Brushed DC Motors

Simple and Economical Motive Power for your Project

Brushed DC motors are probably the most common type of motor there is. These motors can be found in everything from hand-held fans and cordless drills, to cell phone buzzers and steel mills. These motors are used to power cars and trains, and not just the toy ones!
Animated GIF from Wikimedia Commons

These motors use brushes that rub on a segmented copper ring so that the current through the armature coils alternates as the motor spins. We opened one up in the photo below, so you can see the magnets and coils in the left and the spring-loaded brushes on the right.
DC motors are available in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from tiny motors for miniature devices up to and including large industrial motors capable of many horsepower.

Applications:

  • Toys
  • Cell Phone Buzzers
  • Cordless Tools
  • RC Servos
  • Gear Motors

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably Efficient
  • Good low-speed torque

Limitations:

  • Noise - In addition to the audible whine from the commutator brushes, these motors create a lot of electrical noise which can find its way back into other circuitry and cause problems.
This guide was first published on May 21, 2014. It was last updated on May 21, 2014. This page (Brushed DC Motors) was last updated on Nov 23, 2015.