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Direct On Line Motor Starter

This article will provide you the concept of DOL Starter or Direct ON Line Starting Method
of induction motors. This method is generally used for starting the three
phase induction motors, especially for starting the squirrel cage induction motors. Although a
three phase induction motor is self-starting in nature, but special starting methods are installed
due to some reason. The motor slip is unity at the starting time and the starting current is very
high at that condition. As the windings are made up with copper wires, so there is a chance of
overheating due to this high starting current, in fact it can burnout the windings. Additionally
when the motor starts safely, then also there is a chance of overloading or under voltage due to
some problem in power grid. But both of these may damage the coils and load shaft, which
hampers the proper operation of the motor.
Suppose the motor is connected with a conveyor belt. If the motor suffers from under voltage
then the operation will directly affected due to the rise in harmonics. These all necessitates a
special starting arrangement which will reduce the high starting current as well as provide a
protection from the effect of under voltage or overload. The name is given as Direct-On-
Line starting because this starting method utilizes the electric power directly from the line, and
connects the motor terminals via some safety arrangements. DOL starter is the most easy and
simple starting arrangement for the purpose. It is easier to operate because it only consists some
of relay coils, plungers, switches and metal contacts. The construction is quite robust and the
operation is also hassle free that is why they are widely used in several applications like various
industrial belts. This is the overall concept of DOL starter, the assembly and operation of this
starter is elaborated as follows.
1 Assembly of DOL Starter
1.1 Relay Coil and the Mechanical Plungers
1.2 Push Switches and Contacts
2 Operation of Direct ON Line (DOL) Starter
2.1 Under Voltage protection of DOL Starter
2.2 Overload protection of DOL Starter
3 Conceptual Aspect of DOL Starter
4 Features and Choice of DOL Starter
5 Advantages of DOL Starter
Assembly of DOL Starter
A DOL starter is mainly consists of some push switches, metallic contacts,
connectors, overload sensing relay coil and a under voltage protection relay coil. Hope you are
already aware about the functionality of a relay coil, it generally designed with a predetermined
current value. If somehow the limit is reached then it energies the coil and due to the
electromagnetic action, it attracts a mechanical plunger within it. The plunger is fitted with the
contacts of the circuit, so pulling the plunger will break the circuit and the current flow will
terminate. In this way it helps to clear the faults from the circuit. In DOL starter two relay
coils are used for two different purposes, one is used to sense the over current and trip the
circuit immediately in order to safeguard the motor from the effect of huge current, and another
is used to trip the circuit in under voltage condition. The main functionalities of a DOL
starter are depended up on the relay coils.

Relay Coil and the Mechanical Plungers
Mechanical plungers are the connected pipe like element which thrust the motion in linear
direction and able to open or close the contact points instantly. The action is quite similar with
isolators, which are used in high voltage power transmission system. There are two types of
relay coil which are installed with the DOL starter, and they are under voltage Relay coil C
(shown in the connection diagram) and Overload Relay coil D (also shown in the diagram).
Actually both the relay coils (simple copper coils in fact) are wound on a ferromagnetic core
and when current starts flowing it develops a magnetic field around it. The relay and plunger
mechanism is quite simple. Plungers are kept in the desired position with the help of springs,
and several circuit contacts are arranged in such a manner that movement of the plunger can
control the circuit easily.

The animation will show the basic relay operation. Relay coils are designed with proper current
value such that it will able to attract the plunger after a certain predetermined value of current.
After that the plungers are coupled with the relay coil and the contacts. In this way the entire
control that is connecting or interrupting the circuit depends up on the operation of relay coil.
Generally three types of relays are used in DOL starter. They are Magnetic Relay, Thermal
Relay and Electronic Relay. The operation of magnetic relay solely depends up on the current
value, and senses only when the current tends to approach the predetermined limiting value.
Thermal relay is able to sense the heat generated due to the high current flow, and also very
reliable and fast. The electronic relays are modern engineering marvel, which use the solid state
devices for sensing the over current or faults. The operation is quite easy and fast, additionally
they are highly reliable. Modern direct on line (DOL) starters are using this type of relays.

