Sometimes the Best Reason is Just Because

Sometimes No Real Reason is All You Need

A Condenser Motor
Image: It all started here: a condenser fan motor.

When I was a child I rarely needed a good reason to do a thing. When asked why I had done a thing, quite often my first response was, "Uh, I dunno. Just because."

As I "matured" I learned that adults do things for reasons. Sometimes the reason is to have fun, but most of the time it has something to do with being responsible and/or making money. Other good reasons for doing something include learning, helping others, greed, selfishness, or contributing to the common good. Maybe.

I had to replace the condenser fan motor on my wife's pool heater. My reason in this case was happiness-preservation. Pool heater? Yeah, that's another story, and one we're not going to get into here.

The motor had a bad bearing but had not seized, so there was no damage to the windings. I had the old motor in a box in my shop for a couple of months because I couldn't bring myself to toss it, and I didn't want to drive all over the place trying to find a recycler to take it. Besides, I had the desire to see if I could salvage anything useful from it before just declaring it trash.

So, I took out the bolts and started carefully disassembling it. In short order I had it down to nothing more than the stator and its windings. Now the fun started.

I unstrung the lacing on the coils, then gave them a few loving taps with a rubber mallet to break apart the varnish they lather on during manufacture. Then I snagged and pulled out the plastic 'buffers' that help protect the wire as well as reduce some noise.

Once the plastic strips were out of the way I could start carefully pulling on one of the top coils, a few strands at a time, working them slowly and gently to avoid accidently stripping off any of the insulation.

This tedious process was surprisingly relaxing, almost therapeutic. Time slipped away as I methodically removed one coil at a time. Sometimes two or three coils were 'related' in some way, and I could get them all out without cutting the wire. Then I would lovingly re-align the coils together into a unit, returning the wire, as it were, to the oneness it had known on the spool when it was younger.

I discovered some smaller coils were aluminum, which I had no interest in keeping. I cleaned my new collection of magnet wire coils as well as the stator core, which I added to my collection of random metal stuff. You never know when you might need a really large heatsink or a huge heavy spacer.

I felt immensely gratified after turning off the shopvac. I had reclaimed useful wire from a piece of junk. I don't know exactly what I'll do with it, but I have it, and I didn't have to "buy" it in a normal retail sense of the word. I like that. Why? Just because.

In the end, I had fun, and having fun is always a thing that works!.

link to home page