Dryer motors span a wide spectrum of applications and you don’t have to discard an old or idle dryer motor, instead, you can repurpose them for other uses.
I have found that connecting dryer motors to devices such as a blower for dust collecting, or to a belt for other DIY projects can be very useful. It is not difficult to wire a dryer motor, and you do not need any particular experience. All you need to do is identify which wire goes where and for what purpose.
In general to rewire a dryer motor to another device follow these steps:
- If the dryer motor is still in the dryer, unplug the dryer and remove the dryer motor by disengaging the cord-connection panel at the back of the dryer.
- Remove the old wires in the dryer.
- Attach the red or black wires to their respective terminal screws.
- Link the white or neutral wire to the center terminal screw.
- Connect the green wire to the ground screw that holds the ground strap.
- Attach a blower or a belt to the motor to use for other DIY projects.
- Connect the dryer and test it.
We will go into more detail below.
Getting Started – How a Dryer Motor Works
The system comprises the start and the main winding and operates at a 115V alternating current. However, some dryers function at a 220V alternating current in the US. Basically, a dryer motor converts electromagnetic energy into mechanical energy that is harnessed to turn the dryer blower and the dryer drum.
So, this mechanism used by the dryer motor can be used to perform mechanical work in related DIY projects.
The start winding comprises thinner wires and thus experiences higher resistance. The start winding has fewer turns that give the dryer motor phase shift and initial rotation.
Technically, the start winding is turned on briefly at startup. Otherwise, it will burn out within a minute if it stays on. So, when the motor picks up speed, the start winding gets disconnected. Ideally, the windings in the start winding disengage when the dryer motor starts running.
Let’s go on to the steps (Note: Your mileage may vary on the device you are wiring to, this guide assumes some basic compatibility.)
Step 1: Check Terminal Numbering
The dryer motor terminals are labeled 2, 6, 4, 3, 5, and 1. To locate the numbers, flip your motor over and check the sides.
The ground terminal is right below terminal number 1. In this guide, I will discuss the dryer motor with the following electrical properties for the heating element: 240V, and 25 Amps for terminals 1, and 2.
After identifying the terminal numbers, go ahead and check the wiring harness that is denoted as follows:
- White wire – neutral
- Black or red wire–bearing current wires
- Green wire –ground
- Blue wire – attached to the switch
Step 2: Wiring the Motor
If the motor is still in the dryer, unplug the dryer and sever the cord-bearing connection at the back of the dryer. Disconnect the wires from the screws.
Terminal 6 is wired to the red or black wire that is then connected to terminal five, the white wire goes to terminal 5, and the green wire goes to the ground.
Another white wire is connected to terminal 4 and then to the blue wire in the motor’s wiring harness.
The blue wire goes through the switch and into the motor. The switch is attached to an idler pulley which is designed to hit the switch to shut everything off and protect the belt from coming off or breaking.
Again, the blue wires are attached to another set of connectors which can be another set of safety switches.
Step 3: Connect Another Device to The Motor
You can wire a blower or any other compatible device to the motor. With an old dryer motor, you can craft a sensorless vector control motor drive (a fan) and many other interesting devices for various DIY projects.
Step 4: Connect the Motor to Power
Note: the color of the current-bearing wires in dryer motors varies between red and black, or both can be present.
To connect the motor to power, wire the blue and the white wires to a two-terminal plug.
Strip about one inch of the insulation coating of the blue and the white wire with a wire stripper. Connect them to separate wires on a two-terminal plug and nest the spliced terminals in a wire cap for safety. You may use electrical tape to insulate the twisted end instead.
Next, insert the plug into a wall outlet and turn the power on to verify if the motor is working. Also, check if your blower or any other device connected to the dryer motor is working well.
How Do You Tell if a Dryer Motor is Bad?
You will hear a loud grinding and rumbling sound from the worn-out parts of the dryer. Also, a faulty or damaged thermostat can cause your dryer motor to stop working. To make your dryer operational again, replace the fuse or the thermostat.
How Many Ohms Should the Motor Have?
If the dryer is not in use or heating, the ohms value should be about 15. To test the dryer motor with a multimeter attach the probe leads to the motor terminals. Ensure the multimeter is set to measure ohms or continuity. If the motor does not give any readings or the display unit shows flash numbers your dryer motor is fired up and requires replacement.
What Makes Dryer Motors Burn Out?
Dirt or lint can cause your dryer motor to overheat or burn out. So, clean your motor regularly to prevent it from burning out. Also, make sure that it is operating at the required volts and amps.
A dryer motor converts electromagnetic energy into mechanical energy which can be harnessed for other purposes other than being used in a dryer. I hope this guide helps you to wire a dryer motor perfectly and use it for other DIY projects at home. I would love to hear your views and please share this guide if you find it useful. (1, 2)
Take a look at some of our related articles below.
- What size wire for a dryer
- Is the black wire positive or negative
- How to remove wire from push-in connector
(1) electromagnetic energy – https://www.thoughtco.com/examples-of-electromagnetic-energy-608911
(2) mechanical energy – https://www.britannica.com/science/mechanical-energy
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