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How to run an electric motor on a DC battery

Updated February 21, 2017

How an electric motor is connected to a DC battery depends on what type of motor is being used. A DC motor can be connected directly to a DC battery, provided that the battery has enough power to run the motor. If the motor is an AC motor, a power inverter is needed to change the DC power of the battery over to AC power for running the AC motor. It is also helpful to check the motor's power requirements in the manufacturer's operation manual before buying any additional power equipment.

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  1. Check the voltage requirement for the motor and compare it to the power output of the battery. The battery's voltage should match the motor's required voltage. The battery should also be able to supply the motor's needed current.

  2. Connect the positive terminal of the battery to the positive terminal of the motor. Then connect the negative terminal of the battery to one of the two terminals of the control switch. Connect the remaining control switch terminal to the negative terminal of the motor.

  3. Turn the control switch on to run the motor.

  4. Check the motor's power requirements. The power inverter must have a power rating equal to or greater than the power requirement of the motor. Note the motor's start-up current requirement and the continuous current requirement. The inverter has to be able to handle those current requirements as well.

  5. Plug the AC motor into the electrical socket on the power inverter. Make sure the power inverter is turned off if it has a power switch.

  6. Connect the positive red wire of the power inverter to the positive terminal of the DC battery. Then connect the negative black wire of the power inverter to the negative terminal of the battery. Turn the power inverter on to run the AC motor. An AC motor powered by a power inverter usually runs hotter than an AC motor fed with pure AC power.

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Things You'll Need

  • DC battery
  • Electric motor
  • Power inverter
  • Electrical wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers

About the Author

William Kinsey

William Kinsey lives in Concord, N.C. He started writing articles in March 2009, which have appeared on Autos.com and CarsDirect.com. He currently holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He also has several years experience as an outside plant engineer and planner with AT&T. He also currently owns and operates Sophisticated Curves, an online fashion mall that caters to the needs of plus size women.

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