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# Engineering innovation through

## A wholly owned subsidiary of

The Morgan Crucible Company PLC

Unraveling
the
Commutation Mystery

DC
Machine
Basics

Machine

Carbon
Brushes

Brush
Holder
Types

g
N

N = Number of Turns
g = Air Gap

Flux

N
i
e

Nxi

SATURATION CURVE
Flux
in
Air Gap

Iron Saturation
Region

p
a
G
r
Ai

on
i
g
e
R

N x IF (Ampere Turns)

## When Flux or Current Changes

N
IF

d
e=-N
dt
d
IF
e=-L
dt

Generated Volts
Volts = E. M. F. = B x l xV
where
B = Flux Density ( / area)
l = Length of the conductor
V = Velocity of the conducto

N
IF

Force on Conductor
F = B x IA x l
where
B = Flux Density ( / area)
IA = Current
l = Length of the conductor
V

IF
IA

Generator
V BxlxV
V B I Field

Motor
Speed
V = BxlxV

V B x RPM
RPM Volts Volts
I
B
Field
Torque

Torque

F B x IA x l
Torque B x IA

B
( Flux Density )

Commutation
Frame

I
dI
V = - L A= - L A
t
dt
This is called Reactance Voltage

Armature Current

Armature Rotation

North Pole
+ IA

IA

Time
- IA

South Pole

Frame

Armature Rotation ( V )
V = BxlxV
V B x l x RPM
V = - L IA
t
B x l x V =- L IA
t
B IA

Frame

N
C

Frame

N
C

Frame

N
C

Winding
Frame

## - Cancels Effects of Armature Reaction

- Reduces Bar - to - Bar Voltage
- Improves Some Output Characteristics

and Windings

## Main Pole or Field Pole

and Windings

Frame

Pole Face or
Compensating Windings

Armature Windings

Frame
Backgap go
Shims
Flux
g

Armature

Flux N x IA

Frontgap

## Brush Neutral Position

Frame

Brush

Commutation Zone

1. Brush Position
2. Commutating Field Strength

Factory Method
Field Method

Excavator MG Set

To Shorted Turns

Volts

Volts

Volts

Typical Data

Pole

Good Coil
Volts

12:00

20.5

2:00

19.5

4:00

19.3

6:00

20.2

8:00

19.8

10:00

20.7

Typical Data

Pole

Coil

Volts
Volts

12:00

20.5

24.3

2:00

19.5

17.9

4:00

19.3

12.1

6:00

20.2

18.3

8:00

19.8

23.8

10:00

20.7

23.6

Typical Data

Pole

Good Coil
Volts

1:00

0.87

3:00

0.92

5:00

0.85

7:00

0.88

9:00

0.93

11:00

0.89

AC Voltage Drops

## If Voltage Drops Vary

More Than 15% Between
Coils, Replace Coil
With Low Voltage Drop

Brush Spacing
A
F

or
t
a
t
u
m
m
Co

Max. Spacing
Diff. = ______
C

A = ______
B = ______
C = ______
D = ______
E = ______
F = ______

Target is .030
On Westinghouse
Equipment

D
Max. Spacing diff = .050 on GE equip.

Brush Arm

Brush Spacing

Frame
Frame

Frame
Pole
Armature

Pole
Frame

## Airgap Taper Gauge

Airgap Measurement

MMS 6000

## Other Things To Check

Electrical Connections
Vibration

## Methods to Set Electrical Neutral

DC Kick
AC Null
Reversability (Speed & Voltage)
Black Band
Brush Potential

tuning up DC machines see
the WMEA web site
http://wmea.net
in Papers, NECP Tuning
Up DC Motors and Generators
Jun 07

## Another static method for

setting neutral can be
found on the WMEA web
site
http://WMEA.net
in Papers, Setting
Neutral via the AC curve
method on DC machines
Flanders Nov 05

## Adjusting interpole strength in the field is

difficult at best and has safety concerns.

## It is recommended that on machine

disassembly, the shims be taped together
and the side facing the pole and frame
and pole location be marked and the
shims be replaced exactly as they came
out.

## Commutating Pole Shim Order

Frame

Commutating
Pole

Thin Steel
Thin Aluminum
1/8 Inch Aluminum
1/8 Inch Steel

Theory of
Brush Operation

Carbon Brushes
Transfer Electrical Current from
Stationary Parts To Rotating Parts
Aids In The Commutation Process

Base
Carbon

Electrographitic Family

D
E

Increasing

Increasing

Increasing

Increasing

Commutating
Resistivity
Ability
Life

Treatment

Treatment

## Improves Brush Life

Improves Filming
Provides Low Humidity Protection
Allow High Temperature Operation
Reduces Copper Drag
Contaminated Atmospheres
Minimizes Commutator Wear
Reduces Friction

Wear Rate

Electrographitics
Untreated

Treated

Brush Temperature
Humidity

(Increasing)
(Decreasing)

Electrographitics
Treatment Lubricates
Treatment Increases Mechanical Strength
Some Treatments Improve Commutation which
Lowers Temperatures and Increases Life

