What are the Differences Between AC, DC, and EC Motors?

When designing a motor application, it is important to know what kind of motors are available. Different types offer specific advantages, and choosing the correct motor can help boost productivity and cut costs.

DC (or direct-current) and AC (or alternating current) motors are the most common types. A third option, the EC (or electronically communicated) motor, is a modern solution that might replace DC and AC motors.

DC motors rely on carbon brushes and a commutation ring to switch the direction of the current and magnetic field polarity in a rotating armature. This interaction between the internal rotor and fixed permanent magnets induces the rotation of the motor.

DC motors are very efficient, but have short lifespans and suffer from very specific losses that are a product of their design.

AC motors are powered and controlled by AC input voltage. They rely on an outside stator, with coils that produce a rotating magnetic field, and an inside rotor, attached to the output shaft and producing a second rotating magnetic field. The interaction between these rotating fields induces the rotation of the motor.

AC motors are less efficient than DC motors, because they have to create their own magnetic field, but they offer greater control.

EC motors are brushless DC motors controlled by external electronics. The rotor contains permanent magnetics, and the stator has fixed windings. Electronic circuitry switches the phases in the windings to make the motor turn.

EC motors are the most efficient of the three, and deliver exceptional control. But they are expensive, and current technology limits them to lower power output applications.

To learn more about motor technology, contact our experts today.

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