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Electric Motors – Learn the Basics at “Youtube University”

Want to learn how an electric motor works and what kind of motors are out there? In this article I will share with you my favorite Youtube videos that can teach you all the basics of electric motors in less than an hour.


Electric motors are everywhere in transportation systems. They power tramways, bullet trains, and of course electric cars. But they are also indispensable parts of all other kinds of vehicles, be it airplanes, trucks, or cars with internal combustion engines. They control valves and lids, or move displays up and down. Understanding how an electric motor works and what types of motors are available is essential to understanding any type of vehicle today.

I recently discovered that my knowledge was not up to date. What is the difference between a synchronous motor and an asynchronous motor, and why would car companies use one or the other in their new electric vehicles? How does a linear motor work, and what is the difference between a stepper motor and a servo? To fill this gap in my understanding, I started looking for help on YouTube. I found many brilliant videos by technology enthusiasts explaining how electric motors work.
In these videos, I discovered the most brilliant explanations, paired with stunning animations and in some cases, working programs for the Arduino. If you watch these videos, you can become an expert on electric motors in less than an hour.
Kudos to all the people who took the time to make these videos for us.
Have fun!

DC Motors

Start your journey with DC motors because they are the easiest to understand.
This video by Jared Owen shows you everything you need to know with fantastic animations.

Brushless DC Motors (BLDC)

Brushless DC motors are a variation of the standard DC motor that run on a DC power supply, but do not require brushes to drive the rotor. Their high speed makes them very popular for powering drones and other applications.
Check out this video from The Engineering Mindset. They not only explain how the motor works, but also show you how to build your own using a BLDC and an Arduino.

Servo Motors

Servo motors are essential when you need fine-grained control. With a servo, you can adjust a position to within a few degrees. They are very popular among modelers.
The Engineering Mindset also produced this excellent video.

Stepper Motor

A stepper motor is used when you want to move a machine and control exactly where it stops, like in a CNC machine.
This video, again from The Engineering Mindset, will teach you the basics.

AC Motors

Now you know the main types of DC motors. Let’s take a look at AC motors as well.
These power all kinds of machines, especially larger ones like fans, power drills, electric vehicles, or high-speed trains.
There are two basic types of AC motors: synchronous and asynchronous.

This video from the Learning Channel explains the basics of synchronous motors.
The other type of motor, the asynchronous AC motor or induction motor, is explained in this video, also by our old friends at The Engineering Mindset.

Linear Motor

Finally, there is a type of motor that does not rotate. Instead, it moves in a linear fashion, which is why it is called a linear motor. It is used in some types of machines. It also propels Maglev trains, like the Transport System Bögl about which I wrote an article back in April.
To learn how a linear motor works, check out this terrific video by Lesics.


You do not need to take a university course or buy expensive books to learn the basics of electric motors. We can learn all about them on Youtube, thanks to the work of many talented people. I hope you enjoyed this little overview and find it a useful reference.

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