Best way to clean electric motor windings
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    Default Best way to clean electric motor windings

    I have a single phase Baldor motor that the prior owner way over greased the motor bearings zerk fittings.

    Black, nasty grease is thrown in the windings.
    What is the best way to clean all that out without damaging the winding coating?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug W View Post
    I have a single phase Baldor motor that the prior owner way over greased the motor bearings zerk fittings.

    Black, nasty grease is thrown in the windings.
    What is the best way to clean all that out without damaging the winding coating?
    Not at all.

    Just get sealed bearings on its replacement.

    You did say "single phase"?

    Motor shops are rumoured to use a wash spray of mineral spirits.

    They also have capture and recycling systems and supporting disposal contractors.

    They also routinely vacuum re-impregnate and bake AFTER such cleanings.

    WHEN.. a given motor justifies all that.

    You have what equipment? Your effective "shop rate" is how much an hour?

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    I'd use CRC's "Lectra-Motive" Electric Parts Cleaner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Not at all.

    Just get sealed bearings on its replacement.

    You did say "single phase"?

    Motor shops are rumoured to use a wash spray of mineral spirits.

    They also have capture and recycling systems and supporting disposal contractors.

    They also routinely vacuum re-impregnate and bake AFTER such cleanings.

    WHEN.. a given motor justifies all that.

    You have what equipment? Your effective "shop rate" is how much an hour?
    You do realize the electric motor repair industry is almost dead? You might find one in the big city with enough industry to support it, but for the rest of us its a diy job.

    Agreed, the CRC cleaner should do the trick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    You do realize the electric motor repair industry is almost dead? You might find one in the big city with enough industry to support it, but for the rest of us its a diy job.

    Agreed, the CRC cleaner should do the trick.
    The POINT, of course, is that if professionals have a hard go at having enough bizness to survive, the single-phaae motor has long-since become a "consumable".

    Unlike a simpler and more rugged 3-Phase where it is only about health of windings, then bearings, 1-P also has one or both of capacitors, centrifugal switches, - usually with a snubber to extend contact life, plus shorter life to its end-play rig, yadda yadda..

    to where it is a higher risk and labour-content item that the cost of new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug W View Post
    What is the best way to clean all that out without damaging the winding coating?
    Remove both end bells and then suspend the center section of the motor above a pan. Squirt a degreaser into the windings and let it all drip
    down into a pan. You can filter the liquid and then reverse the orientation of the motor center section. Squirt again and use a tooth brush
    to scrub.. You won't hurt anything. I have used simple green and Dawn dish washing soap. When everything is clean use compressed air to blow
    the entire motor dry.

    Don't use zerks in the future. It's a desperate way to grease up a motor bearing. A bearing is supposed to have a precise amount of grease in
    the raceways and a excess is going to make the balls slide instead of roll and the excess amount is what you now are dealing with. A sealed
    bearing with rubber seal on the two sides facing the rotor will keep that from happening again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    The POINT, of course, is that if professionals have a hard go at having enough bizness to survive, the single-phaae motor has long-since become a "consumable".

    Unlike a simpler and more rugged 3-Phase where it is only about health of windings, then bearings, 1-P also has one or both of capacitors, centrifugal switches, - usually with a snubber to extend contact life, plus shorter life to its end-play rig, yadda yadda..

    to where it is a higher risk and labour-content item that the cost of new.
    In a world with a disposable mindset, some of us are still frugal and fix stuff, and a can of spray cleaner is what, 6 to 8 bucks, versus 150 or so for a motor? The time involved, maybe 30 minutes, hour tops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    In a world with a disposable mindset, ....
    Ouch.

    Another point: most motors with zerk fittings have *another* vent fitting plug that can be
    removed before *refreshing* the grease in the bearing. Old grease out, new grease in.

    I'm sure the former owner was secure in the knowledge that he was doing a good thing as he
    worked the grease gun handle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    In a world with a disposable mindset, some of us are still frugal and fix stuff, and a can of spray cleaner is what, 6 to 8 bucks, versus 150 or so for a motor? The time involved, maybe 30 minutes, hour tops.
    Surely. About $75 to $150 lost for the hour had it been put to something more useful, and you still have a POS for a motor?

    Different situation you do five minutes of maintenance to a cheap motor once or twice a year to keep it running a very, very long time BEFORE someone else has borked it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    The POINT, of course, is that if professionals have a hard go at having enough bizness to survive, the single-phaae motor has long-since become a "consumable".
    I would imagine that long winded posting 24/7 on every topic cuts into your 'professional' billable hours.

    Jeez, I just want to clean some old stinky grease out of a motor, slap some SEALED bearings in it and use it.
    Not do a cost analysis of starting a motor repair business with EPA compliant waste disposal. lol

    Going to try Simple Green (already have some)if it don't work buy a $6 can of CRC, if that don't work I will buy a $400 Baldor motor. NOT!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Surely. About $75 to $150 lost for the hour had it been put to something more useful, and you still have a POS for a motor?

    Different situation you do five minutes of maintenance to a cheap motor once or twice a year to keep it running a very, very long time BEFORE someone else has borked it up.
    Removing an old, greased up, but running motor, and replacing it with a new, but poorly made motor isn't an 'improvement' to a situation, much less economical. The hour spent in correcting someone else's maintenance error is time-well-spent, even if I'd rather be doing other things.

