Guidance cleaning 12v DC motor

Thread Starter

Jeffnich

Joined Dec 3, 2023
3
Hi,

i am attempting to clean this 12V DC motor used for the windlass on my boat. It was still running but there was lots of arcing on the brushes. The commutator was totally clogged and there is loads and loads of carbon and gunk around where the brushes are.
The brushes will need to be replaced but it needs a really good clean

I am after advice on the best way to clean it correctly please.

thanks!
Jeff



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Konsmo

Joined Dec 4, 2023
1
Hi, this may not be the best or correct way in the eyes of others, but I've been using WD-40's Contact Cleaner along with a toothbrush to loosen up things that are a bit more stubborn.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,513
The commutator was totally clogged and there is loads and loads of carbon and gunk around where the brushes are.
The Comm itself does not seem overly worn, so probably just needs a good cleaning !
How did it get in that state?
Seems like it calls out for some kind of cover or protection. ;)
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
8,973
Welcome to AAC.

First, used compressed air to blow off as much of the loose stuff as it can do.

Then, using a dry nylon brush, like the cheap and ubiquitous M16 cleaning brush brush off residue the air didn't get.
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Next, use a purpose made electric motor cleaner like Berryman to dissolve grease, oil, and mixtures of these and carbon, etc.

Next, inspect the motor for places where the cleaner failed to dissolve difficult collections and with the brush and small amount of cleaner remove them. Spray one more time to clear the loosened stuff.

Finally, use the brush to thoroughly clean the commutator. If there is visible fouling, you can use very high grit (800+) wet/dry sandpaper to remove it. Don't do this unless necessary and be sure to use the motor cleaner and brush to clean off any particles afterwards.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,790
Probably the brush wear is related to the large amounts of carbon all over everything, Use a NON-WATER BASED cleaner to avoid damaging insulation and bearings rusting.
 

Thread Starter

Jeffnich

Joined Dec 3, 2023
3
Thanks all.
The commutaor was completely clogged between each of the segments so i manually cleaned out the gunk.
All the brushes are unevenly worn so i will replace them.

i wanted to clean out all the old carbon and gunk so will try the cleaning methods from above and report back.
Thanks for the guidance.
Cheers
Jeff
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,513
I wanted to clean out all the old carbon and gunk so will try the cleaning methods from above and report back.
Thanks for the guidance.
Cheers
Jeff
The contamination appears to be more than just the typical carbon dust build up,!
I would look into carrying out some protection to avoid whatever has been the source of the 'Gunk'!
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,790
My thinking is that a lot of that carbon was from the worn out brushes. Certainly they are far worn, looking at the visible back ends.
So it may be that there is some issue with the brush holders adjustment, or the actual brush type, or abrasive conditions.
 

Thread Starter

Jeffnich

Joined Dec 3, 2023
3
The contamination appears to be more than just the typical carbon dust build up,!
I would look into carrying out some protection to avoid whatever has been the source of the 'Gunk'!
what would you recommend. The motor is from a boat windlass and had a pretty hard life. I think this is its first overhaul in 6 years.

cheers
Jeff
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,790
It reminds me of starter motors from a couple of cars that I have owned in the far back past. They were far from new, low mileage cars.
Starter motors also have a carbon build up after a while.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,513
what would you recommend. The motor is from a boat windlass and had a pretty hard life. I think this is its first overhaul in 6 years.
I would devise some kind of protective cover, depending on the nature of the contamination was, it appears to be a lot more than just the typical carbon dust! :(
Ensure that the temperature does not too high.
 

DC_Kid

Joined Feb 25, 2008
1,072
A toothbrush and some brake cleaning/ degreasing fluid, a piece of emery paper to clean the armature.
No to brake cleaner, it's too interactive.

As for the rotor copper contacts, they look like they need a buffing. Two step process to help clean and smooth them, not gonna remove deep grooves. 400 emery to start, go easy to brighten & smooth them, followed by 600 emery.

CRC Electronics Cleaner and the like, spray cans with the thin tube nozzles to blast off dirt and stuff. The nylon brushes to help it along. I would then bake the rotor in an over on lowest setting for 30min or so to evap out any liquid. Stay away from spraying directly into the bearings.

Add new brushes, lube assembly accordingly.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,790
No to brake cleaner, it's too interactive.

As for the rotor copper contacts, they look like they need a buffing. Two step process to help clean and smooth them, not gonna remove deep grooves. 400 emery to start, go easy to brighten & smooth them, followed by 600 emery.

CRC Electronics Cleaner and the like, spray cans with the thin tube nozzles to blast off dirt and stuff. The nylon brushes to help it along. I would then bake the rotor in an over on lowest setting for 30min or so to evap out any liquid. Stay away from spraying directly into the bearings.

Add new brushes, lube assembly accordingly.
Certainly the bearings will need lubrication. As it appears that at least the one is a ball bearing, probably both are, avoid cleaning them with the spray. It appears that they are sealed bearings, apropriate for a marine environment For winch duty they will not need re-greasing, unless you can see inside, which I doubt. And be very thorough with cleaning the grit off of the commutator after smoothing it. It is not badly worn at all.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,513
The commutator was completely clogged between each of the segments so i manually cleaned out the gunk.
I wanted to clean out all the old carbon and gunk so will try the cleaning methods from above and report back.
I use quite a few variations from MG Chemicals, they have something for every situation, the one I use for this is a electronics aerosol spray cleaner that evaporates and leaves no residue.
DigiKey and such are one of a few suppliers.
 

DC_Kid

Joined Feb 25, 2008
1,072
Certainly the bearings will need lubrication.
Yep, looks like a sealed end bearing in the pic, gonna be hard to lubricate it. Some Kano might be able to seep in, that at least give some oil film to ride on, better than dry, certainly not ideal.

I use quite a few variations from MG Chemicals, they have something for every situation, the one I use for this is a electronics aerosol spray cleaner that evaporates and leaves no residue.
DigiKey and such are one of a few suppliers.
CRC has the same stuff I believe, should be on shelves at walmart, autozone, possibly HD and lowes.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
17,790
In response to the short comment that the brushes are fine. Look at the very small amount of distance between the wire and te guide at the back end of the brush. athen look at the small distance that the brush extends to the front. Then go look at a new brushed motor and you will see a whole lot more brush in back. Those brushes are quite worn. not quite to failure and commutator damage, but approaching that level.
 
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