Troubleshooting Common Problems With an Electric Motor

Posted on: 7 October 2015

An electric motor, such as one from Ln Electric Motors Limited, is usually used to run lightweight equipment and materials, such as lawn trimmers or small lawnmowers, pressure washers, and even small mini bikes. While they are designed to carry a lighter load and may not wear out as quickly as a motor that is used for heavy-duty equipment, they can still break down over time and need repair. Note a few common problems with an electric motor and how to address these, or what to expect by way of needed repairs by an electrician.

1. Odd smells

A burning smell can mean that the motor is overheating and needs to be shut off for a time in order to cool down. You may also be overusing the motor; a lightweight lawnmower is not meant to cut tall, wet blades of grass and the motor may struggle to turn the blades and then overheat. The motor may also need some lubrication as friction can cause heat and, in turn, damage to the motor.

If you let the motor rest and cool for a time and still notice a burning smell, this may be burned out wires. These will need to be replaced so they don't damage the motor itself by causing it to stop and start and because they will typically fail eventually, and the motor won't run.

2. Hot to the touch

While a burning smell can indicate that a motor is overheating, the motor should also never be very hot to the touch. A motor will be surrounded by a protective casing, and if the motor is so hot that the casing is hot, it's definitely overheating. This is often a problem with ventilation; note if there is something blocking the motor's vents and ensure that you're using tools in an area where air can circulate and keep the motor cool. Your motor will also usually have a fan attached to blow warm air away from the internal components and if the fan is breaking down, the motor will easily overheat.

3. Sparks

If the motor gives off sparks, this actually isn't usually because of overheating but because of friction. The bearings may be worn or need lubrication, or the rotor inside the motor may also be worn and may be causing friction. There may also be damage to the housing of the motor itself and it may be brushing up against the motor or another part and causing sparks. Be sure to have this problem addressed as friction means damage to whatever parts are affected.