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com March 1999

DC Motors: Final Testing Procedures

Without A Dynamometer
By Chuck Yung
EASA Technical Support Specialist

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part box it was seated in.
series on DC motor repair procedures. Remember, the
brushes should be
EASA’s Engineering and Technical Support sanded until contact
Department has received many calls over the past with the commutator is
few months concerning repairs on DC motors. 100 percent.
Most callers have asked for tips on troubleshoot- The neutral position is in the center of the brush
ing to make sure repairs are handled correctly. contact zone with the commutator. As a partially
Prior to assembly, all windings should be tested seated brush wears in, the contact zone broadens
for shorts, grounds and correct polarity. and shifts the center of the contact area away from
After a DC motor is assembled and ready to test the neutral position.
run, a few simple checks will greatly reduce the After the brushes are fully seated, use dry
chance of motor problems. The following compressed air to blow any carbon dust out of the
procedures should be motor. (If possible,
especially helpful to cover the armature
those shops that windings while
don’t have a dyna- If neutral is adjusted with the brushes partially seating the
mometer. seated (as shown), it will be the mid- brushes.)
point between A and B. When the
Adjusting Brush brushes wear to full contact, the Adjusting
Box Height neutral setting will be the mid-
Brush boxes should point between A and C. The
Connect a volt-
be adjusted so that all actual neutral position does not
change, so the motor will arc meter across two
are the same height adjacent brush-
as the brushes become fully
above the commuta- holder studs and
tor. On most ma- A B C apply 110 volts AC
chines, this height to the shunt fields.
should be between The better the
1/16 inch and 1/8 inch, although some larger neutral setting, the lower the indicated voltage will
machines may specify clearances as great as 1/4 be. Shift the brushholder assembly back and forth
inch. Consult the manufacturer specifications for to obtain the lowest possible reading. It is some-
the particular machine if in doubt. Use a spacer of times possible to obtain a zero voltage reading,
the desired thickness to set the brush-box clear- and readings below 0.010 volt are normal.
ance. Teflon will not scratch the commutator and it Once in a great while, a DC machine has a
conforms to the shape, although other material also “false” or “soft” neutral. A low reading may be
will work. obtained, but it is not the true neutral position. At
the false neutral position, the voltage reading is
Seating Brushes not as low as that of the true neutral.
First, fully seat the brushes using fine (100
grit), non-conductive sandpaper. It may be easier
to seat the brushes a few at a time, especially with Next month: How to verify correct interpole
large machines with a lot of brushes (16 or more). polarity, compound machines and brush spacing.
In that case, be sure to install each brush in the