Can one use a 3 phase motor as a 3 phase generator?
A rotary phase converter gets a normal 3 phase motor spinning using
essentially 2 phases by using an artificially generated second phase
via a capacitor, and the motor generates the third phase.
So if a 3 phase motor has one phase mains energised and is then spun
up to synchronous speed will it generate the two other phases? (I
appreciate that a normal 3 phase generator would have an armature that
is a DC magnet spinning in the three stator coils).
If it's an induction motor then you have to supply the magnetizing VARs
externally. This can be in the form of the mains and its "infinite bus*". If
you try to run the motor faster than synchronous speed the it'll generate.
When you use two phases and a capacitor you are supplying the magnetizing VARs
to the third phase from the capacitor. Voltage regulation isn't as good, but
If you run a single phase motor as a generator, the mains is still providing
the magnetising VARs, but there are larger circulating currents in the rotor
squirrel cage windings... it'll still generate.
If you throw away the squirrel cage rotor and put your own wound rotor in with
a simple voltage regulator feeding the windings, then you have a large noisy
lump in the garden!
People in the business talk about electrical machines rather than motors or
generators because the only difference is whether you take mechanical power
out or put it in.
* An infinite bus is an electrical circuit in which the voltage and frequency
are unaffected by the amount of current you take out or put in to it.
Don't know if that has muddied things up more or not.
Andrew, The best motor to convert to a generator is the slip ring type
AC motor, found in overhead cranes etc.
These can be easily excited and controlled by stuffing DC into two of
the three slip rings.
Can't remember off hand what's needed, 90 volts seems to ring a bell.
Try some of the rewind people as they aren't a common motor but they
are the best.
Visit the new Model Engineering adverts page at:-
Although the mains is often referred to as an infinite bus, and it's true
that you won't change it's frequency unless they are supplying your area
from a portable generator while maintaining the network, you can all too
easily change it's voltage as can be seen by the lights dipping when you
start a lathe etc. I suppose the best way to describe the mains is an
infinite bus with an impedance in series with it.
That's essentially what a rotary converter is, once the start cap is
disconnected you are feeding one phase in and getting three phase out,
although they usually have running capacitors to balance the voltages and
improve the power factor. Note however that if you want 400V out you have to
feed 400V in so have to use a step up transformer, this is because the input
is applied across two phases of the motor not a phase and the star point, if
indeed there is one.
Reading it again, it would be best desribed as a motor having two phases
applied from the mains and generating the third phase, or putting it another
way it's working like a three phase motor on a three phase supply that has
lost one phase, yet keeps running.
Not quite - it has to be beyond synchronous speed before it
it behaves as an induction generator.
The normal squirrel cage 3 phase induction motors work
because the rotor speed is slightly lower than the synchronous
speed of the rotating magnetic field. This generates large
currents in the rotor bars at this difference frequency and this
provides the motor output torque.
If it is mechanically driven to reach synchronous speed the
difference frequency falls to zero so that no current is induced
in the rotor bars. The machine is now passive - it neither
absorbs or generates power.
If the machine is mechanically driven ABOVE synchronous
speed large currents are again generated in the rotor bars but
this time the torque generated opposes the input drive. The
magnetic field from the rotor rotates at rotor rotation frequency
minus the difference frequency = synchronous frequency and this
generates power which is fed back into the supply. i.e although
the rotor speed is slightly above synchronous speed it feeds back
power at supply frequency.
If we plot shaft torque against shaft speed we get an "S"
curve lying on its back. Torque passes through zero at
synchronous speed and rises to a maximum at rotor speeds just
below and just above synchronous speed - absorbing power below -
generating power above.
Strictly speaking the above applies to a 3 phase machine
connected to a high power 3 phase supply. However, if only one
phase is connected, the machine will also act as a rotary 3 phase
converter. Three phase power will be available and power will be
fed back to the single energised phase.
Note - this only works because it is connected to a
relatively high power supply. This defines the synchronous speed
and permits a stable system.
Hi Andrew. There is an article on using a three phase squirrel cage
motor as a generator in "Stationary Engine" magazine No 217 (March 1992)
A version is shown which produces about 6 kW
This is Based on information supplied by John Bonner.If needed I could
scan the piece.