By Mike Howell
EASA Technical Support Specialist
The switched reluctance motor (SRM), also known as the variable reluctance motor (VRM), originated in the mid-1830s. It was first used as a locomotive traction motor. However, the power electronics necessary for satisfactory control of SRMs were not patented until the early 1970s. This entailed electronic commutation synchronized with rotor position. Service centers are seeing an increase in the number of SRMs received for repair, and some of the technicians encountering them are unfamiliar with how they work. As with any other rotating machine, a basic understanding of operating principles can be useful in troubleshooting and repair. One of the most critical things for service center personnel to understand upfront is that these machines cannot be operated without a special drive, which typically would need to be supplied by the end-user or the manufacturer.
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