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Running in a stored motor?

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  • Running in a stored motor?

    I came across this statement on a Slot Car Shop listing ...

    "When first driving a new slot car or a slot car that's been stored for a while

    Its best to drive the car at 1/4 - 1/2 hand controller throttle speed for the first few laps
    to maintain the quality & life span of the motor"

    any thoughts on what they're getting at? I understand a new motor with fresh brushes could use some gentle treatment to help bed them in, but a stored car?

  • #2
    Hi Trev63. The oil in a stored motor could congeal perhaps but if that was suspected. Perhaps it would be a good idea to rinse it out in Fuelite then re-oil. Reason for running in new motor is to bed in bearings/brushes etc so that is quite different. Just my thoughts but never tested. Regards has Le Breton


    • #3
      I would be more concerned with ensuring that there's a tiny bit of lube on the pinion shaft bushings (do the axle bushings at the same time) and then put it on the track.

      If the car seems to be running OK for a couple of laps, then use whatever amount of throttle you want.


      • #4
        Trev63. That is probably what I would do. Might depend on the type of motor. A sealed motor yes but one with replaceable brushes I might remove and clean brushes, check or replace springs and clean commutator slots. With former just make sure you do not overoil bushes/bearings - particularly the brush end. Regards Chas Le BretonTrev63


        • #5
          OK, that makes some sense.



          • #6
            This sounds to me like urban legend, possibly ported over from the world of automobiles, where stored engines might benefit from a period of gentle treatment while rings and seals lap in after long disuse.

            If I were going to do anything at all to prep an electric motor for return to service, I would blow it out with tuner cleaner and put a drop of fresh oil on the bearings. That's it.

            New motors, on the other hand, do need time to wear in the motor brushes and bushings. Does that need to be done gently? I don't think so.

            It will take some time for a new motor to reach full performance. Running it in on the bench may be more convenient than on the track. And some folks prefer to run in a new motor on the bench at half power. I don't see anything wrong with that. The most likely advantage being less arcing at the brushes while they wear in to fit the commutator. But does that prevent long-term damage? Hard to say.

            Ed Bianchi


            • #7
              An initial minimal load break in, and the proper pre race warm up are two totally different things.

              Typically the brushes are arced when new but not bedded, which is where your break-in comes in. The harder the brush the longer it takes to seat the brushes to the comm. Once the brushes are bedded, the comm tends to be a self cleaning/abrasive arrangement; but this doesnt preclude a gentle warm up to allow the comm to clean itself up, rather than a savage, dead cold, max voltage start up.

              For the warm up, the most critical thing is to break the grip of father time. Before I run a stored car or power up an unknown motor, I always hand-roll them before applying power, and when power is applied, I let them spit the cobwebs out on their own, before gunning it up.

              The hand-roll breaks/scratches the accumulated crunge, (oxidation if any-depending on how long it's sat, environment,or motor design), on the commutator segments. It also immediately tells me the state of lubrication, or gear mesh if applicable.


              • #8
                Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
                This sounds to me like urban legend, possibly ported over from the world of automobiles ...
                Eloquently stated Ed, that was what I was thinking when I posted previously.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by model murdering View Post
                  oxidation if any-depending on how long it's sat, environment,or motor design), on the commutator segments..
                  Yeah I agree that oxidation of the (copper?) comm seems to be the most plausible explanation to taking it easy on a stored motor. thanks


                  • #10
                    My sense of it is to avoid heat "spotting" the commutator segments at start up, because naturally occurring areas of resistance interrupt the full current flow. Whether it's oxidation, or stray carbon dust intervening and disrupting the the continuity across the comm; the end result is that the smoke can get let out.

                    For the pancake crowd it is rather obvious when you've rumpled or spot welded a comm segment. Typically you'll see them where the brush straddles the undercut between two segments.


                    • #11
                      You guys are acting like this is a nine million dollar F1 engine..!?
                      Put some fresh oil at each bearing, spin the tires by hand a few times or hold the rear tires off the track, let it run at part throttle for 5 or 10 seconds...and GO driving..!

                      An oillite bushing is not going to oxidize. Even a pure brass one will not because of the previous oil deposits.

                      As someone else noted, most of this all sounds like a "Myth Busters" episode.



                      • #12
                        I can get you a hot deal on a brand-new F1 engine for only US$8,999,999.98!

                        The only argument for being gentle with a motor that has been in storage on startup would be corrosion on the commutator. Commutators are made from copper, which can oxidize on exposure to air. Copper oxide is green in color, or in extreme cases, black. Copper oxide is non-conductive.

                        But it should be noted that copper is one of the few metals that can be found in its native (unoxidized) state in nature. Which is why copper was one of the first metals to be discovered and used by humans. It is possible to pick up a nugget of copper, just like you can find nuggets of gold. Google "copper nuggets" if you don't believe me.

                        If the commutator isn't discolored, there may be in fact be no oxidation, or not enough to keep it from running. And it is voltage that will break down any minute amount of oxide that may exist. High voltage will break down said oxidation fastest, but should not damage the commutator while doing so.

                        Again, a new motor is a different issue. It takes time to "wear in" a new set of motor brushes. But a used motor won't have those issues.

                        Just last week I received a new RevoSlot 1/32nd scale car. I broke it in by running it at 5 volts on my 4 x 12 foot high-banked oval. I left it run by itself for about 5,000 laps, reversing the direction intermittently. So now the brushes are worn in, as is the gearset. It is a very quick car!

                        Ed Bianchi