It may be recalled that a d.c. generator can be run as a d.c. motor. In like manner, an alternator may operate as a motor by connecting its armature winding to a 3-phase supply. It is then called a synchronous motor. As the name implies, a synchronous motor runs at synchronous speed (Ns = 120f/P) i.e., in synchronism with the revolving field produced by the 3-phase supply. The speed of rotation is, therefore, tied to the frequency of the source. Since the frequency is fixed, the motor speed stays constant irrespective of the load or voltage of 3phase supply. However, synchronous motors are not used so much because they run at constant speed (i.e., synchronous speed) but because they possess other unique electrical properties. In this chapter, we shall discuss the working and characteristics of synchronous motors.
A synchronous motor is a machine that operates at synchronous speed and converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. It is fundamentally an alternator operated as a motor. Like an alternator, a synchronous motor has the following two parts: (i) a stator which houses 3-phase armature winding in the slots of the stator core and receives power from a 3-phase supply [See (Fig. (11.1)]. (ii) a rotor that has a set of salient poles excited by direct current to form alternate N and S poles. The exciting coils are connected in series to two slip rings and direct current is fed into the winding from an external exciter mounted on the rotor shaft. The stator is wound for the same number of poles as the rotor poles. As in the case of an induction motor, the number of poles determines the synchronous speed of the motor:
Synchronous speed, N s = where
f = frequency of supply in Hz P = number of poles
An important drawback of a synchronous motor is that it is not self-starting and auxiliary means have to be used for starting it.
11.2 Some Facts about