Let’s face it, if you’ve had your hands on internal combustion engines for most of your life, this oncoming transition to electric motors, whether in motorcycles or cars, is totally different and pretty confusing. No more cams or crankshafts, no fuel pumps or water pumps, instead, you have motors and motor controllers. Forget gasoline, it’s all about batteries. If this makes you a little uncomfortable, relax. I found just the answer, it’s a pretty cool book called Motors for Makers and it’s aimed at guys just like you, technical guys who like to build things. You don’t want to design electric motors, you want to understand them so you can choose one for a project or figure out how that one in front of you works.
Matthew Scarpino graduated with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and quickly realized he had lots of theoretical knowledge but he didn’t really know how to build practical things. He jumped into the maker movement with all of the microcontrollers, quadcopters and robots, but he found even among makers comfortable with electronics, they were a little hazy when it came to electric motors. You could find engineering books discussing the Lorentz force and electromagnetic flux, phasor diagrams and Maxwell’s equations, but if you wondered if you should use a brushed or brushless DC motor, you were out of luck. Let’s see, permanent magnet, series wound or shunt wound? Huh? OK, time to get down to basics.
This book walks you through what you need to know and if you take a little time to learn about electric motors, you’ll find them fascinating. Think about it, you can put electricity into an electric motor and get rotating motion out or you can put rotating motion into that same motor and get electricity out! How cool is that? Electric motors are everywhere in all sizes. AC and DC, synchronous and asynchronous, stepper motors, servo motors, linear motors, all kinds of motors, but once you understand the basics it all starts to fall into place. Little motors run the fans and hard drive in your computer, bigger motors run the blender in the kitchen and the washing machine in the laundry room, really big ones drive massive locomotives, and of course, now they’re popping up in motorcycles and cars. Like I said, they’re everywhere and if you’re a hands on builder, you probably should get a good feel for how they work.
The book covers the motors themselves in all of their variations, the controller circuits, some motor controller projects and there’s a good section specifically on electric vehicles, just cars, but the knowledge applies to motorcycles, too. Remember when Tesla released their patents? He covers several of those is detail. Very interesting.
Unless you’re going to let the whole field of electric vehicles advance without you, it’s time to get a handle on electric motors and controllers. You don’t need to be an electrical engineer, anymore than you need to be a mechanical engineer to work on motorcycles or cars, but you need some solid grasp of how these things work. I’ve had my eye out for a good, meaty introduction that will give you a solid understanding without getting into heavy math and physics. I know the book explained a lot of things I didn’t understand and, unless you’re already a wizard, I’m pretty sure you’ll learn a few things, too. It’s a good one.
Preview Motors for Makers right here:
Link: Motors for Makers