380V electromagnetic starter: device, connection rules and selection recommendations

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Victor Kitaev
Last update: August 2019

An electromagnetic starter is a device that very often is an integral part of electrical circuits. As a rule, a 380V three-phase electromagnetic starter is used in electric motor control circuits. However, in addition to switching electric motor circuits, this same element can be successfully used for other purposes.

Consider a typical device and the principle of operation of an electrical appliance. In addition, we outline the selection criteria for the starter, decipher its labeling and describe the nuances of connecting the EMF to the electrical circuit.

EMF design features

The design of the electromagnetic starter (EMF) does not differ in high complexity. But this factor does not reduce the reliability of the device.

How does this device work?

The reliability criterion, for the most part, is established by the correct connection of the circuits and the exact selection of the load.

If these criteria are met, the device in most cases operates flawlessly for a long time.

Classic electromagnetic starters
The classic version of electromagnetic devices - starters, which are widely used in the field of power supply. There are many options for the implementation of such devices, which differ in shapes and sizes.

Classical performance includes the following elements:

  1. The case is folding from two halves.
  2. Inductor.
  3. Magnetic circuit.
  4. Switching movable chassis.
  5. A group of core contacts.
  6. Group of auxiliary contacts.

The element of the magnetic starter responsible for organizing the switching of the power circuit is a movable chassis combined with one part of the (mobile) magnetic circuit.

The chassis itself is made of dielectric material, and metal (brass) plates are used as make contacts. At the ends of the plates are contact patch made of refractory metals, usually an alloy of silver.

Disassembled magnetic starter
Disassembled switching electrical device with a full range of parts included in the design. This is a simple classic device, while more advanced modern devices have a somewhat complicated design.

The fixed part of the magnetic circuit is firmly fixed inside the second half of the body of the electromagnetic starter. An inductor is put on this part of the magnetic circuit and a return spring is installed.

The second part of the device housing is also provided with contacts of the power and auxiliary groups. These contacts are fixed to the housing with screws.

Contact group of the electromagnetic starter
This is how the contact power group of one of the starter designs in the classic design looks like. Meanwhile, the design of the devices is characterized by a variety of configurations, which does not allow specifically to indicate individual parts

The device of a standard magnetic starter involves the union of two halves of the housing, as a result of which the two halves of the W-shaped magnetic circuit are also combined into a single design.

At the same time, due to the return spring, a small gap remains between the halves of the magnetic circuit, the main contact groups in this position remain broken.

EMF principle of operation

The principle of operation of the device is based on the effect of electromagnetic induction. If there is no voltage on the coil located inside the starter, the magnetic core remains in the “with a gap” position, the main contacts are broken.

Starter coil and spring
Inductance coil of a classical device, the magnetic field strength of which attracts a contact movable chassis. And an ordinary metal spring, due to which the movable chassis is wrung out

When an electric current is passed through the coil, under the influence of a magnetic field, the second (moving) part of the magnetic circuit overcomes the force of the spring and is attracted to the first (fixed) part.

Accordingly, the main contact groups of the starter are closed by the plates of the movable chassis.

The reverse process is obvious - when the voltage is removed from the terminals of the inductor, the magnetic field ceases to act, under the force of the return spring, the movable chassis and the second part of the magnetic circuit are repelled. Accordingly, the magnetic starter returns to the contact breaking state.

Second starter top
The second is the upper movable part of the assembly, due to which the switching principle is fulfilled. The right also shows the individual contacts of the power group, dismantled from the seats of the insulated body

It should be noted - based on the configuration of the appliance, the contact group diagram can have a very different structure. Especially regarding auxiliary contacts, which can be in a closed or open state as opposed to the state of the main contacts of the device.

A feature of modern designs of magnetic starters is the modernization of the control circuit of the inductor.

If the execution of the old "obsolete" devices assumed direct supply of voltage to the coil, taken from one of the phases, now electronic circuits are increasingly used.

Starter with electronic circuit board
The design of the electrical line switch, which uses an additional electronic board in the power circuit of the inductor. After processing the board, the coil receives a DC voltage

So, for example, products of a well-known company "ABB" equipped with an electronic circuit for stabilizing the voltage supplied to the terminal of the inductor of the magnetic starter.

The control of the coil through the electronic circuit is characterized by the fact that the alternating voltage is pre-rectified and then a pulse signal is formed. This approach provides increased service life and improved stability of action.

How to choose the right electromagnetic starter

Given the somewhat wide range of products of this kind that is present on the commercial market, the selection rules are more than relevant for the end user.

Instrument Technical Parameters

The exact and correct choice of a magnetic starter for 380 volts, for example, for an electric motor, will ensure uninterrupted operation of the motor, and most importantly, the safety of the electrical system.

Starter Technical Label
The technical and operational plate present on each branded device is the basis for the selection of the device that a potential electrician needs. But besides this criterion, others are also relevant.

