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What is a pole-changing motor? The secret of speed regulation without a frequency converter


What is a Variable-Pole Motor? The Secret to Speed Control Without an Inverter

A variable-pole motor, also known as a dual-speed motor, is a special type of induction motor that can achieve two different operating speeds without relying on external devices like inverters. Its principle is based on changes in winding connections, enabling speed transitions through different wiring methods.


Why Use a Variable-Pole Motor?

There are significant differences between induction motors and DC motors when it comes to speed control. Induction motors cannot achieve speed changes by adjusting voltage like DC motors. Instead, they must rely on two main methods: variable frequency speed regulation and pole-changing speed regulation to change the operating speed. When simple and cost-effective speed adjustment is required, variable pole speed control is a wise choice. This method does not require additional frequency converters, which helps save costs and improves stability. Pole-changing speed control has proven to be a reliable option, especially for those situations where reliability, cost-effectiveness and simple control are required.


Common Induction Motor Speed Control Methods:

Variable-Frequency Speed Control

This is the most widely used and flexible method for three-phase motor speed control. It adjusts input voltage and frequency using a variable-frequency drive (also known as a VFD) to achieve motor speed regulation. Variable-frequency drives allow continuous speed adjustment and precise control of motor operating speed. This method is widely applied in industrial automation, wind energy generation, pumps, fans, and various other fields.

Variable-Pole Speed Control

Variable-pole speed control is a special speed control method designed for induction motors without permanent magnets. This method achieves two different operating speeds by changing the motor's coil connections without the need for an inverter. Variable-pole speed control is typically used for equipment that requires dual-speed operation, such as fans, pumps, and air conditioning systems.


The Principle of Variable-Pole Speed Control

The operating principle of the pole-changing motor is based on changing the pole configuration to achieve speed regulation. This principle stems from changes in the way motors are wired, which results in different pole configurations. In this method, the coils of the induction motor can be connected in two ways, star and delta. These two wiring methods result in different pole configurations and thus different speeds.


Designing Variable-Pole Motors

Variable-pole motors are a variant of induction motors, designed based on the motor's winding connections. Typically, variable-pole motors have two primary wiring methods: star and delta connections. These wiring methods lead to different pole configurations, resulting in different speeds.


Star Connection

In a star connection, the coils of the motor are connected in a star shape, leading to a lower pole configuration. This wiring method generates higher rotational speeds, often referred to as high-speed mode.

Delta Connection

In a delta connection, the coils of the motor are connected in a delta shape, resulting in a higher pole configuration. This wiring method generates lower rotational speeds, typically known as low-speed mode.


Designing variable-pole motors requires having two motor configurations, usually needing an external switch (also called a pole-changing switch) to switch between the two wiring methods, thus achieving different operating speeds.



Variable-pole motors are a special type of induction motor that can achieve dual-speed operation without the need for inverters or variable-frequency drives. This makes them very useful in specific applications, especially when switching between two different speed modes is required. Here are some applications of variable-pole motors and their corresponding speed adjustment features:


Fans and Blowers

Household fans often use variable-pole motors. These fans typically have two speed modes, high speed and low speed. Using variable-pole motors allows for adjusting fan speed to provide more comfort in different seasons or temperature conditions.


Pump systems frequently use variable-pole motors to achieve two different flow requirements. In the low-speed mode, pumps can provide lower flow rates, while in the high-speed mode, they can meet higher flow demands, which is particularly useful in water supply and wastewater treatment systems.

Air Conditioning

Some air conditioning systems use variable-pole motors to control high and low air circulation speeds. This allows users to choose different comfort settings and can save energy because the motor consumes less power in low-speed mode.

Refrigeration Equipment

In commercial refrigeration equipment, variable-pole motors can be used to control the compressor speed of cooling systems. This allows for providing more cooling capacity when needed or reducing energy consumption under lighter workloads.

Machine Tools

In some machine tool applications, variable-pole motors can achieve two different cutting speeds, meeting the requirements of processing different materials.


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Applications of pole-changing motors are usually concentrated in applications that require two different speed modes and do not require continuously variable speed control. This type of motor offers advantages in terms of energy savings and maintenance costs, especially when long-term operation and reliability are required.


Comparison of advantages and disadvantages of pole-changing motors

Pole-changing motors are a special type of induction motor with unique advantages and disadvantages that may affect the suitability of their selection. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of pole-changing motors:

Advantages of pole-changing motor

Simple structure

Pole-changing motors usually have a relatively simple structure and do not require complex components such as permanent magnets. This reduces maintenance costs and increases reliability.

Lower cost

Relative to some other speed control methods, such as variable frequency speed control, pole-changing motors are generally less expensive because they do not require the use of expensive frequency converters.


Due to their simple construction, pole-changing motors are generally very reliable and can run for long periods of time.


The pole-changing motor can start automatically without the need for external starting equipment, which improves the simplicity of operation.

Two-speed operation

Pole-changing motors are capable of operating at two different speeds, usually switching between high-speed and low-speed modes, which is very important for applications that require operation at different speeds.

Disadvantages of pole-changing motor

Limited speed control

Compared with variable frequency speed regulation, the speed control of pole-changing motors is limited. They can only implement two fixed speed modes rather than continuously variable speed control.

Large size

Due to the need for two different wiring methods, pole-changing motors are usually bulkier and take up more space.

Not available for all applications

Pole-changing motors are suitable for applications requiring two fixed speeds, but for situations where continuously variable speed control is required, variable frequency speed regulation may be more suitable.

Energy efficiency

Pole-changing motors may have lower energy efficiency because they may not always operate at the optimal efficiency point in different speed modes.

Pole-changing motors offer advantages in certain applications, such as lower cost, higher reliability, and two-speed operation. However, they also have some limitations, such as limited speed control, large size, and relatively low energy efficiency. The choice of whether to use a pole-changing motor should be based on specific application needs and performance requirements.


How to choose a pole-changing motor?

Selecting the right pole-changing motor requires consideration of several factors to ensure it meets the needs of your specific application. Here are some key steps and considerations when choosing a pole-changing motor:

Determine application requirements

First, you need to clearly understand your application requirements. This includes the required speed range, torque requirements, operating environmental conditions, and the motor's runtime. Make sure you understand the specific requirements of your application.

Determine pole number requirements

Understand whether your application requires two different speeds. Depending on your needs, choose a pole-changing motor with the appropriate pole configuration, usually star and delta wiring.

Consider space constraints

Make sure the size of the variable pole motor matches your application space. Different models of motors may have different sizes, so make sure it will fit properly in your equipment.

Evaluate costs

Consider budget constraints and choose an affordable pole-changing motor. Note that pole-changing motors generally cost less because they do not require the use of a frequency converter, but prices can vary depending on the model and brand.

Consider reliability

Make sure the pole-changing motor you choose is reliable enough to handle the long-term operating needs of your application.


Choosing a suitable pole-changing motor requires careful consideration of your application requirements, cost, reliability and performance. If you are not sure how to choose, Kuo Shuay's team has rich experience in the design and manufacturing of pole-changing motors and can help you consider it. According to the needs and specific application scenarios, carefully plan and design the most suitable pole-changing motor. We also provide performance test reports to ensure your pole-changing motor can effectively meet the needs of your application.

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