Pancake Vibration Motor Teardown

For a while I’ve wondered how these pancake type (AKA “Shaftless”) vibration motors operate, so I figured I’d mutilate one to find out.

Pancake Vibration Motor
Pancake Vibration Motor

These vibrators are found in all kinds of mobile devices as a haptic feedback device, unlike older versions, which were just micro-sized DC motors with an offset weight attached to the shaft, these don’t have any visible moving parts.

Cover Removed
Cover Removed

These devices are crimped together, so some gentle attack with a pair of snips was required to get the top cover off.
It turns out these are still a standard rotary DC motor, in this case specifically designed for the purpose. The rotor itself is the offset weight, just visible under the steel half-moon shaped section are the armature coils.

Weighted Rotor
Weighted Rotor

The armature lifts off the centre shaft, the coils can clearly be seen peeking out from under the counterweight.

Commutator
Commutator

The underside of the armature reveals the commutator, which in this device is just etched onto the PCB substrate, the connections to the pair of coils can be seen either side of the commutator segments.

Brushes
Brushes

The base of the motor holds the brushes in the centre, the outer ring is the stationary permanent magnet. These brushes are absolutely tiny, the whole motor is no more than 6mm in diameter.

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