    The fortunate thing, is that we know the previous owner wasn't hiding from his grease-gun. The unfortunate thing, is there IS such a thing as too much grease, and frequently, a man with a grease gun who doesn't understand saponification will see a zerk fitting, and pump grease into it with enthusiasm, and have no knowledge of wether what he's adding is compatible with what's in there.

    As for cleaning 'em out... if I really want to straighten them out, I pop the end bells spray the worst of it off with cleaner (and hope it doesn't damage the insulation) scrub out the end bells with solvent, install new or repack and reassemble.

    If the motor isn't that precious, I've been known to use a low-power pressure washer from about two feet away, then blow it out with compressed air, let it dry in the sun, and then test-run it from a distance... and I've lost very few that way... but that works for dirt, I would NOT recommend that for heavy grease, as the water will simply push it into the windings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKamp View Post
    Removing an old, greased up, but running motor, and replacing it with a new, but poorly made motor isn't an 'improvement' to a situation, much less economical. The hour spent in correcting someone else's maintenance error is time-well-spent, even if I'd rather be doing other things.
    I just try to avoid buying poorly made motors...



    Seriously. There are plenty of decent ones still made right here in the Continental USA. Not even all Baldwhores are made in Mexico.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    You do realize the electric motor repair industry is almost dead? You might find one in the big city with enough industry to support it, but for the rest of us its a diy job.
    Oh really? Is that why IPS just bought Excel? Is that why Timken Bearings is buying motor repair shops? Or Sulzer Pumps?

    Motor repair shops are not dead - not by a LONG shot. Small mom and pop shops are disappearing for good reason. Real motor repair shops are doing well. Shops are closing at a rate of 6% per year per EASA, but again its small mom and pop shops.

    Had breakfast this morning with an owner of 3 motor repair shops. He has had very strong growth the last 2 years and is struggling with all the additional business. Another shop owner I know just opened up 2 new motor repair shops.

    I agree with the CRC cleaner. An ultrasonic cleaner can also be used - we do it on a regular basis with electric motors. Soap and water also works - we would bake it at 200 degrees F for 12 hours and then 250 for 12 hours after washing/getting one wet.

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    A BIG ultrasonic cleaner. Not one of those baby ones for jewelery....

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    A BIG ultrasonic cleaner. Not one of those baby ones for jewelery....
    That is Correct!

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    Quote Originally Posted by markz528 View Post
    Oh really? Is that why IPS just bought Excel? Is that why Timken Bearings is buying motor repair shops? Or Sulzer Pumps?

    Motor repair shops are not dead - not by a LONG shot. Small mom and pop shops are disappearing for good reason. Real motor repair shops are doing well. Shops are closing at a rate of 6% per year per EASA, but again its small mom and pop shops.

    Had breakfast this morning with an owner of 3 motor repair shops. He has had very strong growth the last 2 years and is struggling with all the additional business. Another shop owner I know just opened up 2 new motor repair shops.

    I agree with the CRC cleaner. An ultrasonic cleaner can also be used - we do it on a regular basis with electric motors. Soap and water also works - we would bake it at 200 degrees F for 12 hours and then 250 for 12 hours after washing/getting one wet.
    Did you miss the part about finding them in big cities with enough industry to support them? Pretty sure I'm not the only poster here living on the edge of civilization in a small town that used to have motor repair shops, so yes from my back porch its a dying industry. The big expensive motors are worth shipping out for repairs, the little stuff in single phase, if you are not sharp enough to fix, gets pitched.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug W View Post
    I would imagine that long winded posting 24/7 on every topic cuts into your 'professional' billable hours.

    Jeez, I just want to clean some old stinky grease out of a motor, slap some SEALED bearings in it and use it.
    Not do a cost analysis of starting a motor repair business with EPA compliant waste disposal. lol

    Going to try Simple Green (already have some)if it don't work buy a $6 can of CRC, if that don't work I will buy a $400 Baldor motor. NOT!!
    I used a product called Kool Mist. I forget exactly but a a few ounces in a gallon of water prevents residual water from forming rust right away.
    I would consider mixing a little Kool Mist with the Simple Green.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    .in a small town that used to have motor repair shops, so yes from my back porch its a dying industry. The big expensive motors are worth shipping out for repairs, the little stuff in single phase, if you are not sharp enough to fix, gets pitched.
    It is NOT "just" motors. It is ALL technology where the labour-content of PRODUCTION has been driven to very low costs, but the labour content of repair CANNOT follow suit.

    The TIME of most folks on the entire planet has more demands on it that ever, has higher relative costs than ever before.

    Stuff has to be "prioritized" sanely, ELSE none of the more important things get attended to. At all.

    Entire motorcars go uneconomic of repair, for example. Or suburban homes. Or commercial buildings.

    Or even the whole damn State of Kalifornickyah?

    The time and money to "fix" MANY things simply does not exist in the current environment without robbing off more important "stuff'.

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    Trichloroethylene works great. If your local hardware store doesn't have it, I second the CRC cleaner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    Trichloroethylene works great. If your local hardware store doesn't have it, I second the CRC cleaner
    twenty bucks says the local Ace Hardware store won't sell you a gallon of trichlor.



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