drone motor maintenance

It is easy to fall in love with FPV drone racing. However, you should also remember that checks, maintenance, and cleaning of your FPV drone motor are essential to making it last longer. It can also help improve its performance and make sure that it is in optimal condition.

The frequency of doing such checks, maintenance and cleaning will highly depend upon the use of the FPV drones. However, it is best to do it at least once a month just to make sure that everything is in order. Also, racing FPV drones should always be checked before and after a race. This ensures that the race won’t cause further damage to the drone’s motor.

Additionally, it will also help catch the problem immediately before it worsens.

Here’s the steps and critical areas we cover when doing essential preventative maintenance for our FPV motors…

Motor Checks

The first thing to do is to a visual inspection of the motor. See if there are any dings or scratches and make sure that the magnet ring is still attached. A badly damaged motor may not be easily repaired and it may be best to replace it.

Also, perform a free-spinning check by turning the motor manually. If you feel that it doesn’t rotate as freely as a new motor, you may need to oil it, clean it or replace it. There is also a vibration check that should be done. Switch the motor on but remove the propellers. Use your fingernail to see if there is excessive vibration. The presence of such may indicate a bent motor shaft. Similarly, you can check the shaft visually if it has a bent, if it does, then it needs to be replaced. 

You should also check for conductivity. A multi-meter is used in the continuity mode to check this. Touch the motor wire with one of the prongs and the other one should be placed on the drone frame. There shouldn’t be continuity. If there is, check to see if the motor screw comes in contact with the windings. A simple solution could be to replace them with shorter screws. However, if this doesn’t fix it, then you have a faulty motor. Also, make sure to tighten the screws after the flight because it can come loose during the flight. 

The multimeter can also be used for resistance checks. With this, you need to first de-solder the wires from the ESC. The probe should touch the motor wire pairs to check for resistance. The usual result should be at 50 milliohms or you can compare your reading to a new motor. Those with a high resistance need to either be re-wound or replaced. 

A visual inspection of the interior of the motor should also be done. To do this, you first need to disassemble the motor and inspect everything from the magnets, motor windings, and bearings. Check if they are loose, presence of chipping, burnt or damaged. If you find any of them damaged, they might need to be replaced or a simple cleaning might also be in order. 

Motor Cleaning

Cleaning the motor is as simple as using water and a bristle brush to remove dirt. Just make sure that the motors are completely dried after washing. Also, minimize the water used especially when cleaning the bearing. A useful cleaning agent for dirt could be regular car cleaner gels.

The bearings should also be cleaned especially if they look full of dirt, are rusted or have high friction. An ultrasonic cleaner will do the job well but if you don’t have that using a WD-40 spray will help with the cleaning. 

Motor Maintenance

After cleaning the bearings you should not forget to re-oil them. This is part of the maintenance procedure. Once you’ve placed the oil, slowly spin it to spread the oil around the bearings. Re-oiling of the bearings can be done every couple of months. Alternatively, bearings may also need replacement but this isn’t common. The motor bell may also be replaced if any part of it is moderately damaged. 

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