Coefficient of Friction

Friction

Brush Temperature

175C

Coefficient of Friction

Friction
Friction is highest at low brush

Brush Temperature

175C

Friction
Other Factors affect friction

Coefficient of Friction

- Chemical contamination
- Low humidity
- Ring material (copper, brass, steel)
-Treatments can increase or decrease friction

Brush Temperature

175C

Airborne
Contaminants
5%
Carbon Graphite
from the brush
15 - 20%

Carbon
Brush

Grains of
Moisture
Copper
Oxide
75%

Copper Commutator

## Commutator Film Makeup

Lubrication
All surfaces require lubrication to prevent excessive wear.
This is very true for carbon, which is abrasive without water or
some other ingredient to lubricate the brush/commutator interface.
This is normally referred to as the commutator film which is
composed of:
Copper Oxide 75%
Graphite

15 20 %

Contaminants 5%
Water
High brush temperature and low humidity reduce the amount of
water in the film, which then reduces lubrication between the brush
and commutator film. Seizure between the brush and commutator
film can result, which eventually leads to a raw commutator
surface.

Humidity
Explanation

Humidity
Relative Humidity- The amount of
water vapor in the air as a
percentage of what the air could
hold at that temperature.
This is what the weather man
reports

Humidity
Absolute Humidity- The mass of
water vapor per mass of dry air.
Absolute humidity is
independent of temperature
(until you fall below the dew
point). Absolute humidity is

Humidity
Units
Relative Humidity - %
Absolute Humidity grains / lb
dry air
1 grain = 0.000143 lbs

Humidity
Dew Point - Temperature at
which relative humidity is 100%
(saturated). If temperature
decreases further moisture will
condense out of the air. (dew)

% Relative Humidity

180
170

150
140
130
120
110
100

20 10
40

90
80

60

70

100 80

60
50

Absolute Humidity

160

40
30
20
10
0
20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

Temperature (Degrees F)

85

90

95 100 105

## Grain / lb Dry Air

(20 F to 105 F
- 18 C to +41

% Relative Humidity

Psychometric Chart
- 40 F to + 40 F
- 40 C to + 4 C

24

22

20

18

16

## Grain / lb Dry Air

14

10

12

50

10

100

-40
40

-30

-20

-10

10

20

Temperature (Degrees F)

30

Absolute Humidity
Where

When

Temp.

R.H.

Abs. H

LA

Summer

90 F (32C)

90%

178 gr/lb

AZ

Summer

100F (38C)

10%

28 gr/lb

TX

Winter

100%

24 gr/lb

WY

Winter

1.8 gr/lb

AB

Winter

0.5 gr/lb

32F (0C)

Wear Rate

## Wear vs Brush Pressure

A
AB- Spring Pressure too light.
Wear Rate

## Sparking, electrical erosion and high temperature

accelerate brush wear.

A

Wear Rate

## High abrasive frictional forces

accelerate brush wear.

D
B

C
Brush Pressure Intensity

## Wear vs Brush Pressure

Wear Rate

BC Balance to achieve
minimal wear

C
Brush Pressure Intensity

## How Much Brush Pressure ?

The proper amount of brush pressure against the commutator or
slip ring depends on the application and/or the brush grade.
To calculate the brush pressure; you need to know or measure
the spring force and the brush thickness and width. Brush T x
W = the cross sectional area. Brushes that contact the
commutator at an angle do have more contact area that the
product of their T x W, but it is usually not a significant
difference so the easier to calculate cross sectional area is used.
Recommended
Brush PSI
Range
3.5 to 6
3 to 8
5 to 10
3 to 4
2 to 2.75
3 to 5

Application
General Industrial Motors
Fractional HP Motors
Traction Motors
Slip Rings Low Speed, Graphite Grade
Slip Rings High Speed, Graphite Grade

Do not
sandblast
springs or
brush holders !
Solvent clean

## Single vs Multiple Wafer

Rotating
Surface

- Limited brush
contact points on
irregular surfaces

Rotating
Surface

## - Better brush face contact

- Increased cross resistance
for better commutation

Rotating
Surface

## - Distributes force evenly

if spring is off center

Rotating
Surface

## - Allows movement between

wafers
- Absorbs shock and vibration

VR = ic x RA + VCD + ic x RB + VCD
RB
VCD VCD

RAic
VR

ic

VR - 2 VCD

RA + RB

ic Becomes less as R

increases

## Use high resistivity grade brush

for difficult to commutate machines.

VR = ic x RA + VCD + ic x RB
+ ic x RW + VCD

RB
VCD V
CD

RA c
VR

RW

VR - 2 VCD
ic = R + R + R
A
B
W

ic

## Use 2 or 3 wafer brush construction

for difficult to commutate machines.

Holder

Rotation

Holder

Rotation

Modified
Reaction
Holder

Rotation

Modified
Reaction
Holder

Friction
Chatter

Rotation

Reaction
Holder
Trailing

Rotation

Reaction
Holder
Stubbing

Rotation

Reaction
Holder

Friction
Chatter

Stubbing