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Breaking in DC Motors / Brushes

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  • John Cubbin
    I recently installed new 5 pole motors in a couple of locomotives, at the same time I purchased a couple of 4-6-2 locomotives, also with new / never run, 5
    Message 1 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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      I recently installed new 5 pole motors in a couple of locomotives, at
      the same time I purchased a couple of 4-6-2 locomotives, also with new /
      never run, 5 pole motors. I had a look through the archives, as well as
      an internet search for different techniques for breaking in the motors.
      I didn't find all that much info regarding train engines specifically,
      but I found quite a bit on breaking in RC motors. I came across some
      interesting ideas and would like to hear what you agree or disagree
      with.

      In no particular order of importance or validity:

      1) Remove the motor from the chassis, and with no physical load (except
      of course for the motor itself) run the motor for 2 - 3 hours at
      approximately 2-3 volts.

      2) Wet Method... this one had me looking twice to make sure I read it
      correctly! Essentially the same method as above, but submerse the entire
      motor into distilled water while applying the DC current. This is only
      done for 5 - 10 minutes, then another 10 minutes outside of the water to
      help dry it out.

      3) Spin the armature of the motor with a slave motor, eliminating any
      electrical current through the brushes / commutator, this would
      eliminate any possible pitting of the commutator due to arcing. (Sounds
      like hooking this up would be a pain in the neck!).

      4) Use a commutator lube oil... applying a drop to the commutator and
      again running the motor at low speeds / voltage. Possible downside I've
      read about this is that the oil and the residue from the brushes can
      become a wedged in the gaps of the commutator.

      5) Whatever method is used, have the motor turning in the same direction
      you intend to use it, or forward.

      Some interesting ideas, any thoughts on this?

      John
      http://www.ztrains.com
    • rvn20012000
      Hi John, Those are some interesting ideas about breaking in motors. Item 1 doesn t sound like it would cause any problems, and it might help break in the
      Message 2 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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        Hi John,

        Those are some interesting ideas about breaking in motors.

        Item 1 doesn't sound like it would cause any problems, and it might
        help break in the brushes, although, I'm not sure that's even
        necessary.

        Item 2 sounds like something to avoid at all costs as Z scale motors
        are completely exposed whereas RC motors are sealed so they can be
        used in boats as well as other vehicles. I suspect you'd at least
        blow a fuse or circuit breaker if you were fortunate enough not to
        destroy the motor and/or possibly your transformer.

        Item 3 doesn't sound like it could cause any damage, but
        again,...why??

        Item 4 also sounds like something to avoid as I'm sure the lube oil
        would pick up and retain all the small debris found on our layouts
        and would make cleaning very difficult.

        With regards to Item 5. You do plan to run your engines backwards
        once in a while, don't you??

        I generally just run the new engine around the layout for several
        hours, at varying speeds and in different directions, as well as
        running it forward both alone and with a load for some length of time.

        I've never had any trouble with any of my locomotives using this
        method.

        Keep thoze trainz running,
        Thom Welsch
      • John Duino
        ... As a long-time RC er and long-time electric flyer (I just test flew a new electric airplane at lunch today!) I can assure you that doing this will NOT fry
        Message 3 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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          > Item 2 sounds like something to avoid at all costs as Z scale motors
          > are completely exposed whereas RC motors are sealed so they can be
          > used in boats as well as other vehicles. I suspect you'd at least
          > blow a fuse or circuit breaker if you were fortunate enough not to
          > destroy the motor and/or possibly your transformer.

          As a long-time RC'er and long-time electric flyer (I just test flew a new
          electric airplane at lunch today!) I can assure you that doing this will NOT fry
          the motor/controller/transformer. It just helps keep things cool and reduces
          arc'ing while rubbing in the brushes. This is always done undervoltage, and it
          should be DISTILLED water (which we all know is nonconductive, right? =)


          In general I prefer a no-load, undervoltage run-in. Most of the brushes are
          fairly soft so doing it for HOURS seems excessive to me, but maybe the train
          motor's are harder. What is important is that AFTER the break-in you CLEAN the
          motor/brush/commutator/etc...maybe in the middle of breaking it in, also, to
          help remove the little cruds (technical term) that show up.




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        • Greg Elmassian
          Just a note: Distilled water is electrically non conductive... Deionized water is not... running it in distilled would probably be ok, make sure the bearings
          Message 4 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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            Just a note: Distilled water is electrically non conductive...

            Deionized water is not...

            running it in distilled would probably be ok, make sure the bearings
            are lubed and dry the motor out well... (leave it sitting in the sunlight
            for a while)

            I like the idea of a fluid washing out the bits of brush...

            Greg

            -----Original Message-----
            From: rvn20012000 [mailto:rvn20012000@...]
            Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 5:47 PM
            To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [z_scale] Re: Breaking in DC Motors / Brushes


            Hi John,

            Those are some interesting ideas about breaking in motors.

            Item 1 doesn't sound like it would cause any problems, and it might
            help break in the brushes, although, I'm not sure that's even
            necessary.

            Item 2 sounds like something to avoid at all costs as Z scale motors
            are completely exposed whereas RC motors are sealed so they can be
            used in boats as well as other vehicles. I suspect you'd at least
            blow a fuse or circuit breaker if you were fortunate enough not to
            destroy the motor and/or possibly your transformer.

            Item 3 doesn't sound like it could cause any damage, but
            again,...why??

            Item 4 also sounds like something to avoid as I'm sure the lube oil
            would pick up and retain all the small debris found on our layouts
            and would make cleaning very difficult.

            With regards to Item 5. You do plan to run your engines backwards
            once in a while, don't you??

            I generally just run the new engine around the layout for several
            hours, at varying speeds and in different directions, as well as
            running it forward both alone and with a load for some length of time.

            I've never had any trouble with any of my locomotives using this
            method.

            Keep thoze trainz running,
            Thom Welsch



            "Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in Small DoseZ!


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          • rvn20012000
            OOOPS!!! I m sorry..I must have missed the Distilled part of the water. Thanks to everyone for correcting my oversight. Thom Welsch
            Message 5 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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              OOOPS!!!

              I'm sorry..I must have missed the "Distilled" part of the water.
              Thanks to everyone for correcting my oversight.

              Thom Welsch
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