given to the another electromagnet called No Volt Coil (NVC). The NVC is further connected to terminal 'F'. The starting resistance is entirely in series with the armature. The OLR and NVC are the two protecting devices of the starter.
       Operation : Initially the handle is in the OFF position. The d.c. supply to the motor is switched on. Then handle is slowly moved against the spring force to make a contact with stud No. 1. At this point, field winding gets supply through the parallel path provided to starting resistance, through NVC. While entire starting resistance comes in series with the armature and armature current which is high at start, gets limited. As the handle is moved further, it goes on making contact with studs 2, 3, 4 etc., cutting out the starting resistance gradually from the armature circuit. Finally when the starter handle is in 'RUN' position, the entire starting resistance gets removed from the armature circuit and motor starts operating with normal speed. The handle is moved manually, and the obvious question is how handle will remain in the 'RUN' position, as long as motor is running ?
       Let us see the action of NVC which will give the answer to this question along with some other functions of NVC.
1.1 Function of No Volt Coil
1. The supply to the field winding is derived through NVC. So when field current flows, it magnetises the NVC. When the handle is in the 'RUN' position, soft iron piece connected to the handle gets attracted by the magnetic force produced by NVC. Design of NVC is such that it holds the handle in 'RUN' position against the force of the spring as long as supply to the motor is proper. Thus NVC holds the handle in the 'RUN' position and hence also called hold on coil.
2. Whenever there is supply failure or if field circuit is broken, the current through NVC gets affected. It looses its magnetism and hence not in a position to keep the soft iron piece on the handle, attracted. Under the spring force, handle comes back to OFF position, 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 problems. The entire starting resistance comes back in series with the armature when attempt is made to start the motor everytime. This prevents the damage of the motor caused due to accidental starting.
3. NVC performs the similar action under low voltage conditions and protects the motor from such dangerous supply conditions as well.
1.2 Action of Overload Release
       The current through the motor is taken through the OLR, an electromagnet. Under overload condition, high current is drawn by the motor from the supply which passes through OLR. Below this magnet, there is an arm which is fixed at its fulcrum and normally resting in horizontal position. Under overloading, high current through OLR produces enough force of attraction to attract the arm upwards. Normally magnet is so designed that up to a full load value of current, the force of attraction produced is just enough to balance the gravitational force of the arm and hence not lifting it up. At the end of this arm, there is a triangular iron piece fitted. When the arm is pulled upwards the triangular piece touches the two points which are connected to the two ends of NVC. This shorts the NVC and voltage across NVC becomes zero due to which NVC looses its magnetism. So under the spring force, handle comes back to the OFF position, disconnecting the motor from the supply. Thus motor gets saved from the overload conditions.
       In this starter, it can be observed that as handle is moved from different studs one by one, the part of the starting resistance which gets removed from the armature circuit, gets added to the field circuit. As the value of starting resistance is very small as compared to the field winding resistance, this hardly affects the field winding performance. But this addition of the resistance in the field circuit can be avoided by providing a brass are or copper are connected just below the stud, the end of which is connected to NVC, as shown in the Fig. 2.
Fig. 2 Three point starter with brass arc

       The handle moves over this arc, supplying the field current directly bypassing the starting resistance. When such an arc is provided, the connection used earlier to supply field winding, is removed.
1.3 Disadvantage
       In this starter, the NVC and the field winding are in series. So while controlling the speed of the motor above rated, field current is reduced by adding an extra resistance in series with the field winding. Due to this, the current through NVC also reduced. Due to this, magnetism produced by NVC also reduces. This may release the handle from its RUN position switching off the motor. To avoid the dependency of NVC and the field winding, four point starter is used, in which NVC  and the field winding are connected parallel.

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