Another interesting design is the brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The stator and rotor effectively swap over, with multiple iron coils static at the center and the permanent magnet rotating around them, and the commutator and brushes are replaced by an electronic circuit. You can read more in our main article on hub motors. Stepper motors, which turn around through precisely controlled angles, are a variation of brushless DC motors.
Without getting into a lengthy physics lecture, this process of reversing polarity produces heat (or wasted energy). This is known as hysteresis loss. And that helps explain why increasing the voltage into the motor will not necessarily increase the output. Instead, it can fight the resistance of magnetic materials to reverse polarity--and simply heat iron.
The colors or numbers themselves are often a clue, but they alone may not provide sufficient information. There is always the trial and error method, but I do not recommend that because of the potential for destructive results. Instead, the Motor Doctors suggestion is to equip yourself with an ohmeter (don nott settle for just a continuity tester) and learn to perform a few simple tests with it.
Now we have better ideas about how electricity works, we tend to talk about current as a flow of electrons, from negative to positive, in the opposite direction to the conventional current. When you are trying to figure out the rotation of a motor or a generator, be sure to remember that current means conventional current and not electron flow.