Q: I'm using your planetary geared step motors in a ballscrew so I can transfer some parts from point A to point B. From time to time, I will need to manually position the carriage on my screw which means that I will be backdriving the gearmotor. Does this cause any damage to the motor?
A: We're typically more concerned about the motor generating back EMF when back-driven by an external force. This may damage the driver since that's where the back EMF ends up. If the back EMF exceeds the electrical capacity of the components inside the driver, then it will start damaging components. As far as the motor, not much damage will happen besides the obvious wear and tear on the ball bearings inside the motor which are the only components that actually comes into contact. There are some cases where gears were damaged due to back-driving with excessive loads or impact/shock loads. We don't recommend back-driving our motors at anytime for these reasons. If you absolutely need to do it, we would suggest that you make sure not to exceed the permissible torque of the gearhead, minimize the travel distance and speed at the motor, and minimize any impact force. Remember, the motor rotates at a much faster speed than the gearhead output shaft. We do have any data regarding back-driven motors or gearmotors since we didn't design them to be back-driven. We usually recommend a motor with an electromagnetic brake to lock the load in place to avoid back-driving. You can still jog the motor with your controller. We think this is a safer procedure.
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