How Carbon Brushes Affect Power Tool Performance

How Carbon Brushes Affect Power Tool Performance
  • Opening Intro -

    One of the components that make up the motor unit of every power tool is a carbon brush or a motor brush.

    It fulfills the role of a component responsible for transferring and connecting electrical current between the parts that rotate and the fixed portions of a generator or motor.


Usually, these carbon brushes last between 2-10 years. However, its life span generally depends on how the motor equipment or the power tool is used.

And in some cases, the make and the brand could also contribute to the strength of your gears. Most brushes from known and reputed brands survive longer than others.

Considering the importance of a carbon brush, the performance of your power tools may be attributed to its condition. For instance, once the carbon brush in your power tool has worn out, you may start experiencing issues when using it. The machinery may shut off after being turned on, or in some cases, it may become defective and may not work anymore.

More so, here’s a list of some instances of how carbon brushes affect power tool performance.

Short Circuit

Power tools are essential equipment to have, as they can help you do basic repairs and DIY tasks at home or do big projects if you’re in the construction field.

For instance, power equipment like hand drills and saws are incredibly beneficial in your home construction and furniture-making.

Choosing the best tools for your home project may be tricky, but maintaining them may even be more challenging if not done consistently.

And whether they’re used heavily or not, power tools wear out over time. For instance, it may be one or all of its components, but it can be hard to tell if you’re not a mechanic or an expert on such tools.

However, there may be a few warnings or signals in your tool that could indicate that what you’re using may have become a work hazard.

For instance, when you observe sparks coming from the motor of your power tool, it is essential to take your device to the nearest technician to get it repaired.

Sparks are an indication that there has already been a break in the electrical connection or a short circuit, and the carbon brush may be wearing out. And as such, the power tool you have may no longer be safe to use.

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Excessive Vibration

There are mechanical burrs emitted by power tools, which is considered normal. Although, vibrations, especially excessive vibrations, could be one of the indications that something may be wrong and a component of your machinery might have become loosened or worn out.

It could be possible that overusing your power tool can cause all those vibrations. The disconnection of the power source while simultaneously experiencing an inadequate supply of electricity sometimes causes vibrations.

And most of the time, it’s caused by the wearing out of the carbon brushes in your power tool’s motor that causes this loss of connectivity that causes vibrations.

These vibrations can affect the performance of your tools and the quality of the project you’re working on. And if left unmanaged, this may also pose some health and safety risks for you.  These excess vibrations may affect the health of your arms and hands and may cause injuries.

Decrease In Power

A power tool is either a power-driven hand tool or a piece of electric-powered equipment in its most basic form. Most of these tools are driven by electricity or battery, with electric motors being their power source.

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And compared to tools that are operated solely by hand, these tools make things easier to do because you won’t need to exert as much energy to do the work. It’s also highly convenient since you can finish your project in a shorter amount of time as compared to doing it manually using tools driven by human force.

One of its downsides, however, is when there’s not much current, either from electricity or battery, that runs through its motors to make it operate at its expected speed, it may not be as functional. This decrease in power can be due to the carbon brush, as it affects the overall performance of your power tool.

When the carbon brush becomes disconnected or worn out, the power connecting all the sections of the tool decreases, which can result in an absence or loss of control. And so, a power tool that utilizes a broken or worn-out carbon brush may not fulfill its purpose and not help you with your tasks.

Complete Power Failure

Power tools operate by the flow of electricity in all their components. When one or many of its parts don’t work together, the device won’t work as it should.

And so, it’s understandable that if there’s a power outage, equipment and tools that depend on it won’t generally function as expected. However, it’s a different story when there’s no power flowing in your tool alone.

To name a few, here are some signs of unit power failure:

  • The power tool is plugged in but does not switch on.
  • It indicates full charge, but the tool won’t start.
  • The light switch is on, but your power tool won’t operate.
  • When all you can hear is a ‘burr’ sound, but your tool is not working.

The faulty operation of your power tool may have resulted in a worn or broken carbon brush that needs replacement. It could be that the carbon brush can no longer provide sufficient connectivity of the required electricity by your power tool to operate to its expected capability.

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Bottom Line

Power tools are much needed whether you’re in the construction business or doing some DIY projects at home. Like most tools, it needs maintenance and proper safekeeping from moisture, dust, and other elements that may cause its immediate deterioration.

Maintenance and constant checkup of the components of your power tools, especially its carbon brush, can help ensure the maximum performance and longevity of your tools. After all, carbon brushes regulate your power-generated tools’ electric supply, its lifeblood.

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