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Please can I use car engine starter motor (12 volts) to build an electric wheelchair? Answered

Please can I use car engine starter motor (12 volts) to build an electric wheelchair? If so, how do I connect it to batteries?


Yes, but it won't be anywhere near optimal. A starter motor is designed to give max. torque for very short periods of time. If used in a continuous use you can't use it at high power, it's inefficient and won't last as long as a motor meant for continuous use.  Also you will have to create a gearbox and controller for it.

Wheel chair motors come up on ebay and surplus sites very often for a reasonable price.  Most of them have gearboxes and controllers available.


The way a starter motor is made will allow it to go faster and faster until it explodes UNLESS it has a fairly large load on it - such as an internal combustion engine.

They are also more or less a dead short across the battery at initial start up - This drains your battery very quickly.

For acceleration they are great - for long term use no good.

there are lots of DC motors about on Ebay much better suited for your needs, You will need something around 100 watts continuous rated with a worm gear reduction to best use the motors power. This is how most powered wheel chairs work.

I had one that didn't disengage from the ring. BOY was that a mess.

Can you IMAGINE how fast the poor little thing must have been spinning !

In the life of an electric motor we all know S&!t happens.

In many ways it is surprising that they survive the ordeal.

The Greenpower electric car contest had a section for a while where you could enter a drag racer powered by a starter motor. The distance was 100 mtrs from a standing start but they stopped it because they were going too fast.

I don't think the motors, (or the batteries), in general made more than a run or two.