The electric screwdriver sparks inside when it works and smokes

The principle of operation of the electric motor is based on the interaction of a conductor with a current, located in the magnetic field.

The main element of its construction is a permanent magnet for a direct current motor, while the excitation winding is for an alternating current motor. The rotor (armature) has its own winding, which is energized using a brush-collector assembly. The interaction of magnetic fields causes the rotor to rotate.

The collector consists of a set of contacts, which are copper plates located directly on the rotor. Micanite or micaica sleeves act as insulators for each individual contact. Graphite brushes. sliding contacts pressed against the collector.

Sparks, smoke, rust and smell of burning: What will break your drill or electric screwdriver?

Speed Drill Diagnostics

To find out exactly why your drill is broken or what is wrong with your electric screwdriver, you need to take the tool to a service center for diagnosis. But there are many direct and indirect indications that you can use to figure out approximately where the problem is.

  • If the drill does not turn on at all (and does not even buzz), then the problem is almost one hundred percent electrical. And the problem can be any scale: from ridiculous (clogging of contacts on the button) to large (burnout of the motor or electronic control unit).
  • If the power tool works erratically, intermittently, and desperately sparks, the problem is probably in the armature, collector, or brushes area. It is with the brush-collector assembly that most of the malfunctions that cause drills and screwdrivers not to work as well as expected are related.
  • If during operation strange sounds appeared that did not exist before (squeaking, crunching, howling), or strange vibrations and beating appeared, then the problem is probably related to the mechanical part. “Squealing”, for example, can be the bearings, “crunching”. the gears, and “knocking”. the shaft or chuck.
  • If the drill motor hums, but the chuck does not rotate, the cause is probably a broken gearbox or a jammed shaft. A faulty gearbox and a jammed shaft can also cause a drill not to spin as fast as you would like, or an electric screwdriver not to spin the bit as hard as it is supposed to.
  • If, for no apparent reason, the power of the drill has dropped, it may be due to increased losses: mechanical or electrical. In some cases the cause of the power loss could be clogged bearings, which do not rotate as freely as before. Sometimes the problem is in the burnt-out armature windings, because of which the resistance in the circuit increases, and the motor becomes unable to develop its rated power.
  • If the drill overheats, smokes or smells burnt, then the problem can be any: mechanical, electrical, clogging, wear and tear or trivial damage due to careless operation. Often the reason is also that someone decided to “kick ass” and subjected the tool to loads that it is simply not designed for.

So, we briefly considered why a drill, an electric screwdriver or a torch may not work properly. Below we take a closer look at the typical causes of faults and break them down into several categories: from problems that are easy to correct to cases where repair is not advisable.

Not breakages at all

Some problems with drills and screwdrivers can’t even be called malfunctions. Such annoying nuisances include wear and tear of collector brushes. The graphite brushes are consumables (sometimes drills are sold with a spare set). They are more or less standardized, often interchangeable (the standard sizes fit the tools of different brands) and cost literally pennies. In many drills you don’t even have to open the housing to change the brushes. This can be done without disassembling the power tool, if the manufacturer has provided special windows for access inside, covered with plugs. Powerful power tools, like peoratorov, even equipped with indicators that tell you it’s time to replace the carbon brushes.

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If there is no indicator, then the brushes themselves will let the gropers know that they are worn out. The most striking (both literally and figuratively) signs of wear are the powerful sparks seen through the housing slots and ventilation holes. An indirect symptom is that the tool operates intermittently and jerkily. Sparks are caused by brushes that are not pressed against the collector by the springs all the way. Sparks are accompanied by heat development. Besides the smoke and the smell of burning that accompanies sparks, the danger lurks in the fact that overheating can cause the collector plates to warp and fall off from the base of the collector. That is, if you don’t change the brushes on time, you can easily “screw up” the motor armature.

Brush replacement process with a DeWALT electric screwdriver.

The “visual effects” described above are almost never seen in drills and screwdrivers with brushless motors. They have a lot of advantages over traditional motor tools (although, the price is not insignificant). If something lightly sparks inside your brushless electric screwdriver under load, it’s the motor brake (and it’s quite normal, not a malfunction).

