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Vickers Metropolitan Capacitor Motor 1/4 hp BKC 2410

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David Maxwell 102/03/2022 13:18:57
5 forum posts
5 photos

Dear Friends

I'm new to this forum. My Father was a very keen enthusiast of Model Engineer, I inherited a large pillar drill from him. I'd love to get it working again.

He purchased the single phase equipment in the 1950's while we were living opposite the RAE at Farnborough.

It last worked in the 1970's but has not been connected since. I'm nervous of the capacitor! I suspect that it would be safer to start with a replacement.

What is it? Is it a just a start capacitor or does it assist with the running? No visible markings on the capacitor. All ideas for a replacement welcome.

I can send photos but have no idea how to add photos at this stage.



Dave Halford02/03/2022 17:00:50
2052 forum posts
23 photos

My 1969/70 Rockola 443 juke box still has all but one of it's original caps.

It wont hurt the motor to try it.

Stueeee02/03/2022 17:16:22
121 forum posts

I have recently refurbished a (probably 50s) 1/2 HP Metropolitan Vickers 4 pole single phase motor to replace the existing weedy Chinese motor on my belt linisher. The one I have is Capacitor start induction run. So there was/is only a single capacitor fitted. The one in mine was dead and did need replacing, but these capacitors are cheap and readily available.

Edited By Stueeee on 02/03/2022 17:16:50

David Maxwell 102/03/2022 19:04:25
5 forum posts
5 photos

I appreciate the reply. Pleased to see others are still using similar equipment, sadly, only one record to play. It might as well rain until September, Helen Shapiro seems to suit the current mood. Clearly I can replace the motor with a modern Chinese version but what a shame that seems to be.

I also appreciate that the single capacitor is not expensive but I need a clue as to how to size a suitable replacement. I have a working CBB65 25uF +/- 5% 450VAC available - is that likely to be useful to me?

Frances IoM02/03/2022 20:14:20
1268 forum posts
28 photos
Try to see how to post - a photo of motor plate showing power etc would be a good guide - often the size of a cap is marked on these plates.

Edited By Frances IoM on 02/03/2022 20:14:46

Stueeee02/03/2022 21:36:26
121 forum posts

Before deciding you need a new capacitor, I would try the motor with the one you have. Worst that will happen is a nasty snarling noise instead of a smooth start and the reassuring click of the motor's centrifugal switch throwing the capacitor out of circuit.

You might be lucky and have the cap value on your motor's data plate -mine didn't. There are numerous charts on the internet that specify starting capacitor sizes Vs. motor voltage and power. That's what I did in order to choose one for mine.

Edited By Stueeee on 02/03/2022 21:40:02

noel shelley02/03/2022 22:03:59
1348 forum posts
21 photos

First , Welcome to the party ! There are several options, 1 just plug it in. If the motor spins up to running speed , your laughing ! 2 it tries to go but rotates slowly, cap is below spec ! 3 It goes bang, cap short circuit or motor fault ! 2 replace cap ! 3 check motor for fault, ie short to ground, or cap replacement. If you want to replace the cap but do not know the value it may be found on the side or base as a uf value or a good multimeter will read the value assuming it has not gone off spec ! As has been said you may find the cap value on the spec plate, not so common ! If the unit has rubber covered wiring I would replace it. Good luck, come back if you have problems. Noel.

SillyOldDuffer03/03/2022 10:55:31
8695 forum posts
1967 photos

Posted by David Maxwell 1 on 02/03/2022 13:18:57:.

..My Father was a very keen enthusiast of Model Engineer, I inherited a large pillar drill from him. I'd love to get it working again.

He purchased the single phase equipment in the 1950's ...

It last worked in the 1970's but has not been connected since. I'm nervous of the capacitor! ...

What is it? Is it a just a start capacitor or does it assist with the running? No visible markings on the capacitor. All ideas for a replacement welcome.

I can send photos but have no idea how to add photos at this stage...

Welcome to the forum David.

Last things first, how to post photos is easy enough when you know how! Click on this link for instructions. Another forum peculiarity, the obvious 'Search this site' feature top right of screen doesn't work well. There's a much better search facility half-way down the Home page.

Depending on the exact type, single phase motors have either one or two capacitors. One is used to start the motor, the other to keep it running. (Done by delaying the magnetic field in the motor windings relative to each other which creates a turning force.) Sometimes one capacitor, sometimes two, and sometimes two capacitors are in one container (three or four wires to it). Posting a photo will help identify the motor, especially if it has a info plate.

I agree with trying the motor to see if it works before fixing it. However, proceed with caution in case old-age and damp have left the machine electrically unsafe. Damp and corrosion play havoc with insulation and rubber insulation perishes, cracks, and falls off! Before applying power, use a multimeter to confirm the earth pin and all exposed metal parts of the machine are connected. (Correct earthing protects against several shock hazards.)

