What device has 2 disks, one rotating, one not connected by a metal strip on the stationary and held against the other ?

The purpose of which is to transfer DC power to multiple separately powered devices on a wheel from a battery not on the wheel. Is this a commutator? How do I build one?

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kelseymh6 years ago
No, the commutator is what reverses the current polarity in a motor. What you're describing sounds like a "slip ring." You'll find some useful guidelines here on Instructables.
hmm, I never knew that. I thought a commutator was just a slip ring. a split-ring commutator is used to flip/flop the current to different coils/orientations....or are I crazy? :)
Whether you're crazy or not isn't really connected to your understanding of commutators. I appreciated our Latin friend's posting; he clarified the nomenclatural difference quite clearly.
Thanks for the compliment. I try to jump in and help where possible, inspired (of course) by such wonderful knowledge sharing people as yourselves. As for the Latin part, I kinda like the common name that the USDA gave me. ;)


I learned something that I thought I knew today. What a great day!
You should become a professional scientist. Almost every day you learn something you thought you already knew :-)
bwelkin (author)  kelseymh6 years ago
Thank you! Often it's just knowing the right word to call a thing. Now to find a way to make my project work. Examples are usually shown with a rotating shaft and I am wanting to use a rotating disk. And I didn't mention, low voltage ap.
Generally slip rings are used in AC motors or alternators while commutators are used in DC motors or generators (real generators produce slightly pulsating DC, if a generator claims to produce direct AC, it is actually an alternator).

A good way to think of what you want is to look at slotcars and their track. Built in a circle, the 2 metal strips on either side of the slot are analogous to your positive and negative "discs" and the pickup brushes on the car (that rub along the metal strips, ie., "discs") are the pickups connected to your device.

As a matter of fact, you should also look at electric model trains. They use the same principal you are speaking of.