# Measuring torque?

--Hey, gang, I've got one of those ubiquitous windshield wiper motors and I'm thinking of using it as a winch to lift a few items on an
art car project. Is there a way to measure torque, other than using a Prony brake?     --TIA,
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : For some reason hung up on
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Mexican Oompah bands...
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Force exerted on a spring scale (like a fishing scale) multiplied times the arm length ?
I don't know what a pony brake is, maybe I just described one.
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steamer wrote:

If it is a perminant magnet motor, current is directly proportional to torque. Once you know the characteritics of the motor, you can calculate the torque from the current used.
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mlw wrote:

Windshield wiper motors have attached gearboxes, and their ratios are seldom known. Motor current alone will not provide the torque at the output of the gearbox, since the gearing will increase the torque. Even if you do know the gear ratio, there are unknown friction losses in the gearbox, and the torque is always less than what is implicitly derived. Explicitly measuring the torque is the best method.
For the previous respondents: a "Prony brake" is a dynamometer, like the kind used to measure the torque of the driven wheels of a car. Many physics classes spend a unit using a desktop Prony brake to measure output of smaller motors. You can make one using parts from a hardware store.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

but easily calculated or measured.

At a linear rate.

Can be factored.

Explicityly measuring torque is "a" method, and by no means the best all the time.
If you are testing the characteristics of a motor, it may be the best way, but you can't do that during operations. The original poster explicity said "Is there a way to meaure torque, other than using a pony brake."
I have suggested one, is it the "best?" That can not be known until other facts are also known, for instance:
(1) Will torque measurement need to be made under active load? (2) What is the accuracy needed?
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mlw wrote:

<rest snipped>
And what would that factor be? 30%? 50%? 70%?
I have to wonder why you didn't mention that to determine torque at the output of a gearbox you'd also need to know the ratio of the gearbox, and have at least some guess at the gearbox efficiency.
-- Gordon
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mlw wrote:

He has a motor and wants to know the torque. How exactly are you proposing to find out the "characteristics of the motor" other than by measuring the torque? Some kind of model relating the motor windings and magnetic fields? If he knew the motor charateristics (speed/torque curve, time constants) he wouldn't need to measure the torque other than to determine the gearbox ratio and efficiency. But he has a junk wiper motor so you know he doesn't know the motor characteristics.
Mitch
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Mitch Berkson wrote:

Geez:
The assumption is you need to know the torque. The question is how and in what application. He may need a static measurement, but when he said "without a pony brake," I read that to mean a more dynamic -- less intrusive methodology. That was my take, maybe I'm wrong.
Easiest way to calibrate torque measurement: Tools: Varible output power supply fish scale current meter measured rod.
Attach the measured rod to the motor. Attach the fish scale to the other end of the rod. Measure the exact distance between the fish scale and the center of the motor shaft. (Lets say it is exactly 12 inches)
Apply power to the motor, read the fish scale. If it says 1 pound, then you have one foot/pound.
Increase the current to the motor, read the fish scale.
Make several measurements along the current range of the power supply to satisfy yourself that it is linear.
You will see the current/torque behavior of the motor.
During run time, all one needs to do is read the current being used my the motor to determine the torque.
If you don't have a current meter in your robot, you can measure the RPM of the motor, against the PWM of the supply, and assuming you've figured out the power transfer characteritics of your amplifier, you can have a pretty good representation of the torque.
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mlw wrote:

I don't understand how that would be done either. If he measures the stall torque and the no load speed he can draw a line and have the curve he needs for any situation - dynamic or static.
The rest of your description of how to measure the stall torque is the detailed version of what Gordon said to do.
Mitch
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Mitch Berkson wrote:

Right and if he needs to know the current torque being applied to a load, he would be able to calculate it. Many times an application needs to know the amount of torque being applied for safety reasons.
As I said, without more information about the exact application, only he did not want to use a pony brake.

Highschool physics is pretty basic.
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mlw wrote:

It's called a Prony brake (not pony brake), and it's much simpler than this setup. The result is a torque taken at operating speeds and loads, and is not static. You don't need to attach a rod to the shaft, you don't need a meter, you don't need a variable power supply. You put a leather or heavy fabric belt between two fish scales, and run the motor at 12V -- low or high speed winding, your choice.
He can run the strap through the pulley he intends for the winch, or set the brake on the output pulley of the winch, which will then also include any further gear reduction provided by his winch setup. And compensate for any further frictional losses inherent in all winches.
We can assume the OP is trying to simplify things and avoid a mechanical measurement. You're still talking about a mechanical measurement, and one that is more involved than what high school physics class students do all the time.
The other option is to look up the name on the motor (Trico? Bendix?) then go to a car parts store to see if they have a catalog with specs. The specs might even be on the Internet.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

LOL, a consistent typo. I know it was Gaspard de Pony, I'm sure of it!! That's funny. My fingers don't always type what I tell them too, and my eyes don't always read letters right. Dyslexia is not without humor.
[snip]

Maybe, I read it as perhaps needing to do it during an active load. There are application where monitoring the torque applied to the load during operation is a requirement.
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mlw wrote: [snip]

Only the OP knows for sure, but given that this is a winch for an Art Car project, and he just wants to "lift a few items", simple is probably better.
--
(Replies: cleanse my address of the Mark of the Beast!)

