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Old Oct 21, 2010, 04:55 AM
daedalusrobert's Avatar
United States, GA, Valdosta
Joined Jan 2009
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Question
How To Clean An Electric Motor?

Planted my Torque 2814/820 about 2" into some sand. Can anyone tell me the best way to clean the sand out of the motor without causing damage to the windings or magnets?

Thanks in Advance!
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 06:24 AM
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Orleans, MA
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Here's how I'd approach the cleaning:

The motor probably has a lot of magnetic grit inside from the immersion in sand. Try not to turn it as this could abrade the wiring. Carefully remove the rotor by sliding off the circlip or loosening the setscrew. It will pull a lot, so don't let it snap back in over the stator to protect fingers and the brittle magnets.

Carefully use some masking or similar tape to remove all the ingested magnetic particles you can see from the magnets. Use compressed air and/or a soft brush to get the nonmagnetic dust out. Rinse in distilled water to get out the deeper grit followed by a rinse in isopropyl alcohol to solubilize any residual water. Let it dry thoroughly. A little oil on the bearings might be a good idea.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 09:04 AM
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Is alcohol likely to damage insulation or anything else?
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 10:50 AM
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Alcohol is OK and helps dry out the water.
You can take alcohol to almost any electrical component in the plane as long as you dry it out well after. I use it as a standard practice after an unplanned water dunking.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 11:12 AM
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For you, the motor or both?

I find it soothing.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 11:49 AM
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Isopropyl alcohol is a fairly mild solvent used for general surface cleaning of electronic equipment. For example, it is used to clean tape and VCR heads. It's not going to attack the wire enamel or plastic coatings in the motor, but it will probably remove some oil from the bearings. (The bearings can probably be removed before rinsing to avoid this possibility.) I'd use it for just a quick rinse to absorb residual distilled water and to promote rapid drying. If you can find a more inert fluid, I'd use that. I would definitely avoid methanol, acetone or powerful solvents.

I think you need a rinse of some kind to get out the grit between the windings. When the motor is operating, there is likely to be some vibration between the wires, and you don't want abrasive material in there when that is going on. That enamel insulation is pretty thin.
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Last edited by whitecrest; Oct 21, 2010 at 05:43 PM.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 11:51 AM
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The enamel is what has me worried!

I always avoid methanol, but find ethanol helpful!
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 04:43 PM
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United States, GA, Valdosta
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Great suggestions guys! Luckily, the only damage appears to be the front bearings and I have new ones on hand.

Suggestions for the best oil to relube? 3-in-1? Scorpion has oil they sell for their motors...can't see why it wouldn't work for a Torque/Hacker electron converter.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 05:31 PM
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I agree. Their lubrication kit looks like a good way to do the job.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 10:01 PM
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What a conundrum.. I've stuffed Fuel Combat engines into the dirt at 100mph. So deep in the turf/mud that their props were folded back parallel to each other and was genuinely worried that I'd break the Wingspar trying to pull them out of the wet turf's suction.
Squirted a shot of glow fuel through them to wash out the lumps, Fired them up and tossed them back into the air. Without a second thought
So you've got some $30 'Leccy motor and yer worried about some dirt in it??
What's it gonna do? wear out the crank bearings or the cyl liner. Geez.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 10:30 PM
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Where did you come from?
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 06:20 AM
daedalusrobert's Avatar
United States, GA, Valdosta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bare View Post
What a conundrum.. I've stuffed Fuel Combat engines into the dirt at 100mph. So deep in the turf/mud that their props were folded back parallel to each other and was genuinely worried that I'd break the Wingspar trying to pull them out of the wet turf's suction.
Squirted a shot of glow fuel through them to wash out the lumps, Fired them up and tossed them back into the air. Without a second thought
So you've got some $30 'Leccy motor and yer worried about some dirt in it??
What's it gonna do? wear out the crank bearings or the cyl liner. Geez.
Wow...you found a new 2814/820 Torque or same size Hacker motor for $30.00? Please tell us where!!!
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 07:02 AM
Jack
USA, ME, Ellsworth
Joined May 2008
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I bought a one gallon jug of alcohol boat stove fuel at a local clearance house for a few Bucks. I pour that into plastic pan and put motor, ESC, servos, and everything that has been immersed in water in the pan. I let the pieces drain and refill a few times so that the alcohol gets to any place where there may have been water.

I drain the pieces as best I can and hang them over the furnace on coat hangers. It is warm there when the furnace has run (it does both heat and domestic hot water) but not hot. Two days there and the stuff is dried out and ready to be powered up and tested, one day might work.

If the servos filled with alcohol I loosen the covers and drain them. I don't relube servos, not for $4 each or so. If they survive and test good I use them again.

For mud packed motors I use M-16 cleaning brush, acid brush, and toothbrush to dissolve and remove all visible mud while the motor is in the alcohol bath. If the magnet housing will turn easily as the cleaning progresses I'll turn and clean as long as there is no resistance or abrasive grinding feel.

After the motor is dry I remove the spring clip, pull the magnet housing and shaft out, and clean it in alcohol again if I find dirt inside the motor. Another day on the drying rack afterwards of course.

I press or knock the bearings out, put them in a small container of alcohol and shake rattle, and roll them (rolling wet bearing si OK, don't roll dry bearings). If the bearing is still smooth I relube and reuse them.

My favorite lube is Mobil One 10W-50 pure synthetic motor oil. Why? Because I have it. I put the now dry and clean bearings in a iny zip lock back (about 1" square) and pour enough oil in to immerse them. I stand the bag vertically (so I don't spill any oil) in the catch bottle on my Mity-Vac brake bleeder hand vacuum pump and pull a few inches of vacuum. When I see the bubble rise from the bearings I release the vacuum and repeat it.

Then I take the bearing out of the oil, lay them on a paper towel to drain for a while. I wipe most of the oil off put the bearing on the shaft, and turn them by hand to check for dirt/damage. If smooth I replace and reuse the.

I recovered a couple of planes from full water and mud immersions and all of them flew again.

Jack
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 07:07 AM
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Geez, I just use mineral oil to get the crap out of mine.
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 10:36 AM
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Setting up a plane on a new transmitter, accidentally hit a button that sent my servos into an oscillation 'test'...motor wasn't disabled and it went about 3 feet into a chair, the prop hit the chair leg sideways, i.e no front impact or very little, but it snapped both prop blades. The motor seems fine, but the state of the prop makes me wonder whether there is internal damage. Should I do something, or just fly n forget :P
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