Windmill motor not running

Loaded my 10x15windmill into our studio garage this afternoon and had an electrician meet us out there; he hard wired the motor into my 220v outlet with a box and safety handles (up for ON and down for OFF)… all that looked great. Until we turned it on. Basically the wheel turned and the motor was running, but it was sort of a labored ‘working too hard’ kind of sound and we promptly turned it off. The cover around the fly wheel needed to be adjusted— we thought it was hitting something, which made the ‘working too hard noise’— and flipped the switch back on. Left it running labored for about 25 seconds to see if there was anything obviously visible and the motor made a ‘pop’ noise, then stopped running… We flipped the switch to off

To touch, the motor is hot, and won’t turn over at all now.

Did we just lose the motor? Any initial thoughts?

…. Anyone in/around Raleigh, NC that would be willing to come by and help out?!

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Update: It looks like the motor didn’t pop, it was my breaker. I haven’t had the guts to turn the press back on again, but I suspect it has something to do with the motor overworking itself. Does this sound right? I want to let it cool down before experimenting again. And also, perhaps doing this with a seasoned professional is a better idea…

Wheel is free moving (i.e. doesn’t feel locked up in any way). Nothing in the way of rotation that I can see/hear when I turn the wheel with my hand.

Most times you can take the motor to a shop that fixes them, there must be someone near you. Tried to fix mine once, cost me more cause I had to take it to someone anyway.

Was the motor known to be good prior to the hookup, or was it acquired in unverified working order?

P.S. I would take it to a shop.

Hey Dick & AnonyMouse… great suggestions. I may have to do that. The motor was working perfectly prior to the move… I feel like it may have gotten jostled by the riggers or something, but I can’t easily see anything that would suggest its been damaged- except that, you know, it’s not functioning properly…

If the motor is three phase, check to see if your current 3 phase is the same as the location the press was at. There are two different varieties and the voltage differences between the two may have something to do with it.

If the motor is single phase, it is possible that the starter switch is not dropping out after starting (if your motor makes a “click” when winding down.

Also if the motor is 3 phase and your current wiring is not, well that would make the motor act weird too, though generally it won’t start at all — just hum. If it started with a push on flywheel, check your local wiring to ensure it’s 3 phase as well.

Hey Mike— talk to me more about the single phase starter switch… is this something I can adjust?

This is a single phase motor.

I’ve got a video… If I keep the press on any longer, it eventually pops the breaker (about 25-30 seconds from when I turn it on).

Ill get pics and videos of the actual motor once I take the guard off…

The starting circuit is internal—inside one of the endbells of the motor housing. If the previous shop had offset presses and dust issues, it could be that the starting winding switch is just sticking. Blowing the motor out with compressed air might fix the problem—if all other possibilities are not the problem.

Actual video would be useful.

Another, and more useful test would be to drop the belt off the flywheel (and get it off the motor pulley, start the motor and observe what happens then. If the motor comes up to speed, turn it off BEFORE the breaker pops and listen if you can hear a “click” as the motor speed winds down. This again is presuming your installation is single phase—the answer to that should be on the motor data plate.

Mike— right on. I took the guard off the motor/belt assembly this morning and observed it running for a few seconds before it popped the breaker… it did, in fact, ‘click,’ as it was winding itself down.

Briarpress isn’t allowing me to upload video here… let me try something else…

For the record, I’m sorry you see my derriere in the majority of this amateur film.

In this video, I turn on the press via the switch at the wall (pics to come) and leave it on for about 5-8 seconds then flip the switch off. Around the 24-25 second mark, you can hear the ‘click’ that I think you’re referencing, Mike? I’m not sure. It’s definitely an audible click in the motor.

Alright… some pics of the process can be found on my flickr account:[email protected]/sets/72157635294943325/

Is there a nameplate on the motor?
Data that would help troubleshoot this problem includes.

Voltage ie. 120, 120-240, 240
Phase 1 or 3
make and model

Really need to know what the motor is designed for before we can do much troubleshooting.

To me it appears that the motor was working fine before the press was moved. Highly unlikely that anything happened to the motor during the move, possible but not likely.

First step is to get motor data and compare that to what you have for supply.

If I had to guess at this point, sounds like you have motor wired for higher voltage than what is being supplied. Example; dual voltage motor wired for 220 and you are feeding it 110. or motor wired for 440 volts and being feed 220.


Hi Marshall— check out the flickr link above, there is a pic posted there of all the criteria you’re thinking about. I agree it’s best to start there…

Folks— talk to me about these presses on a 110v… Have you seen those? The electrician just connected the press to 110v and it works perfectly…

We’re up and running! It was 110v… who would have thought (the motor says it can do either 110v or 220v, so it’s an easy mistake, I suppose).

Anyway. Now to learn how to safely operate it. And for anyone curious, I’m taking classes as well as reading anything I can get my hands on before fully operating this thing. Step one was just getting it to turn on.

Thanks for the help, Briarpress.

“an easy mistake”.
I’d keep this “electrician” at arm’s length if he doesn’t know enough to check and see what voltage the motor was wired for prior to throwing the switch.

Truthfully, the motor says it can run on 220v or 110v, so the only way to know would be to have known how the motor was internally wired and adjust accordingly…

considering I told him to wire the press for 220v based on what I was told it ran on in the last shop, we didn’t have any reason to consider the voltage an issue until the motor wasn’t functioning properly.

All is well and good— and I wont be calling that electrician back.

For clarification and so that you know in the future, just because the nameplate says it can run on 220v or 110v does not mean it can, by itself, sense the incoming voltage and make the selection automatically like a modern computer does. The wiring configuration for the voltage you decide to use is made inside the motor connection box not internally meaning, not inside the motor. Some motors have the diagram on the motor nameplate and some have it inside of the motor connection box cover. In the absence of a diagram, a real electrician can use an ohmmeter to easily determine which wires are internally connected to which coils.