Teleoperate a roving mobile robot from the web:
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the Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:

See if you'd agree with me:
1. Estimate the weight of the object(s) to lift. 2. Get some kegs of equivalent weight, filled with brew, of course. 3. Invite some crazy friends over. 4. Forget scientific measurements and just use the rig to lift the kegs.
If the rig fails, the kegs crash to the ground, and everybody has a good time as beer goes all over everyone. Example of turning a negative into a positive.
If the rig doesn't fail, the beer's still in the kegs, waiting for you and your friends.
IOW, success either way.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

You had me at "brew".
--
(Replies: cleanse my address of the Mark of the Beast!)

Teleoperate a roving mobile robot from the web:
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: (1) Will torque measurement need to be made under active load?     --Doesn't have to be, but that would seem to be best, yes? I could use a weight suspended from a cable to simulate the load it needs to lift. : (2) What is the accuracy needed?     --Not sure I know; i.e. I'm lifting something that weighs, say, 20 lbs; all I'd like to know is whether or not I have a reasonable (50%?) safety margin and that I'm not about to burn out the motor during repeated cycling.     --Getting ideas myself here, but I'm purely mechanical in my thinking; i.e. I can see putting a 30 lb weight on the cable, then listening for groaning and feeling for temperature increase in motor housing but that's not "accurate" enough, yes?
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : For some reason hung up on
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Mexican Oompah bands...
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steamer wrote:

Since you mentioned a winch in your first post, you can always rig up a block & tackle arrangement, where even a puny motor would lift 20-30 pounds, without breaking a sweat. It all depends on how fast you want the lift.
You can use some simple math to roughly calculate the requirements, and since these motors are \$15 or so on surplus market, it makes sense just to try it out in a real-world test when you've done the initial calculations.
Anyway...Most windshield wiper motors run about 80-100 RPM no load on their fast windings. If you fasten a 6" cable drum onto the motor shaft, you'll be pulling about 19 linear inches for every revolution of the motor. Even at a loaded speed of 60 RPM that's 19 inches per second. Is that fast enough? Too fast? You can run the steel cable through some pulley blocks to increase torque (and decrease linear speed) if needed.
Mikey (Kap'n Salty) posted a link to someone's page for a Fomoco windshield wiper motor. Looks pretty standard to me -- fast and slow windings, worm gear drive, etc. I think you'll find the torque they tested the motor at is well within what you're looking for, perhaps as-is. Your motor is likely pretty close, because windshield wipers have to provide the same function from car to car.
-- Gordon
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: Anyway...Most windshield wiper motors run about 80-100 RPM no load on : their fast windings. If you fasten a 6" cable drum onto the motor shaft, : you'll be pulling about 19 linear inches for every revolution of the : motor. Even at a loaded speed of 60 RPM that's 19 inches per second. Is : that fast enough? Too fast? You can run the steel cable through some : pulley blocks to increase torque (and decrease linear speed) if needed.     --I'll be using a smaller drum; probably 3" dia, but as you say fast enough. Length of pull will be small, probably 4ft at the most, but speed can be varied, which bring up another little conundrum.     --At the moment I'm controlling motor speed with a little program I wrote for the Basic Stamp; basically ramping up to a speed, holding it for a while, then ramping down (not strictly necessary for the application; just testing my ability to write the program). I'm outputting the signal to a Victor motor controller; i.e. one that's intended to be used with an R/C reciever, so it accepts the same inputs as a servo. What would be ideal would be a way to control speed of motor (equivalent to position of a servo output arm) and direction with a pot. I'm looking for links to a tutorial on how to do this; got any pointers?
: Mikey (Kap'n Salty) posted a link to someone's page for a Fomoco : windshield wiper motor. Looks pretty standard to me -- fast and slow : windings, worm gear drive, etc. I think you'll find the torque they : tested the motor at is well within what you're looking for, perhaps : as-is. Your motor is likely pretty close, because windshield wipers have : to provide the same function from car to car.     --Yeah, mine is either a clone or identical I suspect.     --Thanks,
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : For some reason hung up on
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Mexican Oompah bands...
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steamer wrote:

Are you wanting to provide R/C-type pulses to the Victor controller? You can do that with a 555, for example. Or you can have the Stamp provide the pulses, using PULSOUT. (Am I understanding your question?)
I'd be surprised that Victor doesn't provide some insight on this, as their controllers were heavily used during the combat robot craze, and people were adapting them for all sorts of applications.
-- Gordon
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: Are you wanting to provide R/C-type pulses to the Victor controller? You : can do that with a 555, for example. Or you can have the Stamp provide : the pulses, using PULSOUT. (Am I understanding your question?)     --Correctamundo. Figured out how to do what I want it to do a couple of days ago; chapter 4 of the Parallax book "What's a Microcontroller?" covers it. Took a *lot* less programming than I had feared. Now I can control rotation speed and direction with a *tiny* pot. Next step will be to do something a little more robust that can survive a "real world" situation, then build it into the art car.
: I'd be surprised that Victor doesn't provide some insight on this, as : their controllers were heavily used during the combat robot craze, and : people were adapting them for all sorts of applications.     --Yeah, that's where I got mine; salvaged from a middleweight that never saw combat, thanks to the big-ass lawsuit between RW and BB. Now all I got to do is figure out a few more projects, to use my three remaining Victors! :-)
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : The other night I
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : dreamed about wasabi...
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