Universal 1 Motor Questions

Hello all —

In the middle of a big job this weekend, my Universal 1 Power started making a persistent new noise –something between a chatter and a squeak. The noise occurs as the carriage is moving, a little more on the return. The noise occurs whether the motor is driving the carriage or whether moving the carriage manually. It occurs in print or trip mode.

It’s very hard to pinpoint the exact source of the noise, but it seems to be the motor, which really underscores that I know nothing about motors. I’ve attached a picture of the motor in question.

My motor with best guess at a fill hole location.

Fritz has posted a better picture of the same motor model here:

Universal I

In any case, does it make sense that the motor would be chattering even as I moved the carriage manually? Or could it be something else, like the clutch adjustment? I’ve scoured some old posts here on the blog and it seems that occasionally one might need to check the oil level in the motor or top it off. Should I top off the motor with SAE 20 wt or is there a safer oil to use? Have I correctly identified the fill hole in my photo, and how full should it be? Better to drain the old oil before adding new?

For reference: This older post here has had some helpful wisdom on the necessity of oiling:


Thanks for any and all help — feeling very out of my element!

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

Checking the oil level in the gear box is certainly a good start. Adjusting the clutch is called for if the carriage stops short of the feed board. Be sure to note its present position if adjustment exasperates the situation.

Other thoughts: You said that the sound is greater during the return travel in trip mode. Are the carriage bearings and under rails clean or when you wipe the rail can you see metallic grit? Does the sound occur when the rollers are disengaged?

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