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Should You Repair Or Replace A Broken Motor?

When they are well built and properly integrated into a system, electric motors will run for a very long time. But even high-performance motion control devices will eventually need some form of maintenance or a full replacement. Depending on the setting and the state of the motor, it can be more economical to repair or update a few parts. In other cases, it makes more sense to simply start over with a new unit.

One of the simplest steps to determining whether a repair or replacement is to contact an electric motor manufacturer for guidance on either option. To further streamline that process, the following questions can also help you get started in determining whether an electric motor can be easily fixed with the help of an electronic motor parts manufacturer or if it’s time to start looking for a new one.

Is The Motor A Brush-Style DC Motor?

Brush-style motors, also called brushed motors or BDC motors, use a carbon brush as a commutator. This part will naturally wear down over time. In the past, replacing the carbon brush every few years was considered standard maintenance for keeping the motor operational. Brushless motors, which use an electronic servo system to replace the brush commuter, have eliminated this requirement. Brush-style motors are still in use today, usually for low-cost, low-demand motion-control applications.

If a brush motor has broken, it’s very likely that the brush has worn down and is no longer operational. While a new carbon brush can be installed, it makes better economic sense to replace the brush motor with a brushless or BLDC motor. Brushless motors are more expensive but they last longer, weigh less, and operate with greater efficiency and less heat. They also greatly reduce the maintenance demands. Replacing a brushed motor with a brushless motor will provide much greater value and performance in the long run.

Is The Motor Running In A Critical Setting?

If the motor is being used to power a vital piece of equipment or system, such as in an elevator drive, industrial pump, or door mechanism, then a solution is needed fast. In some cases, repair and maintenance shops may complete an urgent repair, but more often than not, it will be necessary, and more efficient, to simply install a new motor—even if the broken unit is then repaired at a later time.

Urgent replacement of an elevator motor or other heavy equipment drive can be a challenge. Major manufacturers of large industrial electric motors may not be willing or able to provide single units to meet urgent needs. Even when replacement motors can be acquired quickly from standard motor suppliers, their operational life and potential for repair are limited, leaving customers with few options beyond simply maintaining a stock of spare units when a replacement is enviably needed once again.

There is still a cost-effective alternative when critical-capacity replacement motors are needed urgently. Even more beneficial, this option will also reduce the need to do so again in the future. Simply source a replacement motor from an independent DC or AC motor manufacturer that can build a motor to the specific needs of the critical capacity. Smaller electric motor makers who serve prototyping and motor design requirements can often apply their engineering and production capabilities to create superior performance motors for standard but critical capacities. This will reduce the need for future urgent replacements. Smaller manufacturers will also be more able and willing to serve customers who have specific but small quantity needs.

Is The Problem Due To The Bearings?

Electric motors that are well-made and fully compatible with their applications will usually run until the bearings need to be replaced. If this is the reason why the motor is no longer functional, a simple bearing replacement will restore functionality and eliminate the need to replace the entire unit outright.

In some cases, this can be done with some basic mechanical savvy and the right parts. Motor bearing replacement can also be completed by a maintenance and repair professional. Whether the DIY or professional repair option is chosen, the cost of fixing the bearings is often significantly less than the cost of purchasing a new motor as a replacement.

Has The Motor Overheated?

If the motor has broken due to overheating, caused by either a fault in the components, designs, or the environment itself, it will often be necessary to completely replace the motor. If this problem has been reoccurring, it could indicate that the motor is not made with sufficient insulation or it is not well-matched to the demands of the application. Before buying an identical unit to replace the broken one, it will be better to evaluate the motor’s performance parameters and its standard quality.

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Choosing a motor with the correct level of insulation, the right controls, an assembly that supports the operational requirements, and well-sealed housing will prevent many of the problems that cause a motor to overheat. This will amount to fewer repairs and replacements over the lifetime of the equipment.

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