Difference Between Mechanical and Electronic Commutator

Difference Between Mechanical and Electronic Commutator:

Before proceeding to discuss about the comparison between the Mechanical Commutator and Electronic Commutator, let us get refresh about the basics of Commutator.

What is Commutator?
The function of commutator in the DC generator is to facilitate collection of current from the armature conductors.  The commutator converts ( ie rectified) the alternating current induced in the armature conductors into unidirectional current in the external load circuit.

Mechanical Commutator Vs Electronic Commutator:

Mechanical Commutator Electronic Commutator
It is made up of commutator segments and mica insulation. Brushes are made up of carbon or graphite. Power Electronic switching devices are used in the commutator.
Commutator arrangement is located in the rotor. Commutator arrangement is located in the stator.
Shaft position sensing is inherent in the arrangement. It requires a separate rotor position sensor.
Number of commutator segments are very high. Number of switching devices is limited to 6.
Sliding contact between commutator and brushes. No sliding contacts.
Sparking takes place. There is no sparking.
It requires a regular maintenance. It requires less maintenance.
Difficult to control the voltage available across tappings. Voltage available across armature tappings can be controlled by PWM techniques.
Highly reliable. Reliability can be improved by specially designed devices and protecting circuits.

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Do you know?

There are two kinds of sparking produced in the generators… They are due to
(1) Bad adjustment of brushes 
(2) Bad condition of the commutator.

The sparking due to bad adjustment of brushes will be bluish. The sparking due to bad condition of the commutator will be reddish…

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