one man's journey into creating gibblybits

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How to: Seize up a stubborn electric motor

I inherited an old Philips CD changer (remember those?) with radio and cassette player (ha, remember THOSE?). It's way too big for what we use it for, which is just as an amp for my iPod or sometimes my Mac when I use it to play movies. Still, the speakers are awesome and the thing, for its size (and the size of the speakers) really kicks. We can't use those smaller devices to power an iPod because Kellye winds up blowing the speakers, thinking they are some sort of Who concert speaker array, I don't know.

Well, the geniuses at Philips (a company who has had to lower itself to making iPhone cases to make ends meet) back in the 90's thought it'd be cool to make this fool thing just keep running the motor if a CD tray got jammed. It used to wind down and give up, but when we got new carpet today the damn thing just kept making this horrid humming noise. I wound up breaking off the front panel to the CD changer and tried to bend or break the motor and the little steel shaft coming from the motor.

Have you ever tried breaking one of those steel shafts? The kind that used to help guide cassettes are nearly impervious to bending. They are rolled steel, very strong stuff. Plus, the motor itself was a real powerhouse. I wish I'd had the time and torx screwdrivers to take it fully apart, because those would have been awesome for robot-making. Alas, we only needed it for amplification so I had to figure out some way to stop it. And some way to stop it without causing a fire -- which meant filling it full of Great Stuff, the expanding and hardening foam sold at hardware stores, was right out.

After cutting the shit out of my arm wrestling this thing, not to mention cutting up my hands and generally making a mess of things I had an inspiration. I would glue the damn thing. I'm telling you, this motor and shaft seemed unbreakable. But I put a generous gob of superglue (it wasn't Krazy brand, but it was the same clear chemical compound) directly onto the remaining active motor and it *instantly* stopped spinning. No doubt power is still flowing, but a seized electric motor doesn't pose much threat if it can't create friction.

So there's your tip: seize up a motor with superglue.

I'm waiting for it to harden into a little plastic tomb, but it stayed "off" for several minutes before I pulled the plug. Hopefully hardening will make it truly permanent. Who knew?

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