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DS10 motor maintenance

mike morley

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I have a kit-built, DS10-powered loco that after running like a dream for the past few years suddenly became reluctant to start and a bit erratic when under way. 

I've always kept the wheels clean and giving them another clean made no difference so I diagnosed mucky pick-ups.  They were indeed extremely mucky but after stuffing a sofa with the fluff I removed from them I found, again, that it made no difference.


Since then the running quality has, if anything, deteriorated even more.


The other day I discussed the problem with a 7mm modeller of my acquaintance and when he learned that the DS10 is an open-frame motor he suggested the problem might be a mucky commutator.

That sounded extremely plausible, so when I got home I opened up the loco again and  . . .  and . . .


Okay, so how do you clean the commutator of a DS10?  To say that it is well-concealed would be a considerable understatement!


I unscrewed a brush-holder (A fraught operation, as the brush itself and/or its spring is likely to go ping! at any moment, never to be seen again) and after a bit of experimenting shoved a lighter-fluid soaked matchstick down the hole it had occupied.  After rotating the motor a few times by hand I extracted the match to find its end was grubby enough to suggest the 7mm modeller's diagnosis might well be correct.


But where do I go from here?


Commutators are fairly delicate things, so further application of the lighter-fluid soaked matchstick might well damage it rather than clean it and I cannot think of any better alternatives. 



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The symptoms are wrong and although its a few years old it hasn't had all that much use.  The rate of deterioration is also inconsistent with wear.

The mucky commutator scenario suggested by the 7mm acquaintance is still the one that rings truest.


Edited to add that the motor runs with a Perseverance gear-bracket that came with an outrigger bearing specifically intended to stave off the wear problems suggested.

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Sorry about that. I have one of those motors in my box of horrors!


The most likely scenario is the brushes are worn. Dirt on the commutator can only come from the brushes.


The DS10 was not a suitable motor in the model railway environment, it revs too high, and has a poor design of front bearing, only slightly mollified by the bearing outside the worm.


Perhaps you ought to consider a more up-to-date motor?

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