Reposted with permission from Robert Deppen
REWINDING A DC BRUSH-TYPE MOTOR
by Robert Deppen
This document is written for those who wish to rewire a DC brush type
motor. Rewiring a DC motor is not difficult and can be quite rewarding
depending on what a person wishes to achieve. Electric motor design itself is
a very complex undertaking and is not meant for the novice. This document will
not discuss matters of motor design as the contents of such a subject are well
beyond the scope of this document or many readers’ ability to comprehend. We
will stick to the basics as that is all that is needed in order to
successfully complete a motor armature rewind.
Included on this page is a small, easy to use program that will
assist anyone interested in rewinding motors in choosing the proper "Magnet
Wire" for their particular motor. The program is offered free from the
manufacturer and is included here as a small download so as to eliminate the
necessity of serious web browsing in order to find this information.
WHY REWIND A MOTOR?
Most people might wonder why it is that a motor would need to be rewound.
There are two reasons. The motor may have failed due to extreme overheating.
If a motor overheats, the windings in the motor may melt the enamel originally
coating the windings, causing a short in the coils. A person may wish to
rebuild a motor to his or her own specifications. A motor can be rewound to
change its performance.
By decreasing the number of windings per coil in a motor, it will
turn at higher RPM but will deliver lower output torque. By increasing
the number of windings per coil, the motor will rotate at lower RPM, but will
deliver higher output torque. Anyone, who creates his or her own scooters or
go-carts, will benefit from the information in this document.
First a person needs to determine if rewinding a motor is really what they
need, or want to do. I cannot stress this enough! Once you begin this process,
there is no turning back! You cannot remove the original windings of a motor
without damaging them. This is the point of no return.
This tutorial is based on a 280 or 300 watt, 24 Volt DC brush type motor
used in scooters. Your motor may be different somewhat but the technique is
the same. Use this tutorial as an example only. As with any project, you must
pay attention to what you are doing during each step of the process. I would
recommend obtaining a pad and pencil to keep records of anything you believe
would not be committed to memory. Do not take chances! There is nothing worse
than rushing to remove the original coils, only to face the fact that you
didn’t document the pattern the coils were wound in. As part of the document,
I have drawn some simple CAD drawings that show the disassembly of a typical
motor, as well as the winding pattern of the typical 280-Watt scooter motor.
It is important in any motor work, to have a clean and dry place in which
to work. Keep this work area free from metal shavings, as we are dealing with
strong magnets that will suck them up and cause problems later on. If a file
is to be used at any point in the rewire, use it away from your work surface.
Do not bring tools to the work area unless you are sure that they are free of
metal particles such as metal dust or shavings. Be clean. If metal debris of
any sort is detected in the work area, brush or vacuum them away promptly. If
metal debris is already clinging to your magnets upon motor disassembly, use a
toothbrush to brush them off the magnets. A quick movement with the brush
should provide enough speed to break metal debris from the grip of the magnet.
If it does not, then pinch the debris off with a soft cloth. This aside let us
continue to step one.
Locate the four motor end plate screws. Be careful with them! They are not
the highest quality screws and are installed at the factory using power
drivers. They are screwed in pretty tight. The best way to break them free is
to first use a screwdriver that fits the screw head the best. Too large or too
small will damage the head of the screw making it nearly impossible to further
attempt removal. Apply as much downward pressure as possible, to insure that
the head of the driver remains in the screw. Apply a continuous turning
pressure until you feel the screw crack loose. Do this to all four screws.
Once all screws are cracked loose, continue to remove all of them in normal
fashion. Place the screws in a plastic bag to prevent them from becoming
damaged, lost or dirty.
Next you will need to remove the end plate. It is best to use a thin bladed
flat screwdriver. Place the end of the screwdriver in the seam between the end
plate and the rest of the motor housing. Gently twist the screwdriver to crack
the end plate loose. It may be necessary to do this at several locations along
the edge of the end plate. Once the end plate is loose, gently wiggle it back
and forth with a slight pulling pressure to slide it off the main shaft
bearing. The bearing sits in a recess that is machined into the end plate
itself. The bearing fits this recess pretty closely, but should slide out of
the end plate with little difficulty. A gentle wiggling movement should cause
the end plate to slip off of the bearing. The bearing will remain on the shaft
and you should leave it there. There is no reason to remove it.
With the end plate removed, look into the motor. You will see the armature
sitting in the center of the permanent magnets. Your next goal is to remove
the armature. This is to be done with care. You do not want to damage either
the armature or the magnets surrounding it. The armature is made of many steel
plates called a lamination. These plates are magnetic and will be attracted to
the magnets. The magnetic force keeping the armature within the motor housing
must be overcome. The armature will not want to leave the area it resides due
to magnetic attraction to the magnets. It will be necessary to hold the motor
housing firmly, then push on the shaft until the armature and the other motor
end plate can be pushed free of the housing. This is not difficult to do, but
if it is your first time you may be surprised at how much force it takes. Be
careful, when the armature and end plate are being removed, the magnets will
try to pull them back in again! Be aware of this before you start or you will
be in for a surprise.
