Introduction: Brushless Reed Switch Motor

Picture of Brushless Reed Switch Motor

This is a simple brushless motor that uses minimal parts.  The frame can be made of anything,  but since I only had Lego around at the time, that is what I used.  The motor can be run off a variety of batteries including rechargeable batteries over 6 volts, a standard 9 volt, a 6 volt lantern battery, or four 1.5  volt cells (AA, C, D).

Step 1: Gather the Parts

Picture of Gather the Parts

The Lego pieces that are already assembled will be detailed in later steps, so keep your tub of Lego pieces nearby.  If you're building this motor of of something else (i.e. wood), then get that instead of Lego and use these instructions as a guide on where the components are positioned.  Those aside, gather the following items:

-Neodymium magnets (they don't have to be large; mine are pretty small)
-A LOT of 22 gauge magnet wire (just keep the whole spool with you)
-2N3055 NPN Power Transistor or similar
-A battery and matching connector
-An LED (any color)
-A Reed Switch
-A Zip Tie
-Tape or Glue (or both)
-Bolt that fits in the hole of the Lego piece shown in the photo, and 2 nuts to mount it.
-A resistor (see note).

NOTE: I used a 22 ohm resistor with a 9 volt battery and a green LED.  I also used a 1,000 ohm resistor with the 12 volt battery in the picture and a green LED.  An exact fixed value for the resistor can not be given because when you run the motor on different voltages and use different LEDs, you have to change the resistor to compensate for the changes.  Maybe just using a 5,000 ohm potentiometer would be better.  For testing, start with 1K ohms.

One more thing.  You may be wondering what the LED is used for.  It actually acts as a crude speed indicator.  The faster it blinks, the faster your motor is spinning.  It is also used for testing, but that is detailed in step 6, so don't worry about that for now.

Step 2: Winding the Coil

Picture of Winding the Coil

This is the simplest, but most time consuming step.  Wind a coil that is 8 to 10 layers thick.  Take your time and wind it neatly (like the coil in pic 4), or you will end up with the mess of wire I have above (pics 1-3).  My coil works, but it could have been wound a lot better to output way more power.  After winding your coil, twist on a nut, slide on the Lego piece, twist on the other nut and tighten.  Set the completed coil assembly aside for now.

Step 3: Assembly Part 1: the Base and the Armature

Picture of Assembly Part 1: the Base and the Armature

Look at the pictures and read the image notes; they will tell what to do.

Step 4: Assembly Part 2: the Reed Switch and the Coil

Picture of Assembly Part 2: the Reed Switch and the Coil

The tower was already built at the time of this instructable and the reed switch positioned correctly, so I did not wish to disassemble it.  Fortunately, it's simple enough to build.  It's just a tower that holds the reed switch in place.  The switch's position is adjustable: Sliding the zip tie up or down moves the switch closer to or farther from the armature.  The wires are threaded through a hole at the top and this allows the switch to be moved up or down by pulling on or pushing in the wires (see pic. 4).  You want the switch position to be adjustable because you'll need to play around with that after getting the motor running to find the best position (where the motor spins the fastest).  When the tower is finished, attach it to the base (pic. 5).  Add the coil to the base too (pic. 6).  The motor is now done, congrats!!  However, the motor won't run quite yet.  It needs a switching circuit for the coil, so on to the next step.

Step 5: The Circuit

Picture of The Circuit

This is it!  Not only is this the last thing you must BUILD, but it brings all the parts together (the coil, armature, and switch).  The schematic is actually very simple.  Follow the image notes.  For the resistor, I said at the beginning that you would need to experiment.  For testing purposes, start with 12 volts (12V) and a 1K ohm 1/4 watt resistor, then adjust resistor value and/or voltage after the motor runs if it runs too slow or the transistor gets too hot.  Once you are done building the circuit, your motor is almost ready to run.  More info in the next step.

Step 6: Pre-Startup

Now you will test the coil polarity to see which of the wires is positive and which is negative.  Use a low voltage and low amperage battery for the test (i.e. AA, 9V).  When polarity is determined, plug the positive of the coil to the positive power rail and the negative of the coil to the Collector. 

This is where the LED comes in handy as well.  Now test the reed switch position to make sure it is in a position where the motor will at least run.  You can fine tune the position later.  You can still do this test with the 1K resistor I said to plug in and 12V for testing.  Before shooting this video, I was running the motor on a 9V battery and didn't bother to switch over.  That's why in the video, I used a 22 ohm resistor and 9V battery.

Step 7: Finally, Start That Motor!!!!!

What are you waiting for!?  Connect that battery and give it a twirl!!  Here's a video of mine.  If you build one, feel free to post pictures or videos of it.  Have Fun!