Download: Using magnets to spin a hard drive motor

By spottedmarley


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Very very simple and fun project. Here's a schematic:

About me

That's right folks, as you may have guessed by watching, I am not an electrical engineer. In fact, I am not even an advanced hobbyist when it comes to electronics, I just love to play with stuff and see what sort of cool things I can learn so you will have to excuse me if I use terms incorrectly or if I seem completely clueless about certain things. I'm just learning by doing. I am always appreciative of any constructive comments that help put me on the path to better learning.

Project 1: Hard drive motors

Hard drives are awesome project kits for people like me who like to tinker with shit. People, myself included, will typically toss old hard drives in the garbage without much thought to the expensive high-precision components that are inside. First there are the neodymium magnets. Every hard drive has two very powerful ones. This alone is reason enough to open your old hard drive before you toss it. Every hard drive also has a DC brushless motor at its core that it uses to spin your disk to very high rpm with almost zero friction. These motors have to be able to spin at high speed continuously for YEARS on end sometimes so they are super high-reliability and also fantastically quiet.

Most importantly though, motors are just plain fun to play with and these motors are some of the nicest to play with if you can get them working. That brings us to this project. When I pulled my old hard drive apart and started applying voltage to the terminals it became clear very quickly that this wasn't your regular DC motor. It was not clear how to get the thing to spin up normally. After doing some research online I found some complicated circuit diagrams for building a controller to drive these motors but somehow that seemed a bit overkill for what I wanted to do.. play with a motor, so I decided to try an idea of my own using a magnetic reed switch and the two neodymium magnets that from inside the hard drive.

So, I hope this helps a few people out there get going on their own projects.

Thanks for watching!