Recommended reading

The following is a list of texts and resources which I have found helpful when learning about permanent magnet synchronous motors. The items are roughly arranged from beginner to expert. As some of these texts are difficult and expensive to purchase I recommend you check your local library.

Electric motors

This text provides you with a gentle introduction to the basic concepts of related to magnetism, torque production and motor control for a range of different motor types. While this text is useful for developing a high-level overview of the field it does not provide the level of understanding required for advanced motor control or electric motor design.

More of a quick reference guide than a consolidated book, this PDF covers the most common concepts and terms that you will encounter when first learning about electric motors There is also a lecture available by the same author which focuses more on field-oriented control (FOC).

This increasingly famous 2009 masters thesis stands alone from the rest in that it goes to great lengths to develop a well-cited first principles understanding of electric machines. The first three chapters will introduce you step-by-step to the fundamental concepts and derivations required for a true understanding of torque production and electric motor constants. The second half of the book takes an equally painstaking approach to advanced motor control theory.

According to their website, "CWIEME is the world’s largest coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing exhibition series" and its associated YouTube channel contains a large number of lectures on a wide range of topics. Unlike most of the other sources listed here, this channel gives you a gimps into the cutting edge developments being made in the world of electric motors and electric vehicle drive trains. These three lectures by James Hendershot are of particular interest. 

As the name suggests, this 824-page tome focuses almost exclusively on permanent magnet machines. While prior knowledge of electric motors is helpful, it is not required. This text is especially helpful for those who wish to design their own electric motor. It provides a suggested road map for designing, building and testing of an electric motor and goes into great detail about the engineering design considerations and compromises that must be made. If you can, try and obtain the more recent 2010 revised version of this text (ISBN 978-0-9840687-0-8)

This text assumes a strong background in physics and mathematics. It does away with the many layers of abstraction typically seen in undergraduate-level textbooks and builds up the principles of electric motors one partial differential equation at a time. Ideal for those in the process of writing their own magnetostatic FEM software package or anyone wanting the deepest fundamental understanding of this topic.


For those like myself who don't have any formal background in robotics, I found this open course by the Queensland University of Technology to hit just the right note. Structured at an undergraduate level it is both approachable for those new to the topic but also detailed enough to be useful. 

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