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Sherlock Ohms

Unexpected Perpetual Motion

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William K.
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Platinum
Unintended reversing function.
William K.   1/22/2014 11:04:53 AM
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This is an interesting tale, and I spent a few moments atempting to guess what circuit arrangement led to the problem. It appears that the source of the unintended relay operation was caused by using the same contact to latch the relay and power the motor. 

If the valve did include a limit switch to open the power to the motor feed for each direction, then it would be possible to use a simple switch to select which way to run the motor, and leave the switch on, since the limit switch would open the feed and stop the motor from traveling in that direction, which is how many motorized valves are intended to function. Unfortunately the failure mode is for the switch to not open, leaving power applied to a stalled motor.

 

Battar
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Platinum
The real perpetual motion
Battar   1/23/2014 1:55:48 AM
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If you had indeed created a perpeutal motion machine, as the headline suggests, you might be infringing US patents US7095126 or US5804948. The patent office say they will not grant patents for perpetual motion machines, but they have.

akili
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Iron
Motor over-run effects
akili   1/23/2014 11:55:56 AM
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I have seen this kind of problem before, in one case on some really tiny precision motors used to raise a small work platform into an oven for baking false teeth.  For that project we arranged for the motor to be shorted out when stopped.  OK for a small motor but be very careful when using this trick on bigger motors.  Avoid the failure mode where the power is applied to the still-shorted motor!

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Motor over-run effects
William K.   1/23/2014 3:24:37 PM
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For one project I did include a connection to short-circuit the motor when it was supposed to be stopped. But the short was implemented through the "back" contacts of the driver relays, and the motor as a 72RPM synchronous type, without much rotating mass. And no hardware failure could result in the application of power across the short circuit.

But it would be very interesting to see the circuit that produced the results described in the posting. It would be a good lesson in ideas to avoid.

Ye Ole Professor
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Iron
Seen that before!
Ye Ole Professor   1/23/2014 3:44:37 PM
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Not exactly the same, but similar.

I built a circuit to delay the release of a solenoid. I found that the solenoid packed enough latent magetism in the plunger to produce a spike in the coil of >140 volts. This causeed the circuit to go into oscillation. A diode on the emitter of the driving transistor and a small bypass capacitor after the diode got the offending surge to ground and all has been well since then.

Larry M
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Platinum
Re: The real perpetual motion
Larry M   1/23/2014 4:27:10 PM
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@Battar: John Reed wrote submission but the headline was surely written by Lauren Muskett.

Larry M
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Re: The real perpetual motion
Larry M   1/23/2014 4:27:17 PM
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@Battar: John Reed wrote submission but the headline was surely written by Lauren Muskett.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: The real perpetual motion
William K.   1/23/2014 5:55:26 PM
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In the controls area we would be more likely to call this an "unintended autorepeat" situation. While it would probhably keep right on going, it does not fit the common understanding of perpetual motion, which is to remain moving without external power. Quite a large difference there. And I am still trying to imagine the circuit that would have that capability.

bobjengr
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Platinum
UNEXPECTED PERPETUAL MOTION
bobjengr   1/25/2014 11:58:41 AM
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Very interesting post John.  Could I ask, what year did you design and build the circuit and would you approach the solution with the same components.  Would you use different "hardware" to perform the same task if given the same problem today?  I'm a mechanical type and the first though I had was using a stepper to solve the same problem.  That's probably overkill but just wondered how you would approach the solution today.  Excellent post John.

John_Reed
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Iron
Re: UNEXPECTED PERPETUAL MOTION
John_Reed   1/27/2014 2:37:00 PM
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I did this job about 12 years ago. A few relays sufficed. In fact I could have simply put in a three position switch (open-off-close). As the water in the tank was critical in case of a plant fire I wanted some additional protections though. The circuit also included an emergency stop switch and the motor/actuator had overtravel limit switches which were wired to kill power in case the first limits failed.

A stepper would not have been a good match for this application as speed control wasn't required. The gear reduction ratio was tremendous, thousands of motor revolutions to completely open or close the valve. 

A few years later I had another stored energy problem. A customer had designed a machine for conditioning torque rods. These were steel and came in diameters of 1/2 to 3/4 inches. Conditioning consisted of twisting each rod somewht past its elastic yield point. The machine had a 5 hp motor and needed speed control, so a Hitachi variable speed drive was added. The VFD had no problem controlling the motor as the rods were twisted, but when motion was reversed energy was fed back to the VFD from the rod. This showed up as a voltage spike within the VFD which tripped it out. The sudden release of torque from the motor allowed the machine to spin backward out of control. The solution was to add an energy dissipating power resistor.

Recently I was given a 1 hp Genteq X13 ECM motor which had failed. I was unfamiliar with this type and opened it up. Inside was an electronics package which connected to the motor windings. The rotor had a permanent magnet with a number of poles. The windings comprise  a three-phase motor or generator. Spinning the shaft produced nearly 400 volts at 360 Hz. from the windings. 

It seems wise to take some time to understand the capabilities of new types of motors so that potential hazards can be avoided. For instance a system which could spin an ECM motor with failed electronic components or internal shorts  might make electrical connections hazardous even if there was no source of electrical power connected. 

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