Once you have the armature and end plate removed from the main housing, be
careful to remove the main housing from your work area. The magnets are strong
and will cause the housing to roll towards any large metal objects nearby.
You will now notice that the armature and its end plate are still stuck
together. This is because the second shaft bearing is still seated within the
end plate. The bearing is not directly seated within the end plate. The
bearing resides within a rubber sleeve. The rubber sleeve is seated in the end
plate. Gently pull the shaft and bearing out of the sleeve. You will note a
small spring washer fall out of the sleeve. This spring washer is needed when
you reassemble the motor. Note its location and put it in a bag for
You will notice that there are four carbon brushes mounted to a plastic
plate. These brushes will not fly away when the armature is removed from the
end plate. These brushes are wired directly to the main power wires. Be
careful to remove the springs behind the brushes by pulling the brushes gently
from their brass housings. Keep the springs in your bag. This will prevent
them from getting dirty or lost.
When handling the armature from now on, take care not to damage the
commutation pads. They are durable, but are made of copper and can be easily
scratched or gouged by tools. Following is an exploded view of the motor when
fully disassembled. Yes, the clever observer will notice that the screws and
the spring washer and rubber bearing sleeve are missing from the drawing. I
did not take the time to include them. You will also note that I did not draw
the actual windings in any of the assembly drawings. This is because I am "ok"
with AutoCAD, but not a master. Honestly, I don’t know how to draw coils. If
anyone has this skill, please submit a drawing to this page for inclusion.
Now that you have the motor taken apart, observe the armature and how the
windings are attached to the brush pads. You will see that the wire travels
from one slot to a small tab on the brush pads, then back into another slot.
You must remove the wire from these little tabs before you go cutting and
removing the wire from the slots in the armature. You must bend the tabs
gently so as not to stress them, yet give you enough space to remove the wire
from their grasp. Use the edge of a sturdy knife, or the blade of a thin
straight edged screwdriver. Place the edge of the knife or screwdriver under
the edge of the tab and gently lift the tab a little higher than the diameter
of the wire. Do this to all 16 tabs. Cut the wires that go to the tabs for
Next is to start cutting coils. How you do this is completely up to you. I
have chosen to do this where the wire jumps from one slot to the other.
Cutting a bit at a time, you can cut through this hump of wire until the
bridge of wire is completely severed. Make sure you cut the wire leading to
the tab on the brush pad and remove it from the tab. Next you should bend the
wire bundle upwards so that it will pass through the slot. At this time, one
full winding should be cut and its ends jutting upwards making the coil now
look like a staple. Remove the entire coil from the armature. Continue to do
this until all coils are removed from the armature. It should now look like
Now it is time to rewind the armature. In the case of the 280-Watt motor,
use 22-gauge magnet wire. Included in this page is a small program that will
allow you to view all characteristics, gauges, temperature ratings of various
coatings etc. I chose to use a coating of Polyurethane and Nylon. This is
because it is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 700 degrees. If a
motor is going to overheat due to overcurrent conditions, it is wiser to go
with a good magnet wire coating that will accept higher temperatures. This
way, if the motor is overheating, it will not destroy your coils so easily.
The original coating on the magnet wire was cheap enamel in a single layer.
This is not a good choice for replacement windings. As indicated above, it is
best to use Polyurethane and Nylon.
The winding pattern for this motor is not very complex. At first glance
however, it may appear to be complex or confusing. Observe the winding pattern
closely and you will see that each coil follows the same pattern of slot to
tab around the entire armature. Numbers 1-4 shows this repeating pattern.
If the cardboard insulation pieces you removed from the armature during the
removal of the original windings are not damaged simply put them back into the
armature slots as they were before. You must wind the coils with these
insulators in place. This will protect the windings from abrasion against the
armature laminations. If the cardboard pieces were damaged either by burning
during an overheat condition or by any other means, check them to see if they
are still usable. If they are not or if you are in question as to their
insulating quality, replace them with like material. An insulating tape meant
for high temperature applications can also be used. Be sure to allow at least
a little bit of insulation material to extend above and below the armature
slots. This is to insure that the wire does not abrade against the edge of the
I have included a drawing of the winding pattern. In this drawing, you will
see numbers. The numbers refer to the path of the wire in steps. Start with
#1. This is the first tab on the commutation pads. Do not crimp the wire in
the tab quite yet. Leave enough wire length for the coil to reach tab one and
just leave it dangling until the first coil is done. This is because when the
very last coil is wound, the end of the wire goes back to this tab. So, leave
it open for now. Every other tab you pass a wire across however, should be
crimped down again to hold the wire in place. Before you crimp the wire down,
you must remove the coating from the wire to enable the wire to make
electrical contact with the tab. You may do this by scraping it with a sharp
X-acto type knife. You may also choose to use sandpaper, etc. Really the
choice is yours, as long as the wire has good electrical contact with the tab.