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Drill Troubleshooting: How to Diagnose a Drill That is Smoking or Sparking |

Почти не поломки

There are also problems that only look scary, but can be easily fixed by your own efforts with a screwdriver, emery cloth and a couple of strong words for the tool manufacturer.

  • If the drill just will not start, start by checking the cord. There is usually a kink in the cable near the plug, or more often at the handle inlet. The power cord can be quickly and easily replaced with any other of the same cross section. If it is not the power cord, it is time to open the case and check the internal wiring. It happens that the wires inside the drill are torn off or unsoldered if the manufacturer does not pay proper attention to quality control of their products.
  • Buttons and pins can be difficult to turn on your drill or electric screwdriver because they are clogged. All switches are affected by this: the starter button, the speed adjuster and the reversing slide. If they stick or move too sluggishly, you should open the tool and clean it from dust by blowing with compressed air. All the contacts should be wiped down thoroughly with alcohol and ground with a fine grit emery cloth. It is quite a troublesome job (because contacts and details of buttons are so small).
  • Sometimes the drill chuck does not hold properly and the tool jiggles in it. It often happens that the gear wheel is worn out and it is impossible to tighten the drill properly with a wrench. These problems can be eliminated in one single way. by replacing the chuck.
  • If your new drill the first time you use it it smells like a car exhaust, it is not always a sign of a serious problem. This happens if too much grease is put in the gearbox or bearings. Displaced through gaps and on heated tool parts, the excess grease burns and gives a characteristic odor. The problem is solved by disassembly of the tool (with loss of warranty) and removal of excess grease.
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Serious troubles

Some problems, unlike the ones described above, can be very troublesome and costly.

Excessive heating of the drill bearings (which can sometimes be recognized by the smoke and smell of burning plastic, as well as a tight chuck rotation and a loud “squeak”) indicates serious problems. A part heated to a red hot condition can melt the plastic tool body. The plastic melts and the plastic loses its shape and causes significant play in the parts. If the bearing is not lubricated or replaced, it will eventually be destroyed by overheating, or the armature will jam. And until it breaks into pieces, it will spoil your nerves with a loud howl and take away some of the motor power.

If your impact drill stops picking up concrete and bricks, it means that its percussion mechanism is completely worn out. An electric drill is not like a torch. Instead of a drunken bearing or crank mechanism, it has two ratchets with wavy surfaces that slide together to provide easy hammering in the concrete. Over time, these “waves” naturally wear out, the ratchets turn into flat washers, and the drill or electric screwdriver that could previously drill through concrete turns into an ordinary hammerless tool. Drilling with a hammer function can only be restored by repairing and replacing worn parts. That is why if you have to drill regularly and not occasionally, it is better to buy a good one.

Almost hopeless cases

Serious engine and gearbox failures are almost a “verdict”. We use the word “almost” because repairs with full restoration of tool functions are still possible. But sometimes (especially in the case of brushless power tools) the cost of repair is comparable to the price of a new device.

Causes of engine failure can be:

  • faulty or inherently poor quality. motors with a winding of too thin or low-quality copper wire simply cannot withstand prolonged operation or heavy loads and burn out, giving off a ghost of thick, blue smoke;
  • Insulation failure and short circuit. the “armor” of the electric motor (that is, heat-resistant varnish, which is abundantly coated windings) can be damaged by abrasive particles (dust, metal particles, small concrete chips) that get inside the body of the drill during operation.

Drills have gearboxes that break because of poor quality metal, unhardened gears, lack of lubrication or (more often) due to excessive loads. If the splines on the shaft are “chewed off” or the gear teeth are broken off, then the whole assembly must be rebuilt or replaced. It is better not to dismantle the planetary gearbox of a drill or an electric screwdriver on its own (except when you only change the lubricant), because it has so many small parts: gears, washers and seals.

To summarize

There are many reasons why a power tool can spark, smoke, buzz, and vibrate as it is operated. Many of them are associated with improper use and excessive loads. That’s why screwdrivers and drills must be chosen correctly, based on specific tasks and working conditions. And if you just need a good tool, you should pay attention to the products of Bosch, DeWALT, Makita, Metabo, AEG or another company with an excellent reputation. The listed manufacturers have service centers in almost every region of the country, and to buy parts for drills and screwdrivers of these brands is almost free.

