Now we need to access the motor leads so we can replace them. To get to the motor leads, we need to detach the motor’s core, or field core, from the motor housing. As you’ll see, we cannot detach it completely; although we will physically separate it from the housing, it will remain attached via two wires. (In the photo up above, the two wires in question look like water mocassins.) We must be careful not to disturb those two wires.
The first thing you’ll need to do is remove these two screws.
The screw on the top side of the motor--which appears on the right here, since the motor is on its side--has a metal plate attached to it with the motor’s specifics written on it. This is like a laundry-care tag for electric motors. In any case, it comes off with the screw.
Put the screws and the metal plate somewhere safe. Now, looking down on the motor from this angle, look into the dark gap between the core and the housing.
In the center you’ll see a little nub protruding from the core.
Carefully stick a flat-bladed screwdriver--a regular one will do, it needn’t be hollow-ground--into the gap so that the flat part of the blade is fully contacting the nub. (Don’t place the screwdriver anywhere else in this gap, as you don’t want to damage the enamel-wrapped windings.)
What you need to do next is super-easy, but I found it was easier to show it in video rather than photos, so you can see the motions I’m using and get a sense of how gently you must open this part:
If for some reason what I just showed you in the video doesn’t work, flip the motor over, repeat the screwdriver trick on the other side, and you should be all set.
From here on in, remember that we must handle these two parts (the core and housing) with care so as not to disturb the two wires that remain connected. Those are the brush leads, they connect the core and the brush tubes, and I have never had to replace them on a potted motor yet. These are not the wires we’re concerned with in this tutorial, so unless you see bad insulation on them, leave them be.
Now I’m going to show you the Worst-Case and Best-Case Scenarios for what you might see when you crack the motor open as we just have. Sadly, a small percentage of you may have the Worst-Case Scenario, which may not be fixable.
The Worst-Case Scenario
This is the machine that had grease and possibly oil inserted into the brush tubes by a previous owner. Unsurprisingly the inside looks like hell.
Zooming in, we see the wiring is totally fried, and there is dark grit all over the place. This is bad.
I’ll flip the motor over so you can see the wiring from the other side, and get a sense of just how bad:
The insulation has melted, either as a result of a short somewhere within the motor, or due to coming into contact with the grease and oil it was never meant to endure. The wiring insulation looks like melted cheese that appears to have seeped between the individual strands of wire. I don’t think I can strip this, and if I can’t strip it, I can’t solder a new connection on. For those of you with Worst-Case Scenario motors like this, I’ll continue searching for a solution.
Before we get to the Best-Case Scenario motors I’m hoping most of you have, we need to deal with the brush tubes.
On some of your motors the brushes may not have been removable from the outside. So we’ll deal with them now.
Looking inside the Worst-Case Scenario machine, it’s easy to see why the brushes were stuck: The ends of them have melted out of shape due to the grease or oil that got into the motor.
To remove these brushes, we push from the outside.
|Stick a Q-tip into the brush tube…|
|…and the brush pops out inside.|
|Now do the same to the other side.|
Finally, remove both brushes and set them aside. Even if they're covered in oil and grease like this, we'll still be able to salvage the springs, which will come in handy as some places sell motor brushes without springs.
The Brush Tubes
Whether you have a Best- or Worst-Case motor, clean your brush tubes out with dry, clean Q-Tips.
|Yep, same photo from above, but this time we're swabbing.|
You can visually inspect the brush tubes with a flashlight to see if they’re clean.
If there’s a little graphite dust from the brushes, that’s fine; but if there’s any oil or grease in there, it must be removed. For that you can use a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Be sure to blot the Q-tip well so you don’t send alcohol sloshing down the tube and onto the brush lead wires.
The Best-Case Scenario
Here we’ve cracked open a motor where the wiring clearly needs replacing; the insulation is dry, cracked and rotting.
But it’s still a Best-Case Motor, because the key word is “dry.” This motor was properly maintained and there is no grease or oil inside and on the wiring.
So if your motor looks like that, breathe a sigh of relief, because our job here will be relatively straightforward.
Go on to Part 13: Cutting the Motor Leads