AEG Motor Maintenece
The purpose of this overview is to educate fellow airsoft members on how an electric motor works and what you can do to keep your motor in tip top shape! I will go over the basic things about a motor, motor maintenance, motor improvements, and what you should do when purchasing a new motor.
Many airsoft players or collectors may know the basics of the gearbox, hop-up, and other components of their AEG. However, one of the biggest sources of problems in your gearbox and overall performance depends essentially on your motor. A select amount of people who airsoft encounter problems with their AEG and simply tear their gun to pieces looking for the problem. Still, some people with small and simple performance problems will take their gun apart and reassemble it many times without finding the problem. Soon, most people just get fed up and buy new gearbox parts, or maybe an entire new gearbox with everythig fine. When people then do this the problem no longer presists because the former motor had a simple problem with not being properly checked and cleaned.
There are many parts to your standard electirc motor. Most of these parts play a crucial role in the ROF of your gun. If these parts are not checked every so often, you are on the road to problems that you may not even
notice right away.
Here is a list along with information and pictures on each part that is crucial to mostly all AEG motors.
Brushes are usually the #1 reason for AEG performance problems. If they are not properly taken care of or replaced when needed, they will damage the rest of your motor. A brush is a small device made from carbon-graphite that transfers power to or from a rotating object. The rotationg object that it transfers to is the armature. We will talk more about the armature later.
Brushes are designed to wear away, and when they do, where do they go? Well they become a very fine carbon dust. This carbon dust can spread anywhere inside your motor causing build up. If enough carbon build up finds its home under or around a bushing, it will cause your motor rpm to drop. When your motor has a major drop in rpms, then your rof will decrease slightly. There is no way of really stopping the carbon from spreading throughout your motor. When I replace my brushes, I simply clean out the carbon dust carefully.
Now, you understand that brushes can wear down, we can talk about when there is too much wear. Once your brushes have worn down, the bare wiring that is molded into the brush will start to come through the end of the brush where it meets the commutator. If this happens, the bare wire will start to wear and tear a groove in the commutator which will result in major rpm loss or totally ruining your motor in a short time span.
The springs main purpose is to hold the brushes against the commutator so that maximum contact is made between the two. The more the contact and smoother the brush is against the commutator the easier your motor will turn. Having a smooth commutator also makes it easier for current to flow. Springs with harder tension will increase contact to the commutator, but it will also increase the rate of wear which means replacing them more often. Softer tension springs will decrease wear and your brushes will last longer, but reduce the contact to the commutator. If you reduce contact, then your motor has less power. If you increase contact, you motor has more power. If you use too soft of springs your brushes could bounce around in the brush hoods and cause commutator wear, again damaging your motor. After a long period of time, anything that is under tension will start to lose tension. If you have kept your motor in tip top shape with cleaning and replacing brushes, but still seem to lose power or you have noticed great power loss, look into replacing your motor springs.
The commutator is a very unique part of your motor. This part of the motor is located near the top of the armature. The armature is the part that has a three sided circular figure. The commutator is somewhat similar to a snowboard. If the snowboard is smooth, free of scratches, and free of large grooves or indents, then
the contact between the board and the snow will be ideal for picking up speed. The same basic concept applies to a commutator. If the commutator is free of any scratches, grooves, or any deformities, the commutator can spin freely and efficiently against the brushes for maximum contact and maximum power.
NOTE: Many motors are manufactured to stay together. Meaning, you may need to use special tools to fully open your motor. This is done by looking at where the top of your motor and the protective shell, also known as "the can" meet. When you find this location, there should be little metal prongs that are a part of "the can" that then connect the top piece, "the endbell" to the can. These prongs must be pried out to gain full access to the internals of the motor. Once prongs are pried out and endbell has been taken off, you can now preform the next step. To reassemble your motor, simply put the endbell back on top and bend the prongs back in.
If you ever take apart your motor, look mainly at your commutator. A commutator is perfectly round and copper. If you see any dark marks, scratches, grooves, or small chips, this is what you can do. Go to your local hardware store or any home maintenance stores. Purchase one sheet of 600 grit and one sheet of 1200
grit sand paper. Sand the commutator in a circular motion with 600 until the defects are gone and your commutator is somewhat smooth. Then, use your 1200 to make the surface of the commutator very smooth.
The armature, like I said, is a three sided circular figure, but theres more. Around the armature you can see a copper wire strung around each pole. The reason the copper wiring is strug around each pole is for the copper to produce electromotive force from magnetic induction. In lower terms, the copper acts like an electric magnet that bounds away from the magnets inside the motor causing the well known spinning motion, this is how a motor works.
Some people think "More copper wire around each pole, the faster the motor is". Unfortunately that statement is wrong. The more wire that is around each the more torque your motor produces. However, more torque means less rpms. Most stock motors are wound to balance torque and rpm. Other modified motors,
such as the "high-torque" motors, have more pulling force but less speed. If you have your gearbox really juiced up with a super strong spring, you would want a "high-torque" motor. If you want a faster rof you want a "high-speed" motor. Still a high torque decreases speed and a high speed decreases torque.
As you know now, all of the three poles have copper wire wound around them. You can increase speed by removing a few winds from the poles, but lowering the torque. Im pretty sure by now you know what would happen if you added wire. The only thing that is bad about hand winding your armature is keeping equal balance. If your armature is hand wound unevenly, your motor would lose alot of speed and power. Also your contact to the brushes would be skipping around due to the little wobble from the armature.
Breaking in your new Motor.
If for some reason you have to buy a new motor, there are some things people like to do before installing it and using it for the first time. The best way to gain power and speed from a new out of the box motor is to break in the motor brushes. What you will want to do is connect batteries to eachother, commonly two 1.5 volt batteries. Then connect wire to the batteries and connect the battery to your motor. Once you connected the wires correctly, your motor will spin quite fast. let the motor spin for about 30 seconds. When you are done you can let the motor sit and cool off, it shouldn't be that hot. When the motor has sat for about 10 mins, apply some lightweight oil on the bushings. The bushings are located around the ends of the steel pin that runs directly through your Armature.
To finish up my article, I hope everyone has learned something new about the importance and value of basic AEG motor maintenance. I hope this article can help you solve any problems you might have with your AEGs motor. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.
Thank you everyone.
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