Do NOT remove too much insulation from the wire! Keep the stripped area very
close to the tab. If you strip too much, you may cause a wire passing over it
to conduct with it. The tab itself is only about .075" across. Strip a maximum
of .125" of the wire, or 1/8th of an inch. Remember also that you
are not to cut the wire during winding. All 16 coils are made from one long
piece of wire!
The wire goes from tab #1 and drops down into the slot at point 2. The wire
then goes across the bottom of the armature and comes back up again through
the slot labeled #3. The wire will then go back down into slot #2, across the
bottom and back up through slot #3 again. Do this 22 times, to make a 22 wind
coil between slots #’s 2 and 3. Once you have wrapped 22 winds in this manner,
the wire then goes over to the commutation pad labeled #4. The wire goes from
this tab into the slot labeled #5 and comes back up through the slot labeled
#6. Wind another 22 winds of wire in the same fashion as you did in the first
I did not draw in the coils because it would have produced a drawing of
extreme complexity and would have confused everyone. Just follow the pattern
as described above, for each coil. Use the numbered point’s method so you know
which tabs to go to and which slots to wind to. You will see how simple it is
once you get started.
When you finish winding the very last coil, you will notice that the end of
the wire has nowhere to go except back to tab #1. This is correct. It closes
and completes the coil assembly. I labeled slot #1 twice as #1 and #49. The
number 49 simply refers to the last point, which brings you right back to the
start point at #1. Strip the insulation from the wire after cutting it to
length and then crimp the tab closed. Make sure when cutting the wire to its
final length, to leave about 1/16th of an inch extra for simplicity
of holding the wire with a pair of needle nose pliers while you crimp tab one
Once the armature is completely wound, the wires going to the tabs should
be looked at closely to make sure that none of them are touching each other. I
used a plastic knife to make sure all such wires were not touching each other
by bending them away from each other. Making sure the wire on top was more up
and the wire going under was more lower. This insures that in case a person
does scrape off too much insulation, these bare patches will not touch each
other when the wires cross on their way to the tabs.
TEST FOR SHORTS
Now that your coil winding is done, you will need to check for shorts. The
chances of shorts occurring are extremely slim. Just the same, check for
shorts with a DMM (digital multimeter or similar device. Do this by placing
one probe on each commutation pad and the other on any part of the armature
laminations. Be aware that the very top and bottom pieces of the armature
laminations are plastic. It is best to simply touch the armature with the
probe on the side, where it is exposed metal.
The very last step is to test your new windings. Of course do this by
reassembling the motor as it was before. It is not necessary to perform the
test using your controller circuit. Simply apply the appropriate voltage for
your motor directly to the motor power wires. Make sure the motor is secured
if you are doing this on a workbench, as the motor has a lot of torque and
will try to roll away.
MORE OR LESS?
The choice to add or remove windings is made depending on what you wish to
achieve. I plan to rewind my 280-watt motor using 25% more coils than there
was originally, or six more coils were added. I am doing this because I want
to create more torque. It should have reduced the speed somewhat, but in fact
by apparently winding the coils tighter it actually increased the speed to my
surprise. I do believe this is the reason for the increased speed where there
should have been none. This is really the only way I can explain the speed and
power anomaly. After all, they should be inversely proportional.
An example of changing the winding count is this: Say you have a small
scooter that is relatively lightweight. Say this scooter has a motor that
allows it to run at approximately 10-15 mph. This is not always so desirable
for everyone. Some people may wish to increase the speed of their motor. When
you rewind your motor, wind less windings than there was before, such as
10-25% less windings per coil. This will increase the speed of the motor, but
it will also decrease your output torque. If this is not a problem, simply use
the motor you have and reduce its windings. If you still require high torque,
but higher speed, then start with a motor of higher wattage. If the motor you
are using now is a 200-watt motor, then purchase a higher wattage motor, then
reduce its windings to increase its speed. You should wind up with a motor
that is strong enough for the application, yet faster than a stock motor would
be. That is the whole idea behind changing the motor windings.
As with any experimental adventures, use caution and think before acting.
Pay close attention to the winding process. If you observed the winding
pattern and read this article fully before you began, you should have no
difficulty in obtaining the results you want.
It would be wise to balance the armature after winding it. You can do this
using the same technique as balancing a wheel or a propeller. Suspend it
between two objects by the bearings. The heavier side of the armature will
roll towards the bottom. It is best to put a blob of epoxy on the top of the
armature, right on the windings. The epoxy blob can then be filed until it
balances out the armature. Keep balancing the armature until you are confident
or satisfied it will perform as you expect. Don’t damage the windings during
the balancing process, otherwise you will rewind again. Good you bought the
500-foot spool of wire!