Rotisseries are powered by electric motors that work through interaction between an electromagnet and a field magnet to cause rotation. The electromagnet sits inside a horseshoe-shaped field magnet balanced on an axle. A commutator attached to the electromagnet provides current and reverses it regularly to change the magnet's poles. The poles are continually attracted to their opposite poles in the field magnet, causing the electromagnet to turn on the axle.
Every magnet has both a north and south pole. When two magnets are close to each other similar poles interact with a force that pushes the magnets apart. Different poles act with a force that pulls the magnets together. Electric motors, such as the motors that power rotisseries, use this force to create rotational movement. An electromagnet powerful enough to turn the rotisserie is formed from a rotor wrapped in a piece of conductive wire. A devise called a commutator controls a stream of electricity from a battery or electrical outlet. The electricity flows through the wire to turn the rotor into a powerful electromagnet. The ends of the rotor are now attracted to the opposite poles at the ends of the horseshoe-shaped field magnet. The rotor turns from the created magnetic force. The commutator switches the direction of the flow of electricity and, therefore, the poles of the rotor at the optimal time to keep the rotor moving and the rotisserie turning.