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Chokingdogs 11-14-2012 10:13 AM

Dewalt 18 volt drill problems
I have two NiCad 18 volt 1/2" drills, one with hammer feature, and both are around 8 or so years old with very light use. By light use I mean general household usage, not any sort of general contractor use.

They both have an issue in which they bog down, either under load or free spinning. It appears to be an issue back at the brushes, as wisps of white smoke come from the vents. I can usually "clear" it by simply going from FWD-RVS several times free spinning. I've tried a couple things to clear it for good short of taking the things apart and replacing stuff - blowing really hard on the brushes, using a shop vac there, even sprayed contact cleaner....none have worked any better than the back and forth technique.

Any idea/s on what the cause may be along with a permanent fix? It doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to cause me aggravation.


PaliBob 11-14-2012 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by Chokingdogs (Post 1051961) wisps of white smoke .....

once the smoke escapes, it can't come back

DexterII 11-14-2012 11:18 AM

Based on your observations, I think that you are on the right track, and would replace the brushes.

woodworkbykirk 11-14-2012 02:57 PM

you see smoke.. the motor is starting to die.. its already overheated so the electrical has been compromised

spotco2 11-14-2012 11:05 PM

That's not regular smoke you are seeing. It's really called magic smoke.

All electronic items operate by means of magic smoke. They are filled with it from the factory and then sealed. If you start seeing bits of it leaking out, there is a problem somewhere and yours sounds like a brush issue. It could also be a corrosion issue on the commutator where the brushes ride.

You have to be very careful when dealing with magic smoke. If all of the magic smoke escapes from your electronics, then they will never work again and must be replaced.

joecaption 11-15-2012 07:54 AM

If you can open it up clean the armature with a pencil eraser, use an ohm meter to check to continuaty between the segments. Use a jewlers flat screw driver and run it between the segmants. Make sure the brushes slide easly in the holders. (since you have it apart may as well change the brushes)

JCAHILL4 11-19-2012 04:21 PM

Same problem
I had the same problem with my 18v dewalt hammer drill. I also originally thought it was a problem with the brushes. But when I had it apart I could tell they were not worn and the problem was more with the armature (magic smoke home). $30 on eBay and I had a new motor shipped.

Good luck!

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