A Universal Motor is a type of electric motor that is capable of running on both AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) power sources. It is a versatile motor that finds extensive applications in various household appliances due to its advantageous characteristics.
Working of a Universal Motor:
Construction: The Universal Motor has a similar construction to that of a DC motor. It consists of a rotor (armature) and a stator. The rotor is a coil of wire wound around an armature, while the stator comprises field windings. The armature and field windings are both energized in a series arrangement.
Commutator: One distinctive feature of the Universal Motor is the commutator. It is a rotary switch mounted on the motor shaft that reverses the direction of current flow in the armature coil as it rotates. This commutation allows the motor to run on both AC and DC power sources.
Operation on DC: When connected to a DC power source, the Universal Motor operates like a typical DC motor. The current flows through the stator field windings and the armature coil, creating electromagnetic fields. The commutator switches the current direction in the armature coil, causing the rotor to rotate due to the interaction of the magnetic fields.
Operation on AC: When connected to an AC power source, the direction of current flow in the armature coil continuously changes due to the alternating nature of AC. The commutator helps in reversing the current flow accordingly, allowing the motor to function effectively on AC power as well.
Applications in Household Appliances:
Vacuum Cleaners: Universal Motors are commonly used in vacuum cleaners due to their ability to operate on both AC and DC power sources. This allows vacuum cleaners to be used with both wall outlets (AC) and batteries (DC).
Blenders and Mixers: These kitchen appliances often use Universal Motors for their versatility. They can be used with power outlets or with DC power sources in case of cordless models.
Handheld Power Tools: Various power tools like drills, grinders, and circular saws utilize Universal Motors. The ability to run on both AC and DC power makes them suitable for both corded and cordless applications.
Hair Dryers: Hair dryers employ Universal Motors so they can operate on different power sources, making them usable in various regions with different electrical standards.
Washing Machines: Some portable or compact washing machines use Universal Motors, enabling them to be powered by AC from wall outlets and DC from batteries.
Food Processors: Universal Motors are also found in food processors for their adaptability to different power supply options.
The Universal Motor's capability to run on both AC and DC power sources makes it a popular choice in household appliances where flexibility and portability are essential features. However, it's worth noting that Universal Motors generally have higher maintenance requirements compared to specialized AC or DC motors. They may experience more wear and tear on the commutator, which requires periodic inspection and maintenance for optimal performance and longevity.