Note on Split Phase Induction Motors

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It is known that the single phase induction motor is not self-starting and therefore it is necessary to employ some means to make it self-starting.For this purpose,an additional winding is provided on the stator,which is called starting or auxiliary winding as shown in fig 3.


The two windings which are spaced 90° electrical apart on the stator of a motor are excited by the alternating emfs that are 90° displaced in time phase.Then,a rotating magnetic field is produced.If two windings so placed are connected in parallel to a single phase source,the field produced will be alternate but will not revolve since two windings are equivalent to one phase winding.If an impedance is connected in series with one of these winding,the current may be made to differ in time phase.By proper selection of such impedance,the current may be made to differ in time phase as much as 90°,thereby producing a rotating field like a field of a two-phase motor.This is the principle of phase splitting and single phase inductor motor employing this principle for starting is a split phase induction motor.

Split phase induction motor are of following types:

  • Resistant Start Motor
  • Capacitor Start Motor
  • Capacitors Start and Run Motor
  • Permanent Capacitor Motor
  • Shaded Pole Motor

Resistant Starting Motor:


In this motor, a resistor of certain resistance is used for starting of the ingle phase induction motor as shown in fig 3.1.Since the starting winding is made up of comparatively thin wire with respect to main winding,its resistance will be more with compare to the resistance of the main winding and its inductance will be less with compare to induction of main winding.Since the resistance of the starting winding is high and its inductance is low,the current through the starting winding(Is) lags the applied voltage by a small angle.Whereas,the current through the main winding(Im) lags the applied voltage by a larger angle resulting a phase difference of α between Im and Is.Because of this phase difference,the motors act as a two-phase motor and it will produce a rotating magnetic field.Hence,the motor rotates in a particular direction.When the speed reaches about 70-80% of its normal rated speed,the centrifugal switch gets open and the motor acts as a single phase induction motor.At this speed,the forward torque will be more than backward torque.Hence the motor continue to rotate in forward direction.

The starting torque of such motor is proportional to phase angle α.Since the value of phase angle is small in this motor,this type of motor produces low starting torque.It has a starting torque of 150-200% of full load torque and starting current of 6-8 times of full load current.It operates at the speed of 1440 rpm and its size can vary from 1/20 KW to 1/4 KW.

Such motors find wide applications for low inertia loads,continuous operating loads, and applications requiring moderate starting torque such as for driving washing machines,fans,blowers,centrifugal pumps,domestic refrigerators,duplicating machines,wood working tools,grinders,oil burners,etc.

Capacitor Start Motor:


This is an improved form of resistant start motor,with the addition of capacitor in the starting winding as shown in fig 3.2. If high starting torque is required,then a capacitor of proper value can be connected in series with the starting winding so that the phase angle is nearly 90° resulting high starting torque.Such motor is known as single phase capacitor start induction run motor.It can be used for the applications requiring high starting torque without excessive high starting current.After the machine attains normal speed,the starting winding is cut out and its operating characteristics are identical to those of resistant start motor.

Capacitors start motors are manufactured in rating from size of 1/10 KW to 1/2 KW.They are widely applicable for heavy duty general purpose applications like refrigerator units,air conditioners,compressors,jet pumps,sump pumps,centrifugal pumps,conveyors,fans,blowers,farm and home workshop tools,oil burners,etc.

Capacitor Start – Capacitor Run Motor:

In this type of motor,two capacitors C1 and C2 are used and connected in parallel.The parallel combination is connected in series with starting winding and C2 has a centrifugal switch in series with it as shown in fig 3.3.


Both the capacitors C1 and C2 are in circuit during starting.After the motor speed has reached about 70-80 % of normal rated speed,the centrifugal switch opens and C2 gets disconnected.The starting winding and C1 remains in the circuit during the running condition too.Thus,the motor is actually a two phase motor even the supply voltage is single phase.The use of C1 during running condition improves the power factor of the motor and improves the efficiency.The starting winding and C1 have to be designed for continuous duty rating.Hence,this type of motor is more expensive than the capacitor start induction run motor.The value of C2 has to be chosen higher value than that of C1 in order to produce high starting torque.The typical torque-speed characteristics is shown in fig 3.3. Both the starting currents and running currents are low,i.e. full load current may be 3/4th of that for an equivalent capacitor start motor.

In spite of its high cost,it is used in splendid machines where load requirements are severe as in the case of compressors,refrigerators,fire strokers,pumps,conveyors,hospital,studies and so forth.The direction of rotation of the motor may be reversed by interchanging the connections to the supply of either the main or auxiliary winding.

Permanent Capacitor Motor:

Permanent Capacitor single phase induction motor has two stators winding placed mutually 90 electrical degrees apart.The main or running winding is connected directly across the single phase ac supply.A capacitor in series with the auxiliary winding is also connected to the supply lines.There is no centrifugal switch since the auxiliary winding is energized at all the time when the motor is in operation.The schematic diagram of permanent capacitor motor and its corresponding torque-speed characteristics is shown in fig 3.4.


The auxiliary winding is always in the motor circuit, and therefore the operation of the motor when loaded resembles more closely to that of two phase motor.

It is used in the applications,where the motors start with a light load or no load on its shaft,i.e. high torque is not required.Hence,It is possible to avoid the cost of the centrifugal switch and starting capacitor by removing them and keeping only starting winding and C1 permanently connected as shown in the circuit in the figure.

Shaded Pole Motor:

Small motors requiring small starting torque,can be made self-starting by using the shaded band in the pole as shown fig 3.5. and this motor is called shaded pole motor.


The stator of this type of motor has shaded pole structure.The low resistance copper band C and D are placed so as to surround approximately half of the pole face.When stator winding is supplied by single phase ac voltage source,emf will induce in the shaded band and induced current will glow in these shaded band.These induced current opposes the change of flux which-which will cause to lag flux φs with respect to flux φm (according to the Lenz law) as shown in the phasor diagram.Due to phase angle α between φm and φs ,a rotating magnetic field will produce which rotates in the direction from the unshaded portion to the shaded portion.

Starting torque of such motor will be very less. Therefore, shaded pole motors are only suitable for small capacity motor requiring low starting torque.Because of their low starting torque,they are best suited for driving fans or other loads that are easily started.They may have multiple taps near one electrical end of the winding,which provides variable speed and power via selection of one tap at a time,as in ceiling fans.Moreover,they are compatible with TRIAC-based variable speed controls,which often are used with fans.They are built in power sizes up to about ¼ horsepower output.Above 1/3 horsepower, they are not common, and for larger motors,other designs offer better characteristics.

  • In the case of capacitor start and capacitor run induction motors, the value of C2 has to be chosen higher than that of C1 in order to produce high starting torque.

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