When powering up, don't touch the machine until certain it's electrically safe. Use an electricians screwdriver to confirm the metalwork isn't live. Blowing fuses, popping RCDs and smoke are all obviously bad! Also bad, if gently stroking the machine with a finger tip causes a tingle or odd rubbing odd sensation.

As general advice, I don't recommend rushing to strip and fix old machines. Better to start with a shallow clean and then to run the machine, gently putting the controls through their paces. Experimental running is an excellent way of highlighting faults, many of which are heard rather than seen. List as many as possible before attempting repairs and have a think, especially if inexperienced. The problem with starting with a gung-ho strip, deep clean and random mending is it risks introducing hard to diagnose new faults. A mixture or wear and tear and assembly errors can be a right pig to sort out.

Don't panic though! Assuming reasonable storage and a dash of luck, the drill will run without problems. If not, ask again.


Andrew Tinsley03/03/2022 13:18:19
1630 forum posts

A word of warning about trying out the motor. If it has got wet or damp, do not apply power.

Dry it out for a few days in an airing cupboard or a very warm room. Motor windings do not usually show any ill effects from being wet. However a wet / damp set of windings plus power is virtually certain to permanently damage the winding insulation


David Maxwell 103/03/2022 14:24:29
5 forum posts
5 photos

Thank you for all the helpful thoughts. I shall procced with care and have decided to carefully open the motor to inspect and make an initial clean. I’ll check the bearings wirings and grounding etc. I think it will be difficult to get the end caps off, I’ll have to try but I won’t go too far! I also need to work out the terminal wiring.

It is definitely a Start Capacitor, probably about 40 uF. There are some stamped rusted markings but they just seem to relate to a catalogue number or similar (731092-2) and it also says START. Capacitor is in very poor condition with rubber sleaves perished as you would expect.

Data Plate below, anyone have Cat No.D 9453 S?

Metropolitan Vickers Data

Metropolitan Vickers BKC 2410 capacitor motor2.jpg

john fletcher 103/03/2022 17:36:15
794 forum posts

As several readers have already said ensure the motor windings are not damp, put it in the airing cupboard for a day or two, then get your friendly electrician around with his 500 volt DC insulation tester, often known as a Megger, to carryout an insulation test. The electrician can also carry out rudimentary test on your capacitor, by charging it up and leave it for half an hour, he will know what to do. If all is well, leave things alone regarding easy to dismantle a motor and break a winding lead, but its not so easy to reassemble without scratching the insulation varnish off some of the winding. Two drops of oil is that is needed in those oil caps. I've fixed lots of good but messed up motors by people with good intensions. Regarding perished rubber, carefully disconnect the capacitor noting where the two leads come from (take a picture) then slide some heat shrink, fibre glass or other sleeve over the rubber. That motor is more than 60 years old. if all was well regarding the cap and motor insulation test then give it a run. I don't know where you but I could fix it for you and show you the future. John

noel shelley03/03/2022 18:41:01
1348 forum posts
21 photos

I had assumed you were in Farnboro, and like john would be glad to test (megger) and check the cap ! Where abouts are you ? Noel.

David Maxwell 103/03/2022 18:56:01
5 forum posts
5 photos

John, many thanks for your advice, I'll follow it exactly and leave assembled.

I'm not sure about my friendly electrician but I'll look for one. I'm deep down in rural Devon but I do still get around the country when the weather is fine.

I'd be happy to visit you sometime and deliver when the initial investigation is over. There is no great hurry for this as I have many other distractions. David

David Maxwell 103/03/2022 19:09:46
5 forum posts
5 photos

Noel, many thanks for your kind offer.

I am passing Farnborough, Hampshire on 15th March on my way to Farnborough, Kent for a family funeral. I can visit almost anywhere on that route and be happy leave the motor for an initial test. The Funeral is on 16th March so I have the day free. David

Macolm03/03/2022 21:24:17
79 forum posts
19 photos

A low risk way to test a motor like this after doing the basic checks is to connect it in series with an old fashioned quartz halogen security light, assuming you can find one. A 500 watt 230V mains lamp will reach 125 ohms when hot, but start at 12 ohms or so when cold. If the motor (without mechanical load) is OK, it will run, and the lamp will not light up much. If the motor does not run, the lamp will light fully, and the current will be limited to less than 2 amps.

Michael Gilligan03/03/2022 21:54:55
20183 forum posts
1053 photos

Useful suggestion, Macolm yes

Duly noted for future reference.


Edited By Michael Gilligan on 03/03/2022 21:55:42

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