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Converting The F&P SmartDrive for Use As A... Motor

Recycled smart drive washing machine motors have been used in countless projects. They can be found in wind turbines, water turbines, and every other type of generator imaginable. This article takes a radical new direction and uses a Fisher & Paykel SmartDrive as... a motor.

By Nenad Stojadinovic

Why would you want to use a SmartDrive as a motor? Possibly you drooled at the possibilities presented by the pan-cake motor used in our eBike article featured in the November 2011 issue.

But that motor has a maximum power output of a few hundred watts, depending on how its controller is programmed.

What if you could use a recycled motor of the same general configuration but with a power output which might peak at 1kW or more?

Click for larger image
The major components in a Fisher&Paykel SmartDrive motor. Top left is the magnet hub, top right the stator, centre is the drive shaft and at the bottom are the retaining plates and nut.

The SmartDrive used in Fisher & Paykel washing machines is just such a motor. In fact, it is the only such motor which you can pick up either free from roadside clean-ups (ie, in discarded washing machines) or cheaply from recycling centres.

Of course, the SmartDrive is already a motor. What’s the point in converting a motor into a motor? Well, apart from its potentially high power output, this motor can be smoothly controlled over a very wide range, up to 1200 RPM.

In Fisher & Paykel washing machines, the SmartDrive dispenses with a gearbox and runs both the wash/rinse cycles and the spin cycles.

But aside from the fact that the SmartDrive motor runs on awkwardly high voltages, it is a class of machinery that comes perilously close to being a computer peripheral, or at least a symbiotic component of a computer.

In this case, the computer is firmly built into a washing machine and having to build a big white box into every project can put a cramp on any young tech’s style.

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