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Noah Britt
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I just powered up this Menominee Clamshell for the first time. One of the brushes is missing, so one side is running on a spring. Before powering it on, I took it apart, resurfaced the commutator, oiled it up, and made sure it spun smoothly. I also tested the resistance between each plug prong and the corresponding brush holder, and both sides read 44 ohms. I powered it up and it vibrates and buzzes a ton. Here's a video of it.




If the embed code above doesn't work, here is the link to the video: https://youtu.be/9B5n0IgY138

After this video, I figured out that the front bearing was a little loose, so I tightened up the screw, but it still sounds pretty much the same. I will update with the video I took after tightening the bearing when I get more time.

Can anyone tell me what the source of this sound is? Bad bearings? Also, when the fan is making all that racket, the shaft is spinning very fast; it isn't just sitting there buzzing.


Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Edit: I figured out how to embed the video!



Last edited on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 05:24 pm by Noah Britt

Noah Britt
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William Wu
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It definitely needs shimming. The noise, partially, comes from the rear commutator rubbing against metal bore.

Noah Britt
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I don't quite know what you mean. Are you saying the noise is partially coming from the spring on the commutator? I also don't know what you mean by saying it needs shimming. 

Please excuse my ignorance.

Noah Britt
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Video link after tightening the bearing: https://youtu.be/_hWolrdgeAM

Russ Huber
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Possession is 9/10ths of the law, but it always wise to have a load(blade) on the armature shaft of a brush motor(DC or AC/DC) when powered full wall current. You may get  a surprise if you don't, like the exploding armature/fan surprise.  :D

Noah Britt
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Thanks for the heads up. I didn't have the blades on it because they're out of clock. I also hesitate to run it for long, because I'm afraid something will go wrong with the spring directly on the commutator. Am I worrying unnecessarily?


I will try to get the blades in clock and then see how it does with the blades on. One of the blades has taken quite a hit in the past, because it is way out of clock, and it is also loose on the hub finger. Not only that, but the central hub cylinder is loose on the spider. So yes, the blades might take a while to true up.

Russ Huber
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It is always a good thing to have a carbon brush between your spring and your commutator. Fact Jack.  
How about getting your blade right and brushes in first. Then go from there.  :D

Lane Shirey
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Also don’t run a brush motor without a load on it (blade) . It can overspeed and the commutator can fly apart.  

Noah Britt
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Good advice above; thanks!

That's another problem though. Where do I find cylindrical brushes?

Thomas Peters
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Try Darryl Hudson

Noah Britt
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Here's the latest video with the blade on. https://youtu.be/PHk_rmwfdY0



I got the blade tightened up and improved the clock. The blade might still be bad enough to make the fan rattle, but since it rattled without the blade on, it can't only be the blades. The only thing I can think of that could be causing the rattle is the bearings. What do y'all think?

I tried Ace for brushes, but they don't have any round brushes. Looks like I'll be trying Darryl Hudson next. (Thanks Thomas Peters)



Last edited on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 05:25 pm by Noah Britt

William Wu
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Noah shimming is adding washers in between both ends of the shaft to reduce horizontal play. Pm me the size your brush I can get you some round ones.

William Wu
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Post a picture of your commutator end of the shaft. With fiber washers it will stop the commutator rubbing against the bearing.

Noah Britt
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OK, I will break it open and let you know the stuff. I'm pretty sure there were some washers on the shaft on both sides, but I'll let you know.Thanks for the offer on the brushes!

Noah Britt
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You were right about the commutator rubbing on the rear housing. It's wasn't the commutator directly, but a metal cylinder thingy behind it. Sorry I forgot to take a picture. I moved a fiber washer from the front to the back and that stopped the rubbing. However, my fan still rattles almost just as bad.

My one intact brush's diameter is 1/4 inch. (I used the word intact loosely; there is only about 1/8 inch of stub left.)

Noah Britt
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Update: I tried rotating the bearings 90°, but that didn't help much, if any.

There is some up/down play in the bearings; more up/down play than side to side, which was actually up/down once I rotated the bearings. When I say side to side play, I'm not saying front-to-back play, which can be fixed with fiber washers.

Does anyone know what could be causing the rattle? I think the bearings might be bad, but I'd love to hear anyone else's opinion.

