nerdsforprez

Part Degradation over Time

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Hey everyone, quick question......My field has very little to do with anything in the technical sciences, that is perhaps why I love building with Technic so much... it gets me out of my realm of experience. But real quick, I have been interested in several older parts for a while, such as the RC buggy motor, micromotor, motors for the 9v system, and others. I was in my dark ages during these times so I have none of these, but I have no problem buying some --- even if they are costly. I just think that it would be fun to try some builds with such parts. However, my question is regarding part degradation over time. Is this something that I should be concerned about. I mean, some of these parts are nearing 10-15 years old. I understand aging brick..... but electrical components are a little more finicky. I know many still use them with success, so I am not really looking for answers such as "I still use them with no problem" - more like someone with in-depth knowledge of how such materials behavior through time or stand up to time. Again, it is not as though I previously bought them and have gotten use out of them for years. I would be barely acquire them, so unless I can expect a long life, as fun as it sounds to get them perhaps I should pass. Anyone with some in depth knowledge or experience on the matter?

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Electric motors in Lego motors like that won't "degrade" with time, as they are composed of metal rod with thin cable wrapping and magnets - those things won't decay. The main concern would be moisture (that can be drawn away with non-conducting electronics cleaning agent) and dust, hair and other contaminants, but the Lego motors should be pretty good sealed. The other possible problem would be lubrication, but using a RC models lubricant or grease would do.

As for the electronics in general, as long as they were not directly attached to excessive voltage or leaking batteries, there should be no problem.

EDIT: OK, look at the posts below, it appear there's more to that. Maybe those problems occurred because of the things I mentioned. And I completely forgot about the cables, the softest and most wear-prone part of the any Lego powered arrangements.

Edited by Immo

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I'm in the same state as you, I really want to get a couple of buggy motors, and I have the same concerns. In addition to that, I'm waiting for some more information on PF 2.0. Lego recently announced WeDo 2.0 and declared that its connectors will be compliant with PF 2.0. I'm worried I might regret getting buggy motors if they announce a similar one in PF 2.0.

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With the first motor, I've had a lot of problems. I got only one, with the Barcode truck, but it quickly got "stuck". LEGO sent me a new one, but that one is in the same state now. I don't know if it is a common problem, but 2 out of 2 is not a good sign for me. I don't think it can be fixed easily.

The older ones are all still working (I have 5):

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One problem I have with the old 9V system is with the cables: the rubber outer cover deteriorates a bit and almost all of the cable I have have exposed metal wires near the connectors. It might be due to the way they were stored (maybe under strain) and it's a miracle that the short-circuits that undoubtedly occurred haven't caused damage. It's worth paying attention to when buying second hand.

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I have never had a faulty buggy motor or micro motor, and I have had more than 30 of each. The clips that hold the micro motor are the weakest parts.

I had a clear out of old motors yesterday; I found only 1 out 8 of my 2838 (from 8868) and just 2 out of 10 of my 71427 (from 8479) were still working properly. A few were working but very noisy and the others were seized.

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With old electrical systems, you should look out for corrosion and wire insulation rot.

If buying used, then inspect wear and tear on the moving parts and the motor brushes.

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I had old non lego motors (30+ years old) lose most if its power because the magnets used lost part of its force.

If that was by improper storage, heat or physical abuse I can't tell, but as any second had item it's condition may be wildly variable.

I got a couple buggy motors, one was mine and the other from bricklink and both perform like new.

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I can also confirm that buggy motors are the least problematic (no failures in 24). The bigger 9v motors are USUALLY ok (2 failures in 70ish). The older 9v (as pictured above) can have problems since it wasn't a strong motor to begin with so any additional stresses (from wear) tend to cause it to fail. The micromotor.....forget about it. I'm not sure why the guy above is saying hes had no bad micromotors but for me, at least 30-40% that I obtain are no good. There have been many articles about this particular motor and its foibles.

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Pretty much same for me as most people. All buggy motors working like new but the other motor pictured in the first post I've had most of them fail. They are about as bad for me as micro motors. I know this is only anecdotal and not the scientific evidence/answer you was after but if enough people are saying the same thing it's good forensic evidence at least.

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Until recently I had 23 Buggy Motors and all worked perfectly.

Talking about part degradation. I know this isn't about motors but I few weeks ago I got my 8674 taken out of it's storage box where it's been sitting for around 6 months and found this. Wasn't happy but relatively easy to fix.

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Edited by grum64

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The problem that occurs, at least in the micromotor and the old technic motor showed in first post, is that the permanent magnets around the rotor disintegrates over time. The ferrite is not stable and you will get a magnetic powder that prevents the rotor to move. It is perfectly possible to disassemble the motors and wipe of this magnetic "powder" from the magnets and the motor will work fine again. I've done this on both kinds of motors. I don't know how more recent motors works over time (pf-motors), no issues so far.

