Motor Starters and Their Function

In aircraft or any other high-powered machine, power control is a key component of safe operation. In any electric motor, faults such as short circuits, overvoltage, and power surges can occur. The effects of these faults can be anywhere from minor to detrimental, making it critical for motors to be protected. This blog will explain the way motor starters and how they prevent electrical complications.

The first function of a motor starter is disconnecting and breaking. Every motor starter should be able to disconnect from the mains and isolate in order to prevent a restart. The ability to remove power and isolate the starter enables repair and maintenance to be done on the motor. In basic motor starters, this is carried out by a disconnect switch at the top of the circuit. Another function motor starters must provide is short-circuit protection. The difficulty in controlling energy is that it naturally wants to continue flowing. Normal load current is only a few amps but in the event of a short-circuit, that figure can jump into the thousands. The MCBs in the starter’s distribution board are able to clear the fault current.

Motor starters also conveniently provide overload protection. Overloads occur when the motor is applying more power than it is designed to use because it is being overworked. An example of this is when a conveyor belt is trying to move items that are heavier than usual, or when a pump is blocked, requiring it to work harder to move the substance it is pumping. Overload protection detects excess currents from the overload and opens the circuit to prevent the motor from overheating and burning out. Their final function is circuit control. This is the opening and closing of an electrical circuit carried out by a contactor. The contactor has poles that enact the switching. These poles open and close via a coil that becomes energized. Control is imperative because excessive and insufficient voltage can both cause issues for the contactor, usually resulting in a burnt out coil.

At Cogent Purchasing, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the motor starter components for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at  +1-714-705-4780.


February 1, 2022
January 13, 2020

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