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Source: http://www.brighthub.com/engineering/electrical/articles/43725.


Slip Ring Induction Motors Basics


We have seen the construction, operation, starting, speed control & classes of
squirrel cage induction motors. In this article, we will discuss on slip ring induction
motors. As discussed earlier, a slip ring induction motor is an asynchronous
motor, as the rotor never runs in synchronous speed with the stator poles. Lets
understand the construction and operation of slip ring induction motor.



The stator construction is same for both squirrel cage & slip ring induction motor.
The main difference in slip ring induction motor is on the rotor construction and
usage. Some changes in the stator may be encountered when a slip ring motor
is used in a cascaded system, as the supply for the slave motor is controlled by
the supply from rotor of other slip ring motor with external resistance mounted on
its rotor.


The slip ring induction motors usually have “Phase-Wound” rotor. This type of
rotor is provided with a 3-phase, double-layer, distributed winding consisting of
coils used in alternators. The rotor core is made up of steel laminations which has
slots to accommodate formed 3-single phase windings. These windings are
placed 120 degrees electrically apart.

The rotor is wound for as many poles as the number of poles in the stator and is
always 3-phase, even though the stator is wound for 2-phase. These three
windings are “starred” internally and other end of these three windings are
brought out and connected to three insulated slip-rings mounted on the rotor
shaft itself. The three terminal ends touch these three slip rings with the help of
carbon brushes which are held against the rings with the help of spring

These three carbon brushes are further connected externally to a 3-phase start
connected rheostat. Thus these slip ring and external

rheostat makes the slip ring induction motors possible to add external resistance
to the rotor circuit, thus enabling them to have a higher resistance during
starting and thus higher starting torque.

When running during normal condition, the slip rings are automatically short-
circuited by means of a metal collar, which is pushed along the shaft, thus
making the three rings touching each other. Also, the brushes are automatically
lifted from the slip-rings to avoid frictional losses, wear and tear. Hence, under
normal running conditions, the wound rotor is acting as same as the squirrel
cage rotor.
What happens when external resistance is added?

In case of squirrel cage induction motor, the rotor resistance is very low, so that
the current in the rotor is so high; which makes its starting torque poor. But
adding external resistance in case of a slip ring induction motor, makes the rotor
resistance high during starting, thus the rotor current is low, thus the starting
torque is maximum. Also the slip necessary to generate maximum torque is
directly proportional to the rotor resistance. In slip ring motors, the rotor
resistance is increased by adding external resistance, thus the slip is increased.
Since the rotor resistance is high, the slip is more, thus possible to achieve “pull-
out” torque even at low speeds. As the motor reaches its base speed (full rated
speed), after the removal of external resistance, under normal running
conditions, it behaves in the same way as squirrel cage induction motor.

Thus these motors are best suited for very high inertia loads, which requires a
pull-out torque at almost zero speed and accelerate to full speed with minimum
current drawn in a very short time period.

Advantages of slip ring induction motors

• The main advantage of slip ring induction motor is that its speed can be
controlled easily.
• "Pull-out torque" can be achieved even from zero r.p.m
• High starting torque when compared to squirrel cage induction motor.
Approximately 200 - 250% of its full-load torque.
• A squirrel cage induction motor takes 600% to 700% of the full load
current. But a slip ring induction motor takes a very low starting current
approximately 250% to 350% of the full load current.

What happens if the motor is started as a normal induction motor?

If the slip motor is started with all the slip rings or the rotor terminals shorted, like a
normal induction motor, then it suffers extremely high locked rotor current,
ranging up to 1400%, accompanied with very low locked rotor torque as low as
60%. So, it is not advised to start a slip ring induction motor with its rotor terminals

In my next article, lets discuss on various starting methods & speed control of a
slip ring induction motors.

Read more:
How Does A Slip Ring Motor Start? 


In my last article, we have discussed everything on squirrel cage induction

motors including its dis-advantages. To overcome these disadvantages, slip ring
induction motors have been developed, with better starting characteristics and
better current drawing characteristics. In this article, we will discuss on the
starting method and characteristics of slip ring induction motors with its

Starting Of Slip Ring Induction Motors

These motors are usually started with full line voltage applied across its terminals.
As these motors have external resistance connected to its rotor circuit, the value
of starting current is adjusted or kept minimum, by increasing the resistance of
the rotor circuit. This external resistance can be assumed to be a form of
rheostat, connected in star, thus kept at maximum when the motor starts and
gradually cut-out as the motor gathers speed. It has been already discussed in
my last article on “Slip Ring Induction Motors..!!,” that increasing the rotor
resistance, not only reduces the rotor current, but the stator current too. This
implies that the starting current of the motor is reduced when an external
resistance is added in the rotor circuit. Thus because of this, the starting torque is
increased due to the improvement in power factor.

The controlling rheostat may be of either stud or contactor type. It may be either
hand operated or sometimes automatic. The 3-phase supply to the stator has a
switching contactor along with over-load and no or low-voltage protective
devices. There might be also an interlock provided to ensure the proper
sequential operation of the control gear and starting devices.

As these motors have considerably high starting torque with low starting current,
these motors can be started on load. The external resistance is used only for the
starting purpose, after which the motor gradually picks up the speed, the
resistance gradually cut-off. These rings are isolated after the motor reaches its
rated speed. The carbon brushes are lifted and the rings are short circuited thus
making them very similar to squirrel cage motors.

Applications of Slip Ring Induction Motors

These motors are used where the load is intermittent and comes on very sharply
for brief periods, such as a punching machine. A heavy flywheel is fitted in the
drive, preferably between the work and any speed-reduction gears. The
flywheel shares the load with the motor, thus enabling a motor of lower rating to
be employed. For load sharing to take place automatically, the motor speed
should drop considerably as the load increases and this is ensured by using a
motor having a high full-load slip, say for example 10%.
Characteristics Of Slip Ring Induction Motor

The slip ring induction motor has two distinctly separate parts, one is the stator
and other is the rotor. The stator circuit is rated as same in the squirrel cage
motor, but the rotor is rated in frame voltage or short circuit current. The frame
voltage is the open circuit voltage when the rotor is not rotating and gives the
measure of turns ratio between the stator and rotor. The short circuit current is
the current flowing when the motor is operating at full speed, with the slip rings
shorted and the full load applied to the motor shaft.

Qualities Of Slip-Ring Motors:

1. suited for high inertia loads as it caters with excellent starting torque,
2. Low starting current when compared to squirrel cage induction motors,
3. Speed is varied with the help of external resistance, from 50% to 100% of the
full speed,
4. Higher brush and slip ring maintenance required,
5. As the brush wears out, it may lead to intermittent contact, and thus heavy
Thus we have seen in detail the starting arrangement of slip ring induction
motors. In my next article, we will discuss on the speed control of slip ring
induction motors.

Read more: