An electric motor can be wired using single-phase alternating current, three-phase alternating current or by direct current. The correct method depends on the type of motor and electrical supply that is being used. If the available power supply does not match the motor, a phase converter can be employed.
Single-phase AC motors are the most commonly found in home appliances and smaller industrial machines. Typical home usage includes refrigerators, washers, dryers and power tools. The motor should have a wiring schematic in the manual, on the outside cover of the motor or under the plate covering the wire connections. Contact the manufacturer or an electrician if a schematic can't be located because wiring the motor wrong can damage the equipment and cause electric shock hazards.
Turn off the power to the motor before wiring and follow the color-coded connection guide when connecting the new wires. Secure the wires firmly with wire nuts. To test the motor, find the rotation guide that is on one end. It is an arrow that points to the correct direction the motor should be turning. Plug the motor in for a few seconds, and observe the rotation. If it is correct, reassemble the unit, and it's ready to use. If not consult the schematic for wiring errors.
Three-phase motors are used in most heavy industrial environments and generally require an experienced electrician for wiring. DC motors are commonly used in many toys and are usually safe for a home hobbyist to work with.