HELPFUL TERMINOLOGY

Problem Solved

Ordering motor starters has historically been more difficult than it needs to be. We think that you have better things to do with your time. What will you do with more time? Fish? Family? Nap? Outdoors or indoors, start making your list ... MotorStarters.com is here to save you time and hassle.

With a few facts (Pre-Order Checklist), you can quickly Configure & Compare pricing from the industry's best components and build your system. Your order comes with an accurate and thorough Document Kit. You'll be ready to go.

We've made it easy. Below are specifications that you will want to consider when selecting a motor starter for your application. If you have more than one starter to order, you may consider downloading our Pre-Order Checklist which will help you gather the key information required to make a selection.

Select a topic below

(click to expand)


– Motor Starter Applications

Any motor can be connected to a starter. Motors in household appliances and power tools may have a switch that connects to a power source. The switch can either be operated manually, or can be connected to a sensor that will tell the motor to automatically start or stop.

Motor starters also come with protection from current overload, which can occur if the full load amp rating is exceeded. It is important to choose a magnetic motor starter that not only takes into account the electric motor it is meant to start and protect from overload, but also the environments surrounding temperature. The overload relay in a magnetic motor starter is not meant to protect against short circuits so it is also important to install short circuit fuses as a standard added protection.

There are other types of specialized magnetic motor starters such as reversing motor starters for reversing motors, and multi-speed motor starters for multi-speed specialized electric motors.

– Phase

A motor starter will be either single phase or three phase.

Single phase will most often be found in ordinary household wiring. If you are using your motor in a residential area, single phase is most likely what you have.

Three phase motors are more often used in industrial shops or places that run high powered equipment that would not be found in an ordinary house.

You should determine what phase your motor is before purchasing a new one. In some circumstances a three phase starter can be used in a single phase application. Call MotorStarters.com at 888-821-83607 to find out more.

– Combination Vs. Non-Combination
Combination starters contain: switches for motor disconnect, may include motor branch circuit protection in the form or a circuit breaker or fuses, motor controllers and motor overload protection.

Combination starters are common because they have everything included in one package.
– Overload Relay

An overload relay is a device that protects the motor and circuits by shutting down the power to the motor when too much current (amperage*) is detected - preventing damage to the motor and overheating of the system. An operator must then correct the root cause (jammed conveyor, too heavy load, etc.) and may restart the system manually. On some occasions overload relays will detect spikes in current and trip even if there is no apparent cause. These are referred to as "nuisance trips". If there is a real problem with system overloading, the overload relay will continue to trip until the root cause is corrected.

The full load amp rating (FLA) of the motor is the maximum operating amperage at which the motor can safely operate. If a motor is overloaded and draws current at a higher rate than the FLA rating for an extended period of time the motor will overheat, stress, and ultimately fail. Damage or total destruction to the motor could be expected if the motor is not shut down. In addition, high levels of heat caused by overloading can damage other components, burn insulation, cause arcing, and even start fires.

An adjustable overload relay is set based on the full load amp rating (FLA) which is typically found on a nameplate on the motor. A dial may be rotated to the proper FLA amp setting based on the motor rating. It is never recommended to increase the setting on the overload relay above the FLA rating on the motor or severe damage may occur as described above. Most of our starters come with adjustable overload relays.

Overload conditions may also be interrupted by heaters, which are mechanical devices designed to rotate when a solder-type material melts and releases a spring when excess current physically overheats the element. Heaters are sized to the specific motor and are not adjustable. When the heat is dissipated to the heater, the system may be restarted. As with other overload devices, a heater will continue to trip the system if the root cause is not corrected. Heaters must be special ordered to the amp rating desired.

*Amperage is a unit of measure of current, or how much electricity is flowing from the power source to the motor. The higher the amperage, the higher the rate of flow. Using an example of a garden hose, let's assume that water flow represents the flow of electricity. When the hose is turned on to a trickle, it would represent very low amperage flow. When turned on full blast, it represents a high amperage flow


– Coil Voltage
Coil voltage is the voltage at which the coil inside the starter will be energized. Our starters have coil voltages that will be 120VAC or 24VAC.
– Control Options
Our motor starters can contain different controls for operating the motor, including start/stop push buttons, on/off selector switch, HOA selector switch, and reset buttons.
– Enclosures
  • Type 1 - Indoor
  • Type 3R - Outdoor
  • Type 4X - Stainless
  • Type 12 - Dustproof
  • Type 7 - Explosion Proof (Coming soon to site, contact us to order)

Type 1 INDOOR

Enclosures constructed for indoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts and to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (falling dirt).

Type 3R OUTDOOR

Enclosures constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts; to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (falling dirt); to provide a degree of protection with respect to harmful effects on the equipment due to the ingress of water (rain, sleet, snow); and that will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure.

Type 4X STAINLESS

Enclosures constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts; to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (windblown dust); to provide a degree of protection with respect to harmful effects on the equipment due to the ingress of water (rain, sleet, snow, splashing water, and hose directed water); that provides an additional level of protection against corrosion; and that will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure.

Type 12 DUSTPROOF

Enclosures constructed (without knockouts) for indoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts; to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (falling dirt and circulating dust, lint, fibers, and flyings); and to provide a degree of protection with respect to harmful effects on the equipment due to the ingress of water (dripping and light splashing).

Type 7 EXPLOSIONPROOF

Currently available by contacting us 
Coming soon to site.