William Dunlap
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Here's what I would do. I would lubricate the bearings with some heavy weight motor oil as a diagnostic tool. If it runs much quieter, then you likely have worn bearings. Perhaps you've already hung the fan upside down to see if it is quieter. That is very helpful.
It sounds to me like it's also out of balance...very likely the rotor, and running like a bat out of heck. I would tame that beast somehow. I've wound speed coils from nichrome wire to slow them down before.
Possibly the rotor shaft could be bent.
Have you installed a bridge rectifier in it? When you do this, they often run faster, but usually smoother, too.
If you have a rectifier, you may want to slow the motor down as they can be hard on the commutator then.
Cheers,
Bill

David Hoatson
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Do I understand that you are running it with one brush? Never do that. It will destroy the commutator. 1st thing: put new brushes in it. Get them at a hardware store or McMaster-Carr. If you can’t find the right size, get a larger set and file them down. 
The blade must be on when you run the fan, as others have said. 

The blade needs to be aligned so that the leading and trailing edge of each blade wing are exactly in the same position in/out. A bent blade will cause the fan to rattle. 

Shim the armature (rotating part) so there is about 1/8” free play in/out and so nothing makes grinding noises when you spin the armature by hand pushing it all the way in, then all the way out. 

The brushes slide in plastic sleeves that insulate the voltage from the housing. Check to make sure these don’t touch the commutator. Close is good, as it supports the brushes. 

Noah Britt
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William Dunlap wrote: Here's what I would do. I would lubricate the bearings with some heavy weight motor oil as a diagnostic tool. If it runs much quieter, then you likely have worn bearings. Perhaps you've already hung the fan upside down to see if it is quieter. That is very helpful.
It sounds to me like it's also out of balance...very likely the rotor, and running like a bat out of heck. I would tame that beast somehow. I've wound speed coils from nichrome wire to slow them down before.
Possibly the rotor shaft could be bent.
Have you installed a bridge rectifier in it? When you do this, they often run faster, but usually smoother, too.
If you have a rectifier, you may want to slow the motor down as they can be hard on the commutator then.
Cheers,
Bill

Thank you! I have hung the fan upside down; didn't help. I don't have a rectifier, and would rather get it running without problems before making it run slower. I have brushes on the way, and when they get here, I will try the heavy motor oil thing. Thanks for that suggestion! 

If the rotor shaft is bent, that wouldn't be fixable would it?

Noah Britt
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David Hoatson wrote: Do I understand that you are running it with one brush? Never do that. It will destroy the commutator. 1st thing: put new brushes in it. Get them at a hardware store or McMaster-Carr. If you can’t find the right size, get a larger set and file them down. 
The blade must be on when you run the fan, as others have said. 

The blade needs to be aligned so that the leading and trailing edge of each blade wing are exactly in the same position in/out. A bent blade will cause the fan to rattle. 

Shim the armature (rotating part) so there is about 1/8” free play in/out and so nothing makes grinding noises when you spin the armature by hand pushing it all the way in, then all the way out. 

The brushes slide in plastic sleeves that insulate the voltage from the housing. Check to make sure these don’t touch the commutator. Close is good, as it supports the brushes. 


Thanks! Brushes are on the way. I will do more testing when they get here.

I helped the blade out with alignment and such, but it's not perfect. I also improved the clock to where I can't get it any better by eye. (I don't know if that's good enough.) The fan also rattles without blades, so I know there is a problem with something other than the blades; but maybe the blades too.

The fiber washers are good now, nothing grinding anymore. The brush holders are also in a good place; not rubbing.

William Wu
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Noah I think you successfully narrowed down to the bearing issue. I would replace bearings to rule out.

Noah Britt wrote: Update: I tried rotating the bearings 90°, but that didn't help much, if any.

There is some up/down play in the bearings; more up/down play than side to side, which was actually up/down once I rotated the bearings. When I say side to side play, I'm not saying front-to-back play, which can be fixed with fiber washers.

Does anyone know what could be causing the rattle? I think the bearings might be bad, but I'd love to hear anyone else's opinion.

David Hoatson
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I believe Darryl Hudson makes bearings for the clamshell. 
He’s a bit of a Menominee specialist, so it would be a good idea to talk to him. 

I have a couple clamshells and will sell you one if that helps. 

Rod Rogers
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Do NOT run it any more until you get proper brushes in it!

