I have just sized the DC motors I want to use (corresponding to my robot and its intended applications - my figures include a 50% uncertainty factor to account for friction in reducers and other losses). Now I need to actually choose the exact motors I want to buy from the manufacturer (I am targeting maxon motors as I am not an expert and want no problem). I have a few down to earth questions about linking the mechanical needs to the electrical characteristics, among them:

Question #1:

Maxon (or the other manufacturers) states a "nominal voltage" in the characteristic sheets. Is that the voltage you should apply to the motor? This may be a dumb question but I have followed the full maxon e-learning course and read about other tutorials on the web and I could not find this information anywhere. Can anyone who knows about motors confirm?

I have followed some theoretical and practical courses on the web but I find it hard to find answers to my down to earth question...


1 Answer 1


To control the power of a DC motor you control the voltage applied to it. So no, it's not the "only" voltage you can apply to the motor. The nominal value is a reference so we know what to what specs the motor was engineered. You can input more than the nominal voltage to get more power but it may for example get a bit hotter than it is supposed to, as it wasn't designed to work continuously at a higher voltage. You won't kill a 12V motor by making it work at 20V for 2 minutes, specially Maxon motors which are very well built.

  • $\begingroup$ But then what would you recommend to use for the voltage of the power supply which should feed the power stage? Say for a 12V or 24V nominal voltage... $\endgroup$
    – arennuit
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ This is false. Even applying nominal voltage to a motor can destroy the motor if it is overloaded, e.g. when stalling it the full 2 minutes. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 11:10

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