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I made a little video about two years back, when I found my old Lego parts at my parent's house.

The Lego got really brittle and weak.Totally unusable.

Edited by tripletschiee

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Oddly, even though I've purchased and used hundreds of motors of different types I've never had any of them fail.

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Yea.... i think there is more than meets the eye to your video @tripletschiee. I have nowhere the experience or collection as Blakbird, but I do have many pieces from when I was a kid (no electronic stuff) and the plastic is all in good condition. I am NOT young :classic: I have elements clear back from the eighties. I also bought the Super Street Sensation (second-hand) -- and I haven't seen any of the problems like in your video....

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There can be environmental and user factors at play. ABS plastic can be weakened by UV light, exposure to certain chemicals, internal stresses from moulding, external mechanical forces, etc. Speaking of external forces, I cracked my first 1/2 stud pushing it out of a Technic brick the other day with an axle. I don't think I ever had that happened before. The other 1/2 studs in that same brick pushed out without cracking. :sad:

DSCF7850_zps6atin9df.jpg

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Not only old parts, but brand new parts gives sometime problems and brake.

For a set for Damen brakes 125 new tiles of the 200 1x1 dark red, lucky for me that i found the problem before livery and replaced all the tiles, only was not happy that must check, test and reseal all the 200 bags :devil: .

24414141246_066bea2033_c.jpg

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I made a little video about two years back, when I found my old Lego parts at my parent's house.

The Lego got really brittle and weak.Totally unusable.

This certainly looks like UV degradation. The discolouring on the top of the piece also hints at this to me.

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This certainly looks like UV degradation. The discolouring on the top of the piece also hints at this to me.

I have some of the older red and white bricks from my father's pieces as a kid, they aren't anywhere nearly as fragile as that.

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I've never really had this problem, with some key exceptions. I think one brand new motor, not the rc one, but the old 9v, failed a week after I got a Mindstorms kit. I have had no other motor fail. I even have a few 4.5 volt motors that still work. Also, I haven't really had any parts fail from degradation. There is a grand total of one part I have that could be degraded, and it is a pearl silver 3l thin liftarm. However, because that color is metallic, it might have a well known toy issue known as Gold Plastic Syndrome, which in spite of the name can affect any metallic colored plastic, most prominently in Transformers figures from the late 1980s, to the mid to late ninties, it is unclear if the issue has been resolved. To sum it up, the theroy is that the dye and plasticizer do not interact well in the plastic, and so it degrades. But, I have not seen or heard of any other examples happening with other people, so it could just be me. I have, however, encountered another brittle plastic in Lego, both firsthand and online. Whether due to a design flaw, bad plastic, or both, a lot of Bionicle parts, particularly lime green ones, were reported to fail in 2007 on, ad I recall. But, other than that, the only parts I have that cracked were due to mechanical stress, like using a differential in a vehicle with PP wheels, having limited slip on the differential, and no gear reduction whatsoever. Naturally, that was one of my first Technic experiments, and I have learned much since.

Also, I could have sworn we had a thread like this a while ago. I'd try to find it, but posting links from a phone is a pain, so I can't.

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I have old 24x43 tires, and have not expierenced any degradation. I also have many Town tires that are much older. I have not had any expierence with glycerin or ArmorAll, but it should not be needed.

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Not only old parts, but brand new parts gives sometime problems and brake.

For a set for Damen brakes 125 new tiles of the 200 1x1 dark red, lucky for me that i found the problem before livery and replaced all the tiles, only was not happy that must check, test and reseal all the 200 bags :devil: .

24414141246_066bea2033_c.jpg

Thanks so much for posting this photo, I have experienced the same problem with my Dark Red tiles too. :angry:

Could there be a problem with this color only? (I've never had this happen to any other color)

Good thing I always purchase extra elements, when I order from BL. :wink:

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Thanks so much for posting this photo, I have experienced the same problem with my Dark Red tiles too. :angry:

Could there be a problem with this color only? (I've never had this happen to any other color)

Good thing I always purchase extra elements, when I order from BL. :wink:

Sometime it's happen with 1x1 tiles ore 1x1 2/3 cheeseslopes that LEGO runs a bad batch and unfortunately we got a bad run :sceptic::wink: .

Because we buy this parts on BL can't copmplane by LEGO, the problem is that the inside is to thick and put it on a plate and it's break ore crack.

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The 9V electric wires are easy to replace if you're even lightly capable with a soldering iron. If you're really skilled you could possibly do it with the original crimp connections but i've had no success with PVC insulation - it's harder than the old rubber stuff and distorts the copper pins in the connector before they penetrate the insulation. The added bonus is you can make them of any length you choose, which is most excellent for busy MOC's like Grazi's tow truck.

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