DC Motors vs AC Motors: Difference and Comparison

The term “motor” simply means that an electrical machine whose motive is to transform electrical energy into mechanical energy. It helps to make something work by its force. When the magnetic field interacts with direct (DC) or alternating (AC) current, it generates force within the motor. 

Motors can be used in industries, workplaces, and even at house. From a toy to pull elevators, motors are used depending on their size and power. Motors can be majorly classified into two types: DC and AC motors. 

Key Takeaways

  1. DC motors convert direct current into mechanical energy, while AC motors use alternating current for the same purpose.
  2. DC motors have a simpler design and provide high starting torque, while AC motors offer better speed control and efficiency.
  3. AC motors are more common in industrial and household applications due to the widespread availability of AC power, while DC motors are used in portable devices and automotive applications.

DC Motors vs AC Motors 

The difference between DC motors and AC motors is that they both have different power sources. DC motors get power from direct current (DC). On the other hand, AC motors get power from alternating current (AC). The life expectancy of DC motors is shorter than that of AC motors. This is because DC motors use brushes during their construction as well as commutator too. 

DC Motors vs AC Motors

DC motor is one of the classes of the electric motor which changes electrical energy into mechanical energy. The speed can be controlled with the help of varying the winding’s current.

They were widely used due to their capability of getting power by lighting the power distribution system of existing direct current. Some famous brands of DC motors are crouzet, RS PRO, and maxon. 

The main motive of the AC motor is to convert the electrical input signal into mechanical energy. AC linear motors work on the same principles as rotating motors, but the only difference is their parts are arranged in a straight line.

There are different types of AC motors that have different output abilities and operating characteristics. Some famous brands of AC motors are Panasonic, ABB, DKM AC motors, etc. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonDC motorsAC motors
PowerFrom Direct CurrentFrom Alternating Current
Life spanShorterLonger
Frequency0 (in India)50 Hz (in India)
PhaseOnly single phaseSingle-phase or three-phase
Repairing costNot costlyCostly

What is DC Motors? 

DC motor or direct current motor is one of the types of electric machine whose main motive is to transfer electrical energy into mechanical energy. As this motor is based on DC, it uses electrical power from direct current.

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Later, it converts this energy for the mechanical rotation of the motor. Majorly range of DC motors works on internal mechanisms that change the current’s direction. 

DC motors can be used in small toys to large appliances such as pull elevators due to their differentiation in terms of power and size. The DC motor is a constituent of the stator, which stands stationary. And an armature whose main role is to rotate.

As a result, magnetic fields are produced by the stator and in return, the armature drives in rotate motion. 

In 1832, the DC motor was invented by William Sturgeon. The invention of the DC motor contributed a lot to reshape the face of the industry and hence, led to development because many new appliances were invented based on DC motors.

DC motors can be classified majorly into four types: brushless, brushed, shunt, and series DC motors. 

Each type of DC motor has its advantages which are made for specific use. There are several appliances available in the market which makes day-to-day life easier.

Small DC motors are used at home in several household appliances and toys. Large DC motors are used for industrial purposes to brake and reverse applications. 

dc motors

What is AC Motors? 

AC motor or alternating current motor is one of the types of motor which is common. As this motor is based on AC, this motor works with the help of alternating current. The main motive of an AC motor is to produce mechanical energy from the electrical input signal.

As a result, the current which flows around the circuit takes the help of alternating to produce mechanical energy. 

In 1887, the AC motor was invented by Nikola Tesla.

AC motors are used in industries, workplaces, and at home due to their ease of operation, durability, general affordability, and low manufacturing costs. Clocks, audio turntables, disk drives, power tools, fans, and washing machines are some of the appliances which use AC motors. 

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In AC motors, flow around a circuit at regular intervals gets reversed, or it can be said that on an AC circuit, voltage changes periodically. An alternator is a device on which AC motors rely because it helps to produce alternating current direction.

The alternator generates an electromagnetic field when electricity passes through the rotor, and itself turns around the stator. 

There are many types of AC motors available in the market, such as brushless, squirrel cage, shaped-pole AC motors, and many more. But among them, induction and synchronous AC motors are common.

