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Watch Winder Motor Replacement


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I bought a relatively cheap four-berth automatic watch winder from Ebay (similar models are also on Amazon). After a few months both motors started to play up, though I found a way of getting them going again, documented in this thread.

Predictably that fix didn't work for long, so I started to look for other solutions. The winder I'm talking about looks like the picture below and there isn't any obvious way into it. Nevertheless, I persisted and succeeded in repairing my winder at a cost of £3.99 and needing only minimal skill with a soldering iron.

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If you slip a blade into the gap between the turntable panel and the box ...

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... it just pulls forward, revealing the mechanism behind.

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There are six screws on the motor housing for each turntable. Four small ones hold the housing together and two big ones fix the whole thing to the turntable. All six screws need to come out. A magnetized screwdriver is useful for the small ones.

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Then you can lift off the lid and see that underneath is a plastic pulley and cog arrangement, driven by the shaft of the motor. A few people have found that the rubber band has snapped, or just stretched, and that replacing it fixes their problem. At this point I tested the motor by switching it on and confirmed that it wouldn't start without a push. So I would have to take the whole thing to bits and replace the motors. The two white cogs slide off their spindles, leaving just the pulley on the motor. You need to remove the two screws that hold the motor in place and then slide it out. The pulley is a tight fit, but if you pull the motor firmly away from the casing, the pulley will slide off too.

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The motors on mine had no useful markings, except the name Mabuchi on the top. A bit of research convinced me that what I was looking for was an RF-500TB-12560 5-12V DC motor and that Mabuchi isn't the only name they're sold under. There a loads on Ebay, mostly from China, which is a lot cheaper than buying the same thing from sellers in Europe or the US. They have many other applications, so looking for "watch winder motor" won't help.

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Just be careful that you get one with the same shaft dimensions - mine is 2mm diameter and 10.5mm from the top of the motor housing to the end of the shaft (seller's pic).

motor dims

I ordered two from an Ebay seller in China. Total cost, £3.99 and delivered in 16 days, which I thought was pretty good.

First step in replacing the motors is to unplug the old ones from the printed circuit board. The plugs just need a firm tug to come out. Remember which socket goes with which turntable, otherwise you might get your switches reversed.

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Mine had a cable tie holding the wires against the motor, which I slid off, and some wax protecting the contacts, which I removed. Then it's just a case of unsoldering the wires from the old terminals and soldering them in place on the new motors. The motors I bought had a red dot against one of the terminals, so I matched that up with the red stripe on one of the wires. However, I don't think it really matters a lot which way round they go, as the motors are bi-directional. I just slid the old cable ties back over the wires and used electrical tape instead of the wax.

Then it's just a question of putting everything back together again. Once the motor is screwed down, the pulley slides on easily and you just need to make sure the rubber band runs level.

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I ran the motors a few times during assembly to make sure everything was working. I used vaseline on the cogs and oil on the spindles to replace any lubricants I rubbed off during the repair. Finally pushed the turntable panel back into place and loaded it up with watches. The winder is working as reliably and quietly as when it was new. Still, I think I'll order another couple of motors, just in case it goes wrong again in the future.

Edited by spinynorman
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2 hours ago, Wallace69erus said:

Would u have a link for the motors 

These are the ones I bought last year, which are still working: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/191834017482. Price in sterling is higher now, due to currency I think.

I've since found more expensive winders claiming to use "high quality" Japanese Mabuchi motors. It's possible there are Chinese copies on the market, but if so they're very hard to identify.

Apart from reliability, the other issue is noise. I've realised the (very low) noise from my winder is due to the construction of the turntables. I switch it off overnight as it's an irritating sound when you're trying to sleep. I bought a more expensive double winder branded POUILLA from Amazon, which also has Mabuchi motors and is completely silent.

 

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