starters and functions

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Photo credits @Ton_Terhorst

Following our tech insight articles from February about the alternator (click here to read Part 1 and Part 2) we will now take a deep dive into starters. What exactly are starters and what functions do they perform in a motor? We also take a look at different types of starters and how they are applied in various industries.

What is a starter?

A starter, also called a motor starter or engine starter, is as the name suggests, used to start a motor. It performs a similar function to a relay. By pressing the start button or switch, voltage is sent from the battery to the starter so the motor can be activated. To ensure that the motor does this safely, the starter is also responsible for protecting it from current overloads. Furthermore, the starter can help with temperature control in the motor during normal operation.

Quick fact: the initial current flow can be 5-8 times higher than the current during normal operation

There are many different types of starters: manual starters, magnetic starters, gear-reduction starters, unipoint starters, just to name a few. Depending on the type, size and usage of the motor, special-purpose starters are used.
A starter is specifically designed to handle the high electrical current that the motor receives when it changes from standstill to operation. Since the current at the start can be several times as high as what the motor is used to during normal operation, it is essential that the starter limits the initial current as it can seriously damage the motor windings. Once the motor is at a certain speed, normal power supply is resumed. Furthermore, all starters are equipped with overheating protection to limit the high current flow when it overloads. This stops the motor from overheating, which can significantly lower its lifespan.

Manual starters are more often used for smaller motors, since they do allow for an immediate continuation of operation when the power is restored. This is incredibly dangerous for heavier machinery, where a sudden restart can be hazardous for both equipment and the personnel operating it.

Quick fact: there are two industry standards: NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturer Association) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)

Prestolite hand hydraulic systems: Because they are exceptionally reliable, this system is often used in safety-, and time-critical applications. Hand hydraulic systems are used as an emergency backup and can in some cases also be applied as a primary motor starter. This makes the system ideal for engines that require a second starting system, often used to initiate a starting process in emergency situations. You can find two of our popular Prestolite hand hydraulic starter models here: B35G8 | B50G53

Gear-reduction starters come without solenoids and are a more cost-friendly alternative. We supply these types of starters for vehicles such as the Toyota lift truck, Toyota Landcruiser, Nissan, Kubota and many other applications.

Our assortment of starters includes over 500 different models, offering some of the biggest starter brands in many different varieties. We offer replacement models, which are a high-quality alternative for products, as well as original starter models.

Original models: Delco, Bosch, Nippon Denso, Mitsubishi, Mahle, Nikko, Valeo, Sawa Fuji.

High-quality replacement models: Delco, Bosch, Nippon Denso, Mitsubishi, Hitachi amongst many others.

Quick fact: NEMA starters are arranged by size, based on voltage and motor power.

When buying a new starter, it’s important to find the right replacement for your vehicle. Contact us to make sure you get the correct starter. We’re happy to help!