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Need Some Assistance Troubleshooting My Brent Wheel


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#1 g-bus

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:04 PM

Hi folks,

Recently got back into ceramics after taking a class to continue my art teaching certification and loved it so much that I decided to set up my own studio (which I will be posting a lot of questions about soon, I'm sure). I purchased a bunch of stuff from a woman that was selling off her small home studio, including a Brent IE wheel. I don't think she used the stuff hardly at all, but looks like it was probably sitting in her shed or something for several years. She likely purchased it used as well. Cleaned it up, tweaked a few things, and seemed to be running fine for a few weeks. Haven't used it heavily, but probably thrown a couple hundred pounds worth of clay on it so far. So, was just spinning the wheel slowly the other night while I was scraping off some excess clay and it started vibrating really badly. When I tried stopping it with the pedal it continued to rotate maybe about a quarter of a turn or so after depressing the pedal before completely stopping. When I first set the wheel up it would rotate a little bit on it's own, so I adjusted the speed controller in the pedal and all was fine. The other thing that concerned me is that I was smelling hot/burning electronics. I checked the belt and it seems to be ok and have decent tension, but I don't really know. Not sure what else to check. The wheel doesn't have a ton of torque as it is, and I could pretty easily slow it down with dryer clay, but it took significantly less effort to slow or stop it after this issue popped up. When I called Brent they told me to take it to a shop or have someone come look at it (Kiln Doctor, since I'm in VA), and I also read in another post that that's pretty common from Brent, not doing much as far as troubleshooting over the phone. I have been hesitant to fire it up at all to test anything due to the smell of the hot electronics to avoid any further damage. If anyone has any suggestions of where I could start looking for the potential problems I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd rather not drop a bunch of cash having someone come to look at it if it's something simple. Thanks in advance!



#2 neilestrick

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:55 PM

Wouldn't hurt to open up the panel and take a look at the wiring. Also open up the bottom of the pedal and take a look there. If something is indeed burning, you should be able to see the results in the wiring.

 

If you're sure it's not the motor, you can send the pedal and controller in to Brent and they'll usually diagnose and repair it without a labor charge. You pay parts and shipping only.


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#3 schmism

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 11:36 PM

So, was just spinning the wheel slowly the other night while I was scraping off some excess clay and it started vibrating really badly. When I tried stopping it with the pedal it continued to rotate maybe about a quarter of a turn or so after depressing the pedal before completely stopping

 

The wheel wont instantly stop when you press the pedal to the off position. 

 

Disconnect the belt from the wheel head and command the motor to spin at full rpm (depress the pedal fully).  See if the vibration you described is still present.   If so, you may have motor issues.  (its unlikely to be a "cogging" condition caused by the control board, although if the right diode shoots craps it may.  I could say better if i knew which control board it was,  the REALLY old ones used a germanium diode which are known for doing odd things as they age,  they would be called "aged" by now.  Its still an easy test to bypass the control circuitry and just run line voltage to the rectifier and verify if the control board is or isnt any issue. )

 

If the motor hums along fine with no weird sounds proceed to the next step. (below)

 

While you have the belt off check the wheel head.  You can spin it by hand but its unlikely you can get it rotating fast enough by hand to notice any issue.   If you CAN get it to vibrate like you describe by spinning it by hand you have a wheel head issue (likely bearings)   If its smooth (hand spun) you should increase the speed on the wheel head.  you can try doing it by hand but i recommend something like a hand drill.



#4 Pres

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 09:19 AM

Years ago, after a Summer of unuse, I started up one of the CI wheels-HP. I had a strange smell coming from the controller box. No wobble on wheel, no other problems. After taking off the controller cover, I found that spiders had built nests in it, and the strands were burning??!!! Quick vacuum cleanup, and things were fine.


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#5 g-bus

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 05:38 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I took the belt off and the wheel head seems to spin pretty true and freely. However when I turned it on and pressed the pedal a bit the motor ran for a few seconds, maybe a little louder than it normally had, but then tripped the GFCI I had it plugged into. So I plugged it into a regular outlet and I think it blew the fuse on the wheel. Thought I got a faint whiff of hot electronics again before the fuse blew, but didn't run long enough for me to tell much. The only other thing that I noticed that may have contributed to the vibrations was that one of the screws that secures the table to the base seems to have broken off, or stripped out. I can lift the table a little but not a huge amount, maybe an 1/8th-1/4th", but I could see this possibly contributing to the issue. Not sure if this gives anybody any other ideas but I'm happy to entertain any other suggestions. Thanks!



