Letter: Mr. Tesla On The Ganz Alternating-Current Motor

Friday, June 7, 1889
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114 THE ELECTRICIAN, JUNE 7, 1889. MR. NIKOLA TESLA ON THE GANZ ALTERNATING- CURRENT MOTORS. l\lr. N. Tesla has addressed the following letter to the Editor of thc Elfecfrif-al 1701111 of New York :- “ Sm : About a year ago I had the pleasure of bringing before the A merican Institute of Electrical Engineers the results of some of my work on alternatc»current motors. . . By one of the most curious coincidences, however, Prof. Ferraris not only came inde- pendently to the same theoretical results, but in a manner identical almost to the smallest detail. Far from being disappointed at being prevented from calling the discovery of the principle exclu- sively my own, I have been excessively pleased to see my views, which I had formed and carried out long before, confirmed by this eminent man. In his able essay Prof. Ferraris omitted to mention various other ways of accomplishing similar results, some of which have later been indicated by O. B. Shallenberger, who some time before the publication ofthe results obtained by Prof. Ferrsris and myself had utilised the principle in the construction of his now well- known alternate-current meter, and at a still later period by Prof. Elihu Thomson and Mr. M. J. \Vightman. “ Since the original publications, for obvious reasons, little has been made known in regard to the further progress of the inven- tion ; nevertheless the work of perfecting has been carried on inde- fatigably with all the intelligent help and means which a corpora- tion almost unlimited in its resources could command, and marked progress has been made in every direction. It is therefore not sur- prising that many, unacquainted with this fact, in expressing their views as to the results obtained have grossly erred. “ ln your issue of May 4 [Eleclricllam April 19, p. 671] l find a communication from the electricians of Ganz and Cc., of Buda~ pesth, relating to certain results observed in recent experiments with a novel form of alternate-current motor. I would have nothing to say in regard to this communication unless it were tu sincerely congratulate these gentlemen on any good re- sults which they may have obtained, but for an article, seemingly inspired by them, which appeared in the London Elcd/rwal Review of April 26, wherein certain erroneous views are endorsed and some radically false assertions made, which, though they may be quite unintentional, are suc1\ as to create pre- judice and affect material interests. “As to the results presented, they not only do not show any- thing extraordinary, but are, in fact, considerably below some figures obtained with my motors a long time ago. The main stress being laid upon the proposition between the apparent and real energy supplied, or perhaps more directly upon the ratio of the energy apparently supplied to and the real energy developed by the motor, I will here submit, with your permission, to your readers the results respectively arrived at by these gentlemen and myself. 0 Ratio of the energy Energy apparently Work performed in apparently supplied to supplied iu watts. watts. the real energy developed. Ganz and Westing» Ganz and Westing- Ganz and 1 Westing- Co_ house Co, Co. house Co. Cu. V house Co. 18,000 < 21,840 11,000 17,595 0'6ll 0'805 24,200 50,295 111,600 25,565 0 '605 0 '836 29,800 4 5,624 22,700 56,915 0 '761 0 '846 _ _ _ 56,800 _ .. 48,675 0 ‘856 ‘ 67,500 ... 59,440 .. 0'88 ... 79,100 67,565 0'85l “ If we compare these figures we will find that the rnost favourabl ratio in Ganz and Co.’s motor is 0‘7G1, whereas in the Westing- house, for about the same load, it is 0'836, while in other instances, as may bc seen, it is still more favourable. Notwithstanding this, the conditions of the test were not such ss to warrant the best pos- sible results. “ The factors upon which the apparent energy is mainly depen- dent could have been better determined by a proper construction uf the motor and observance of certain conditions. In fact, with such a mot-»r s current regulation may be obtained which, for all practical purposes, is as good as that of the direct-current motors, and the only disadvantage, if it be one, is that when the motor is running without load the apparent energy cannot be reduced quite aslow as might be desirable. For instance, in the case of this motor the smallest amount of apparent energy was about 3,000 watts, which is certainly not very much for a machine capable of developing 90 horse-power of work; besides, the amount could have been reduced very likely to 2,000 watts or less. “On the other hand, these motors possess the beautiful feature of maintaining an absolutely constant speed no matter how the load may vary. This feature may be illustrated best by the following experiment performed with this motor. The motor was run empty, and a load of about 100 horse-power, far exceeding the normal load, was thrown on uddenly. Both armatures of thc motor and generator were seen to stop for an instant, the belts slipping over the pulleys, whereupon both came up to the normal speed with the full load, not having been thrown out of synchronism. The experiment could be repeated any number of times, In some cases, the driving power being suilicient, I have been enabled to throw on a load exceeding eight to nine times that which the motor was designed tu carry, Without affecting the speed in the least. “ This will be easily understood from the manner in which the current regulation is effected. Assuming thc motor to be running without any load, the poles of the armature and field have a certain relative positionwhich is that of the highest self-inductionnrcounter electromotive force, If the load be thrown on, the poles arc made to recede ; the self-induction or counter electromotive force is thereby diminished and more current passed through the stationary or movable armature coils. This regulation is very dillerent from that of a direct-current motor. In the latter the current is varied by the motor losing a certain number of revolutions in proportion to the load, and the regulation would be impossible if the speed would be maintained constant ; here the whole regulation is practically effected during a fraction of one revolution only. From this it is also apparent that it is a practical impossibility to throw such a motor out of synchrunism, ss thc uholc work must be done in a|\ instant, it being cvident that if the load is not sullicicnt to make a motor lose a fraction of the first revolution it \vill not be able to do so in the succeeding revolutions. As to the efliciency of these motors, it is perfectly practicable to obtain 514 to 95 per cent. “ The results above given were obtained on a thrce-wire system. The same motor has been started and operated on two wires in a variety of ways, and although it was not capable of performing quite as much work as on three wires, up to about (30 horse-power it gave results practically the same as those above mentioned. ln fairness to the electricians of Ganz and Co., l must state here that the speed of this motor was higher than that used in their experi- ments, it being about 1,500. I cannot make due allowance for this difference, as the diameter of the srxnsture and other particulars of the Ganz and Co. motor were not given. The motor tested had a weight of about 5,0001b. From this it will be sccn that the performance even on two wires was quite equal to that of the best directcurrent motors. The motor being of a. synchronous type, it might be implied that it was not capable of starting. On the contrary, however, it had a considerable torque on the stsrt and was capable of starting under fair load. “ In the article above referred to the assertion is made that the weight of such alternate-current motor for a given capacity is ‘ several times ’ larger than that of a direct-current motor. In answer to this I will state here that we have motors which with a weight of about 850lb. develop 10 horse-power with an etliciency of very nearly 90 per cent., and the spectacle ofa direct-current motor weighing, say, 200 to 300lb. and performing the same work would be very gratifying for me to behold. The motor which l have just mentioned had no commutator or brushes of any kind, nor did it require any direct current. “ Finally, in order to refute various assertions made at random, principally in the foreign papers, I will take tho liberty of calling to the attention of the critics the fact that since the discovery of the principle several types of motors have been perfected, and of entirely different characteristics, each suited for a special kind of work, so that while one may be preferable on account of its ideal simplicity another might be more eliicient. It is evidently i|n- possible to unite all imaginable advantages in one form, and it is equally unfair and unreasonable to judge all dillerent forms accord- ing to a common standard. Which form of the existing moters is best time will show ; but even in the present state of the art we are enabled to satisfy any possible demand in practice." in