Causes of the defect Sparks and smoke inside

From the experience of our service engineers, we can identify the following causes:

  • Untimely preventive maintenance and cleaning of the device
  • No protection against power failure
  • Replacement of consumable accessories
  • Not carefully studying the user manual or ignoring manufacturer’s advice.
  • Negligent use

Bring your machine to our service centers or call the masters at home and we will repair and warranty. After a faulty machine will work at 100 percent (full). Addresses of Yumedia services in all districts of St. Petersburg.

The battery sparks

Cordless electric drills use batteries for portability. They can create internal sparks, so if the drill sparks internally, it’s part of normal operation. However, they should never spark around the battery compartment. If the battery sparks when installed in the drill, or sparks even when not attached, it is probably a short. Cleaning the battery contacts may solve the problem, but in other cases arcing is not safe and the battery needs to be replaced.

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Brushes not installed properly

If the brushes are misaligned with the surface of the collector, significantly more graphite dust is generated during operation. Brushes that are misaligned should be corrected.

The main reason why sparks appear even on a new engine is the mechanical interaction between the collector and brushes. Moving while the tool is running from one collector contact to another, the brushes alternately make and break contact with each contact.

To better understand the principle, think of a situation where you pull the plug of an appliance out of the socket. At the moment of breaking the circuit between the socket and the plug, there is a spark. This is also the case. Small sparks are quite normal.

But if the sparks are flying in a sheaf, this situation may be due to the following reasons:

electric, screwdriver, sparks, works, smokes

Collector contamination

The mechanics of dirty collector contacts are as follows: The motor overheats, the soot deposits on the collector and creates extra friction. As a consequence, the engine overheats again, even at low speeds, the amount of carbon deposits increases, friction increases and so on until the engine burns out altogether.

The solution is obvious and that is to clean the contacts. Do it with the finest (zero) sandpaper:

It is best to clean with a lathe so as not to disturb the geometry of the part. But in practice, manual work is sufficient.

Dust on the pins

The brushes on the electric screwdriver wear out with regular use, even at low speeds. You end up with graphite dust. It accumulates on the contacts of the electric motor. And since the graphite dust has its own resistance, there is an uneven distribution of current, there are sparks, a characteristic smell and a complete feeling that the electric screwdriver brushes are on fire.

If the brushes are installed correctly, they wear down very slowly and do not lead to these problems. Disassemble your tool and see what is going on there. Note:

electric, screwdriver, sparks, works, smokes
  • Parts of the mechanism should fit tightly without play;
  • If it has been replaced, the brush may not have been installed in the proper size;
  • foreign matter, dust, construction debris can get into the slots.

Carefully remove dust from the brushes, from the grooves with some pointed tool. To prevent further sparking, replace or re-install all necessary parts tightly.

For replacement, buy original parts from the manufacturer. It will save money and nerves in the long run.

Armature short circuit

If you have cleaned the collector pins and checked the condition and tightness of the brushes and the sparking continues, the problem is probably in the armature winding.

A special alternating magnetic field apparatus may be helpful to diagnose the problem. If you put the armature in it, it will begin to rattle as induced currents appear in it.

If a problem is found in this unit, rewinding or a complete armature change is indicated.

Whatever the causes of sparks in your power tool. dirty contacts, shorted armature or clogged brushes ─ they can’t be ignored. Otherwise, you can wait until the electric screwdriver finally fails.


To prevent or at least minimize the risk of all these problems, follow a few simple rules:

Electric screwdriver sparks and smokes inside

In its absence, it will take a considerable amount of free time despite the study of video instructions by service engineers. Experienced first time repairers, despite knowing the theory, are not immune to contingencies. Usually the same in the hands of an amateur when trying to repair in a domestic setting, leads to an increase in the price of fixing the malfunction. For obvious reasons this is not acceptable if you need to solve the problem quickly. Find the real average price and timing of a technician’s work by looking at examples of recently completed repairs in the table below. For service engineers Yumedia screwdriver repair is a daily professionally debugged work each step and action is polished.

I bought a screwdriver 2 years ago, on the balcony in the corner 50×50 iron 5 mm drill bit 3.5 mm, after a minute of drilling went smoke:evil: from somewhere all-audio.On re-starting I saw a circular sparking.

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