Windshield wiper systems are designed to wipe 1.5 million times in their lifetime!
Inside the Wipers
The wipers combine two mechanical technologies to perform their task:
- A combination electric motor and worm gear reduction provides power to the wipers.
- A neat linkage converts the rotational output of the motor into the back-and-forth motion of the wipers.
It takes a lot of force to accelerate the wiper blades back and forth across the windshield so quickly. In order to generate this type of force, a worm gear is used on the output of a small electric motor.
The worm gear reduction can multiply the torque of the motor by about 50 times, while slowing the output speed of the electric motor by 50 times as well. The output of the gear reduction operates a linkage that moves the wipers back and forth.
Inside the motor/gear assembly is an electronic circuit that senses when the wipers are in their down position. The circuit maintains power to the wipers until they are parked at the bottom of the windshield, then cuts the power to the motor. This circuit also parks the wipers between wipes when they are on their intermittent setting.
A short cam is attached to the output shaft of the gear reduction. This cam spins around as the wiper motor turns. The cam is connected to a long rod; as the cam spins, it moves the rod back and forth. The long rod is connected to a short rod that actuates the wiper blade on the driver's side. Another long rod transmits the force from the driver-side to the passenger-side wiper blade.
Now let's talk about some details of the wiper blades.