Most induction motors are started directly on line, but when very large motors are started that way, they cause a disturbance of voltage on the supply lines due to large starting current surges. To limit the starting current surge, large induction motors are started at reduced voltage and then have full supply voltage reconnected when they run up to near rotated speed.
This is the reduced voltage starting method. Voltage reduction during star-delta starting is achieved by physically reconfiguring the motor windings as illustrated in the figure below. During starting the motor windings are connected in star configuration and this reduces the voltage across each winding 3. This also reduces the torque by a factor of three.
After a period of time the winding are reconfigured as delta and the motor runs normally. Star/Delta starters are probably the most common reduced voltage starters. They are used in an attempt to reduce the start current applied to the motor during start as a means of reducing the disturbances and interference on the electrical supply.
The Star/Delta starter is manufactured from three contactors, a timer and a thermal overload. The contactors are smaller than the single contactor used in a Direct on Line starter as they are controlling winding currents only. The currents through the winding are 1/root 3 (58%) of the current in the line.
There are two contactors that are close during run, often referred to as the main contractor and the delta contactor. These are AC3 rated at 58% of the current rating of the motor. The third contactor is the star contactor and that only carries star current while the motor is connected in star.
The current in star is one third of the current in delta, so this contactor can be AC3 rated at one third (33%) of the motor rating.
The main circuit breaker serves as the main power supply switch that supplies electricity to the power circuit.
The main contactor connects the reference source voltage R, Y, B to the primary terminal of the motor U1, V1, W1.
In operation, the Main Contactor (KM3) and the Star Contactor (KM1) are closed initially, and then after a period of time, the star contactor is opened, and then the delta contactor (KM2) is closed. The control of the contactors is by the timer (K1T) built into the starter. The Star and Delta are electrically interlocked and preferably mechanically interlocked as well.
In effect, there are four states:
The star contactor serves to initially short the secondary terminal of the motor U2, V2, W2 for the start sequence during the initial run of the motor from standstill. This provides one third of DOL current to the motor, thus reducing the high inrush current inherent with large capacity motors at startup.
Controlling the interchanging star connection and delta connection of an AC induction motor is achieved by means of a star delta or wye delta control circuit. The control circuit consists of push button switches, auxiliary contacts and a timer.
The ON push button starts the circuit by initially energizing Star Contactor Coil (KM1) of star circuit and Timer Coil (KT) circuit. When Star Contactor Coil (KM1) energized, Star Main and Auxiliary contactor change its position from NO to NC.
When Star Auxiliary Contactor (1) (which is placed on Main Contactor coil circuit ) become NO to NC it’s complete The Circuit of Main contactor Coil (KM3) so Main Contactor Coil energized and Main Contactor’s Main and Auxiliary Contactor Change its Position from NO to NC. This sequence happens in a friction of time.
After pushing the ON push button switch, the auxiliary contact of the main contactor coil (2) which is connected in parallel across the ON push button will become NO to NC, thereby providing a latch to hold the main contactor coil activated which eventually maintains the control circuit active even after releasing the ON push button switch.
When Star Main Contactor (KM1) close its connect Motor connects on STAR and it’s connected in STAR until Time Delay Auxiliary contact KT (3) become NC to NO.
Once the time delay is reached its specified Time, the timer’s auxiliary contacts (KT)(3) in Star Coil circuit will change its position from NC to NO and at the Same Time Auxiliary contactor (KT) in Delta Coil Circuit(4) change its Position from NO To NC so Delta coil energized and Delta Main Contactor becomes NO To NC. Now Motor terminal connection change from star to delta connection.
A normally close auxiliary contact from both star and delta contactors (5&6)are also placed opposite of both star and delta contactor coils, these interlock contacts serves as safety switches to prevent simultaneous activation of both star and delta contactor coils, so that one cannot be activated without the other deactivated first. Thus, the delta contactor coil cannot be active when the star contactor coil is active, and similarly, the star contactor coil cannot also be active while the delta contactor coil is active.
The control circuit above also provides two interrupting contacts to shutdown the motor. The OFF push button switch break the control circuit and the motor when necessary. The thermal overload contact is a protective device which automatically opens the STOP Control circuit in case when motor overload current is detected by the thermal overload relay, this is to prevent burning of the motor in case of excessive load beyond the rated capacity of the motor is detected by the thermal overload relay.
