These are common steps in troubleshooting your motor:

  1. Make sure that your rotor spins freely if you give it a slight push with your hand.
  2. Test your electromagnet. Connect one 1.5V battery to electromagnet wires briefly. The electromagnet should push the closest magnet on the rotor. The rotor should turn 45° if you have 4 magnets on a rotor, or 90° if you have 2. If it does not – switch the wires.If your electromagnet does not work, it may be shorted. Sometimes re-winding the electromagnet may solve this problem.
Problem Cause Solution
Newly assembled motor does not work: rotor does not spin. Rotor is in a "dead spot" – the magnet is outside of reed switch working range. This usually occurs if you tried 2 magnets on a rotor first. The rotor will not start spinning on its own. Give it a slight push.
Rotor is jammed. Find the exact cause and fix the problem. This may require breaking off the stands and reattaching them to the board. You may try to lubricate the axles with WD-40 or any other lubricant.
Electromagnet attracts the magnets instead of repelling them. Switch the electromagnet wires.
Bad connection in wiring. Thoroughly clean the wires to remove the insulation before soldering. Re-solder the connections.
Reed switch is too far from the rotor. Move reed switch closer.
Reed switch does not function when a magnet passes near its center. The most sensitive part of the reed switch is not in the middle of it, but more to the side. Move the reed switch left or right.
The battery is dead or battery voltage is low. Get a new battery. Increase the voltage by adding an extra battery.
One of the magnets is not repelling. Tear this magnet off and glue it upside down. All of the magnets should have the same pole
facing outside.
The transistor is connected incorrectly. Make sure that you connected transistor leads according to the wiring diagram.
The transistor was burnt and does not work. This may happen if you overheated it while soldering, connected it improperly, or had the rotor stalled on a high voltage.  Replace the transistor.
Motor worked fine for a while but then stopped working. The battery is dead or battery voltage is low. Get a new battery. Increase the voltage by adding an extra battery.
The reed switch contacts are welded together. Disconnect the battery. Flick the reed switch tube slightly. In most cases it will fix the problem temporarily. Afterwards it is recommended to lower the voltage or connect a ZNR parallel to the reed switch. You may also need to replace the reed switch.
The transistor is burnt. Get a new transistor and re-solder it. Try not to leave the motor stalled, this may be a reason the transistor was burnt in the first place.
The transistor is getting too hot even when the motor works. The rotor has too much friction. Make sure that the rotor spins freely. You may add a heat sink to the transistor for better heat dissipation. You may also try to lubricate the axles with WD-40 or any other lubricant.
The reed switch stays on most of the time. Move the reed switch farther from the rotor. You may add a heat sink to the transistor for better heat dissipation.
The electromagnet gets hot. Not enough wire used for the electromagnet. Make sure that the electromagnet coil has enough wire. Use almost all the wire from the spool.
Short connection inside the electromagnet. Re-wind the electromagnet. It is better to use a new spool of wire, but sometimes the old wire may still work.
If you need to disassemble the rotor…   This operation requires quite a bit of strength. Disassemble the rotor with a rocking motion as if trying to break it and at the same time pulling the ends out.

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