Power to spinning armature?

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 28, 2010
Sorry if this is easy to answer, but I honestly have no idea what to google here.

Say I've got a selection of LEDs on a spinning armature. I want to power them, but the power supply is located on the non-moving base and is not spinning. How do I run the power wires? Is there a sort of collar setup? Do you use brushes, like a motor or generator? Don't know if I'm explaining this the right way. Thanks for any suggestions...


Joined Mar 14, 2008
The simplest is to use slip rings (two smooth conducting rings with brushes). You might be able to buy what you need from a hobby shop such as this.

More complex is to use a rotary transformer with the primary winding stationary and the secondary winding on the rotating device to transfer AC power across the gap. The AC is then converted to DC on the armature.


Joined Sep 26, 2009
check out some of my propeller clocks, which I am sure is what you are doing to see how I did the 2 different ones, you can actually get power from the motors commutator points but that would have to be rectified with a bridge rectifier since it would be alternating DC. http://www.morse-code.com/id44.htm


Joined Feb 11, 2008
What about holding the shaft fixed, and spinning the motor? Then it acts a generator and you can attach the propeller clock to it.

Of course that requires another motor and a belt to spin the first motor, but that still sounds easier and more reliable than sliprings.


Joined Sep 26, 2009
or we can just skip all the mechanical stuff and go directly to wireless electricity transfer :D




with a 4011 IC and a few passive components + a couple of coils and you can transfer power to a spinning PCB without any mechanical parts to wear out. :rolleyes: