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Unread 07-03-2012, 08:48 AM
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Al Skierkiewicz Al Skierkiewicz is offline
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CIM Motor Failure

After long hours of practice and competition, a few of our CIM motors finally showed signs of failure. The motors were showing a reduced power output, were draining the battery faster and could not survive the one second finger test for temperature.
If you look closely at the picture of the armature, you will see a wire that is no longer attached to the commutator segments. When the motor was opened, I noticed what appeared to be fractures in the darkened varnish on several wires. A slight movement released one from the commutator. I am guessing it was already open circuit when I opened the motor. The photo shows other fracture in several wires near the bent over tabs of the commutator. Near the bottom side of the windings is some epoxy applied to the windings by the manufacturer. This is normally sky blue in color, the darkened color showing the excessive heat developed in the armature.
The second photo shows the brush assembly. Please note the discoloration of the braided brush wire. The color is off in this photo, as the braid closest to the brush is almost gold in color (in reality) while the end attached to the wire is very dark copper (not the gold that it appears in this photo). Please also note the discoloration of the red wire. Some of this is brush residue but the majority is heat damage to the wire.
This is typical of the CIM motors when they are abused or in this case, heavily used. The motor is several years old, had been used on previous robots and has seen extensive practice driving over the last few weeks. Perhaps for an hour or more straight with stops just to replace the battery.
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All is better now, NOS parts are working fine. Why does this year's game remind me of Violet in Willie Wonka? Hmmmm, I see blueberries!

Last edited by Al Skierkiewicz : 07-03-2012 at 08:52 AM.
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Unread 07-03-2012, 09:14 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Quote:
This is typical of the CIM motors when they are abused or in this case, heavily used. ...
At what point does "heavy use" become "abuse"?
Perhaps for an hour or more straight with stops just to replace the battery.

the darkened color showing the excessive heat developed in the armature.

Some of this is brush residue but the majority is heat damage to the wire.

could not survive the one second finger test for temperature.

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Unread 07-03-2012, 09:31 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

It looks like you got your money's worth out of that motor. Thanks for posting the autopsy.
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Unread 07-03-2012, 11:12 AM
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back to school ;-)
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Yep, been there done that. Not a continuous duty motor, not even close.
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Unread 07-03-2012, 11:20 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

One small correction - this motor was brand new this year. I was careful to ensure we had new CIMs in the competition robot, so this was definitely a 2012 purchased motor.

We had 2 CIMS go, one on each side, though this one was worse than the other by far. It is definitely worth some analysis to try discover why.

And yes, we drive them HARD!
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Unread 07-03-2012, 11:39 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Steve,
I thought these were the replacements.
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All is better now, NOS parts are working fine. Why does this year's game remind me of Violet in Willie Wonka? Hmmmm, I see blueberries!
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Unread 07-03-2012, 12:11 PM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

they have date codes on them, don't they?
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Unread 07-03-2012, 01:01 PM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Jim,
Once I see that it is black with aluminum ends, I only care about the inside. Sort of like Oreo's.
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All is better now, NOS parts are working fine. Why does this year's game remind me of Violet in Willie Wonka? Hmmmm, I see blueberries!
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Unread 07-03-2012, 06:55 PM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Skierkiewicz View Post
Once I see that it is black with aluminum ends, I only care about the inside. Sort of like Oreo's.
There really is nothing else that needs to be said.
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Unread 07-03-2012, 07:16 PM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag View Post
Yep, been there done that. Not a continuous duty motor, not even close.
The CIM motor data sheet indicates that the motor is designed for intermittent duty. Its specified test load is 64 oz-in running from a 12V supply, which corresponds to 4320 RPM on the motor's speed-torque curve -- the mechanical load is about 204 Watts and the motor is dissipating about 120 Watts as waste heat (in its armature windings and brushes) at this load.

Its specified test cycle (for endurance) is:

3 minutes at the above rated load, counterclockwise, followed by
2 seconds off, followed by
3 minutes at the above test load, clockwise, followed by
30 minutes off,
and then the cycle repeats, until the motor has run 1000 cycles.

So the motor is designed to run for about 100 hours at 200 Watts mechanical output from a 12V supply, with 16% duty (i.e., 30 minutes off for every 6 minutes running). Exceeding this load and duty will overheat the motor. Seems like that is what Al's team did.
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Last edited by Richard Wallace : 07-03-2012 at 08:13 PM. Reason: corrected losses; motor is drawing 27 Ampere at the specified test load
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Unread 07-03-2012, 08:01 PM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
The CIM motor data sheet indicates that the motor is designed for intermittent duty. Its specified test load is 64 oz-in running from a 12V supply, which corresponds to 4320 RPM on the motor's speed-torque curve -- the mechanical load is about 204 Watts and the motor is dissipating about 76 Watts as waste heat (in its armature windings and brushes) at this load.

Its specified test cycle (for endurance) is:

3 minutes at the above rated load, counterclockwise, followed by
2 seconds off, followed by
3 minutes at the above test load, clockwise, followed by
30 minutes off,
and then the cycle repeats, until the motor has run 1000 cycles.

So the motor is designed to run for about 100 hours at 200 Watts mechanical output from a 12V supply, with 16% duty (i.e., 30 minutes off for every 6 minutes running). Exceeding this load and duty will overheat the motor. Seems like that is what Al's team did.
In the case of it being a drive motor, would only turning it the one way (counter clockwise) and hardly ever turning it clockwise reduce the life of the motor?
I sure hope this wasnt a 2012 CIM.
Also do you usually reuse CIM's from previous bots (competition bots) or only remove them from the Practice bots? We have previously destroyed some of our robots and reused CIM's but in the last few years (2011, 2012) I wont let them touch the robots. Though our practice bot will be taken apart and reused for spare parts and probably prototyping in the years to come.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 06:41 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Aaron,
The CIMs do have a slight bias that tends to let them run in one direction a little faster than the other but there should be no significant wear based on that alone. We have killed CIMs in the past with lengthy demos and heavy use in practice. The failure exhibited above is kind of a domino effect. As the motor builds excessive heat the insulation on the windings starts to break down. When that occurs the windings start to short. This causes the current to climb while the output power falls.
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All is better now, NOS parts are working fine. Why does this year's game remind me of Violet in Willie Wonka? Hmmmm, I see blueberries!
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Unread 07-05-2012, 08:12 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Al-

Does the failure of a CIM due to overuse/abuse have any key indicators we can note externally (ie: while still mounted to the robot)? Or is it a slow decrease of output power over time that eventually becomes noticeable.

-Brando
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Unread 07-05-2012, 08:22 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Holley View Post
Al-

Does the failure of a CIM due to overuse/abuse have any key indicators we can note externally (ie: while still mounted to the robot)? Or is it a slow decrease of output power over time that eventually becomes noticeable.

-Brando
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Skierkiewicz View Post
... The failure exhibited above is kind of a domino effect. As the motor builds excessive heat the insulation on the windings starts to break down. When that occurs the windings start to short. This causes the current to climb while the output power falls.
Brandon, I know you asked Al, but let me try. Al's post above indicated a possible in-situ diagnostic, namely motor current. If the motor is drawing more current while powering the same load (i.e., while the robot is performing the same operation), then it is either hot or starting to fail, or both. Allowing the motor to cool for a while, say an hour, and then repeating the same robot operation while observing the current will tell you whether the motor was merely hot, or failing.

Jaguars with CAN provide one method of monitoring in-situ motor current. WildStang published another method many seasons ago.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 08:51 AM
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Re: CIM Motor Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Brandon, I know you asked Al, but let me try. Al's post above indicated a possible in-situ diagnostic, namely motor current. If the motor is drawing more current while powering the same load (i.e., while the robot is performing the same operation), then it is either hot or starting to fail, or both. Allowing the motor to cool for a while, say an hour, and then repeating the same robot operation while observing the current will tell you whether the motor was merely hot, or failing.

Jaguars with CAN provide one method of monitoring in-situ motor current. WildStang published another method many seasons ago.
Thanks for the reply Richard.

The reason I ask, is we've had a weird issue regarding one of our drive sides all season.

We use 2 CIMs per side as most teams do, into a custom 2 speed gearbox. Even before ship date, we would monitor how warm the CIMs were getting during our testing. For some reason, one of the (4) CIMs always stayed cool to the touch. The partner motor to that one on the same drive side would become warmer than the 2 CIMs on the opposing drive side.

Thinking this motor just wasn't receiving power, we went through the debugging process, power the drive side with just 1 CIM and then alternating to make sure they both were "driving". We then switched the Victors that were powering them to ensure they were both "driving".

The motors always appeared to be functional, as in the robot would drive. However, during eliminations, or heavy testing, the robot would begin to pull slightly towards the "cold motor" side. We replaced the motors, and the issue has generally gone away.

I'm wondering if we were dealing with a CIM that was damaged from overuse/abuse or had a manufacturing defect.

-Brando
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