#6 schmism

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 12:46 PM

Sounds like a winding has shorted out on the motor.  eg bad motor.

 

Did you say which brent wheel you had?

 

if its like  brent198.jpgthe bearing hub is bolted to a steel plate that the legs are welded to.  The yellow "table" is only a cover held on by a few screws.  If those fell out, and the plastic "cover" was loose it would in no way affect the performance of the wheel.  (it is simply cosmetic/protective and supports nothing)

 

If you want to have the motor checked out before you replace it, call around for a motor rebuild shop or alternator rebuild shop.   They should be able to verify the motor is indeed bad.   At the same time you could get a quote for rebuild, but for small motors, its generally not worth it.  (small is generally defined as anything under 10hp)



#7 g-bus

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:10 PM

It's an IE, so has the wood/laminate table to it. Stopped by Ace today to grab a new fuse to try messing with it again but they didn't carry it, so will prob try to hit up an electrical supply shop instead. If it is in fact the motor you're probably right that it's not worth it to try to get it repaired. Hopefully a replacement won't be too costly. If so may just have to sell this thing for parts and look for something else. For the price I got it for I wouldn't be too heartbroken, but if I can avoid dropping any more cash than I have too I would be happier. Thanks again.



#8 g-bus

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:41 PM

And at $200+ for a new motor I'm not sure it's worth it. Man, that seems pricey for a motor.



#9 clay lover

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:05 PM

What does it cost new?



#10 schmism

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 11:25 AM

What does it cost new?

An old style IE (wood top with large wings) can be found new for ~$575.   The newer  version with the plastic top goes for ~$950.   the IE is a small 1/4 hp motor so the idea that it gets worn out/burnt up is not surprising.  I find it unlikely you could upgrade to a larger motor on the IE because the control box likely isnt sized for anything more than 4 or so amps the 1/4 hp takes.

 

A new model B (similar to the one in the pic i posted) is 1/2 hp and lists for ~$1300 

A new model C is 3/4 hp and slightly more at ~$1400

 

Other notable differences,  the IE has a 12" wheel head vs the others which have "full size" 14" heads.   The new wheels have new PWM controls which are likely more precise and longer lasting than the older resistance based analog setups.

 

A direct .25hp replacement motor seems to run about $200 although a 1/4hp DC motor (non-direct replacement) can be had for about half the price.    My estimate on the IE used, $400-500.   If you tried to sell with non running my guess is $200 tops.



#11 g-bus

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 01:50 PM

If the wheel was in better condition I'd consider dropping a little bit of money into it, but because the wood is a bit water damaged and would probably need to be replaced before too long (guess I could always cut a piece to fit if I had to) it's probably not worth it. If I could fix it for around $100 I'd be OK with that, but being that it is a smaller wheel I know I'd want to upgrade eventually anyways. Was just hoping it wouldn't be quite so soon. But I'll pop the motor off and see if I can go get it tested somewhere. Honestly I'd be happy if I could get $200 for it for parts. Thanks again for all of the input!



#12 Mark C.

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 11:36 PM

Carefully disconnect the motor wire from control box marking what goes where and take the motor to an electric motor shop-the old school kind of industrial motor place and they can fix the motor cheaper than a new one usually.

Mark


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#13 g-bus

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 10:32 PM

Ugh, local motor repair place said they charge $90/hr for labor so prob not economical. Maybe I can find another place that'll work cheaper or at least give me a free diagnostic on it. I pulled the brushes out and could def smell burnt metal, so not feeling optimistic. Might need to start looking for a new wheel. Anybody want to buy a kidney?



#14 hershey8

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 09:01 AM

I have a Brent B that started acting up, vibrations and electrical smell. I replaced motor bearings. That didn't help, and then motor smoked a bit. Brent quoted me just under $400 for new motor, would have been 400 with shipping. SOOOOO......not having $400 at the time, I took off the head, bought a couple of bags of concrete, found some stainless steel rod, bearings and other stuff in my basement, and built a leg-powered treadle wheel. Now I get tendonitis around the knee sometimes, but I have no more Brent motor issues. Later, $400 fell into my lap, and I found an old Shimpo  rk2. Some folks don't like these for one reason or another, but I LOVE IT! When the knee acts up I just switch over to the Shimpo.  Good luck !



#15 g-bus

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:09 PM

Pretty much sounds like what mine did. I was thinking about maybe trying to do something like that, or use parts of it to make a kick wheel, but hopefully I can sell it for parts or to someone willing to fix it and at least get a little bit of cash for it.






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