A specific device is selected, of course, based on the technical and operational parameters of the load expected to be connected. Significant influence on the right choice has the product belonging to a particular brand.

It should be noted that there is a rather high percentage of low quality products on the market. Therefore, the brand, in this case, is an important selection criterion.

Marking and type of fastening of products

Each device, in any case, branded, has the corresponding marking directly on the case. Based on the technical information contained in the marking, it is enough to simply select a switching device in exact accordance with the required parameters.

ABB starter marking
Classical marking present on branded appliances manufactured under the ABB logo. Using the decryption algorithm, it is not difficult to select the required device

So, switching devices of the same company "ABB" have approximately the following marking system:


The encoding string is decrypted as follows:

  • «AND" - the letter designation indicates the type of device;
  • «26» - the second digital marker determines the rated current in amperes;
  • «30» - the third designation indicates the number of power contacts;
  • «10» - the last number characterizes the number of auxiliary contacts.

Moreover, for the last two positions of the list, the separation of numbers is characteristic. That is, if the number “30” is indicated, it means the presence of three (3) normally open contacts and the absence of (0) normally closed contacts.

A similar decoding for the digital code (10), indicating additional contact groups.

DIN rail starter
The option of "landing" (installation) of an electrical appliance on a DIN rail is widespread, but at the same time, the traditional version of connecting via a screw connection continues to be practiced

When choosing the performance of a magnetic starter for 380V for appropriate purposes, you should pay attention to the mounting technique of the device.

As a rule, a significant proportion of devices of a modern configuration are carried out taking into account the installation on a DIN rail. But there are also designs of devices for fastening in the traditional way - with screws.

The nuances of connecting the EMF as part of the circuit

Classic EMF connection diagram It does not stand out with special difficulties. In fact, if you do not take into account auxiliary contact groups, you need to connect three main lines - there are three phases in the 380 volt circuit.

In total, these are 6 contacts - three input and three output, plus two contacts of the inductor circuit.

Wiring diagram for electromagnetic starter
Electric circuit of inclusion of a starter: A - input circuit (380 volts); B - output circuit (electric motor); 1 - magnetic starter; 2 - power terminal of the inductor; 3 - auxiliary contacts; 4 - grounding bus; 5, 6 - control buttons (+)

However, the actual inclusion in the electric circuit is often accompanied by a rather complicated circuit, where a large number of auxiliary contacts are involved.

As a rule, modern schemes for switching on the same electric motors require an additional input of protection devices - thermal relay other.

Starter coupled with thermal relay
Assembly of a switching device paired with a thermal relay.This switching option is used very often, as it provides additional protection for the load circuits and the load itself

When connecting circuits to an EMF rated for 380V, the following rules should be followed:

  • connect in the absence of voltage;
  • input circuits connect through circuit breaker;
  • use a wire cross section that is optimally suited to the contact;
  • tighten the screws all the way, but without using excessive force;
  • check the integrity of the coil winding (ohmmeter) before connecting the power line;
  • Check the master course of the moving chassis after all connections have been completed.

Typically, switching devices of this type are installed inside a cabinet designed for the installation of electrical lines. Cabinet design - with a door for ease of maintenance and restrict access for unauthorized persons.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

A full-fledged informative layout of the magnetic starter through a video recorded by a well-known trading company of electronic components.

The author of the video reveals in detail and in an accessible form the essence of the switching device:

Switching devices, such as an electromagnetic starter for three-phase networks, are used in industrial, economic and household applications quite often. Therefore, it is useful to study information on such devices in a timely manner - how to work with them, how to connect, how to determine for installation, etc.

Is there anything to supplement, or have questions about choosing and connecting an electromagnetic starter? You can leave comments on the publication, participate in discussions and share your own experience using such devices. The contact form is located in the lower block.

Was the article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!
No (5)
Thanks for your feedback!
Yes (35)
Visitors Comments
  1. Connecting a magnetic starter is another story. Even using the classic circuit, you can easily make a mistake, forgetting, for example, the nominal value of the inductor. For some reason, everyone believes that it is standard at 230 volts and is connected, respectively, to the neutral and to one of the phases. But I also had to deal with the 400-volt version, in which case its conclusions must be connected to various phases (through a series of buttons, of course). And sometimes there are exotic voltage ratings of the coil, say 110 or 36 volts. So before connecting, do not forget to ask about this parameter.

    • Expert
      Vasily Borutsky

      Good afternoon, Gleb. The probability of error is reduced if the electrician uses the design switching scheme, simultaneously checking the characteristics laid down by the designers, with the passport data of the real equipment proposed by the customer.

      Your statement - "Everyone ... believes that it is ... at 230 volts" - is erroneous and characterizes the qualifications of your environment. By the way, the “exotic” voltages used to power the control coils (you mistakenly call them inductors) are much more (attached screenshot).

      Attached photos: