Few people realize what evil power lies under the hood of the lowly gas powered car. It isn’t the internal combustion engine whose power is merely fire contained, it is the starter motor, a direct tap into a fundamental force of nature.
The evil power of the starter motor is kept under control, harnessed to do our bidding, but do not underestimate it. It is the motor of supervillainy.
For many a child their introduction to this demonic device is not from the family car, even if their family has a car, it is from the world of soap boxes and go carts.
Every kid has a soap box car, little more than scraps of wood nailed and tied together with which they hurdle themselves down every hill in town. The thrill of the ride, no matter how short, fires the desire for more, a desire for motive power.
For the rich kids this was supplied by a Briggs and Stratton, for the middle class an old lawn mower engine might do the trick but for the kid from the family with push mowers those solutions were too expensive.
Enter the starter motor.
Every old car has one and for the lucky kid he might get one from an old Ford with 460 cubic inches of fire controlling engine. That starter motor with its simple relay control system is easy to adapt and most important it is cheap. That aspect of the motor, its low cost, will be just one of the promises all electric motors make but somehow never really deliver.
The cheap starter powered soap box becomes a go-cart and that means racing the rich kids with their shiny ICEs. All it takes is the drop of the flag and the flip of the switch to unleash the raw power of the starter motor.
The wheels spin, grab and throw the cart forward as though Thor himself was pushing. The acceleration is the first time that kid actually feels the whole seat pushing against him, feels a surge of addictive adrenaline and the evil power of the starter motor. The starter go cart always wins the launch.
Then the evil fails as the rich kid slowly putters off into the distance. Like a candle the Brigs and Stratton just keeps on flickering, pitifully, yet continuously, claiming a weak mocking victory.
But the Starter motor is like the blinding shock wave of a Supernova. It dumps all its power in one huge burst and promises more if only it could have its insatiable need for electricity fed.
Later that kid will learn the math behind his starter motor, that it is a DC series motor in disguise. When that kid learns the theoretical ideal limit of such a motor is infinite RPM, infinite Torque, and infinite Power, the evil super villain is revealed and seen as a potential tool for world domination.
In practice the path to world domination via a DC series motor is littered with the many pitfalls of friction, heat and internal battery resistance. Even when one gets a mount that will hold the torque of pure evil unleashed, feeding that evil creates a treadmill of every increasing heat sinks, cable sizes and battery banks.
The siren call of a series DC motor with a simple relay control system unleashing infinite power has been the downfall of many. The promise is so very tempting, so very aluring but I would suggest another path.
If one can break from the lure of series power I would suggest they take the lesser path of the shunt wound DC motor. In that motor the pure evil is diluted, weakened to a point that it becomes safe and easy to handle.
From there a step back into evil can be had with a compound DC motor. A motor that harnesses the hellish power of the series winding but is more suicidal than world dominating.
As one progresses through the various drive motors and controllers you will often be reminded that all these steps, extra windings and circuits are needed to control the evil power that resides in all motors.
An evil power the lowly and cheap starter motor is ever willing to release.
So do take advantage of the starter motor with it's built in gear system and easy to adapt ring gear but be warned, cheap power can have a very steep price in time and money. It may even cost you your very soul. (not to mention any hope of getting a girlfriend)