At some point during starting it is necessary to change from a star connected winding to a delta connected winding. Power and control circuits can be arranged to this in one of two ways – open transition or closed transition.
Discuss mention above is called open transition switching because there is an open state between the star state and the delta state.
In open transition the power is disconnected from the motor while the winding are reconfigured via external switching.
When a motor is driven by the supply, either at full speed or at part speed, there is a rotating magnetic field in the stator. This field is rotating at line frequency. The flux from the stator field induces a current in the rotor and this in turn results in a rotor magnetic field.
When the motor is disconnected from the supply (open transition) there is a spinning rotor within the stator and the rotor has a magnetic field. Due to the low impedance of the rotor circuit, the time constant is quite long and the action of the spinning rotor field within the stator is that of a generator which generates voltage at a frequency determined by the speed of the rotor.
Open transition starting is the easiest to implement in terms or cost and circuitry and if the timing of the changeover is good, this method can work well. In practice though it is difficult to set the necessary timing to operate correctly and disconnection/reconnection of the supply can cause significant voltage/current transients.
In open transition there are four states:
There is a technique to reduce the magnitude of the switching transients. This requires the use of a fourth contactor and a set of three resistors. The resistors must be sized such that considerable current is able to flow in the motor windings while they are in circuit.
The auxiliary contactor and resistors are connected across the delta contactor. In operation, just before the star contactor opens, the auxiliary contactor closes resulting in current flow via the resistors into the star connection. Once the star contactor opens, current is able to flow round through the motor windings to the supply via the resistors. These resistors are then shorted by the delta contactor.
If the resistance of the resistors is too high, they will not swamp the voltage generated by the motor and will serve no purpose.
This is achieved by introducing resistors to take up the current flow during the winding changeover. A fourth contractor is required to place the resistor in circuit before opening the star contactor and then removing the resistors once the delta contactor is closed.
These resistors need to be sized to carry the motor current. In addition to requiring more switching devices, the control circuit is more complicated due to the need to carry out resistor switching
In close transition there are four states:
It is Important the pause between star contactor switch off and Delta contactor switch is on correct. This is because Star contactor must be reliably disconnected before Delta contactor is activated. It is also important that the switch over pause is not too long.
For 415v Star Connection voltage is effectively reduced to 58% or 240v. The equivalent of 33% that is obtained with Direct Online (DOL) starting.
If Star connection has sufficient torque to run up to 75% or %80 of full load speed, then the motor can be connected in Delta mode.
When connected to Delta configuration the phase voltage increases by a ratio of V3 or 173%. The phase currents increase by the same ratio. The line current increases three times its value in star connection.
During transition period of switchover the motor must be free running with little deceleration. While this is happening “Coasting” it may generate a voltage of its own, and on connection to the supply this voltage can randomly add to or subtract from the applied line voltage. This is known as transient current. Only lasting a few milliseconds it causes voltage surges and spikes. Known as a changeover transient.
For a star-delta starter there is a possibility to place the overload protection in two positions, in the line or in the windings.
In the line is the same as just putting the overload before the motor as with a DOL starter.
The rating of Overload (In Line) = FLC of Motor.
Disadvantage: If the overload is set to FLC, then it is not protecting the motor while it is in delta (setting is x1.732 too high).
In the windings means that the overload is placed after the point where the wiring to the contactors are split into main and delta. The overload then always measures the current inside the windings.
The setting of Overload Relay (In Winding) =0.58 X FLC (line current).
Disadvantage: We must use separate short circuit and overload protections.
There are two contactors that are close during run, often referred to as the main contractor and the delta contactor. These are AC3 rated at 58% of the current rating of the motor.
Size of Main Contactor= IFL x 0.58
The third contactor is the star contactor and that only carries star current while the motor is connected in star. The current in star is 1/ √3= (58%) of the current in delta, so this contactor can be AC3 rated at one third (33%) of the motor rating.
Size of Star Contactor= IFL x 0.33
The star-delta method is usually only applied to low to medium voltage and light starting Torque motors.
The received starting current is about 30 % of the starting current during direct on line start and the starting torque is reduced to about 25 % of the torque available at a D.O.L start. This starting method only works when the application is light loaded during the start.
If the motor is too heavily loaded, there will not be enough torque to accelerate the motor up to speed before switching over to the delta position.