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 the reed switch working range. This usually occurs with 2 magnet rotors. 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. Moving the books may solve the problem.
Electromagnet attracts the magnets instead of repelling them. Switch the battery connection wires.
Bad connection in wiring. Thoroughly clean the wires to remove the insulation.
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.
Your reed switch may not be sensitive enough, or it is defective. Get a different reed switch.
Your magnets may not be strong enough to activate the reed switch. Get magnets with stronger magnetic flux. You may also try to attach an extra magnet to each magnet on the rotor.
The battery is dead or battery voltage is low. Get a new battery. Increase the voltage by connecting an extra battery in series.
One of the magnets is not repelling. This could happen if you built the motor yourself and did not use marked magnets as those sold at this site. Tear this magnet off and glue it upside down. All of the magnets should have the same pole facing outside.
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 connecting an extra battery in series.
If you use high voltage (6V or higher) you can see a blue spark inside of the reed switch. Sometimes it may weld the contacts 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 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 if you bought it here. Use all of the wire from the medium size spool if you bought it at Radio Shack. Otherwise use 40-60 ft (12-18m) of 26-28 gauge magnet wire (diameter 0.3-0.5mm).
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.

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