The speed of the induction motor is less than synchronous, but the speed of the synchronous motor is irrespective of the load. 

dc motor

Main Differences Between DC Motors and AC Motors 

  1. DC motors are preferred when you control the speed of the motor externally. On the flip side, AC motors are useful if power performance is required for a longer period. 
  2. When it comes to magnitude and direction, DC motors have constant, and it flows only in one direction. On the other hand, in AC motors, the current reverses on a periodical basis. 
  3. In terms of controlling the speed of motors, by varying the winding’s current of an armature, DC motors’ speed can be controlled. But by varying the current’s frequency, AC motors can be controlled.  
  4. In DC motors, the magnetic field is left with no rotation, but the armature does rotate. Whereas in AC motors, magnetic fields constantly rotate, but there is no movement in armatures. 
  5. To start any operation, external help is not required in DC motors. While in AC motors, external help is required or starting equipment such as a capacitor to start any effective operation. 
Difference Between DC Motors and AC Motors
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/90349/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/282477/

Last Updated : 11 August, 2023

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26 thoughts on “DC Motors vs AC Motors: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This is an excellent resource for understanding the differences in power sources and life expectancy between DC and AC motors. The comparison table is particularly helpful in summarizing the key differentiators.

    Reply
    • Indeed, the comparison table provides a clear and concise breakdown of the disparities between DC and AC motors, aiding in the comprehension of their distinct characteristics.

      Reply
    • The comprehensive coverage of the subject matter, especially the parameters of comparison and historical context, makes this article a valuable educational tool for those interested in motor technology.

      Reply
  2. The historical context and inventor details of AC motors, in conjunction with their widespread applications and benefits, facilitate a deeper understanding of the significance and functionality of AC motors in modern society.

    Reply
    • I agree. The article effectively highlights the impact of Nikola Tesla’s invention of AC motors and the wide range of appliances in which AC motors are utilized today, reflecting their enduring relevance and influence.

      Reply
  3. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the structure and function of DC and AC motors. The detailed explanations of each type of motor are enlightening and give a clear understanding of their differences and applications.

    Reply
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      Reply
    • I agree, the article successfully outlines the fundamental principles behind the operation of DC and AC motors, shedding light on their diverse applications.

      Reply
  4. The in-depth analysis of DC motors, including their internal mechanisms and historical significance, adds valuable insights into the functionality and evolution of these motors over time.

    Reply
    • The coverage of different types of DC motors and their specific advantages offers a comprehensive understanding of the specialized applications and benefits of these motors in everyday appliances and industrial systems.

      Reply
    • The portrayal of DC motor applications in both small and large-scale settings illustrates the adaptability and versatility of these motors to address diverse power and size requirements.

      Reply
  5. The informative content regarding the operational principles and variations of AC motors, along with their applications in different appliances, provides valuable insights into the advantages and capabilities of AC motors in various settings.

    Reply
    • The article’s coverage of the applications of AC motors and their ease of operation, durability, and affordability enhances knowledge about the essential role of AC motors in powering a wide array of everyday devices and industrial equipment.

      Reply
    • The historical details and famous brands of AC motors mentioned in the article add depth to the discussion, showcasing the enduring impact and widespread use of AC motors across different domains.

      Reply
  6. The historical context and inventor details of AC motors, in conjunction with their widespread applications and benefits, facilitate a deeper understanding of the significance and functionality of AC motors in modern society.

    Reply
    • The detailed coverage of the operational principles and applications of AC motors, combined with the history of their inventor and major brands, presents a comprehensive analysis of AC motors and their enduring impact on technological progress and industrial applications.

      Reply
    • I agree. The article effectively highlights the impact of Nikola Tesla’s invention of AC motors and the wide range of appliances in which AC motors are utilized today, reflecting their enduring relevance and influence.

      Reply
  7. The article effectively highlights the operational mechanisms and applications of DC and AC motors, contributing to a thorough understanding of their respective functionalities and applicability in different settings.

    Reply
    • I completely agree. The article provides a balanced portrayal of DC and AC motors, emphasizing the real-world applications and benefits of each type of motor in various industries and domestic environments.

      Reply
    • The detailed description of DC motor classifications and the impact of the invention of DC motors by William Sturgeon contribute to a well-rounded exploration of the topic.

      Reply
  8. The article effectively presents an analysis of the development and applications of AC motors, establishing their significance and contributions to technological advancements and industrial progress. 

    Reply
    • I completely agree. The discussion of the invention of AC motors by Nikola Tesla and the diverse applications of AC motors in modern appliances and equipment illustrates their pivotal role in enhancing operational efficiency and productivity across industries.

      Reply
  9. The description of the structure and purpose of DC motors, along with their inventor details and classification, serves as a thorough resource for acquiring knowledge about the evolution and applications of DC motors in various appliances and industrial systems.

    Reply
    • I concur. The article’s exploration of different types of DC motors and their specialized advantages provides a comprehensive understanding of the diverse applications and utilities of DC motors in different sectors.

      Reply
  10. The detailed comparison of the power sources, repair costs, and life span disparities between DC and AC motors offers a systematic overview of the distinguishing features and technical specifications of each motor type.

    Reply
    • The comprehensive comparison of the parameters provides valuable insights into the key differences between DC and AC motors, facilitating an informed understanding of the distinctive characteristics and applications of these motors.

      Reply

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