Commutation is the process by which a dc voltage output is taken from an armature that has an ac voltage induced in it. You should remember from our discussion of the elementary dc generator that the commutator mechanically reverses the armature loop connections to the external circuit. This occurs at the same instant that the voltage polarity in the armature loop reverses.
A dc voltage is applied to the load because the output connections are reversed as each commutator segment passes under a brush. The segments are insulated from each other. In the illustration, commutation occurs simultaneously in the two coils that are briefly short-circuited by the brushes.
Coil B is short-circuited by the negative brush. Coil Y, the opposite coil, is short-circuited by the positive brush. The brushes are positioned on the commutator so that each coil is short-circuited as it moves through its own electrical neutral plane.
As you have seen previously, there is no voltage generated in the coil at that time. Therefore, no sparking can occur between the commutator and the brush. Sparking between the brushes and the commutator is an indication of improper commutation. Improper brush placement is the main cause of improper commutation.
Commutation of a dc generator.
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