Push Switches and Contacts
DOL starter is generally used in three phase 415 Volt motor starting, but sometime it also
used to start 230 Volt single phase induction motors. So operation with 415 Volt requires some
safety arrangement for the operator. That is why the entire starter is packed into a casing and
the push switches are connected with the circuit for operating. These switches are common
button type switches and able to connect the two ports or terminals with lesser risk of sparking.
Fuses are installed in series with each phase to increase the safety factor and to protect the
starter and motor both. In the wiring diagram the entire connection of the circuit is shown and
the positions of push switches are also shown.
Operation of Direct ON Line (DOL) Starter
The operation of DOL starter is very simple. The full line voltage is applied across the motor,
by means of the starter circuit. The coil C is called as the under voltage relay coil as well as it
also acts like the starting coil. This coil is controlled via the push switch S1. This switch is
called as START switch and installed at a convenient place from where the remote operation
is easily possible; generally the switch can be pushed from outside of casing. The START
switch kept at open position by a spring and if the switch is pressed then the coil C is energized
(or charged) from the two line conductors (Here R phase and Y Phase).

A mechanical plunger is connected with the coil C. When it energizes from the line, it attracts
the plunger by relay operation. There are one auxiliary contact and three Main contacts which
all are synchronized with the movement of the plunger. Three main contacts connect the three
phases with the motor terminals and the auxiliary terminal is used to control the starter circuit.
When the Coil C is energized, the plunger is attracted by it and automatically all the contacts
become short circuited. In this way the motor is energized from the full line voltage. If the
START switch S1 is released then also the motor will continue running, because the contact A
will hold on the circuit at ON mode. That is why this contact is also termed as hold on contact.
The Off and Remote Off switches are generally closed with the help of spring arrangement.
Both of them are in series connection so pressing any of them will break the circuit and
terminate the current flow. In this way the coil C will be discharged and automatically it release
the plunger, which h will break the main motor contacts and in this way the motor will stop
after some time. The coil C should be charged by pressing START switch to start the
motor from this condition.
Under Voltage protection of DOL Starter
This protection is done with the help of relay of relay coil C (under voltage protection coil) and
the plunger. Two phases are directly connected with the coil and the coil is designed such a
way that it is able to attract the plunger for a certain level of current. If the level of current falls
due to the low voltage supply then the coil will release the plunger and all the contacts become
open circuited. In this way the circuit will open and the current flow breaks. Typically
electromagnetic relays are used for this purpose, but in modern days electronic solid state relays
are used also.
Overload protection of DOL Starter
The DOL starters are widely used for starting of 3 phase cage motors with 415 Volt rating.
Fuses are connected in series with each line conductor, which provides the primary safety from
high line current. The 3 phase induction motors are costly so additionally a relay mechanism
is installed with the DOL starter with overload coils (OLC) in each phase conductors. If the
line current is sufficiently high then the overload release coil are energized with such a value
it can push the plunger D. The plunger is generally kept at closed position, so pushing it will
break the circuit of relay of C. Which will further breaks the main contacts. The entire operation
is very fast, and it depends up on the sensing capability of both of the relays.
Conceptual Aspect of DOL Starter
Suppose, Ist is the starting current drawn from each phase, Ifl is the full load current, Tst is the
starting torque, Tfl is the full load torque and sfl is the slip at full load. By formula of induction
motor, the torque is:

Features and Choice of DOL Starter
The DOL starter is suitable for starting medium or high voltage three phase AC induction
motors, compressors, pumps etc. It facilitates 100% peak starting torque and starting current.
Additionally ensures the safety of motor by implementing under voltage relay, over current
relay and fuses. High starting torque and current ensures the efficiency and performance of
motor, and the switching is quite simple. Relay action provides very reliable starting, and it
also provides two off switch. One from main and another from remote location, in fact other
more remote off switches can be easily installed by adding them in series. It provides greater
scope to extend the scope of the motor. The following chart is used for designing the relays
and fuses for various ranges of motor.

Advantages of DOL Starter
You already guessed from the connection diagram and operation, that the DOL starter is the
easiest method for starting induction motors. The design is robust, and the control circuit is
also very simple. It provides easy installation, operation and maintenance. Less wiring is
needed which directly helps to reduce the costing. So DOL starter is the most economical and
simple way of starting induction motors.