~Sparky~

Noah Britt
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Thanks for all the advice! Brushes are coming today, and then I will get on it.

Noah Britt
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David Hoatson wrote: I believe Darryl Hudson makes bearings for the clamshell. 
He’s a bit of a Menominee specialist, so it would be a good idea to talk to him. 

I have a couple clamshells and will sell you one if that helps. 

PM sent.

Noah Britt
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Update:
I got the new brushes, but they are way too long, so I guess I will cut them in half. I was wrong about saying the brush holders don't contact the commutator. One of the brush holders would barely touch the commutator at some points in the rotation of the armature, so I moved the brush holder away from the commutator a little bit, and it's good now. However, that didn't help the rattle much if at all. Some of the fiber washers have cracked up since I started this project, so I will have to get some more of those also. 

I tried Lucas Extra Heavy Duty grease in the bearings, and the fan still rattles, though not as badly. I also watched the end of the shaft as the fan was running, and I could tell that it wobbled just enough to be able to detected by my eyes.



Last edited on Sun Sep 27th, 2020 02:09 am by Noah Britt

Jim Kovar
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Noah Britt wrote: Menominee Clamshell making racket.
So, just use it in the din.   :D

Noah Britt
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Update:


I removed the old bearings, and went to Ace and spent $toomuch on different kinds of sleeve bearings, rubber, and cork sheets to mount the bearings. I ended up using some thin bearings and cutting out some of the cork pad and rolling it around the new bearings to make the bearings stick in the holes. The result sounds a whole lot better, but I still think something is rattling. These bearing outfits I put together aren't permanent, they're just for testing purposes. I'm thinking the reduction in rattling might be due to the cork padding around the bearings, instead of the test bearings themselves though.




This first video is when I was testing the fan with grease in the original bearings, and the second video is after I put new test bearings in it.








This video below is after I put test bearings from Ace in.

In this video below, when I take my hand off the brush area, the brush isn't really being pushed against the commutator, causing the (on/off-ish-ness?) of the fan.




I'm going to test the blades and hopefully, the armature, on a nearby collector’s Menominee soon, so I'll update after more testing. Thanks for all ya'll's help and suggestions!






Last edited on Sun Sep 27th, 2020 12:08 am by Noah Britt

David Hoatson
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Take a good look at the commutator. Is it smooth?
Are the brushes a good fit, not too loose, not too tight?

Try different brush spring tensions. 

If you ohm from a commutator bar to the bar 180-degrees opposite, then check every bar and its opposite, do you get the same reading? This checks for open or shorted armature coils. 

Noah Britt
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Thanks for the suggestions; I will check it out.

Noah Britt
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I checked the resistance between opposite commutator bars, and got anywhere in the 103-108 ohms range. I also checked resistance between adjacent commutator bars, and got resistance in the teens. Is this normal? 
Attached are photos of the commutator. There are some light grooves that run around the circumference of the commutator; they show up well against the polished commutator. There are also a few random scratches on the surface of the bars.











William Dunlap
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That thing is a mess. I would turn it.
Checking the segments; pick one and place an ohmmeter lead on it. Check the adjacent segment. Then check the next one. It should be about twice that of the first segment. Keep going until you've checked all of them sequentially, looking for the addition of what the first segment read. That would indicate a sound armature. Barring that, you could use a growler that puts a magnetic field into the windings and makes the laminations magnetic.

But if it runs, and at speed, you're good anyway....

Cheers,
Bill

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Interesting thread. Sounds like you are most of the way there Noah. I would do as Bill suggests but first try holding some four zero steel wool in your hands around that copper and shine it up so that it looks like a new penny. That might quiet it down a tad more.

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Looks like the windings are good. 
Getting the commutator gently turned on a lathe would probable help. It’s not terrible, though. 

Noah Britt
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I stuck the armature in the drill and hit it with some rough sand paper, followed by 800ish grit sandpaper.








I stuck an ohmmeter probe on a commutator segment, and proceeded to measure ohms. I found the "magic" adjacent segments where the ohms were 198 (the highest of any adjacent segments). Starting with one of the magic segments, and going the direction where the other magic segment would be the last one I would hit, I got about 18, 34, 52, etc. and ended with the 198 ohm segment. 
By the way, there are 12 segments.


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