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What happens if you run a motor on low voltage?

Low voltage can lead to overheating, shortened life, reduced starting ability, and reduced pull-up and pullout torque. The starting torque, pull-up torque, and pullout torque of induction motors all change, based on the applied voltage squared.

Running the motor at a low voltage can have a variety of consequences because the peak torque of the motor is related to the square of the voltage. When the voltage is 80% of its normal value, the peak torque of the motor is only 64% of its normal value. In this case, many problems are easy to occur, such as overheating or damage to the motor, which affect the performance of the motor and reduce its efficiency.

  • The first problem is an increase in current consumption. When the motor operates below its rated voltage, it attempts to absorb more current to compensate for the reduced voltage. This increased current consumption can cause the motor windings to overheat, resulting in insulation breakdown, short circuits, and other forms of damage.
  • Operating the motor at low voltages can affect its performance. The power output of the motor decreases as the voltage decreases, meaning that it may not be able to provide the required torque or speed. In addition, the efficiency of the motor may be affected, resulting in it consuming more power than necessary and increasing energy costs.
  • Decreased motor performance can also result in increased wear on other components, such as transmissions or couplings. These components may have to work harder to compensate for reduced motor output, which may cause them to fail prematurely.


In summary, operating the motor at low voltage has some consequences, including increased current consumption, reduced performance, increased wear of other components, and shortened service life. To avoid these problems, it is important to operate the motors within the voltage range of the design and ensure that they are properly maintained. By doing so, motor owners can ensure their motors operate reliably and efficiently and avoid costly repairs or replacements.

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