Electric Surgical Handpiece Motors

By: Steve Aucremann


Hall Surgairtome E, Hall micropower, Stryker impaction drill, Core impaction drill,

Commonly found in the Oral Surgery practice, this type of handpiece has a great deal of torque to cut through tooth and bone easily.  They are typically powered by a brushless motor and have hall sensors which feedback information to the controller. Some systems have a hand control (shown) and others have a foot control. In a perfect world, we would always get the controller with the handpiece for the purpose of complete testing. Unfortunately the controller is often needed to stay in the office to run other handpieces so we need to get the following information

  1. Did the motor run? – if it did not then the controller and the cord must be tested with another handpiece to be sure the problem is not with them.
  2. Was it loud? – noise indicates a bearing problem which is taken care of in a standard overhaul
  3. Did it over heat?
  4. Did it hold the burr well?


Core vent, Aseptico, ATR 3000, Anthogyre, 3I implant system, W&H implant, Dentsply implant, etc, etc

A system like this is used for dental implants or endodontic procedures. Typically they have a brushless motor that runs at 40,000 rpm (some older systems have a brush motor). Of the brushless systems some have hall sensors and some do not. If the motor cord plug has 2 or 3 pins it is probably a brush motor. If the motor cord plug has 4 to 6 pins it is probably a brushless motor without hall sensors. If the motor cord plug has 7 or more pins it is probably a brushless motor with hall sensors. By now you’re asking “why do I need to know this?” Well here is why: We can easily test a brush motor so if you are sure the controller is ok we only need the motor. We can also test the brushless motor without hall sensors but it is better, if the ‘Dr can do without it, to send the controller with the motor. The brushless motors with hall sensors almost always need the controller for proper testing. Here are a few of the issues we look for in these systems:

  1. Broken wires in the cord, this is caused by autoclaving and general abuse. We can re-terminate most of them.
  2. Rough bearings can normally be replaced but some of them use a modular motor which cannot be repaired it must be replaced.
  3. In the brushless motors we often find that the rotor has exploded and this requires a OEM replacement which can be expensive. You can usually tell if this has happened by putting on a straight nosecone with a burr and turn the motor, if it won’t turn or feels like a box of rocks, it probably exploded.